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A question on Audio Fidelity...
Old 6th January 2011
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Extreme Mixing View Post
The guitar that really speaks is the mid "60's Stella guitar, tuned down a whole step.



Steve
Yeah, when I moved to Nashville I discovered that some guitars sound amazing when tuned down a whole step. Sometimes even farther. With the right strings and a capo you can get some wonderful stuff.

Jordan Chassan
Inglewood SoundBarn
Old 6th January 2011
  #32
Gear interested
 

Focus

Great topic. You have to think about what the average listener going to take from a song? Is he going to hear too much compression on the drums or is he going to think that the song needs more de-essing etc. No. Obviously if a mix is just awful the listener will be turned off but mostly in extreme cases. In this forum there is going to be more emphasis on fidelity but in the real world of teenage bedrooms and crappy car stereos, not so much. As an artist turned engineer by default I find myself spending more time on the sound of a song rather than the actual song itself. I spend hours tweaking and messing with a mix and I get caught up in the option anxiety involved with computer recording. I stop thinking about the emotional impact of the song which is really the most important element of it in the end.
Old 6th January 2011
  #33
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fezzle View Post
I truly believe there a big cooking pot brewing up one hell of stew, in the next decade we'll see music that reflects more of a surrender to technology, and as a result creators will find they can get their heart and spirit to hard disk.
Indeed we were surrendering to the limitations of technology during the 1960s.

Speaking for myself as a certified grumpy old man, I have been profoundly disappointed by the creative results of the affordable recording technology revolution that began in the 1970s and continues today. Certainly we have evolved a marvelous sketchpad for songwriters but the real creative action seems to be on stage. Perhaps this is because of the discipline that is still required there. It's why I honestly believe the next big thing is going to happen on stage first. We are way overdue for a musical Harry Potter.
Old 7th January 2011
  #34
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johnnywellas's Avatar
 

Sound quality has become more relevant than utter commitment to help achieve and capture great performances. Sadly.
Old 7th January 2011
  #35
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.
I have decided to reboot my mind about the whole "fidelity" thang.
First off, if we are to speak of "fidelity" (as in the classic sense, meaning to be "faithful and loyal" to something), well, then exactly what the hell is it unto which we want to be "faithful and loyal"?

...To the sound of a given instrument in a given room?

...Or to the vision of the artist within the context of the work?

Sometimes it's the same thing, and sometimes it's not.
.

.
Old 7th January 2011
  #36
Fezzle
Guest
+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Indeed we were surrendering to the limitations of technology during the 1960s.

Speaking for myself as a certified grumpy old man, I have been profoundly disappointed by the creative results of the affordable recording technology revolution that began in the 1970s and continues today. Certainly we have evolved a marvelous sketchpad for songwriters but the real creative action seems to be on stage. Perhaps this is because of the discipline that is still required there. It's why I honestly believe the next big thing is going to happen on stage first. We are way overdue for a musical Harry Potter.


Here Here Bob
I think your totally right, at the end of the day, no machine can match a bunch of human people making sounds and playing music together. Its the instant thing, you pluck a note or hit a drum, and you hear the consequence right then n there, n you cant rewind time. This I think always has been the eternal condition that makes people to come together and be creative in a purely spontaneious fashion. At the end of the day recording is recording, and music is music, the two do go hand in hand, however in my opinion there will always be a line. That line used to be very very well divided.
Back to my point There are some electronic musicians out there who are blowing me away with theyre creativity and production. People who seem to fully embrace the technology at hand, guys like Aphex Twin who quite frankly has made some of the best music Ive ever heard, full of soul and heart and otherworldlyness, n showes a bold and daring contrast to music created in more traditional ways, and reminds us that really anything goes. He for example though is a rarety, Ive found few electronic producers and musicians who create truly magical and inspiring music that under the conditions of theyre tools manage to bust the shackles apart and draw God on the page.
Old 7th January 2011
  #37
Gear nut
 

Jazz

I like to think Jazz is an excellent example to the concepts referred to in this thread. If you take an old jazz recording, Nat King Cole or Ella for example, I think part of the magic captured is due to the technological limitations of the day. These records sound intimate and warm, and I would easily choose this type of sound quality over the jazz records produced nowadays.

