Len Horowitz and The Physics of Sound

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Talking Up Music Education is a podcast from The NAMM Foundation about music education. Recorded live from The 2019 NAMM Show, episode 73 includes an interview with Len Horowitz from History of Recorded Sound in Culver City, California. Horowitz devoted his professional recording engineering career to analog restoration.

Interviewed by The NAMM Foundation’s Mary Luehrsen, the discussion with Horowitz centered around recording technology through the years, and the changes that have revolutionized the industry.

“The appeal [of analog] goes back probably 100 years or more, but, basically, great engineers created beautiful-sounding equipment, beautiful-sounding amplifiers and tape machines,” said Horowitz. “They hand wound transformers. They made certain types of tubes. All these things add[ed] up to make the equipment more of a musical instrument than just a calculator or a digital machine.”

The History of Recorded Sound helps young people listen to music again as an audio-only format. The language of the recording industry is discussed in detail and is a riveting learning experience.

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Sound Bites From the Podcast

“Digital has to be accepted for what it is and its best use. Nobody, 20 years ago, could take a song and get it around the world at the speed of light to every person on the planet if they want to hear it. That's an important thing to be able to do.” – Len Horowitz

“[Records live] more in the art world than the technical world. You can own it. You can open it. You can touch it. You can sell it. You can have it autographed.” – Len Horowitz

“Electronics are an education process. Maintaining a tape machine is a process. Back in the day, the studios had people there handling just those machines, day and night. They had service technicians and engineers just to make sure that the recording machines were calibrated. Digital, you don't have that problem anymore. It either works or it doesn't. There's no frequency setup. There's no wow and flutter setup, nothing that you have to do with the equipment itself but use it.” – Len Horowitz

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Talking Up Music Education is a podcast produced by The NAMM Foundation about music education. Host Mary Luehrsen chats with teachers, parents, students and community leaders who share stories about what they are doing to create music learning opportunities. Please download, share and subscribe to keep up with the stories that make a difference in music education advocacy.

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