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Circumstantial but convincing evidence that analog is more realistic
Old 20th April 2017
  #451
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwe View Post
What I think you mean by "realistic" is "organic" as against e.g. "clear and bright"?

A way of "realistically" capturing live sound would be a minimalist recording with no multitracking, using a Calrec Soundfield Microphone to yield an Ambisonic recording.
I guess.

If someone said to me that the cassette sounded realistic and the vsti sounded fake, it wouldn't bother me and I'd get entirely what they mean.

If someone compressed and effected a real drum set played by a real person and recorded it through mics into a lofi recorder, and also had a drum machine, and asked which one sounded "real", I'd say the drum set. I would not be confused by the word "real".
Old 20th April 2017
  #452
qwe
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Old 20th April 2017
  #453
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
So... a question

Regarding these magic artifacts that analog imparts on a musical signal, does anyone here think that those artifacts are in live music, but digital removes them? Then, using analog gear replaces them?

...or is this an issue relating to the recording realm only, not involving actual live music.

My problem is that if those artifacts are not a part of live music, and people thing music sounds sterile without them, then those people must think that live music sounds sterile.
when a lot of people say they go see "live music" they are usually talking about a rock band, with guitars (huge boards of pedal effects) which are coming out of the speakers of guitar amps, vocals coming out of the PA speakers (with effects) and the drums reinforced with mics (also often with effects). Everything coming out of electronic loudspeakers.

How many people are actually going out to hear live unamplified acoustic music - music that does not come out of a speaker? I raise my hand.

I certainly don't find this music 'sterile', but being the one whose job it often is to capture this performance, I sure don't think it sounds "the same" as ANY recording. Yet in classical, a lot of jazz and a number of other acoustic genres, the aesthetic 'standard' is not How The Beatles Did It, but rather how close you can get it to what it actually sounds like to a person sitting there in that room. Not even close-miked, never mind with added distortion, saturation, noise, warmth, wow and flutter or anything else that is not happening right there in that room at the listener's position. It's not even on their radar.

I think it would be a revelation for some people to actually approach a recording job in this way, just once.

Maybe they would finally stop with the "emotional realism".
Old 20th April 2017
  #454
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwe View Post
I can't hear it.

Safe to say, it's not real.

So why do so many people add effects to live music as well as when they are recording?

Why do people like analog gear and software emulations?

Why do people think digital is sterile and needs a dose of analog artifacts?
Old 20th April 2017
  #455
qwe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
I can't hear it.

Safe to say, it's not real.
Some of those tracks were recorded by John Eargle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
So why do so many people add effects to live music as well as when they are recording?
Why does a piano have undamped upper strings? Why are the best concert halls revered?

Question: Why don't people play tuning forks in an anechoic chamber?

Simple answer: Because that doesn't yield a very interesting sound.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
Why do people like analog gear and software emulations?
Because they want (some or all of) the effects that are imparted by certain processes.

In the case of analogue gear, it could be a "straight wire with gain," or it could be rather "coloured." Analogue per se doesn't equate to "coloured."


For example, it's known that distortion, up to a point, and depending on the sound being distorted, can improve the perceived audio quality.

Whether or not they need analogue gear or software emulations thereof is another matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
Why do people think digital is sterile and needs a dose of analog artifacts?
Possibly because high quality digital recording is clean, transparent, and adds nothing to the sound. The specific "artifacts" or effects that one wants to add, if any, are another matter.

The point being that if you want a gritty and lo-fi sound, then it can be done using DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING. If you want a super bright and clear "enhanced" sound, then it can be achieved through Digital Signal Processing. If you want an accurate recording, in so far as the recording medium doesn't affect the sound, then it can be achieved by recording to digital. It's a blank canvas to work with.
Old 20th April 2017
  #456
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post

I think it would be a revelation for some people to actually approach a recording job in this way, just once.

Maybe they would finally stop with the "emotional realism".
So every recording on the charts (and not on the charts) for the last, uh, since forever, is emotionally unrealistic.

