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great sonics and period recording
Old 25th September 2002
  #1
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great sonics and period recording

now WTF really is great sonics? does it mean everything is in super fidelity? does it mean it was mixed through an SSL? [highly unlikely]

what makes great sonics? the gear or the engineer?

i was listening to the white stripes the other day. i bought the album for my wife. its pretty cool sounding. you can like the music or not, i dont really care... but i noticed they really hit on the new york art sonic imprint with it. VU, iggy pop, et al. what would this album of sounded like with a more "modern" sound? would it of sounded better or out of context?

im mixing a folkish/countrish/bluesish guy right now. i took a more modern sound for it. i could easily go the other way and make it sound more like a 78 with limited bandwidth... but im just loving the extended bass on my mixes. it plays well on boomboxes even with as much sub info... but the overall sound is certainly more "modern".

say im mixing a stoner rock band [which i do a lot of]... do i keep it within the genre of the past and mold it towards what the listeners are used to or do i take it a different direction and give it more top end and prescence [typically stoner rock bands are fairly dark sound with a LOT of low mids]


i just ask this because people can argue until they are blue in the face as to whether an SSL/2" or a DAW or a whatever is sonically "better" but in reality... its where the engineer takes the recording... medium be damned.

in a thread on jules forum, someone said it takes the excuses out of the equation... but i havent heard that many great recordings so what IS their excuse? i guess they have none. all the recordings i have heard that have blown me away of late were NOT done on anything resembling a high end studio.

i dont record based on excuses. sure i could say my room isnt big enough, the bands arent talented enough, i use a DAW to record and mix, i dont have high end compressors on the way in [i track mic>pre>ADC... thats IT] or dont even use the top of the line convertors... but i dont believe in that. i did take the one main "excuse" out of the picture and got the ADAMs... with those i cant make excuses for ANYTHING, i simply make it work the best i can.
Old 25th September 2002
  #2
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cymatics's Avatar
 

Re: great sonics and period recording

Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
now WTF really is great sonics?
(snip)
what makes great sonics? the gear or the engineer?
(snip)
in reality... its where the engineer takes the recording... medium be damned.
I've been considering lately that it is the performance that makes the production great.

I can listen to an exceptional performance that has been recorded terribly but I won't listen to crappy music just because the production is great. I think I may have even developed my sonic preferences as a recordist based on the recordings of performances that move me.

Do people aspire to 'sound like a Beatles record' (not me personally) because of Sir George Martin or because of what John, Paul, George, and Ringo played?

On some level this statement negates a great deal of the dialog on this and other Pro Audio forums. It's kinda arrogant to think that we as recordists have the capacity to 'make or break' a recording.

I think I'm veering off topic here...and I'm getting the feeling that if I continue this line of thought I will convince myself that I don't exist.

- jon
Old 26th September 2002
  #3
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no, that is certainly on topic... and what i was trying to get at.

so im wondering, how does the beatles sonically stack up against say becks mutations album, or sparklehorses its a wonderful life?

and maybe to take it further... how much of a sonic imprint do you feel yourself leaving on the recording? the current album i am mixing the client was wondering why i wasnt EQing much saying that he heard about some guys saying they cranked the hell out of the EQ's. i said i only use things if i absolutely NEED to.


so 38 views as of now and only one reply.
Old 26th September 2002
  #4
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Re: Re: great sonics and period recording

Quote:
Originally posted by cymatics


Do people aspire to 'sound like a Beatles record' (not me personally) because of Sir George Martin or because of what John, Paul, George, and Ringo played?


- jon
actually, Sir George may be the one exception to that rule....

This is a bit of a trick to "see" on a release, but I think a great recording is one that the artist/produce/engineer hears and says.." wow that is beyond what I heard in my head!"

It's odd, because if someone were to ask me to play some cds that I considered to have great sonics, I would range from Lovett's " Joshua, Judges, Ruth" to U2's "Achtung Baby" one a massenburg record, and the other lanois... pretty much opposite end of the spectrum, both amazing, musically and sonically. Good sonics and bad sonwriting/performances aren't worth ****.
Old 26th September 2002
  #5
"say im mixing a stoner rock band [which i do a lot of]... do i keep it within the genre of the past and mold it towards what the listeners are used to or do i take it a different direction and give it more top end and prescence [typically stoner rock bands are fairly dark sound with a LOT of low mids]


i just ask this because people can argue until they are blue in the face as to whether an SSL/2" or a DAW or a whatever is sonically "better" but in reality... its where the engineer takes the recording... medium be damned."

- Alphajerk.


--------

There sure are several 'styles' of audio out there...

Stunning 'precision' accoustic - Shawn Colvin - very low 'personal noise' me and Bev agreeed that they must have dropped in and re took accoustic inst parts till they got them without string squeeks, breathing and rustleling noises...

Gonzo rock - whatever goes! QOTStoneage Compress it to kingdome come!

Stoner rock - as Alpha said - muddy low mid sound..

Radio synth based pop - shiny - full spectrum

A million and one other rock / dance / rap / techno / folk - sub catagories.

I dont think it is all as simple as use a good pre amp and a little compression..

One act I am working with now for example, are in a rock genre called "Emo Core". I noticed all the CD's they like all have a VERY crispy HF sound on the cymbals.. A real slick top end (handy that I like that!) And sample kicks & snares - If I were to do a retro 'warm' mix they would have every right to be disapointed..

