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It's about 3 things, performance, microphone and preamp.. Change my mind.
Old 14th September 2019
  #1
Gear Nut
 

It's about 3 things, performance, microphone and preamp.. Change my mind.

Discuss..

Last edited by dwdummer0; 15th September 2019 at 07:36 AM.. Reason: Bcause
Old 14th September 2019
  #2
To me it’s really all about the performance only. I’ve heard some magical performances on very cheap gear. Without you have nothing really.
Old 14th September 2019
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Just about 1 thing, if there is a will, you will find a way ^^
Old 14th September 2019
  #4
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XAXAU's Avatar
Performance plus the MacGyver level of the engineer
Old 14th September 2019
  #5
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funka's Avatar
 

Performance and song/emotion first, of course.

Do not forget the room is this equation!
I would put room before mic and preamp.
Old 14th September 2019
  #6
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Room, as just mentioned, is absolutely critical.

As an addition, since performers, most often, have a broad dynamic range, and adding a number of performers on any song further increases the dynamic range, an excellent compressor will transform each track and song.

I personally prefer to avoid EQ, so for me that is not necessary, however the Retro 176, as one example of an excellent compressor, is a requirement.
Old 14th September 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
IMHO it's about one thing, performance first, second and third. Mics can have an effect because some mics just don't suit certain singers - having the "wrong" mic still won't be enough to stop a great performance sound like a great performance. Mic pres, meh, yeah, gear's great - we like tinkering and comparing pres, which will show up differences in direct cold analysis, however, these days - particularly with the amount of saturation on most vocals - you'd be hard pressed to hear the mic let alone a pre. Performance is king by a long way, particularly these days where budget gear sounds perfectly good.
Old 14th September 2019
  #8
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swafford's Avatar
 

It's really about not who you know, but who you know they know.

You know?

(I have a boner.)
Old 14th September 2019
  #9
Gear Addict
Some music just goes right through you - as if there is no defense against it.

What makes this happen for me? I get three categories? Ok, here are my three:
  1. Aspects of the tune itself must bind to some compelling set of emotions.
  2. The arrangement/performance is particularly effective in maximizing those bindings.
  3. Competent engineering/production quality are included in the table stakes, but great engineering/production [from mic selection to mastering] really do complete the mojo.

Familiarity with, and respect for, the artist(s) [being a fan] may bias the equation, but isn't really a requirement.

One may argue my second and third categories are over-broad. What can I say?


Guilty as charged,

Ray H.
Old 14th September 2019
  #10
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DougS's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath View Post
Some music just goes right through you - as if there is no defense against it.

What make this happen for me? I get three categories? Ok, here are my three:
  1. Aspects of the tune itself must bind to some compelling set of emotions.
  2. The arrangement/performance is particularly effective in maximizing those bindings.
  3. Competent engineering/production quality are included in the table stakes, but great engineering/production [from mic selection to mastering] really do complete the mojo.

Familiarity with, and respect for, the artist(s) [being a fan] may bias the equation, but isn't really a requirement.

One may argue my second and third categories are over-broad. What can I say?


Guilty as charged,

Ray H.
Agreed. Well put.
Old 14th September 2019
  #11
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O.F.F.'s Avatar
 

Performance > large gap > microphones > huge chasm > preamps


Overall I'd put preamps into the 'least significant' category...alongside convertors.
Old 14th September 2019
  #12
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Drumsound's Avatar
IF the performance kills, I'll work around the other things if they weren't the "best choice."
Old 14th September 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O.F.F. View Post
Performance > large gap > microphones > huge chasm > preamps


Overall I'd put preamps into the 'least significant' category...alongside convertors.
I think I'd put "room" somewhere in the "large gap", but otherwise I'm 100% with you.

I'd rather have an okay capture of a good room, than a pristine capture of a rubbish room.

Chris
Old 14th September 2019
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

The performance ain't my job, other than not messing it up.

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 14th September 2019 at 07:13 PM..
Old 15th September 2019
  #15
Gear Nut
 

Nice dudes! Agreed it's def about performance first. But after that for me, mic (mic placement) and preamp. Nowadays, you can use pretty much any AD DA converter and get 95-99 percent there. Thats a great thing IMO! In the early 2000's it wasnt like that. You would need to go with something like an Apogee 16x, AD8000 or something from Avid (Digidesign at the time).

Good stuff!
Old 15th September 2019
  #16
Gear Nut
 

I do a good amount of session work and it def for me starts first with a decent to great song. Gotta have that first...
Old 15th September 2019
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwdummer0 View Post
Nice dudes! Agreed it's def about performance first. But after that for me, mic (mic placement) and preamp. Nowadays, you can use pretty much any AD DA converter and get 95-99 percent there. Thats a great thing IMO! In the early 2000's it wasnt like that. You would need to go with something like an Apogee 16x, AD8000 or something from Avid (Digidesign at the time).