And of course, even if someone were to try to capture whatever as "realistically" as possible, it would still be unreal in the end, and anyone saying so is delusional.
Old 20th April 2017
  #457
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwe View Post
Some of those tracks were recorded by John Eargle.
I'm sure it's wonderful.

If I could hear it (I don't have spotify), I'm sure it'd be nice coming through my laptop sound card into my headphones.

If I were there hearing it live at the time, I'd think the experience would be different?
Old 20th April 2017
  #458
qwe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
If someone said to me that the cassette sounded realistic and the vsti sounded fake, it wouldn't bother me
And if you _liked_ the VSTi, it wouldn't bother you?
Old 21st April 2017
  #459
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12tone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
So... a question

Regarding these magic artifacts that analog imparts on a musical signal, does anyone here think that those artifacts are in live music, but digital removes them? Then, using analog gear replaces them?

...or is this an issue relating to the recording realm only, not involving actual live music.

My problem is that if those artifacts are not a part of live music, and people thing music sounds sterile without them, then those people must think that live music sounds sterile.
Recording and live can be different in terms of both sonics and aesthetics, among other assorted criteria.

It's as simple as that. Obviously there are degrees to the difference, depending on genre and the intent of the production. Unless recordings are specifically meant to replicate what one might experience live, there's a lot of leeway as to what one can do in the recording realm.

Modern sensibilities dictate that the studio in of itself is an instrument (something which is cross-fed/manifested to live settings, such as folks like Adrian Sherwood, etc), and can be thought of as a creative tool, if desired totally independent of concerns of replicating in live performance.
Old 21st April 2017
  #460
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwe View Post
And if you _liked_ the VSTi, it wouldn't bother you?
Not sure what you mean. I've used vstis. They usually ultimately "bother" me in that I'd rather have the real thing.

This thread is pretty confusing...

is the idea that a vsti is as realistic as is a jazz or classical recording?
Old 21st April 2017
  #461
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwe View Post

The point being that if you want a gritty and lo-fi sound, then it can be done using DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING. If you want a super bright and clear "enhanced" sound, then it can be achieved through Digital Signal Processing. If you want an accurate recording, in so far as the recording medium doesn't affect the sound, then it can be achieved by recording to digital. It's a blank canvas to work with.
Is it a fact that it is completely blank?

Who's knocking digital recording, btw?

You can't get a true Mellotron sound unless you have a Mellotron. You can't get a true cassette sound unless you use a cassette.

My whole point again, is why if someone wants to process the sound using digital signal processing, especially processing that apes analog processing, that's sensible...but if someone uses actual analog processing, that's an eyeroll. It's delusional kids wanting fairy dust that doesn't exist. If someone wants that actual clack or noise from a real thing, that's an eyeroll, but if someone samples that to make a vsti instrument more "real", that's brilliant?
Old 21st April 2017
  #462
qwe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
Not sure what you mean. I've used vstis. They usually ultimately "bother" me in that I'd rather have the real thing.
I mean that (hypothetically) *if* you liked a VSTi, and someone said it was "fake," that wouldn't bother you?

Since the connotation of "fake" is negative.
Old 21st April 2017
  #463
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwe View Post
I mean that *if* you liked a VSTi, and someone said it was "fake," that wouldn't bother you?

Since the connotation of "fake" is negative.
Uh, it would only bother me if I thought I'd fooled them or something and they burst my delusional bubble.

But why would it bother me otherwise. It is fake.
Old 21st April 2017
  #464
qwe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
Uh, it would only bother me if I thought I'd fooled them or something and they burst my delusional bubble.

But why would it bother me otherwise. It is fake.
Definition from Merriam-Webster:

"fake
adjective
Definition of fake

: counterfeit, sham He was wearing a fake mustache."

