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Optimizing every track - how? - why?
Old 10th September 2008
  #1
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Optimizing every track - how? - why?

If I listen to an recording with Beatles one instruments sounds strong, another is a bit weak and so on. But that is not generally the case today, instead all tracks seems to be maximized. Its very hard to find intruments thats sounds weak and therefore natural. How is this done, with limiters on evert track? In the mastering process? And whats the meaning of maximizing individual tracks? To make recordings with no natural life?
Old 10th September 2008
  #2
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The crux of it is having absolute control over each track, specifically when working within a DAW.
Old 10th September 2008
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picksail View Post
The crux of it is having absolute control over each track, specifically when working within a DAW.
Why do we need absolut control of each track now but not 1970?
Old 10th September 2008
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael W View Post
Why do we need absolut control of each track now but not 1970?
Because we can....lol....stupid, isn't it?

What you're hearing is too much limiting on master and/or separates, part of the cause in the 'loudness war' which is still being fought violently to the detriment of any dynamic content on modern recordings.......thankfully not all, but pretty much all 'pop' and 'rock' music.

Maybe people will eventually get sick of the 'slab-of-concrete' mixes, which look like a brick on a waveform display from beginning to end......there's always hope......whether misguided or not.....
Old 10th September 2008
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Because we can....lol....stupid, isn't it?

What you're hearing is too much limiting on master and/or separates, part of the cause in the 'loudness war' which is still being fought violently to the detriment of any dynamic content on modern recordings.......thankfully not all, but pretty much all 'pop' and 'rock' music.

Maybe people will eventually get sick of the 'slab-of-concrete' mixes, which look like a brick on a waveform display from beginning to end......there's always hope......whether misguided or not.....
of course, people can have a compressor or limiter on every track now, so they do... and sometimes 3.
Old 10th September 2008
  #6
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Hell, my computer wants me to put another 3679804857667398 plugs on this mix........music??? What's that?
Old 10th September 2008
  #7
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I agree and disagree-

The thing is we are all spoiled with nice speakers and nice listening environments. Hands down an over compressed/limited track thats excessively bright sounds better on your typical boom box.

The qeustion is rather we are mixing for audiophiles, or regular joes with sub $200stereos. Of course it would be nice if we had socialized acoustics, and everybody had a great system in a low noise environment so they could appriciate all the dynamics within the music; but they dont.

The thing that would be awesome would be if your typical playback device could have an L2 type limiter in it, and the CD could tell it how to be set based on the quality of the system/environment. . . At least that way we wouldn't all be stuck in the race to the bottom. . .

But you know, I've had a long week so far, so I'm going to swing by McDonalds for some quick easy breakfast. . . nothing wrong with that eh
Old 10th September 2008
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Because we can....lol....stupid, isn't it?

What you're hearing is too much limiting on master and/or separates, part of the cause in the 'loudness war' which is still being fought violently to the detriment of any dynamic content on modern recordings.......thankfully not all, but pretty much all 'pop' and 'rock' music.

Maybe people will eventually get sick of the 'slab-of-concrete' mixes, which look like a brick on a waveform display from beginning to end......there's always hope......whether misguided or not.....
Yes Im familiar with the loudness race but the last years I think this has accelerated to include a loudness race on each track. I really hope that finally people listen to Beatles and Dylan and starting to hear the beauty of quiet and soft instruments that lies in the background.


numrologst, yes thats the horror, everyone CAN put compressotrs, limiters and exiters on every track - and they do.


RyanC, I totally agree that the every mix must sound ok on every equipment and it would be lovely if there was a loudness button on boom boxes. So youre selling your artistic soul for fast food?
Old 10th September 2008
  #9
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People mix with their eyes. Ears in their pockets. Loads of fear in their minds of not sounding as 'polished and professional' as the next guy......pathetic! Far from inspired......at best 'impressive'....except 'impressive' is not a very musical thing.......
Old 10th September 2008
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael W View Post
Why do we need absolut control of each track now but not 1970?
if the beatles had the option, they would have recorded each instrument discreetly and would love the control that we have today. they were using state of the art gear and pushing things to the limit every time they recorded. if it was available at the time, you can bet they would have used it.
Old 10th September 2008
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leebridges View Post
if the beatles had the option, they would have recorded each instrument discreetly and would love the control that we have today. they were using state of the art gear and pushing things to the limit every time they recorded. if it was available at the time, you can bet they would have used it.
Kinda lucky it wasn't then perhaps......
Old 11th September 2008
  #12
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McCartney still records with a sense of "space"...but I take the point that if he was born in 1986 he'd be wanting things to be as loud as possible...or would he?

