Elephone wrote:I think many are dissatisfied with what they actually sound like, because let's face it, digital recording offers exactly that. Many bands would be better off carefully choosing their gear and getting their sound right live. And then insisting they use that gear in the studio (and ideally at gigs) so they know what they're getting and asking for a true recording first.
Then they can apply post production analogue gear (or plugins) for effect, exactly as an effect rather than thinking of it as anything more 'true'.
Also, I suspect as hearing deteriorates with age, 'clarity' of sound may become more desirable. I suspect that's why ageing musicians can appear to miss the point of their early sound... maybe they simply can't hear it the same way they did in their twenties! I mean, if they used the same guitar amp, are they turning the treble up slightly with every passing year?
Just a thought.
It's the hallmark of the unskilled to blame the gear. There used to be a time when "common" gear was so much worse than good one that it really required talent to overcome its limitations (and then again.. Keith Richard and his tape recorder come to mind). But nowadays, regular and high end gear are so close that it's annoying. So long it works, you're on (well, maybe not Berry stuff :))
The hard truth is that it's only about the musicianship, to know what one wants to achieve and to have the skills to get there. These skills are acquired only by avoiding excuses and learning, either from someone else (the fast way) or by trying and trying and trying some more (the slow but oh so satisfactory way).
It's just easier to blame the gear - or attribute it magic-like properties. No great guitar has ever made a great song, nor any great console. It's just down to you and your skills. Nothing more, nothing less.
So yeah, distortion may do something nice to a mix, no doubt, but it matters not where it comes from - only how it sounds, and there's a gazillion ways to get a similar effect if one wants. Also, it will never ever make the difference between a great mix and a mediocre one - crap on tape will still be crap :D