Can you tell what recording gear was used in a song?

Aloha guys,

In yesteryears I could listen to a finished song and ‘hear’ a Urei comp
or an Eventide processor or a Joe Meek pre
or even when an SSL board or a Neave board
or when Massenberg EQ’s or if Agfa tape or Ampex 456
were used in a production. etc etc etc

Seems back then certain pieces of gear had such a distinct sound quality about them,
you could hear them ‘workin’ (doing their thang) even in a final mix.

Many of the major record companies also had a certain ‘sound’
due in part to the specific gear used in their studios.

Is this still true today?

Can you listen to a piece of new work and tell what recording gear was used?
Or has introduction of the ‘DAW’ leveled the playing field?

because of the advancements in tech, even poorly
written and performed work can still ‘sound’ good.



lol, I think the opposite. Even highly competent professional stuff sounds like shit to me. No dynamics. Everything is a big smear of overblown kicks, guitar washes, ducked bass and keyboard bloobles. The concepts of rhythm, timing, instrumentation, intonation and a bands “groove” are gone.

These days I think its as much of a question as to whether you can tell if real instruments vs samples are used. As to the “no dynamics” issue thats fairly genre specific (mostly rock styles). Of course ,examples can be found in any style. However its really true that bands don’t groove anymore.

All I ever hear is auto tune, samples and limiting…

I hear dead musicians.

amen, even bands I like

And that is the truth! Not from me though :mrgreen:

Quite true.

Not to hi-jack my own thread but we have not had very many
R.I.P.s around here lately. Yea!
‘touch wood’


I have a teenaged daughter still living at home. She listens to what teenaged girls listen to these days … all those Disney-brats.

So, to answer your question … no, I can’t tell what gear was used to record that stuff. I can’t even tell if there is any musical content buried in there … somewhere deep down. :wink:

I used to be able to tell what guitars were used on records, with great accuracy. Not any more. Too many makes and models out there; seemingly blasting away through some infernal emulation box or software. No feel to it. It’s like trying to embrace a robot (Be Bop Deluxe listeners will know of this, Life In The Air Age) … it’s all cold and metallic and you know it can’t feel you. When you kiss it … all it knows is pressure and temperature … numbers without amplitude (no pun intended). No feel to it.