Why Good Recording Spaces Acoustics
Historically, recording studios, and by the word 'studios' I mean the recording spaces as opposed to the control rooms, have been relatively neutral environments. This has been partly due to past recording studios having to cater for a wide range of recordings. The function of the recording studio was seen as being to record the sounds which the musicians produced, as faithfully as possible. The days of a somewhat more creative side to the recording process had not arrived.
However, contrary to what may often be expected, the 'true' sound of a musical instrument (that is, the sound as its designer intended it to be heard) is not that which it would make in an anechoic chamber. This is because instruments were developed in the circumstances of more reflective or reverberant surroundings, and it is frequently the combined direct and reflected sounds which constitute the 'true' sound, that is, the sound as its designer intended it to be heard. Players of acoustic instruments need a feedback from the performing space, as frequently the sound emissions from the instruments are inadequate to give, directly to the musicians, the sensations required for optimum performance.
String sections need to hear string sections, not a group of individual instruments. When they hear a section, they play as a section; when they hear separate instruments, their playing also often fails to gel into a single, homogeneous performance.
An anechoic chamber is a truly awful environment in which to play any instrument, and such an environment is not going to inspire any musician to the heights of creativity. Creativity is supremely important, as certainly as far as I am concerned; an uninspired performance is hardly worth recording.
So, if we do not mean a clinically accurate recording space when we speak of 'neutral' spaces, then what are we talking about? Essentially, a neutral environment is one which provides sufficient life to allow enough of the character of an instrument to be realized, but which does not overpower the instrument with the character of the room itself.