It seems hard to believe that Sound On Sound has been going for 25 years, and that I first met founders Ian Gilby and Paul Gilby the year before that, when we were all working on Home & Studio Recording magazine. It seems equally unbelievable that, come next year, I'll have worked alongside Ian at SOS Publications for 20 of those 25 years. Obviously a lot has changed since then, so I won't bore you by telling you that we had to carve our first tape recorders out of wood or use ocelot intestine lovingly coated with rust for tape, but the changing role of the computer in audio deserves a mention. Ian and I were among the first to see MIDI in action, and my first reaction was that its ease of editing would lead to many neglecting their playing skills. However, we could see its benefits for composition, and even back in the Atari ST and Commodore 64 days, we were looking ahead to the days when computers would become fast enough and have enough storage to be used as multitrack audio recorders running alongside MIDI tracks.
When Sound On Sound first hit the shops, analogue tape was the standard audio recording medium and we were still basking in the joys of affordable but increasingly powerful synthesizers and samplers. MIDI sequencers were clunky affairs, mostly running on very low‑powered domestic computers. Look at those early issues and you'll see this reflected in our content, but as equipment and techniques evolved, so did the magazine. In fact, there are many instances of subjects covered by Sound On Sound evolving rather faster than they did in the outside world! We were also the first to see that the computer would become the default means of recording and editing music, in both professional and home studios, though not all the hardware manufacturers agreed with us at the time.
Today there's a computer at the centre of almost every studio; there are dozens of software synths and samplers in use for every 'real' hardware keyboard instrument out there; and video has become an integral part of the package needed to present your music to the world. Everything has changed and will continue to do so, probably at an accelerating rate, but here at Sound On Sound there are certain core philosophies that will always be at the heart of what we do: Sound On Sound is written by musicians and studio owners, not by journalists, and over the years we have built up the best team of freelance contributors anywhere on the planet. Our aim continues to be to cover what's relevant to you as a recording musician, as accurately and as completely as possible. And no, I wouldn't like to predict what a recording studio might look like in another 25 years!
Paul White Editor In Chief