Isn't it strange that we call The Beatles and Dylan quiet today, when they were anything but quiet then?
Old 11th September 2008
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toxostoma rufum View Post
McCartney still records with a sense of "space"...but I take the point that if he was born in 1986 he'd be wanting things to be as loud as possible...or would he?

Isn't it strange that we call The Beatles and Dylan quiet today, when they were anything but quiet then?

paul mccartneys "chaos and creation" is pretty loud....
Old 11th September 2008
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
People mix with their eyes. Ears in their pockets. Loads of fear in their minds of not sounding as 'polished and professional' as the next guy......pathetic! Far from inspired......at best 'impressive'....except 'impressive' is not a very musical thing.......
I believe youre absolutely right. Theres an engineering side and a creative side, and it seams like the "creator" often is hidden due to the fear of not making a "professional" record.


leebridges, maybe yore right but I hope youre not.
Old 11th September 2008
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Continental View Post
loudness race ruins the music
every song need air to breathe,
consumer it doesnt matter if it loud or bit quieter
the most hear all mp3s they sound so ****ing bad.........
WTF
Old 11th September 2008
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leebridges View Post
if the beatles had the option, they would have recorded each instrument discreetly and would love the control that we have today. .
Not really. During the time of the Beatles the limitations helped foster the creativity. Also, recording was done in a way to emulate the actual sound of the band playing live particularly in the early recordings and even in the more complex arrangements to follow. The classical influence is evident.

Their recordings were done in a way to emphasize the emotion of the song not to perfect each instrument, note, timing etc. And don't forget the talent was incredible.

I am very grateful they did not have DAW edited to death songs.
Old 11th September 2008
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacock View Post
Not really. During the time of the Beatles the limitations helped foster the creativity. Also, recording was done in a way to emulate the actual sound of the band playing live particularly in the early recordings and even in the more complex arrangements to follow. The classical influence is evident.

Their recordings were done in a way to emphasize the emotion of the song not to perfect each instrument, note, timing etc. And don't forget the talent was incredible.

I am very grateful they did not have DAW edited to death songs.

my only point is that the Beatles used whatever technology they could get their hands on. they used the tape machines with the most tracks, the consoles with the most tracks, spliced different performances together, slowed performances down, sped performances up, etc....

i'm not saying they would be a better band if they had a DAW. i'm not saying that it's right....i'm just saying that i would bet that they would use the technology of today if they had the opportunity back then...they used all the technology available to them...so why wouldn't they?
Old 11th September 2008
  #18
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LEE...its little pete! how you been? HAHA. Anyway, back to the topic.

I do agree with Lee. For me, its silly to say things like, "it worked in 1970, why not now." The thing is, just like anything else, there are trends. Recording/Mixing/Producing/Songwriting/etc. has all evolved. I believe a lot of it, for the better. The classic tracks do sound amazing, but it was a completely different STYLE of recording/mixing.

Going back to the original topic, the reason for the "weaker" sounds is attributed to many things; older tape machines, formulas, recording techniqes, amplifier technology, etc. Also, in the early days of recording, the studios would tell the engineer where to place the mic...you're talking the days of white lab coats. This is also WAY before the days of automation and modern day mixing...way before SSL's with compressors on every channel.

There's a book by Geoff Emerick called "Here There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles." Its an amazing read! There were SO many breakthroughs made in those sessions! Check it out!
Old 11th September 2008
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cortaudio View Post
LEE...its little pete! how you been? HAHA. Anyway, back to the topic.

I do agree with Lee. For me, its silly to say things like, "it worked in 1970, why not now." The thing is, just like anything else, there are trends. Recording/Mixing/Producing/Songwriting/etc. has all evolved. I believe a lot of it, for the better. The classic tracks do sound amazing, but it was a completely different STYLE of recording/mixing.

