Earlier this month, Audio-Technica hosted the “Art of Analog,” a listening event for its associates at Turntable LP Bar in Midtown Manhattan in honor of the company’s 60th anniversary and inspired by sessions hosted by A-T founder Hideo Matsushita in the early 1960s that solidified his passion for analog audio and led to the development of his very first phono cartridges.
The event, one of a series of events celebrating the 60th anniversary, focused on A-T’s analog heritage and celebrated analog culture while creating a sensory experience for the attendees. It began with Peter Baker (ATUS director, marketing communications) sharing a brief history of the A-T brand followed by a guided listening session with a panel that included noted audio engineers Lenise Bent (Blondie, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac), Chris Mara (founder of Nashville’s Welcome to 1979 studio) and Jimmy Douglass (Foreigner, Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliott) joined by moderator Justin Colletti (mastering engineer, educator and director of content and publishing at Sonic Scoop).
The panel touched on the challenges and benefits of analog recording, discussed the ideal environments for, and the importance of, critical listening. They also shared their perspective on the thought, techniques and process of recording the iconic and influential albums.
Guests included award-winning producer/engineers Chris Lord-Alge, David Reitzas and David Hewitt; noted studio managers Paula Salvatore (Capitol Studios) and Candace Stewart (EastWest Studios); Maureen Droney, vice president, Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing; and several others.
“Back when we used tape, you only had so many tracks, and you had to commit to performances,” Bent says. “Maybe you only kept the drums from a performance, and you could re-do things after that. But still, you were committing to something real. There was a vibe. The band played off each other. Moving to digital workstations, with unlimited tracks and editing possibilities, it changed how things felt to me.
“For me, the joy of recording and capturing performances involves the energy and the emotions and tears in my eyes when I hear the right take, even if it’s not technically perfect. The digital realm has opened up tons of possibilities for us, in terms of what we are capable of creating, but it is important to use analog tools where we can, and to not lose touch with all the special things that those methods of working made possible.”
The tracks were played on Audio-Technica analog gear (AT-LP7 manual belt-drive turntable and A-T VM Cartridge equipped with a Special Line Contact stylus).
Read more about the event here.