Walter Sear

When you think of his name on phrase comes to mind:

I told you so.

Walter Sear, one of the great analogue advocates, died last week after sustaining injuries in a fall. He was 80 years old. Since the 60’s, he’d been telling anyone who would listen that recorded sound was getting worse. Not until the recent LP resurgence, as well as the current yet belated backlash against excessive loudness in recorded music, did Sear come to be thought of in larger and larger circles of music fans as a prophet of sorts, an apostle for dynamic analogue sound.

Sear Sound, his studio which opened in of all places, the Paramount Hotel on 46th Street off Times Square in 1970, moved twenty years later into the old Hit Factory space on 353 West 48th Street. It was kind of a working museum to analogue sound. It had Studer tape decks from Abbey Road Studios that the Beatles had worked on. It’s also the place where a favorite band of mine, Wilco, made their 2005 A Ghost is Born record and Sonic Youth mixed Rather Ripped there in 2006. Sear was also tight with Robert Moog and was instrumental in the development of the synthesizer.

Here is a great Sear interview by Steve Guttenberg, with fun bit about Springsteen napping. There's also a microphone test with Stereophile Editor John Atkinson, which was illuminating to say the least.

Rick Young's picture

R.I.P., Mr. Sear. Lots of great sound came thru your studio ... thanks.