According to statistics, the UK is estimated to be the biggest digital music market in Europe – and there’s no doubt that technological innovation has contributed to this. Alongside tech trends in other sectors, music production uses some of the most sophisticated technology out there, which allows the industry to operate at the pace it currently does.
Pioneering tools also allow music to be produced at a higher quality than in previous years. Computers give producers the freedom to refine projects more efficiently in comparison to past analogue methods. As a result, the recording industry has continued to soar in recent decades. Here’s an overview of how technology has transformed the music recording industry.
Analogue to digital conversion
The analogue-to-digital conversion has been witnessed across everything from clocks to radios. When it comes to recording, this transition means you can easily manipulate and store audio data. Plus, digital audio gives higher fidelity and a significant reduction in noise distortion in recordings.
Circuit simulation software in equipment design has accelerated the development of advanced audio and electronic systems – and there are clear examples of this in the music recording industry. Examples of analogue-to-digital conversion (ADC) content include the signal from a microphone to a digital signal that can be processed by a computer. Meanwhile, a digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) can change the computer’s digital signal to an analogue signal for people to hear.
Thanks to digital audio technology, producers are able to record and playback high-resolution audio formats like FLAC or WAV. The former is a compressed file, while the latter is an exact copy of the original audio file. This has changed the game as they provide more bit depth. It also means you can take more samples and improve sample rates, which results in all-around more accurate sound reproduction that opens up more creative leeway in the industry.
Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
Thanks to Digital Signal Processing (DSPs), engineers can enhance audio quality during the recording and post-production stages. DSPs can record multiple types of signals ranging from audio to video – and in this case, audio is the input signal. The input becomes digitised before being converted to another type of signal that can be used. Essentially, DSPs allow producers to revisit snippets of audio.
Noise reduction and isolation
When producing music, the last thing you want is unwanted noise that interferes with the overall output. That’s where Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology comes into the picture. In the music industry, it’s common practice to isolate and edit out snippets of noise, such as background noise, noises from handling the microphone and more. Sometimes, there may even be electrical interference that needs editing out.
Improved microphone technology
The development of microphones has been key to progress made in music quality in recent decades. For example, ribbon microphones helped musicians to gain an understanding of room acoustics. This meant that performance practices could be improved because the sound could be recorded with little processing needed on the other end.
Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)
Not forgetting the all-important workstations – these powerful pieces of kit allow you to manipulate audio in a variety of ways. This includes recording the audio, as well as editing and mixing it to rework the original sound. They’ve made the music production process more efficient while allowing producers to create music for less and on a personal level, as well as at a commercial scale.
The development of innovative technology has revolutionised music production, as well as how music audio recording quality has accelerated creative freedom in this sector. Because of this, endless iterations of genres and music styles have evolved over time.