Going back to the original topic, the reason for the "weaker" sounds is attributed to many things; older tape machines, formulas, recording techniqes, amplifier technology, etc. Also, in the early days of recording, the studios would tell the engineer where to place the mic...you're talking the days of white lab coats. This is also WAY before the days of automation and modern day mixing...way before SSL's with compressors on every channel.

There's a book by Geoff Emerick called "Here There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles." Its an amazing read! There were SO many breakthroughs made in those sessions! Check it out!
It seams like theres a lot of people who dont see this trend as an evolution but rather a way to adjust to bad listening equipment like boom boxes and mp3. Maybe the regular Joe also like the the old dynamic sounding records better so why do this maximizing madness (especially on individual tracks) continue?
Old 11th September 2008
  #20
I always felt that for a mix to have depth you need to have some elements take a back seat. That's just my approach. I'm not going to bash on someone that takes a different method, I think the important thing is to make records sound the way that the artist and yourself as the engineer/producer want to hear.
Old 11th September 2008
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
I always felt that for a mix to have depth you need to have some elements take a back seat. That's just my approach. I'm not going to bash on someone that takes a different method, I think the important thing is to make records sound the way that the artist and yourself as the engineer/producer want to hear.
I totally agree with you.
Old 11th September 2008
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
I always felt that for a mix to have depth you need to have some elements take a back seat. That's just my approach. I'm not going to bash on someone that takes a different method, I think the important thing is to make records sound the way that the artist and yourself as the engineer/producer want to hear.
Yes, but the problem may be that its hard to do what you really want if the whole world seams to prefer something else.
Old 11th September 2008
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael W View Post
Yes, but the problem may be that its hard to do what you really want if the whole world seams to prefer something else.
Not really.....but it certainly will make it harder to get paid doing it......

The trend won't change course in the mainstream until the whole CELEBRITY-TAN-YOUTH-YES-NOW-CAN'T WAIT-DESERVE IT-L'OREAL-GIVE IT TO ME-WHAT DO YOU MEAN LEARN-CASH IS SUCCESS-I DON'T GIVE A F*** AS LONG AS I'M FINE........type wave which is the now passes. Maybe the next wave of 'being' in this beautiful western society of ours will have some more hunger for quieter things.......would like to hope.......not sure how real that is though.....keeps getting louder....everything......so music aswell of course.

But there are always people out there who would like to consume some more laidback expressions.....just will you live off that alone...?
Old 11th September 2008
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael W View Post
Yes, but the problem may be that its hard to do what you really want if the whole world seams to prefer something else.
If you can't find a compromise you'll never develop "your own sound", which is important if you want to make your recording skills a one-of-a-kind commodity, which is essential if you want to have a real career at audio.

People don't go to Chris Lord Alge or Terry Date because they make records that sound like everyone else, they go to those people because the high level of quality work and the individual style they bring to the table. Also, their world famous reputations for doing just that amplify their work loads.

So yeah, it's a conundrum, but one that must be successfully navigated to get into "the big league." It is critical to have one's own style of working, methods, techniques and SOUND that identifies your work as an unique musical identity. Otherwise you're just another dude that can make a great sounding, generic record.

Just my opinion.

Sometimes you have to make a stand to do something innovative in order to best serve a client. The end product will probably be a compromise between your vision as producer/engineer and artist, but many times this turns out to be the best path. Ultimately, great records are going to come from clients that want to be different and need the technical guidance to fully realize their art.
Old 11th September 2008
  #25
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
If you can't find a compromise you'll never develop "your own sound", which is important if you want to make your recording skills a one-of-a-kind commodity, which is essential if you want to have a real career at audio.

People don't go to Chris Lord Alge or Terry Date because they make records that sound like everyone else, they go to those people because the high level of quality work and the individual style they bring to the table. Also, their world famous reputations for doing just that amplify their work loads.

So yeah, it's a conundrum, but one that must be successfully navigated to get into "the big league." It is critical to have one's own style of working, methods, techniques and SOUND that identifies your work as an unique musical identity. Otherwise you're just another dude that can make a great sounding, generic record.

Just my opinion.

Sometimes you have to make a stand to do something innovative in order to best serve a client. The end product will probably be a compromise between your vision as producer/engineer and artist, but many times this turns out to be the best path. Ultimately, great records are going to come from clients that want to be different and need the technical guidance to fully realize their art.

thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
Old 11th September 2008
  #26
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Not really.....but it certainly will make it harder to get paid doing it......

