Wintersalen Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Original Essays | November 7, 2014

    Karelia Stetz-Waters: IMG The Hot Sex Tip Cosmo Won't Tell You



    Cosmopolitan Magazine recently released an article titled "28 Mind-Blowing Lesbian Sex Positions." Where was this vital information when I was a... Continue »
    1. $10.47 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$18.00
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
25 Remote Warehouse Music- Recording Techniques
8 Remote Warehouse Music- Recording Techniques

This title in other editions

Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music

by

Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music Cover

ISBN13: 9780865479388
ISBN10: 0865479380
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 1915, Thomas Edison proclaimed that he could record a live performance and reproduce it perfectly, shocking audiences who found themselves unable to tell whether what they were hearing was an Edison Diamond Disc or a flesh-and-blood musician. Today, the equation is reversed. Whereas Edison proposed that a real performance could be rebuilt with absolute perfection, Pro Tools and digital samplers now allow musicians and engineers to create the illusion of performances that never were. In between lies a century of sonic exploration into the balance between the real and the represented.

Tracing the contours of this history, Greg Milner takes us through the major breakthroughs and glorious failures in the art and science of recording. An American soldier monitoring Nazi radio transmissions stumbles onto the open yet revolutionary secret of magnetic tape. Japanese and Dutch researchers build a first-generation digital audio format and watch as their compact disc is marketed by the music industry as the second coming of Edison yet derided as heretical by analog loyalists. The music world becomes addicted to volume in the nineties and fights a self-defeating loudness war to get its fix.

From Les Paul to Phil Spector to King Tubby, from vinyl to pirated CDs to iPods, Milner pulls apart musical history to answer a crucial question: Should a recording document reality as faithfully as possible, or should it improve upon or somehow transcend the music it records? The answers he uncovers will change the very way we think about music.

Greg Milner has written about music, media, technology, and politics for Spin, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Slate, Salon, and Wired. He is the co-author, with the filmmaker Joe Berlinger, of Metallica: This Monster Lives and has also worked as a political speechwriter. He lives in Brooklyn. A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

In 1915, Thomas Edison proclaimed that he could record a live performance and reproduce it perfectly, shocking audiences who found themselves unable to tell whether what they were hearing was an Edison Diamond Disc or a flesh-and-blood musician. Today, the equation is reversed. Whereas Edison proposed that a real performance could be rebuilt with absolute perfection, Pro Tools and digital samplers now allow musicians and engineers to create the illusion of performances that never were. In between lies a century of sonic exploration into the balance between the real and the represented.

Tracing the contours of this history, Greg Milner takes us through the major breakthroughs and glorious failures in the art and science of recording. An American soldier monitoring Nazi radio transmissions stumbles onto the open yet revolutionary secret of magnetic tape. Japanese and Dutch researchers build a first-generation digital audio format and watch as their compact disc is marketed by the music industry as the second coming of Edison yet derided as heretical by analog loyalists. The music world becomes addicted to volume in the nineties and fights a self-defeating loudness war to get its fix.

From Les Paul to Phil Spector to King Tubby, from vinyl to pirated CDs to iPods, Milner pulls apart musical history to answer a crucial question: Should a recording document reality as faithfully as possible, or should it improve upon or somehow transcend the music it records? Perfecting Sound Forever is an exhaustively researched, extraordinarily inquisitive book that dissects the central question within all music criticism: When we say that something sounds good, what are we really saying? And perhaps more important, what are we really hearing?--Chuck Klosterman, author of Downtown Owl