Good stuff!
The 16x wasn’t around til mid 2000s at least, and the digidesign converters were the 888s - most seemed to bag on these (many still made great records on them however!).
Old 15th September 2019
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
The 16x wasn’t around til mid 2000s at least, and the digidesign converters were the 888s - most seemed to bag on these (many still made great records on them however!).
The 192's were revealed at NAMM 2002 alongside all the "Pro Tools HD" hardware which was a game changer. They were bagged on but not nearly as much at the 888's. Still people had their reasons to do so.. Every studio here in LA had them at the time. Computer processing wasn't near what it is now at that time. To counter this, Digidesign introduced higher qualty AD DA (192's) alongside DSP. DSP helped by giving higher track counts and more instances of TDM plugins. Main point is that records early and to you credit some mid 2000s were being made on these converters. It cost a hell of a lot more at that time to get a quality AD DA converter compared to what you can get at a fraction of the cost nowdays. Another option around that time was the Radar 24 systems which had great AD DA conversion but horrible editing even compared to Pro Tools at the time. That was around 2000 that it was introduced. Also, AD-16x and DA-16x were introudced around end of 2004. The original AD-DA's (non X) were around the 2002 area.
Old 15th September 2019
  #19
It’s like 99% the performance/song... Exhibit A: Elliott Smith. Mic/Pre don’t matter AT ALL in his case.
Old 15th September 2019
  #20
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Mangum View Post
[. . .] Exhibit A: Elliott Smith. Mic/Pre don’t matter AT ALL in his case.
Not certain that was exactly his claim here [3:24 - 4:00], but I think I understand your point - and I truly enjoyed hearing his perspective. Thanks for posting.


Ray H.
Old 15th September 2019
  #21
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O.F.F.'s Avatar
 

4:35 Perfection is not a modern concept or aim but it is a very modern ability.

In the analogue days perfection or the striving for perfection was limited. You could not edit to your heart's content because of generational loss and other shortcomings of analogue tech.
In these digital days that is not the case, SQ does not limit our ability to edit any more. W can edit until everything is perfect.

Turns out perfection is overrated and anodyne. Inadvertently we have edited the magic away in the pursuit of perfection.
Old 15th September 2019
  #22
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by O.F.F. View Post
Turns out perfection is overrated and anodyne. Inadvertently we have edited the magic away in the pursuit of perfection.
Realizing that over-perfecting is possible is part of the process of getting really good at perfecting.
Old 15th September 2019
  #23
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DougS's Avatar
 

The ultimate answer of course is it depends. Each successful song has the elements it needs to be successful. This can be different from artist-to-artist and even song-to-song. To a female power pop vocalist the Mic/Pre are really important. To another arist (maybe a bluegrass band) other elements may be more important.

An extreme example is that its pretty hard to argue that Mic and Pre selection and room are important to a 100% midi/virtual instrument based ITB instrumental.

This is why I liked RayHeath's comments in post #9 - he generalized it to the point where it applies across the board but not so far that it doesn't have meaning. And he emphasized the emotion the song engenders. To me that's key.

And - It also depends on who's perspective you're talking about. As Brent said, if you're the engineer you don't own the performance. You can influence it by providing an environment conducive to good performances in the tracking phase. But its 99% the artist's job to do a good performance. And the song and the arrangement are not the engineer's responsibility at all - so for him there not in the hierarchy at all.
Old 15th September 2019
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath View Post
Not certain that was exactly his claim here [3:24 - 4:00], but I think I understand your point - and I truly enjoyed hearing his perspective. Thanks for posting.


Ray H.
Oh, if you’re referring to the video clip, that’s me haha... totally unrelated, just part of my signature for posts!
Old 15th September 2019
  #25
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Mangum View Post
Oh, if you’re referring to the video clip, that’s me haha... totally unrelated, just part of my signature for posts!
Thanks for pulling me out of the dark!


Ray H.
Old 15th September 2019
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougS View Post
And the song and the arrangement are not the engineer's responsibility at all - so for him there not in the hierarchy at all.
Well, kinda. You have a responsibility to point out (tactfully) things that are suspect. Like when half the band plays a major chord and the other half plays a minor.
Old 15th September 2019
  #27
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DougS's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Well, kinda. You have a responsibility to point out (tactfully) things that are suspect. Like when half the band plays a major chord and the other half plays a minor.
Agreed.
Old 15th September 2019
  #28
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DistortingJack's Avatar
 

If your room is small and isn’t treated it doesn’t matter what gear you have, your LDC will sound like someone doing karaoke on your track.

Either treat your room or use a very directional stage mic for voice.
Old 16th September 2019
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwdummer0 View Post
The 192's were revealed at NAMM 2002 alongside all the "Pro Tools HD" hardware which was a game changer. They were bagged on but not nearly as much at the 888's. Still people had their reasons to do so.. Every studio here in LA had them at the time. Computer processing wasn't near what it is now at that time. To counter this, Digidesign introduced higher qualty AD DA (192's) alongside DSP. DSP helped by giving higher track counts and more instances of TDM plugins. Main point is that records early and to you credit some mid 2000s were being made on these converters. It cost a hell of a lot more at that time to get a quality AD DA converter compared to what you can get at a fraction of the cost nowdays. Another option around that time was the Radar 24 systems which had great AD DA conversion but horrible editing even compared to Pro Tools at the time. That was around 2000 that it was introduced. Also, AD-16x and DA-16x were introudced around end of 2004. The original AD-DA's (non X) were around the 2002 area.
Sure, but they were “Avid” branded by that point, and they weren’t common in studios until a few years later - at least in London where I was, you had 888/24s and of you were posh the ad8000s. The Mix systems were the usual rig of choice too, HD rigs took a few years to be established. Again, just from experience in one epicentre.

I remember by about 2006 in London (I was moving around a few studios by then) HD rigs were pretty much the standard in all but the smaller/cheaper studios.
Old 16th September 2019
  #30
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vernier's Avatar
It's the artist. After that, any gear used is like a choice between red sauce or green sauce, etc.
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