I tend to feel that as technology increases its range of possibility, the recording process should be seen not as just a way to capture a sound, but as another "instrument", one that helps to express the song's unique character.
Old 8th January 2011
  #38
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FireMoon's Avatar
There's a big difference between a nasty distorted guitar recored well and a just nasty distortion. The most unholy cacophony can be recorded in a Hi FI manner. Hi Fi remember means Hi Fideilty.. ie, true to the source.

If I record a bunch of complete nutters who are all over the place yet have that ability to communicate to an audience and I do it exactly as they played it. That is, simply by dint of the meaning of the term, a genuine Hi Fidelity recording. If that recording is consistent in it's playback from system to system it is a Hi Fidelity recording.

One the other hand, there are those who will throw their hands up and say. No, no and thrice no... Hi Fidelity means 2 mics recording a source as is to the best equipment available and that is it. Maybe a little mastering but the only true Hi Fidelity recording are the simple 2 mic ones. Truth is in classical that is often the case and to some extent likewise the jazz field.

So, to some extent the very moment you stick a separate mic in front of a singer you are veering form the path of true Hi Fidelity. In a sense, this actually should be a liberating factor for most of us. if you know it isn't actually truly Hi FI you can then progress to define what is the new Hi FI. This is what people like Ken Scott, bless his cotton sox, did. They created a new Hi Fi for anew generation who sought something more than a simple honest snapshot of a performance. Is DSOTM a true replication of a band on top form, playing live in the studio. Nah mate, not a gazillion years, is it Hi Fi? You bet your bottom dollar it is. Why/. Cos it's faiithful reproduction ofa building process towards a specific end that was about entertaining your ears and your brain on several levels.

Is mixing music specifically for the earbud market Hi Fi. No it most certainly ain't. It's making music for the lowest common denominator at a specific point in history. It's the sonic equivalent of doing a survey to ascertain how much wall space every house in the world has that is free for art and then never producing anything that is any larger than the mean amount of space available.

When Ken worked with Bowie, Bowie had the arrogance and self belief to say this. the audience doesn't know what it actually wants till someone with vision, in this case me David Bowie shows them what is possible. They didn't have a lame arsed committee of accountants counting the numbers and wholly dependent on chuffin focus groups listening to the output and ticking off a set of box's that they perceive the public actually wants.

Unless you were there, people can have no real comprehension of the enormous social event that was the release of albums like Sticky Fingers, Zeppelin Four etc etc. We are talking about millions of people worldwide on a given day, rushing home to place a piece of plastic on a turntable , often to a crowded room of expectant people. It was an event not just an album release.
That simply isn;t the case today, no matter how much the biz likes to quote figures for sales, the actual effect on people's lives is , relatively small. What's more the experience is not a shared one as the first listen is , more often than not, on some tatty lil mp3 player through a pair of earbuds that your average Dansette would put to shame, in terms of Hi Fidelity.

Whislt the big unit shifter sin the music biz are happy to go along with this model and quite happy to *dumb down* the recording process to match it, nothing will change. This i will say now as a a warning to all artists who adopt this model. When you're in your dotage and those earbuds have been developed to something that is way beyond their capabilities now. it will be DSOTM moon kids are grooving to, not the slam everything in your face and use 250ks worth of gear to push the recording till it squeaks and slam it a bit more material that so many of today's *top* producers seem to favour. Mixing is an art, not a chuffin extreme sport. It might be worth remembering that if you truly want to leave your footprints in the sands of time on any sort of permanent basis.
Old 8th January 2011
  #39
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Ken Scott's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dobbo View Post
As an artist turned engineer by default I find myself spending more time on the sound of a song rather than the actual song itself. I spend hours tweaking and messing with a mix and I get caught up in the option anxiety involved with computer recording. I stop thinking about the emotional impact of the song which is really the most important element of it in the end.
This is an amazing example of how everything has turned on it's head.