And in the beginning, there was no recorded sound. For millennia, music lovers had to play songs for each other in order to hear their favorite music. Because of this, perhaps--as Greg Milner points out in his exhaustive, technically precise and fascinating survey Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music--the primary objective of the earliest sound recording was verisimilitude. Hence, the term 'high fidelity, ' created for the listener who might fret about impurities that could arise as a consequence of reproducing music. Perfecting Sound Forever frames the divide between authentic reproduction and the willful manipulation of sound as the 100-year dialectic that has spurred every new technological advancement in recording. Certainly, it has stoked an ongoing debate among fans and industry professionals, like a fractal tape loop . . . Perfecting Sound Forever is best when it takes readers on the labyrinthine journey through the tiny warrens and corporate-sponsored laboratories of the inventors, musicians and hustlers who helped advance sound recording. We learn, for example, that microphone technology was perfected at Bell Telephone Labs in the early 1920s, as part of an extensive experiment to improve the reception of telephone transmissions. Soon after, Bell Labs became the most important incubator of recording technology in the world, aided in no small part by the barnstorming efforts of a classical maestro named Leopold Stokowski. Milner describes, in compelling detail, how Stokowski became the world's great proselytizer of microphone recording, producing the first commercial electrically recorded performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1925, then enthusiastically cooperating with Bell Labs when it separated the orchestra's high and low frequencies in two separate channels--the first example of Stereophonic sound . . . If the first half of Perfecting Sound Forever tracks a fitful trajectory toward the apex of analog recording glory, the second half--at least by Milner's lights--maps its decline and fall into the garish hyper-realism of digital recording. Cannily using Def Leppard's 'Hysteria' as a swan song for the analog era, Milner describes a recording process, overseen by producer Mutt Lange, that was marked by 'the desire to fix everything, down to the individual note . . . spending years building a sonic edifice and deciding which bricks to remove, and tailoring the record's sound toward saleability rather than a traditional capture the performance idea of fidelity.'--Marc Weingarten, Los Angeles Times

Partway through his new book on music's journey from the wax cylinder to the MP3, Greg Milner describes the emergence during the mid-'50s high-fidelity craze of a dubious psychiatric disorder called audiophilia, defined by one doctor as a 'tendency to become preoccupied with and dependent upon . . . recorded sound.' I'm no medical expert, but judging by the evidence presented in Perfecting Sound Forever, it seems safe to say that Milner has a raging case of the stuff: He delves so deeply into the hows and whys of recorded sound that you may never listen to Lady Gaga the same way again. Milner's story begins as far back as you can imagine: 'The first thing the universe did was cut a record, ' he writes, likening the Big Bang to a sort of cosmic remix. Then he winds his way forward with CSI-like detail, unpacking Thomas Edison's foundational wave-capture work; folk-music obsessive Alan Lomax's in-the-field innovations; the rise of the multitrack recording studio; and the digital revolution that set the stage for Pro Tools and Auto-Tune. Milner is a gifted storyteller . . . Milner never loses his grasp on the humanity behind the music; what fascinates him more than decibels and 'dead rooms' is mankind's innate desire to document and preserve itself. You might not think a book about reverb could thrill. Milner's does.--Mikael Wood, Time Out New York

Why did big rock radio sound like such absolute caca in the '90s, culminating in the totally unlistenable Californication? Greg Milner's Perfecting Sound Forever unravels the why and how with all the juicy technological details in place--he calls it the Loudness Wars and points the finger at two rival New York radio stations for trashing audio fidelity in search of higher ratings . . . While not a screed against digital music per se, Milner reveals that new formats can be as much compromise as advance, and what we hear as 'good sound' comes at the mercy of fashion, business, strong personalities or society's needs at a given moment. After a detour into NYU's anthropology department and a master's thesis on the transition from analog to digital, Milner homed in on writing a history of recorded music. He's always been interested in 'this relationship between what records sounded like and what people liked or disliked about them, ' he says. Perfecting Sound Forever isn't Milner's idea of a definitive history of recording. 'Someone should write that book, ' he says. Perfecting skips over eight tracks, cassettes and boom boxes, for example--my era. Rather, Milner traces major breakthroughs in recording from Thomas Edison's phonograph and Alan Lomax's wire recordings to the Nazis' innovations with magnetic tape, eventually landing in digital studios alongside similarly important formats for consuming music such as the LP, the CD and the MP3. Genius sound shapers from Les Paul to Steve Albini and King Tubby also get some ink. Perfecting gives unusual figures such as Jack Mullin, who basically brought high-quality magnetic tape recording to America, and Leopold Stokowski, classical music's first champion of electrical recording, their due. As deep as Perfecting Sound Forever takes us into sound, it never devalues the allure of the chimera that is the perfect recording. Milner is plenty aware of his sphinx-like subject: 'A recording is nothing until it is decoded and what it decodes is an illusion.'--John Dugan, Time Out Chicago

Superbly researched . . . Milner's is by no means a nerd's-eye view: this is fundamentally a human story . . . The fact that the Red Hot Chili Peppers get a pasting is just one pleasure to be d

Synopsis:

In 1915, Thomas Edison proclaimed that he could record a live performance and reproduce it perfectly, shocking audiences who found themselves unable to tell whether what they were hearing was an Edison Diamond Disc or a flesh-and-blood musician. Today, the equation is reversed. Whereas Edison proposed that a real performance could be rebuilt with absolute perfection, Pro Tools and digital samplers now allow musicians and engineers to create the illusion of performances that never were. In between lies a century of sonic exploration into the balance between the real and the represented.

