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so what does sounding good really mean?
Old 8th September 2002
  #1
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
so what does sounding good really mean?

just curious.

does it mean you can hear every detail?
balanced levels?
clear?
wide dynamic range?
full use of the frequency spectrum?

what?

i have just been listening to albums recently and trying to figure out what GOOD is...

sometimes i put on a mix that i think sounds GOOD when im mixing and i think mine sounds BETTER.... or does it just sound different?

how are we supposed to judge good when two people could fully disagree what GOOD is?


now you can argue between digital and analog till you turn blue in the face but nothing amounts to what i have heard from both formats and say BOTH can sound good and BOTH can sound like ****. so im not buying your hardware and tape is always better bull****. i dont wanna hear any of it...

what is it about a recording that makes it GOOD?
Old 8th September 2002
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Re: so what does sounding good really mean?

Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
just curious.


what is it about a recording that makes it GOOD?
If it moves the listener, figuratively or literally.
Old 8th September 2002
  #3
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
What does sounding good really mean? Excellent Question AlphaBro!

Sounding good is when you can play your work on any system or media and it still sounds incredible.

A great tune doesn't need ultra detail, but it is wonderful when it's there.

Clear and balanced is a good thing. It cannot hurt

Full spectrum and a wide dynamic range -- yeah, if applicable.

Question: Does it "sound good" when you put on a mix that you know should "sound GOOD"?

If that mix doesn't sound GOOD, maybe it's the speakers. Just a thought. If it sound's good and your mixes sound better, you're in the right ballpark my man!! There's nothing wrong with sounding different when it's better.

The only way two people can judge "what good is," is when they both find a tune they agree sounds "good." From there they can judge the piece they're working on.

It's also about what level of "good" you're talking about.
Create a virtual meter with Johnny Thunders written on one side and Steely Dan on the opposite side. Then ask them to set the "GOOD" meter pointer to where they think their performance level is so you can respond to their "what good is" question. (Fill in the band or track of your choice)

You're right, it's not about the war between digital and analog! It's about what you can do with the stuff in front of you.

It's about the EAR and not the GEAR for me and my crew. We try to maximize what we're using to the best of our abilities. Don't get me wrong, I love my toys, it's just not about them when we're getting sounds. IMHO, the situation of the moment is much more important to me and my work, then what piece of gear I put on it!

And last but not least, ATTITUDE is what makes a recording sound GOOD.
Old 8th September 2002
  #4
High End Moderator
 
mwagener's Avatar
Re: Re: so what does sounding good really mean?

Quote:
Originally posted by Drumsound


If it moves the listener, figuratively or literally.
That pretty much nails it for me. I would add that it sounds good when the sound compliments the feel and attitude of the song. If Nirvana would sound like Steely Dan, it wouldn't "sound good". That sound works for Steely Dan and even though the sounds of all the single instruments on on their (Steely Dan) records are great, IMHO it's too, what I call, "Hospital" sounding.

So maybe it sounds good when all the instruments have their place in the mix to enhance the feel of the song.
Old 8th September 2002
  #5
It's purely an ear / heart / emotional responce.

I think there is a subtle difference between "sounds good" and a "stunning recording". As a producer I am more interested in the former rather than the latter. Although both points are worthy targets.

Old 8th September 2002
  #6
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Interesting that the main past of waht we do.. " making it sound good or right " is totally subjective.. Makes you be totally self-confident that what you think is good IS GOOD. Much like any art I suppose.

I full on agree that is all about listener response emotionally ( at least with the music I want to be involved in).. my goal is to have the listener so wrapped up in the song that it takes them awhile to realize that it sounds good... I think that is they only way the word transparent can really apply in this biz..

As for the ANalog/Dig thing, I love the Dave Pensado quote in the mow infamous Mix article where he basically says, that he doesnt really care about format, just making it work, that he says is our job..

Cool topic Alpha
Old 8th September 2002
  #7
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Thread Starter
yeah... i liked that dave pensado comment as well, all the other guys comments were just plain ignorance.


so im my quest last night i put on Sparklehorse 'Its a Wonderful Life'. good freakin god, it took me so far out there [or was it that hambone ] all the sounds were so interesting. "lo-fi" mixed with "hi-fi", the arrangements, the balances were all incredible.

of course the music was pretty sparse, if anyone thinks Radioheads Kid A album is great, this one blows it out of the water... even blows Beck Mutations away.

i had put in STP's first album [which the first time i heard it blew my away with its sound... i dont know why, it just did from what i remember from 10 years ago... so did Nirvana's Nevermind album] before that album. but its sonic impact just isnt there anymore... and Nevermind doesnt sound as good as it used to sound to me either. i know im heading 180 degrees between sparklehorse and STP/Nirvana... but its bringing me to my next thing.

why is heavy rock so much harder to mix than music that is more sparse? right now i have two projects concurrently going. a folkish project and a super raunchy rock project. the folkish project is so much more easy to mix than the rock project.



oh and when i say GOOD. i mean absolutely stunning immaculate amazing fan****ingtastic.
Old 9th September 2002
  #8
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
yeah... i liked that dave pensado comment as well, all the other guys comments were just plain ignorance.

why is heavy rock so much harder to mix than music that is more sparse? right now i have two projects concurrently going. a folkish project and a super raunchy rock project. the folkish project is so much more easy to mix than the rock project.
I agree with Pensado's remark, particularly for the genre he works with. That's a pretty tough comment about the other mixers though. Ignorance? Those guys see a lot of studios and machines.

