Forget about the sound of the recording.
Stereophile|February 2022
MY BACK PAGES
JIM ANDERSON

Hello, and Happy New Year! I’m greeting you in October 2021—just before Halloween, in anticipation of Stereophile’s publication deadline—but by the time this magazine arrives in your mailbox, it’ll be after the holidays.If I hadn’t told you, you wouldn’t have known when I wrote this essay— and you still don’t know where I was when I wrote it: my office? In an airplane 36,000 feet up? Similarly, I don’t know where you’ll be when you read it, or when: Maybe in early 2022 in your listening chair; maybe you’ll find it in a box in an attic many years hence and read it then.

What I’m getting at goes much deeper than the when and the where. It’s also about the what: While we share a common language, the words I choose, alone and in combination, mean something slightly different to me than they do to you. And yet, when I write something, I want you to ignore the writing and absorb what it is that I’m saying. The analogy isn’t perfect, but the relationship between reader and writer is much like the relationship between the listener and the recording engineer—and everyone involved in the recording, really, since recording music is a collaborative endeavor.

I should take a moment to introduce myself. I’m Jim Anderson, recording engineer and producer. I’ve been involved in audio, on the “pro” side, for many years. I say “audio” and not “music” because in addition to music of many genres, I’ve also recorded radio documentaries, film scores— even, I’m proud to say, the Muppets.

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