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Why did they cut so much bass in the eighties? Studio Monitors
Old 11th January 2018
  #1
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Darius1's Avatar
 

Why did they cut so much bass in the eighties?

You know besides the general thin sound. Was it because hifi systems of the time had a built in boosted low frequency curve? Because of NS10's?
Old 11th January 2018
  #2
Gear Nut
 

Cocaine
Old 11th January 2018
  #3
Gear Nut
 

But no, I'm seriously interested in the real reason too (besides coke)
Old 11th January 2018
  #4
Gear Addict
Possibly because vinyl records couldn’t really handle the cuts needed for a big low end?
Old 11th January 2018
  #5
Gear Head
I think it's simply a matter of fashion.

A way to make a statement against the previous generation's taste for warm lows and low mids.

And showing off the newfound possibilities of digital tape... crisp transients galore
Old 11th January 2018
  #6
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Maybe since consumer systems all had the loudness button engaged and the bass turned up to 11 they figured they could get some extra headroom on the vinyl and have the loudest record on the market?
Old 11th January 2018
  #7
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O.F.F.'s Avatar
 

The more bass the fewer minutes fit on an album.
People expected 40+ minutes from an album in the '80s which also and because of that saw the introduction of the 12" single.
I remember buying an album on the strength of a 12" which had a massive but beautifully rounded bottom end and being deeply disappointed by the album's bass-free and weedy sound.
Old 12th January 2018
  #8
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Yup. ^^^ With a moderate amount of bottom you could get 22 minutes on a side, and a lot of albums had more like 23 or 24.
Old 12th January 2018
  #9
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monomono's Avatar
Maybe you've just got used too much bass Inn recent music.
Old 12th January 2018
  #10
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TurboJets's Avatar
Maybe I'm wrong but I always thought Sade's recordings had proper bass, Tears For Fears, Queensryche and Judas Priest. I could be misremembering.
Old 12th January 2018
  #11
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changeng's Avatar
Tears for Fears had TONS of snare - hard to listen to these days, which is a shame - that snare sound masked some great tunes.
Old 12th January 2018
  #12
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Bart Nettle's Avatar
Cutting lathe considerations and it is true stereos had a loudness button to compensate.
Old 12th January 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart Nettle View Post
Cutting lathe considerations and it is true stereos had a loudness button to compensate.
Both true facts. But, the keyword here is "compensate" - make up for a lack of something missing in the first place. So the manufacturers were clearly aware that something was missing.

It's already mentioned above - albums were the reason. To fit 20+ minutes on a 12", somethings got to give. Max time today for bass-heavy material on 45 rpm 12" is about 6-7 minutes per side.
Old 12th January 2018
  #14
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So the record needle would not get kicked out of the groove.
Old 12th January 2018
  #15
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revson View Post
Possibly because vinyl records couldn’t really handle the cuts needed for a big low end?
This

Quote:
Originally Posted by O.F.F. View Post
The more bass the fewer minutes fit on an album.
People expected 40+ minutes from an album in the '80s which also and because of that saw the introduction of the 12" single.
I remember buying an album on the strength of a 12" which had a massive but beautifully rounded bottom end and being deeply disappointed by the album's bass-free and weedy sound.
And more specifically, this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
So the record needle would not get kicked out of the groove.
and this
Old 12th January 2018
  #16
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BarcelonaMusic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by changeng View Post
Tears for Fears had TONS of snare - hard to listen to these days, which is a shame - that snare sound masked some great tunes.
I think they are still great. That`s how I remember them and I wouldn`t change a thing.
Old 12th January 2018
  #17
Gear Head
 
mookmoof's Avatar
Also- There was no such thing as "bass music" until the mid to late 80's. We get 2 live crew and beastie boys around 85-86 both with 808 hittin hard as hell. Prior to this people were not accustomed to or expecting to hear bass like this. Of course, people loved it and the rest is history.
Old 12th January 2018
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by aquestionoftime View Post
Cocaine
Yes it's completely true, there is no need for bass or the physical feeling.
Many artists and labels of the era will freely admit this.
Cocaine plays tricks with your hearing and your ego.
Old 12th January 2018
  #19
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Darius1's Avatar
 

Thanks for all the replies, you guys are awesome

Could it be that I find eighties mixes more expensive sounding because of this? For lack of a better word. They have a certain weight to them yet they sound so thin, I always refer to the eighties when people talk about the sound of big sounding albums. Reverb aside.
Old 12th January 2018
  #20
Gear Addict
 
ThorSouthshire's Avatar
Also carried cassette players of the 80s didn't have much by means of bass reproduction, so most of the musical information was placed in the treble frequencies. I used one recently and it doesn't sound nearly as shrill on those boxy sounding speakers.
Old 12th January 2018
  #21
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PAST's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius1 View Post

... find eighties mixes more expensive sounding...
Perhaps because they WERE expensive productions!

