Studio Gear

Old school tape Machines at Bunny Lee’s studio.  (1994)

Today these machines are getting harder and harder to find. It’s very difficult now if you have to transfer old master tapes, fewer and fewer studios even have this equipment in-house. The tape machine has now been replaced by the hard drive. Just the other day I was talking with an artist friend in Jamaica and he was saying he could only find one studio that was able to do a DAT transfer, and it was really expensive.

In 1992 when I did my book Reggae Island: Jamaican Music In The Digital Age more studios were switching over to digital technology. One of the questions I would ask everyone I interviewed was how the new technology was affecting reggae music. Most said something about how digital technology made it easier record and edit, but it was also taking the soul out of the music. Another response was how anyone can be a producer, “You have a little man, all ‘im know is a couple notes on a synthesizer and electric drums, and ‘im go in the studio and create a whole bag ‘a foolishness”, commented one producer. Another musician told me, “Technology can’t replace the Nyabinghi heartbeat” and I tend to agree with him. But, out with the old and in with the new I guess. There will always be the debate among musicians, engineers and producers (and listeners)  about which sounds better, analog or digital recordings. I’m sure that’s a debate that will no doubt go on.

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