I find it very interesting that in a world where picking a specialty in one's choice of career is becoming more of a necessity, making good records has gone the opposite way.

There used to be great song writers, great artists, great producers and great engineers, who all collaborated to create magic. It turned out there were some great artists that were also great writers, great writers that were also great producers and so on. But what remained was that person that could stand back and say "That's it. It's there". The artist always had at least a third ear to allow them to just do what they were there for. To create great music.

It seems to me that thanks to available technology, and non music people running the labels, it's turned into Jack of all trades, master of none and everyone's suffering because of it.

Boy, this is so-o-o-o far away from the original intent of this thread.

Cheers
Old 8th January 2011
  #40
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Scott View Post
...Boy, this is so-o-o-o far away from the original intent of this thread...
You might argue sound quality makes no difference at all if we were experiencing unprecedented sales of recordings. People are quick to blame everything under the sun while almost nobody is willing to come out and say that maybe, just maybe most new records aren't good enough to inspire people to buy them.

The bar for quality that inspires sales could simply be much higher than it was decades ago yet the willingness to invest in quality recordings seems at an all time low. I don't claim to know what is needed but I seriously suspect that making a record on the cheap probably isn't the answer to sagging sales.
Old 9th January 2011
  #41
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AlexK's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Scott View Post
Boy, this is so-o-o-o far away from the original intent of this thread.
Although I also feel that the concept of a 'good recording' has also (mostly) become completely detached from the original intent of why records sounded 'great'.

For what it's worth I've really enjoyed reading this thread
Old 9th January 2011
  #42
one man, ONE mic pre
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Indeed we were surrendering to the limitations of technology during the 1960s.

Speaking for myself as a certified grumpy old man, I have been profoundly disappointed by the creative results of the affordable recording technology revolution that began in the 1970s and continues today. Certainly we have evolved a marvelous sketchpad for songwriters ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Scott View Post
This is an amazing example of how everything has turned on it's head.

I find it very interesting that in a world where picking a specialty in one's choice of career is becoming more of a necessity, making good records has gone the opposite way.

There used to be great song writers, great artists, great producers and great engineers, who all collaborated to create magic. It turned out there were some great artists that were also great writers, great writers that were also great producers and so on. But what remained was that person that could stand back and say "That's it. It's there". The artist always had at least a third ear to allow them to just do what they were there for. To create great music.

It seems to me that thanks to available technology, and non music people running the labels, it's turned into Jack of all trades, master of none and everyone's suffering because of it.

Exactly.
It SHOULD be a sketchpad, but instead people get sold on the idea that amateurism is a bonus.
that the lack of financial possibilities is actually 'better' for them.
Which if all you're ever going to be is a hobbyist may be true
But it's been awful for anyone with real potential as an artiste... and ultimately for listeners as well.





weedywet.com
Old 9th January 2011
  #43
Gear Head
 

I'll have to agree on that last statement by Ken..

The music industry has drifted way past the turning point. It's hard to make a great record nowadays....

Times is never on our side.
Old 9th January 2011
  #44
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Vangogo's principal of Consistent Ramshackleness states that 'the sophistication of the recording should be matched as closely as possible to that of the artist.'
Old 10th January 2011
  #45
Gear interested
 

all good then
Old 11th January 2011
  #46
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo View Post
Vangogo's principal of Consistent Ramshackleness states that 'the sophistication of the recording should be matched as closely as possible to that of the artist.'
yes, but sophistication and hi fidelity are not necessarily synonymous.
Old 11th January 2011
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules View Post
I think there was a fork in the road somewhere in the 90's, when Grunge music arrived on the scene and a lot of the producers were unknowns, "guys that did the demos" suddenly producing million selling albums. Add to that indie rock and its often child-like "naive charm" (off timing and flat vocal pitching is suddenly totally OK and accepted as "endearing") I think this new batch of producers and the new audience they recorded for were able to get past the velvet rope of A&R departments 'acceptability' a lot of material that would previously been deemed 'technically unacceptable' or 'unlistenable to..'

