Written by Bill Kopp
With numerous professional recording studios dotting Western North Carolina, artists in the region can readily take their music to the next level.
“Music discovery and delivery have changed drastically in the past ten years, and they’ll keep changing,” says Jeff Collins of Crossroads Recording Studios in Arden. “It’s hard for an artist to keep up with the newest and latest approaches.” Helping artists achieve that goal are some twenty professional recording studios in the 18-county Western North Carolina region.
Looking across the arc of human history, sound recording is a very recent invention. The first known recordings of the human voice were made in France just over a century and a half ago; Thomas Edison patented his wax cylinder phonograph in 1878. Gramophone records wouldn’t dominate the market until after World War I. And though he’s best known for the iconic electric guitar that bears his name, Les Paul began experimenting with sound-on-sound—or multi-track—recording in the 1930s.
By the 1980s another musical revolution began to take shape. Wedding widely available consumer hardware to studio technology, California-based TASCAM, the professional audio division of TEAC Corporation, introduced the Portastudio, a device that represented the first truly practical (and affordable) means by which musicians could create home recordings. In some ways the Portastudio unlocked the magic of the recording studio, putting it in the hands of the everyday musician and hobbyist alike. The four tracks (simultaneous recording surfaces) afforded by a tape-based TASCAM unit equaled the number of tracks available to the Beatles fifteen years before when they recorded Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Even today, in an era of crystal-clear digital recording gear, vintage TASCAM units are in use by some artists who want to create “warm” sounding analog recordings without booking studio time.
(Ed. note: on page 60 of the full article read the sidebar on Asheville’s American Vinyl Company, and on page 64 view a complete list of recording studios in Western North Carolina.)
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