And of synthesis:

"Definition of synthesis
plural syntheses

1a : the composition or combination of parts or elements so as to form a whole"

That's why synths are called "synthesizers," and not "fakes."
Old 21st April 2017
  #465
I can't help but feel that this thread sums up everything that is wrong with modern music.
Old 21st April 2017
  #466
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDStudios View Post
I can't help but feel that this thread sums up everything that is wrong with modern music.
Hey you know what's really wrong with 'modern music'? Convolution reverb! That's pretty fake!
Old 21st April 2017
  #467
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Hey you know what's really wrong with 'modern music'? Convolution reverb! That's pretty fake!

Pffft. Your fake... because the light being emitted by my computer monitor clearly isn't real!

Besides... my Lexicon 224XL reverb is real!
Old 21st April 2017
  #468
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12tone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Hey you know what's really wrong with 'modern music'? Convolution reverb! That's pretty fake!
Autotune I can take, but T&A - I hate it when that's fake.
Old 21st April 2017
  #469
qwe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
Is it a fact that it is completely blank?
Well, maybe cats don't like noise-shaped dither.

Yes, I think high quality conversion is "completely blank," or at least its effects are orders of magnitude less than a cassette tape.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
My whole point again, is why if someone wants to process the sound using digital signal processing, especially processing that apes analog processing, that's sensible...but if someone uses actual analog processing, that's an eyeroll.
Old 21st April 2017
  #470
qwe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
Autotune I can take, but T&A - I hate it when that's fake.
Especially those silicone butt injections which have gone awry.
Old 21st April 2017
  #471
qwe
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Old 21st April 2017
  #472
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwe View Post
Definition from Merriam-Webster:

"fake
adjective
Definition of fake

: counterfeit, sham He was wearing a fake mustache."

And of synthesis:

"Definition of synthesis
plural syntheses

1a : the composition or combination of parts or elements so as to form a whole"

That's why synths are called "synthesizers," and not "fakes."
So why is it okay to say a Mellotron is a fake, and the people who like certain other sorts of things are essentially fakes? That certain sorts of "vibe" are a fake, but when copied digitally it's what, real?
Old 21st April 2017
  #473
qwe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
So why is it okay to say a Mellotron is a fake, and the people who like certain other sorts of things are essentially fakes? That certain sorts of "vibe" are a fake, but when copied digitally it's what, real?
The digital copy has high accuracy.

Is the Mellotron an accurate playback device? No.

It is a "fake"? No, it's a Mellotron.
Old 21st April 2017
  #474
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwe View Post
The digital copy has high accuracy.
Yay.

Quote:
Is the Mellotron an accurate playback device? No.
Like a lot of great things.

Quote:
It is a "fake"? No, it's a Mellotron.
If it's not fake it must be real.
Old 21st April 2017
  #475
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
...
I think it would be a revelation for some people to actually approach a recording job in this way, just once.
...

Well, we all know how that sounds like.... it sucks, it's the reason for this industry to exist at all....

If it would all sound perfect we would not have over a 1000 knobs to tweak to make it sound right doesn't it ?

Now if you are recording an orchestra, it would be the way to go, you want to capture the orchestra with the room to give the listener a sense of "being there" (and yes I occasionally record things this way in one of the most beautifull rooms on the planet that can house an orchestra, as one of my friends has the keys to this room )

This is never going to work out with a rockband, as a listener you definitely DON'T want to "be there" as it will give you instant migraine... and we all know this, because that's what happens when you first hit "play" after you recorded such band.




Now roll out these LFC's and let the tweakings begin, this world needs to be saved from instant migraines !
Old 21st April 2017
  #476
Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
Yay.



Like a lot of great things.



If it's not fake it must be real.
Yes. A real Mellotron. Which is what it is and not what it is, you know, not.

Which is why folks with my mindset would use it for its distinctive characteristics -- in cases where they would not be likely to use real strings** (or their arguably verisimilitudinous approximations via modern digital sampling and/or modelling).



I suspect we now have a pretty good idea where we're all coming from.*



* And I suspect that hhamilton and I might very well approach some uses of either in possibly very similar ways -- even if it seems we would be likely to describe the process in perhaps rather different terms.

