I've been reading 'Tape's Rolling, Take One' which is Adrian Kerridige's autobiography, and its highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of professional music recording in the UK from the 60s to around 2000.
Adrian was one of the founders of CADAC consoles, he laterbset up the Lansdowne Studios in Bayswater and CTS in Wembley, and was a phenomenal recording engineer, especially of big bands. I knew him professionally and he was a lovely bloke, too.
But the point I wanted to make was that his book describes his beginnings as an engineer at IBC studios under the tutelage of Allen Stagg -- a path followed by a surprising number of well known and admired recording engineers of the 70s and 80s who went on to great things at Decca, Abbey Road, Olympic and elsewhere.
As part of their training, Allen's young padawans were asked to devise a miking plan to record various types of bands -- which mics placed where, etc. Once done, Allen would then tell them that they only had half the number of channels available, or they didn't have those particular types of mics or whatever. So they had to whittle their recording plan back to the working minimum to capture what was needed. And then the band came in and they applied their reduced plan and had to make the session work. Which, under his guidance, they did.
That kind of training really helped them learn what could be done with the different mics, what was really important and what wasn't, and how to make decisions early and get it right in the studio onto tape, there and then.
And they all became superb engineers from it.
The modern fashion for sticking six mics in front (and behind) everything and hope to sort something worthwhile out later in mixing is either self-indulgent, indecisive, or ignorant nonsense -- or a combination of all three -- and something that I utterly abhor. And the same applies to the notion that you can record any old crud in the studio but somehow make it sound magical with some ludicrous chain of exotic plugins...
I became close friends with Allen in the decade before his death, and we would often discuss his approach to training and his views on modern practices. Although long retired, he kept up to date with the industry and was certainly no dinosaur -- and he still had the most analytical ears right to the end. Lovely bloke.
Now... Where are my pipe and slippers? Nurse, is it time for my medication? I'll just rest my eyes for a little while... Zzzzzzz