the steve albini sound
Old 3rd March 2012
  #31
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What is the the Albini "sound" ? He just captures the sound of the band without any show biz.

Just listening to PJ Harvey Rid of me. Don't see how you can't like the sound of that. It is the sound of the live band.

Clear, powerful, dynamic, honest.
Old 4th March 2012
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacealmondo View Post
What is the the Albini "sound" ? He just captures the sound of the band without any show biz.

Just listening to PJ Harvey Rid of me. Don't see how you can't like the sound of that. It is the sound of the live band.

Clear, powerful, dynamic, honest.
no reverb on vocals, room mics on EVERYTHING with or without delay. hell, pretty much no reverb on anything.

Clear, powerful, dynamic, honest IS the albini sound. capturing the live sound of a band that well is a skill and def. a "sound." it's harder than he makes it sound.
Old 4th March 2012
  #33
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to me he does have a "sound" as a producer that's not just "what the band sounds like." real transiently strong sounding drums that are also wide and roomy (lots of condensers on drums even the close mics), guitars that are really grindy and sometimes very aggressive. there seems to be a lot of dirty bass too, somehow. and screamed vocals even, somehow. room mics on most vocals. and of course the minimal use of compression and reverb as already noted.

I used to think I had a pretty light touch as a recording engineer but then I went back and listened to some of my recordings I did for people and thought, "wow, a lot of that really sounds like me." There's subtle and not so subtle ways this is manifested--despite any effort towards transparency, or defiant (Albini) claims to such. And deciding not to do anything is still a decision, as it were.
Old 4th March 2012
  #34
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Old 4th March 2012
  #35
Old 4th March 2012
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
Yeah, it's awesome, but bear in mind that Jim O'Rourke mixed it and Albini only recorded the harp and vocals.
Old 4th March 2012
  #37
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Old 4th March 2012
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacealmondo View Post
What is the the Albini "sound" ? He just captures the sound of the band without any show biz.

Just listening to PJ Harvey Rid of me. Don't see how you can't like the sound of that. It is the sound of the live band.

Clear, powerful, dynamic, honest.
That's exactly how I see it too.

The first time I came to blindly "realize" the Albini sound was after buying the Page/Plant record Walking Into Clarksdale. It was so weird and so simple - raw and rather uncomplicated. Extremely straight forward.

I remember freaking out, thinking how the heck can Page get away with playing something so simple yet remain engaging? The whole thing was sonically in your face - very cerebral.

Then I looked at the liner notes, crediting Albini with recording it. Aha!
Old 4th March 2012
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacealmondo View Post
What is the the Albini "sound" ? He just captures the sound of the band without any show biz.
That is a sound. The sound of a band playing in their practice space or a small club, with the drums really far away and thin sounding.
Old 4th March 2012
  #40
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I personally love the drum sound on the Albini recordings.
Nobody gets such a natural drum sound imho.
Especially on the Shellac recordings, where their is always plenty of room for all (3 ) instruments.
The recordings he did with Neurosis for example, sound more brutal and real than all the other recordings they did.

I love the idea of recording a band playing live without to much overdubs, that way you get a true genuine sound.
Not the over polished/produced sound 90% of todays music is all about.
But that's just a matter of taste.

If you are used to the modern compressed rock sound, i can understand that his sound isn't your cup of tea.

Take a look at these series.
He's also a master at handling tape.
Old 4th March 2012
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
with the drums really far away and thin sounding.
Far away?
Thin?
Really?
Old 4th March 2012
  #42
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Of course he has a "sound", as do all engineers.

It doesn't just "sound like the band in a room". The only way to hear the sound of a band in a room is to be in a room with the band.

Point is, even Albini's (call it minimalist, if you will) approach entails interpreting reality and committing it to a stereo medium.

Instrument placement in a room. Mic selection. Mic Placement. Use of dynamic processing. Use of equalization. Editing. Mixing.

Every single one of those steps involves decisions made by Albini... so to suggest he doesn't have an impact on the final product, in a way that noone else does?

Silly.
Old 4th March 2012
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
That is a sound. The sound of a band playing in their practice space or a small club, with the drums really far away and thin sounding.
How do drums recorded in a small space sound "really far away"?

I would also remind you that it is a very hi-fi version of this sound.

A zoom recorder in the jam spot seems more in line with your assessment.
Old 4th March 2012
  #44
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One of my personal Albini-recorded favorites is the album This Is A Hospital by The Ghost. From about 2002, if I recall correctly.
Old 4th March 2012
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
The best advice to sound more like Albini is to discount about 90% of what Albini says about sounding Albini.