I picked them to work with and look forward to using some tastefully applied cookie cutting maxims on the production....
Old 26th September 2002
  #6
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Thread Starter
yes, there are a lot of styles. is iggy pop's raw power great? its classic. mc5's kick out the jams?


so what IF we dont follow the genre style? what if we abandon all preconceived notions?


how about if they said damn that sounds NOTHING like what i heard in my head [maybe the like it, love it, or hate it]
Old 26th September 2002
  #7
Jax
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I don't know... see, bands often say they want it to sound like so and so (some band they like). Then what I wanted to do for the mix can often go right out the window.

I mean, we're in the business to give them what they want. Can't deny that.

In terms of sounding like the genre(s) they most closely represent, maybe the question is: Should we do what we think is best for the music, even if it goes against what the band wants? Will they be able to recognize it when they hear it?

Granted, we can often surpass their expectations, and if we know we can make them happier than they expected to be by doing so, then I say why the hell not?!

so what IF we dont follow the genre style? what if we abandon all preconceived notions?

You have to have the band eating from the palm of your hand to do that. They have to be willing to let you produce that out on a limb sound, and they might have to check their ego at the door to let it happen. Or it has to be your own music and you're the only one in control.

The way the industry has done things for a long time is to play it safe, though. The exceptions to that rule have produced the exceptional music.... both exceptionally bad, and exceptionally good. But I think there has to be a time and a place when its appropriate to take that risk, or to have that happy accident, so that the next exception to the rule can be given birth to.

I don't think this is always part of achieving great sonics though. Great sonics happen by doing the best possible thing for the music so that a great song sounds like a great song. Often, great songs surpass and transcend the medium and all the trappings used to capture it.

Great songs sound the way they do because they connect with you on a personal, emotional, spiritual level. Not because they are scientifically identifiable as 'correct' in any manner.
Old 26th September 2002
  #8
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im not claiming any scientific accuracies here.... im about as far from that as possible. but doesnt the sonics affect your emotional ties. like hearing that white stripes album made me connect back with memories of music with similar sonic tones to it.
Old 26th September 2002
  #9
Jax
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Sure it does. Maybe one of the reasons I like a ton of old jazz stuff from Coltrane with Elvin on drums, to Miles and Sketches of Spain, to Mingus talkin' about don't drop that A bomb on me, to Thelonius Monk, Dizzy to Duke to Louie to Billy Holiday and on and on is that my Dad raised me on it, so the emotional connections go back to my earliest memories. But that stuff is so cool to me that I probably would have discovered and loved it whether it was playing all the time when I grew up or not.

I have no question that when I hear elements of those sounds, in many many different genres of music, it connects with me.

I have a fantastic poster of the jazz family tree that shows the people at the roots of jazz on the form of a tree, and there are at least 40 branches, each containing a plethora of "leaves" - or people who represent that genre. The total evolution goes up to the present day ppl who are still doing it. Every time I look at it, I see some facet or some people I want to hear more from. I have a very strong connection to the music in that poster.

I'll take some pics of it when I get my buddy to loan me his digital camera.
Old 26th September 2002
  #10
The White Stripes just did their next album in London, UK - in a tiny, but well respected (by indie bands) all valve 8 track studio called Toe Rag. (thats UK slang for a very scruffy & bad person) it cost them under $10,000 including mastering (presumably done in a fancy place).

It was a recent press release from the bands PR dept...

Old 27th September 2002
  #11
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I think Jax has it right - if the band is after a certain sound then it's your job to give them that sound. If they give you carte blanche then you can go out on a limb IF you think it would really do the artist justice.... but with the understanding that it's a risk, that they may not dig it.

I certainly do have emotional and even physical responses to certain sounds and production types. There are some that definitely give me the warm fuzzies and some that bore me to tears and others that make me have to leave the room they're so irritating. It's all very subjective really, but it's amazing how much it freaks people out to hear something that's outside what they expect to hear.

I thought Radiohead's "OK Computer" was so cool because it mixed up a lot of techniques... like a beautiful pristine recording of a voice and acoustic piano, with a crappy lofi drum loop over it. heh It really worked for that record, but not too many people could pull that off!
Old 27th September 2002
  #12
Gear Guru
 
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This is a really tough one. I think it's our job to make the sonics match the song and the band. So, making the White Stripes sound like Steely Dan would just be wrong. But that doesn't mean that if a band is from a certain genre, that their records should sound a band that is from the same genre. It's sound should jive with the songs and the band.

Am I being vague and noncommittal enough?
Old 28th September 2002
  #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by lflier

I thought Radiohead's "OK Computer" was so cool because it mixed up a lot of techniques... like a beautiful pristine recording of a voice and acoustic piano, with a crappy lofi drum loop over it. heh It really worked for that record, but not too many people could pull that off!
I think trying to pull something unique off is what pop music is all about.

Any idiot can hire musicians, an engineer and a studio that will sound EXACTLY like anything you care to name. The only thing more idiotic is lesser players or producers attempting to prove they can match the sounds, styles and arrangements that others happened to create.

I believe one should always highlight what's unique and encourage as much character as possible. It's really all about getting that "oooooh" reaction. Otherwise why should something be recorded?
Old 28th September 2002
  #14
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Thread Starter
i like that post bob.
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