Engineers Confess: All Those Little Knobs Just For Show

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The verdict is in, and it’s pretty disappointing.

All those cool-looking knobs and buttons you’ve seen in nice pictures of big, fancy recording studios? Pure decoration. That’s right. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Some of them are just speed dial buttons to landlines that don’t even exist anymore. Others merely make sound effects to amuse engineers during recording sessions where, it turns out, they’re really not doing much at all.

“Well, I guess the secret’s out,” said famed recording engineer Albert Montcrief, whose professional career has included recording The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Elvis Presley, and Seven Mary Three. “I’m not proud of it, but honestly, what was I supposed to do? I learned at a very young age how important it was to look like I knew what I was doing. That’s a very important part of making music.”

Many were outraged. “What they fuck are doing the whole time then?” asked Jeanne Lee, lead singer of The Pixies, a popular food-related music band. “Why do we pay them money if they’re just making funny noises back there?” Behind her, a familiar cartoon whistle sound played, emanating from the new and very expensive SSL-5000, a top of the line mixing console, as the engineer working the board looked very busy. ♫

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