Hip Tip From Geoff Emerick

“A lot more thought needs to be given to a sound before it’s recorded,” counsels Geoff Emerick, the legendary studio engineer and producer, who has just penned Here, There, and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles [Gotham Books]. “In the Pro Tools era, this fact gets overlooked. You can’t have a bad sound in the studio, and think you’re going to make something wonderful out of it.
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But I’m sure a lot of people think they can. In the Beatles’ days, it took hours to craft the sounds from John’s and George’s amps. We were recording in mono—which made it difficult to give each guitar its own space in the mix—and we often put both of their guitars on one track. Then, John always played flat out, whereas George was more delicate. Also, the only EQ we had—other than that on the mixing console—was on the guitar amps. So it took hours to alter those extra little 1dBs of this and that to give the guitars their identity. And this was all done before the tape rolled. These days, everyone thinks you can just open Pro Tools and create a hit, but it’s down to the vibe, the feel, and then the song—and nobody even talks about the song anymore!”