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Backward Masking - Did it happens and how hard is it to do?

cap217

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,332
There are a bunch of songs with backward masking, but was it on purpose? If someone wanted to do backward masking in the old analog days, wouldn’t it take a lot of effort and planning to layout? How would this work?
 

Miroslav L

Member
Messages
2,361
^^^beat me to it.

I think the term is backmasking...or back-masking.
No it was not hard to do in the analog days...but not a "button push" like it is with DAWs.

It's actually more fun doing it with tape...because you plan it some, and then get it all set up, etc...but then the result is more rewarding, and there's always that bit of "surprise" and some unexpected results, since it's not all so DAW-precise.
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,996
I had a Tascam Portastudio, recorded to a cassette tape, all you had to do was flip it over to record backwards (I imagine a reel to reel would be the same). It was a lot of fun. Another thing with the Portistudio is it recorded/played in 1/4 speed, and I used to drive around listening to what Id recorded on my car stereo in super slow-mo, super trippy….
 

simoncroft

Member
Messages
43
I ran a pro audio sales operation in the 1980s, worked closely with pro audio manufacturers for decades, and was lucky enough to interview some great engineers and producers in some of the best recording studios in the world. Never did I encounter a device, or technique, designed to insert backwards messages into music tracks for the purpose of subliminally influencing the listener.

If 'back masking' actually worked, the messages you'd find would all be for products from multi-nationals, and listeners would be jumping up and exclaiming: "Funny, I really want to go to McDonalds!" Believe me, it isn't and never was a technique anyone who knew anything about music recording technology thought existed. Any apparent instances are there for entertainment purposes only.

That, or they're purely random reversals of the phonemes (the building blocks that make up language) that every now and again will just happen to sound a bit like some semi-nonsensical phrase. If you get an analog tape recording of any speech – news broadcast, play, you reading the works of Shakespeare – and reverse it, you will come across these coincidental short phrases. It's like the infinite number of monkeys with typewriters!

Strangely, I noticed that most of the fraudulent attention-seekers who spent their time listening for instances of 'back masking' with Satanic messages gave up as soon as digital came in, and it was no longer simply a matter of playing vinyl backwards.
 

Tag

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
44,009
I had a Tascam Portastudio, recorded to a cassette tape, all you had to do was flip it over to record backwards (I imagine a reel to reel would be the same). It was a lot of fun. Another thing with the Portistudio is it recorded/played in 1/4 speed, and I used to drive around listening to what Id recorded on my car stereo in super slow-mo, super trippy….

Those were a blast!!
 




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