A long-standing debate in the history of recording is over the use of the studio itself. Ever since Edison introduced the phonograph, the ideal goal for many was to obtain a “perfect” recording, capturing the pure sound of the performers and instruments. Others, however, were fascinated with the capabilities of the equipment to “color” the music, which led to the rise of studio engineers as artists. From Les Paul’s homemade multi-tracking prototypes, to the innovations of the Beatles, to the studio mastery of Pink Floyd’s DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, the studio was used as an instrument in its own right.
Some critics, however, have rebelled against this “sonic perfection” as cold, sterile, or unnatural, with musicians being “autotuned” and pitch-corrected to the point where musical ability isn’t even required. Many artists have taken a “lo-fi,” approach, recording live, opting for the “warmth” of analog and the “humanity” of imperfections. And these critics do have a valid point; many classic songs do contain errors and missed beats, yet these songs move us on the strength of the performance and the conviction of the artist.
With great music created by both approaches, don’t expect this debate to be settled anytime soon. Keep looking, there’s more: Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii – Director’s cut