** Assuming we were in a position to use real strings. Since leaving school, I can't recall having formally recorded more than 3 string players at once. So, you know, any chance to record a bunch of strings would be very tempting; at the same time, my 'big studio' chops are rusty enough that I think I'd be reluctant to put a budget big enough for a proper string section at risk just for a personal challenge; I think I'd fire myself 'up' to the producer chair for that session...
Old 21st April 2017
  #477
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cozmik Prod. View Post

Now if you are recording an orchestra, it would be the way to go,
The idea that this approach is only for "orchestras" and that everyone else on earth except for classical fans wants gobs of manipulation in their recording is IMO, incorrect.
Quote:
Well, we all know how that sounds like.... it sucks, it's the reason for this industry to exist at all....

If it would all sound perfect we would not have over a 1000 knobs to tweak to make it sound right doesn't it ?
I will disagree - when you have good musicians, playing good instruments, it does not "suck" out there. It does not sound like a Beatles record either of course. I would say this just continues to reinforce my point. One particular approach to recording has become so popular that entire swaths of the population apparently cannot even conceive that someone else might like something different.

They think there's something "wrong" with real sounds.

For the first half of the 20th century, recording - even of pop music - was all about making it sound like it sounded in the room. The decline in the popularity of that style of recording does not mean everyone agrees that it "sucks". Further, the desire to create a final recording which is not 'natural' does not mean a great capture of the natural sound is not still absolutely critical to the engineer's art.

My observation is that the closer you can get with instruments and performances; the less you need to do with mixing effects; the better the recording comes out. Whatever your goals.

Spending more time understanding the natural room sound will be helpful when it later comes time to manipulate that room sound. Trying to capture it as it is, is a valuable "exercise" even if you feel it "sucks" and don't intend to keep it that way.

My point is that people who make ridiculous statements about "realism" have clearly not spent very much time "in the room" with real unamplified instruments. That is their loss, IMO - and not for the purposes of "linguistic accuracy" - but just for recording in general.
Old 21st April 2017
  #478
Oh I agree on this, exept on the "people who..." part.... pff it's people, don't bother, you ain't going to change anything.

I'm of the "don't touch it" club... I like natural sounds, not messed around with, good mic, good room, good instrument, good player, done... don't touch it.
I think the best engineer is simply invisible...

To me this really is a rare occasion, bands I have worked with need touching, lots of touching...

I rather not record them at all for that reason, and that's what I did, I just simply quit doing it... I can't be bothered with it.


Life's great !
Old 21st April 2017
  #479
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12tone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
The idea that this approach is only for "orchestras" and that everyone else on earth except for classical fans wants gobs of manipulation in their recording is IMO, incorrect.
I think orchestral recordings in general have too much of the sound of the concert hall, if that's where it's recorded. I think creative and judicious use of recording and post technologies will allow for a better listening experience. I don't necessarily want to hear the room - I want to hear the music and the performance in the most pleasing manner, in the most perceptible manner, with all the dynamics and nuance that it may provide, and that may mean to use whatever manipulation necessary to achieve it - and this should apply to any genre/style not just classical.

First of all, there is no one sound when you listen to a symphony, or other classical performances in a concert hall - there are many different vantage points that'll give you different perspectives. Those who do record a performance will make decisions on which vantage points and perspectives they want to represent.

It's also a silly notion that any sense of true realism of an acoustic space can be faithfully recreated or represented by a stereophonic playback system - it just isn't possible...it will be different, in some cases even better - which I believe should be the goal and pursuit.

To impose limits or to say this or that is the best way, IMO could possibly be stifling to what could be better. What that 'better' is is what the game is all about...it indeed could mean gobs of manipulation, if indeed if that's what it will take to make it better.
Old 21st April 2017
  #480
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
I think orchestral recordings in general have too much of the sound of the concert hall, if that's where it's recorded. ...
Never thought of it like that before, but I think I agree (and I generally like 'naturalistic' recordings.)
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