We're all different. For me a heavy rock thing would usually be easier and more fun to mix than a sparse folk thing. Sure, it also depends mainly on the song and performance and arrangements and recording quality...and to a degree, on the recording & mixing format...some do work better for some things than others.

Old 9th September 2002
  #9
Gear interested
 

I respectfully disagree with the concept that, if it makes an emotional connection then it must sound good. i actually think a great song/lyric can achieve this emotional response absent what we'd all think of as good sound.

Some examples? Hmmm.
Bootleg dead sets for deadheads
Many live rock recordings Stones "Get yer Ya ya's out" for instance
Many things 25+ years old - some of the classic Rascal songs
Many people think Pet Sounds is one of their all time favorites. I really like portions of it. "God Only Knows" really hits me - but I dont think the sound is particularly good.
The Ramones
Some of Elvis Costellos stuff I love - but he sometimes infuriates me with an apparent disregard for sonics. The emotional impact is there- but I'd have to say the sound is sometimes below average.

So what is good sound? I dont know, but maybe its impossible to articulate it in words.
Old 9th September 2002
  #10
Lives for gear
 

My question is does it sound good when somebody is listening to it and it sounds so good that they notice it and they say "whoa this sounds GREAT"!!! (distracting them from the song itself), or does it sound good when they are totally engaged in the emotion and the experience of the song, and the sound is so good that they don't notice the sound?
Old 9th September 2002
  #11
Priority list for 'the sound' of my own productions:

I like it
Band likes it
Managers feel confident with it
Radio programmers like it
Press agents like it
That I can play it to folks and get more and better work from it in future
That it rounds out or expands my production portfolio in a cool way.

A&R and 'other peoples' opinions are low down the list.....

Old 9th September 2002
  #12
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally posted by jon


I agree with Pensado's remark, particularly for the genre he works with. That's a pretty tough comment about the other mixers though. Ignorance? Those guys see a lot of studios and machines.
yes, ignorant remarks. many of them fully didnt comprehend what they were making fun of in their statements with absolutely untrue remarks. that is ignorance.

it doesnt matter what genre you work with... making it sound "right" applies to ALL genres.



right now, my vote goes to dave friddman who is making the most absolutely beautiful sounding modern records. his stuff sounds GOOD. i cannot compete with his mixes. his mixes make me want to crawl in a hole and give up while at the same time pushing me foward trying to equal what he is doing.

and if its not dave friddman, its bill laswell. these are the two top guys in my book who have totally ignored EVERYTHING [volume wars, radio play, mass marketing, platinum status] yet still seem to produce albums that will be listened to many years down the road as being some of the best sounds recorded to date.
Old 9th September 2002
  #13
Longevity seems to be a high priority for you Alpha...

It's less so with me. I have a weird attitude to music.

F**king bands
F**king musicians
I have to work in the f**king studio

But, I f**king LOVE it!

If i want to hear something GOOD I play the Stones.

I rate that track you recorded "Scared" highly BTW.

Old 9th September 2002
  #14
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Thread Starter
hmmm, longevity... that would make for a good topic.


'scared' isnt quite done... maybe it will never be. i really wish i could of not been running a 102 degree temperature nor lit up like a christmas tree on flu medication during the tracking date on that one... its done for now though. i wonder how their actual album turned out for their label. different drummer than the one that i recorded, and they went to 2". early reports back from their new drummer claims the drums arent very fat on it.

but i appreciate the vote on it
Old 28th September 2002
  #15
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Sounding good depends on who's mixing. If it's someone wellknown, they can deliver something that sounds like complete ****, and people will still say it sounds amazing.

An unknown can deliver something that sounds stuning, and get the "yeah, sounds okay".

I walked into a mix session once of soemthing I had produced. The band were able to pull a favor and brought in a "bigguy" to mix.
Sounded completely like ****. The midrange on the vocals was distorting becasue the 1176 was completely pinned. Horrendous mix. I took the lead singer outside and told him it sounded like ****. But the response was of course, what do i know, it's so-and-so, and he's worked on XYZ big records. How could it sound bad.

A month and a half later I got a call from the leadsinger wanting to know if I had changed anything when I was asked to re-arrange the order of songs, because it sounded thin and ****ty.

I still think he believes to this day that I, for some reason decided to make the mixes sound worse, on purpose. (as if that was possible)
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