Insight into why the musical magic of Muscle Shoals / FAME, stellar at first, then “faded”

Spot-on, I think, Comment from the video — “It’s funny that it starts out mentioning that the engineer knew and made (or at least serviced) all the equipment, and the sound quality was great. But then, technology moved in, and the engineer became disconnected, and there hasn’t been “that sound” or any true hit ever since. Not in the same way, at least, not in any meaningful way. Now, “the sound” is the same over-produced, hyper fed-back, transistorized “protools” rig sound as anyone and nearly everyone else, IMHO. THE GEAR MATTERS. IT IS AN INSTRUMENT. Listen to the stark difference from ~56:00 in, versus the earlier, edgier, rougher, more realistic sound. The fake gold on the mic at 59:10, when that money should have been spent inside on better parts. The “RIMS” mounts on the toms, when before the lowly Ludwig kit with 1950s thinking was hit-on-first-take great. The three engineers at 57:51, fiddle-faddling around. The 8 track mixer Ampex that was replaced by some kind of beast with quintuple the buttons and knobs, and all the while the sound quality, the life, that sparkle, just drained away. FAME, want to get a brand new killer hit? Get your old gear back, go back to old school, and record something on that 8 track Ampex. Also, notice how they went from bragging about the ONE TAKE HIT WONDER, to Rick wanting “a thousand takes” until he found something….now, that speaks directly to the equipment destroying the life and soul of the music. Directly.”

1 thought on “Insight into why the musical magic of Muscle Shoals / FAME, stellar at first, then “faded””

  1. I’ll add that the late 1960s, early 1970s was The Pinnacle of vacuum tube technology. As transistorized cheapness invaded, musical sound quality suffered and was extinguished, never to return to the sparkly, lively glory that all the early recordings have, but none of the later ones do. That’s right. None.

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