The trend won't change course in the mainstream until the whole CELEBRITY-TAN-YOUTH-YES-NOW-CAN'T WAIT-DESERVE IT-L'OREAL-GIVE IT TO ME-WHAT DO YOU MEAN LEARN-CASH IS SUCCESS-I DON'T GIVE A F*** AS LONG AS I'M FINE........type wave which is the now passes. Maybe the next wave of 'being' in this beautiful western society of ours will have some more hunger for quieter things.......would like to hope.......not sure how real that is though.....keeps getting louder....everything......so music aswell of course.

But there are always people out there who would like to consume some more laidback expressions.....just will you live off that alone...?
I agree and I actually wonder if people is getting numb? Everything seems to be faster, bigger and more obvious. 30 years ago a recording could last 5-15 minutes. Now a recording allmost ever has any laid back parts. 3.30 minutes right a head like a fast train!


James Meeker, yes many tries to find their own sound but it seems like "my own way" nearly allways land inside this frame of "as high as possible". Can you really tell wheter a record is made at Air studios or somewhere in Reykavik (in Island)? I seriously dont know if a recording is made with gears of 20 million $ or 20.000 $. Allmost every record sounds extremly clean and maximized.
Old 11th September 2008
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael W View Post
I agree and I actually wonder if people is getting numb? Everything seems to be faster, bigger and more obvious. 30 years ago a recording could last 5-15 minutes. Now a recording allmost ever has any laid back parts. 3.30 minutes right a head like a fast train!


James Meeker, yes many tries to find their own sound but it seems like "my own way" nearly allways land inside this frame of "as high as possible". Can you really tell wheter a record is made at Air studios or somewhere in Reykavik (in Island)? I seriously dont know if a recording is made with gears of 20 million $ or 20.000 $. Allmost every record sounds extremly clean and maximized.
It's the sound of now, dude....lol As everything is getting more hectic, there's a new ipod every two minutes that people MUUUUUST have, and that flatscreen....and another 4x4...........and some botox cause 70 is the new 20.... and some morons on tv to watch sitting around on their arses spouting cretinous ****e at each other......faster, pussycat, faster.....

Only natural that if you want to be heard in this climate, the tendency is to get louder. Only thing is, when things get LOUDER I find that it pushes away, whereas something quiet can suck you in. Like gigs in a pub. One performer might play a full pub trying to 'win' over the talking drunk people......doesn't happen. Another might just start to play quietly, but magically and.....suddenly all there is, is his sound. They've all shut up and got sucked in! Only too few have the guts to rely on the 'sucking-in-magic' to work, so they opt to shout and scream......or any magic at their disposal in the first place, in which case shouting becomes your best option......
Old 12th September 2008
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael W View Post
James Meeker, yes many tries to find their own sound but it seems like "my own way" nearly allways land inside this frame of "as high as possible". Can you really tell wheter a record is made at Air studios or somewhere in Reykavik (in Island)? I seriously dont know if a recording is made with gears of 20 million $ or 20.000 $. Allmost every record sounds extremly clean and maximized.
I'll be honest here, the only thing I really care about is if a record can meet both the artists' and my expectations and hopes. In the end that's all that matters.

I only care about the important factors of a record--the songwriting, the performance, and whether or not the production enhances the listening experience. Where a record was recorded, or what microphone was used, or what special type of cabling doesn't really concern me in any major way.

My advice to you, if I may be presumptive, is not to worry about what other people are doing. Just worry about what you are doing, and try to make the records sound the best you can make in a fashion that pleases yourself and your clients.

That's all I really know.
Old 12th September 2008
  #29
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why only one approach per engineer is permitted is beyond me.




what is this? an election?
Old 12th September 2008
  #30
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Musicians often suck, the Beatles not
trying to compensate poor playing with automation etc. ...
punch to a drum that doesn´t punch
groove to a bass
etc. ...

well, i´m low-to-middle end, but its a shame sometimes
i guess the most advantage of long yeared pros is to get good music, off course the real pros got fantastic skills, but its 10000 times easier with a good performance, isn´t it?
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