In the days when people used to actually BUY music there was money for expensive studios, good equipment all the way through, good acoustics, consistent high standards, good production, top notch session musicians, steady mastering standards et al...

Not to mention the musicians themselves having time and money to perfect their work and of course their own high standards backed by proper budgets

Record companies, love em or not, did also have high standards to uphold

Also in the early 80's analogue equipment was still the norm for most of the signal path

Early digital recording was awful even although it was super expensive

Now we are at a brilliant phase where both analogue and digital are able to work together

I really do believe that hybrid recording is going to give us the best era ever and a free opportunity to use the best of both worlds at the crossroads

Cost is also drastically reduced and should therefore allow money to be spent in a more sensible manner on things that matter

I really do hope that this fantastic opportunity is put to the best possible use and not just an excuse for cost cutting

After all it is the art that counts

Steve Butterworth

PAST
Professional Audio System Technology
Old 12th January 2018
  #22
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O.F.F.'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregR View Post
Both true facts. But, the keyword here is "compensate" - make up for a lack of something missing in the first place. So the manufacturers were clearly aware that something was missing.
The Loudness button existed because of Fletcher,Munson and their curves, not to make up for mix or media deficiencies.
Old 12th January 2018
  #23
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PAST's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by O.F.F. View Post
The Loudness button existed because of Fletcher,Munson and their curves, not to make up for mix or media deficiencies.
Yes, the Loudness button was to compensate for the apparent loss of bass at low volume levels

Hence the name 'Loudness'

Or should I say, 'LOUDNESS'

Of course it was misused

I am as guilty as any!

Are there any expert vintage mastering engineers here?

An interesting point is that almost right from the introduction of 45 and 33.3 RPM vinyl there were very often two versions of bass equalisation

The chart single 45 RPM version was almost always indeed bass heavy in comparison to the album version

This was rarely a separate mix though

Commercially, the 45 RPM single was often a dance track or chart number intended for juke box and radio promotion and so bass boost made sense

The trend of more bass was already set

Also at 45 RPM with a short track more bass is maybe possible

Was the bass eq or frequency dependent compression adjusted heavily at the mastering stage?

Was there a standard that became the norm for this adjustment?

As a child I just accepted that a 45 would be more bass heavy than an album version of the same track

Well, the grooves looked wider....

Mastering engineer please!!!!

Last edited by PAST; 12th January 2018 at 02:11 PM.. Reason: Capitalisation...metaphorically speaking
Old 12th January 2018
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revson View Post
Possibly because vinyl records couldn’t really handle the cuts needed for a big low end?
I would say this is the most plausible answer.
Old 12th January 2018
  #25
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emrr's Avatar
Besides the requirements of vinyl, look at amplification too. The amount of power available for subs and bass in general is huge now compared to what was available W/$ then.
Old 12th January 2018
  #26
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I sense that records in the 80s started having more bass extension into the sub region. So in that sense, you could say that in the 80s there was more bass. But 80s records seemed to have lower levels of high bass, and lower bass guitar overall in the mix compared to the previous decade, which on many listening systems would be perceived as bass light. Possibly because there was more low end overall, with the sub bass extension, the higher frequencies of bass needed to be mixed lower? Did they start using subs in the studio more for checking the low low in the 80s?
Old 12th January 2018
  #27
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O.F.F.'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
So the record needle would not get kicked out of the groove.
In over 30 years of playing vinyl this has never happened to me.
Not even with super bass heavy Jamaican imports although groove jumping was famously a problem encountered with one particular solo drum album (Charlie Antolini?) which was a popular record to test TTs back in the day.
Old 12th January 2018
  #28
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Helge's Avatar
 

Funny I was wondering the same thing last night - initially I thought it might had to do with the upcoming SSL 4k and the huge mains used at that time (cause actually there is bass but very tight) but then I figured that the overall balance is just weird cause of these overly bright pads/synths and digital reverb tails...
...the whole vinyl thing makes a lot more sense though.
Old 12th January 2018
  #29
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PAST View Post
Early digital recording was awful even although it was super expensive
I would not agree with this - The Sony PCM-F1 recorder I bought in 1983 made excellent recordings.

A lot of the poor stuff was down to bad transfers of analogue recordings made for vinyl to a CD master and engineers having to re-learn technique for digital.

But the early digital recorders were inherently good - Denon were recording digitally from 1973 and the professional Sony PCM 1630 system was very good then.
Old 12th January 2018
  #30
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hmm i read this thread with interest... it has always irked me that early 90s uk indie guitar recordings (often just an EP, so 12", 45rpm, no particular hopes of album domination) were so incredibly bass light... it must've been the fashion but I struggle to believe it..

at the time i always wondered why recordings sounded so sh*t compared to the live shows for the bands i loved and thought it something vibe-ruinous about "being in a poncey studio".. but maybe it was just the lack of bass....
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