How cryptic - care to expand Meeker?
Old 4th March 2012
  #46
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+1 for Neurosis. glad someone mentioned them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backplay View Post
I personally love the drum sound on the Albini recordings.
Nobody gets such a natural drum sound imho.
Especially on the Shellac recordings, where their is always plenty of room for all (3 ) instruments.
The recordings he did with Neurosis for example, sound more brutal and real than all the other recordings they did.
Old 4th March 2012
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j2dafo View Post
no reverb on vocals, room mics on EVERYTHING with or without delay. hell, pretty much no reverb on anything.

Clear, powerful, dynamic, honest IS the albini sound. capturing the live sound of a band that well is a skill and def. a "sound." it's harder than he makes it sound.
He's done every Neurosis album since (and including) Times of Grace. All the adjectives you have there are synonymous w/those albums

Heh, I clearly hadn't finished the thread before I posted, but I'm now the 3rd person to pimp Neurosis in this thread. I had started w/Enemy of the Sun and while a lot of people want to point at Through Silver in Blood as their best album, I think Times of Grace is a wonderful summary of what Neurosis were at that point. They definitely morphed themselves a bit since, experimenting w/the folk sound a bit and such on A Sun That Never Sets, but I can't wait for their followup to Given to the Rising. Supposedly they went back in the studio in December to work on a new album, so let's hope we can hear it sometime this year.
Old 4th March 2012
  #48
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funny you should mention the Albini sound. just fell in love with a great record from The Big Sleep, "Nature Experiments."

dunno if this link will work: http://mog.com/m/album/62843079?ci=40000

they might be a bit more Zeppelinesque, that big mansion sound, but the snare is definitely right up Albini's alley.
Old 4th March 2012
  #49
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I've seen Neurosis numerous times and I can honestly say that none of their albums do them justice for how face meltingly intense their show is.
Old 4th March 2012
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backplay View Post

Take a look at these series.
He's also a master at handling tape.
steve is just in tune with that place. it's an extension of himself at this point.
Old 4th March 2012
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hint View Post
Not mentioned yet -

Low's "Things We Lost In The Fire" is one of my favourite Albini recordings.


this album is epic. highly suggested. get it on wax, do yourself the favor.
Old 4th March 2012
  #52
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Surfer Rosa by The Pixies is a fantastic sounding album.
Old 5th March 2012
  #53
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Old 5th March 2012
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sameal View Post
steve is just in tune with that place. it's an extension of himself at this point.
I love how quickly he solved the 'delay on the vocals on the quiet section' problem, before the guy was even done talking, almost, he had it sorted out
Old 6th March 2012
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardtoe View Post
How do drums recorded in a small space sound "really far away"?
His room isn't that small. It's got quite a big roomy sound to it, not unlike an untreated warehouse space or empty club imo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardtoe View Post
I would also remind you that it is a very hi-fi version of this sound.
Yeah, exactly. His drums usually sound very clean, clear and roomy rather than thick, meaty and dry. At least that's how I hear them but I'm obviously in the minority.
Old 7th March 2012
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
I love how quickly he solved the 'delay on the vocals on the quiet section' problem, before the guy was even done talking, almost, he had it sorted out
I'm so tempted to just tour that place. it's like 20 mins away from me. i wish i was that in tune with my setup. then again if it didn't change and move every three months i might be!

big black had a huge influence on me. love those albums. got all of those, rapeman and shellac on the vinyl baby!
Old 7th March 2012
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
His room isn't that small. It's got quite a big roomy sound to it, not unlike an untreated warehouse space or empty club imo.



Yeah, exactly. His drums usually sound very clean, clear and roomy rather than thick, meaty and dry. At least that's how I hear them but I'm obviously in the minority.
No I hear it the same way. very hi fi
Old 7th March 2012
  #58
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I think a tour would be awesome. Mainly perhaps you could hear the sound of your voice in the live rooms in person and maybe a few claps, haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sameal View Post
I'm so tempted to just tour that place. it's like 20 mins away from me. i wish i was that in tune with my setup. then again if it didn't change and move every three months i might be!

big black had a huge influence on me. love those albums. got all of those, rapeman and shellac on the vinyl baby!
Old 7th March 2012
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattqualls View Post
I've seen Neurosis numerous times and I can honestly say that none of their albums do them justice for how face meltingly intense their show is.
Same here.
Every time i saw them i was literally blown away by their wall of sound.
They also have a nice philosophy about their music, they do it purely for themselves not to have fame and fortune.
They keep touring to a minimum, because they want to take care of their family. They understand what is important!
Old 7th March 2012
  #60
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I've been banned from posting on the EA website for daring to question Mr Albini's views on a couple of things. Digital vs Analogue of all stupid things.
I've also had friends recorded by him say it was quite hard work given that it was only their second album and they were only allowed 3 takes each.

All that aside you can't argue. The guy has been making amazing, brutal and powerful sounding records for years, and for that I take my hat off to him.
Call it a begrudging respect.
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