AES Section Meeting Reports

University of Massachusetts-Lowell - September 25, 2009

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Renowned recording engineer and AES President Jim Anderson began his talk to the attending UMass Lowell Sound Recording Technology students by emphasizing that — for him -- there are no secrets in the recording business. Anything that the students would want to know would be open to them. After all, only from the more experienced can young engineers learn the tricks of the trade or, as Mr. Anderson put it, to better "control reality."

This idea of controlling reality was the central theme of Mr. Anderson's talk. Using examples from his own career, he showed how every step in the recording process alters the original sound. The seemingly real, audiophile reproduction of a live band performance through loudspeakers is not a reflection of the sound that actually occurred in the studio at the time of the performance. The engineer must transform the sound of the band in studio into the desired sound of the band as realized on playback of the recording. Even acoustic jazz music recordings require a countless list of reality-altering engineering techniques. Among the many examples he gave, he played his recordings from the album Hubsongs, with Tim Hagans and Marcus Printup playing the songs of Freddie Hubbard. Mr. Anderson said that he had wanted to recreate the sound of Blue Note records in the 1960s. He went through some of the steps he took to create that sound, such as recording to two-inch 16-track tape without the use of noise reduction.

Near the end of his talk, Mr. Anderson gave the students a piece of advice about their future careers, that their place in the music process wasn't just to record. Their place is to "influence the overall artistic impact via the specific use of technology."

Lastly, he made a convincing case for why he is a member of AES and encouraged all students to join. He then took questions from the audience.

- Jeremy Wegrzyn

More About University of Massachusetts-Lowell Section

AES - Audio Engineering Society