Tracing the contours of this history, Greg Milner takes us through the major breakthroughs and glorious failures in the art and science of recording. An American soldier monitoring Nazi radio transmissions stumbles onto the open yet revolutionary secret of magnetic tape. Japanese and Dutch researchers build a first-generation digital audio format and watch as their “compact disc” is marketed by the music industry as the second coming of Edison yet derided as heretical by analog loyalists. The music world becomes addicted to volume in the nineties and fights a self-defeating “loudness war” to get its fix.

From Les Paul to Phil Spector to King Tubby, from vinyl to pirated CDs to iPods, Milner pulls apart musical history to answer a crucial question: Should a recording document reality as faithfully as possible, or should it improve upon or somehow transcend the music it records? The answers he uncovers will change the very way we think about music.

About the Author

GREG MILNER has written about music, media, technology, and politics for Spin, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Slate, Salon, and Wired. He is the coauthor, with the filmmaker Joe Berlinger, of Metallica: This Monster Lives. He lives in Brooklyn.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

themugster, January 25, 2011 (view all comments by themugster)
A fascinating history of technology, Milner's book shows us how the ways in which we capture and play back our music
have evolved since the Industrial Revolution shortly after the Civil War. Milner is at his most engaging when he riffs
on how the way our music is recorded actually conditions our thinking and expectations about how it SHOULD sound. Thus,
for example, we shouldn't be surprised at how difficult it is to find someone -- anyone -- under the age of 40 who
believes that the sound of a vinyl LP is in any way superior to that of an MP3. There's a lot of audio engineering here,
but Milner keeps it comprehensible enough for non-technological readers like me to become pretty thoroughly engrossed in
the details he presents. Highly recommended non-fiction, especially for music lovers!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780865479388
Author:
Milner, Greg
Publisher:
Faber & Faber
Subject:
Recording & Reproduction
Subject:
History & Criticism - General
Subject:
History & Criticism *
Subject:
Music-Recording Techniques
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20100531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes 18 Black-and-White Illustration
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

Other books you might like

  1. Eloise in Paris Used Hardcover $7.95
  2. The Best of Louisa May Alcott: A... Used Hardcover $7.50
  3. My Mother She Killed Me, My Father...
    Used Trade Paper $11.50
  4. Atget, Paris New Hardcover $14.99
  5. Collapse: How Societies Choose to...
    Used Trade Paper $7.50

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » General History
Arts and Entertainment » Music » History and Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Recording Techniques

Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$18.00 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Faber & Faber - English 9780865479388 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

In 1915, Thomas Edison proclaimed that he could record a live performance and reproduce it perfectly, shocking audiences who found themselves unable to tell whether what they were hearing was an Edison Diamond Disc or a flesh-and-blood musician. Today, the equation is reversed. Whereas Edison proposed that a real performance could be rebuilt with absolute perfection, Pro Tools and digital samplers now allow musicians and engineers to create the illusion of performances that never were. In between lies a century of sonic exploration into the balance between the real and the represented.

Tracing the contours of this history, Greg Milner takes us through the major breakthroughs and glorious failures in the art and science of recording. An American soldier monitoring Nazi radio transmissions stumbles onto the open yet revolutionary secret of magnetic tape. Japanese and Dutch researchers build a first-generation digital audio format and watch as their “compact disc” is marketed by the music industry as the second coming of Edison yet derided as heretical by analog loyalists. The music world becomes addicted to volume in the nineties and fights a self-defeating “loudness war” to get its fix.

From Les Paul to Phil Spector to King Tubby, from vinyl to pirated CDs to iPods, Milner pulls apart musical history to answer a crucial question: Should a recording document reality as faithfully as possible, or should it improve upon or somehow transcend the music it records? The answers he uncovers will change the very way we think about music.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.