Distortion seems popular all over the world, we like it for our guitars in the West and the Bollywood film industry in the East is surely wealthy enough to afford vocal chains for their recordings that are clear and undistorted - but Indian film music soundtracks seem to favour a distorted vocal that sounds like its suffering from a 1950's style technical error..!

Pop and dance music genres favour the 'mashing up' of sounds. A pop producer of mine once observed - if you start with a distorted drum loop - the temptation is to keep pile-ing on the distortion on everything else just to match it or "make it gel" - a slippery slope - but one that bands like The Prodigy have been supremely successful sliding down.

Whats my point?

It looks like anything goes, perhaps what is new is that over the last few decades or so, the global pop / rock audience for various reasons has grown USED to extreme distortion and audio "mangling"..

Perhaps in a sea of distortion a clean recording stands out now?

I dunno..

But anyway.. Lets raise a glass both to the early pioneers of distortion and also to those able to make "clean" hi fidelity recordings!

Its ALL good...

I'll raise a glass to the fact that music and production are ruled more by subjectivity and trends than absolutes. The only "truth" in engineering is that the people have to be able to go for the ride emotionally. If one can engineer a record that lets the listener get lost in the music then the goal has been achieved
Old 11th January 2011
  #48
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Well, I for one love good sound. I enjoy my records much more when they sound good.

Performance be damned, I don't think it is really that difficult to make a good *sounding* recording as long as the engineer has the simple basics down pat. But what's the point? I think the real skill/talent is the ability to capture a great performance AND have it sound good. Not as simple to do.

A favorite saying that my uncle Jimmy used to say: "The operation was a success, but the patient died." This seems to be quite fitting here. Sound for sound sake is a nice trick, but don't kill the patient. In my mind this is what separates the men from the boys and the great spaces from the bedrooms.

As bad as things seem to be right now, I see nothing but opportunity. I can't imagine wanting to be in this business if I didn't think we could offer something better than what is currently in fashion. All it takes is one producer to do it right with one artist to really connect with the audience and all bets are off. What we thought was inevitable becomes nothing more than a bad memory.
Old 12th January 2011
  #49
one man, ONE mic pre
Some people, though, achieve those goals regularly and repeatedly.

While anyone might stumble about long enough to hit it once.

The point I think is that professionals, with talent, can make it EASIER. and that is ultimately to an artiste's benefit.
Diy is best as a last resort.
It's become the unfortunate norm.

The economic necessity is something people have to deal with.
But we don't have to pretend it's a bonus.
Old 13th January 2011
  #50
Gear interested
 

The ummph that makes a song successful sometimes requires variance in fidelity. The importance of variance in fidelity not only applies to the musical instrumentation...but it also applies to the singer's voice.

Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida with Doug Ingle singing sounded just right...his vocals fit right in with the song...perfect edginess, grunginess...etc.

Had it been performed by The Partridge Family....it may not have faired so well. :D
Old 14th January 2011
  #51
RTR
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I do agree that the engineering of the old classic albums is part of the reason a lot of people like it, I do not agree that engineering or gear has anything to do with why music sucks today, it has nothing to do with how it was recorded and everything to do with what is being recorded, Crap lame lyrics that make no sense and are just elementary is the problem. DSOTM would never SOUND as COOL as it did if recorded now days, but the songs would still be as good,, I know this is GS but I think to much credit is given to the engineer for the success of a album, when in reality a great song could be a hit recorded by an amateur on behringer gear! IMO that is! hidez
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