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Is Steve Albini exaggerating when claiming he barely uses compression and EQ?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #61
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biksonije's Avatar
 

I am pretty sure more knowledgeable people here will get you sorted out with that. I would say first step would be good recording (if it is analogue recording of any source that requires microphone) which definitely involves mic, pre, positioning... Then, depending on material there comes editing and at the end final editing (on the master bus).

Nowadays many people have too much processors already thrown on their Master Bus and they do "mixing into" all those processors.

If source doesn't need squashing or shaving or whatever then why do it? There's nothing wrong with just a simple "get-rid-of" high-pass or low-pass cleaning depending on the source/track/channel. But overprocessing just because I have powerful computing power? No. Heck no!

There you go, my honest opinion. As I said, there are many girls & boys here who know their stuff. Check their answers and draw a conclusion for yourself.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #62
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
Yea, a lot of strange things made sense in those days . "We've got a Roland space echo, so we MUST use it somewhere." The EP is being reissued by a punk fanzine. There's nothing like hearing one's work described as a "historic example of early DIY American hardcore " to make a person fee OLD.

Honestly, after re-furbing my Teac 3340 to the point where it would play back the 4-track recording decently, I was surprised how good it sounded given the circumstances. The Ampex 456 was still playing without having to be baked, which surprised me give that it had sat in a drawer in an Oklahoma basement for 37 years.
IIRC baking is only needed for tapes of a certain era - when they switched from using maybe whale oil to synthetic my mind wants to say, but I could be totally making that up.

Either way, early tape might well not need baking!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #63
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andychamp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
(...)It probably did make sense to the guys in 83 on the 4 track though!
Practical for poking fun at a differing viewpoint, maybe, but not very factually accurate.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #64
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post

Honestly, after re-furbing my Teac 3340 to the point where it would play back the 4-track recording decently, I was surprised how good it sounded given the circumstances. The Ampex 456 was still playing without having to be baked, which surprised me give that it had sat in a drawer in an Oklahoma basement for 37 years.
That gives me hope; I've got multi tracks (4, 8, and 24tracks) sitting in my basement in a desk drawer - they have all my early production music and jingles from 30-40 years ago. I've been wanting to convert them to digital files, but think they need to be baked.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
That gives me hope; I've got multi tracks (4, 8, and 24tracks) sitting in my basement in a desk drawer - they have all my early production music and jingles from 30-40 years ago. I've been wanting to convert them to digital files, but think they need to be baked.
baking is easy. Just get a fruit dehydrator with a temperature control. Or if it doesn't have a control, hook it up to a Variac and stick a thermometer in there. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't go over about 130 degrees F.


I am very surprised that norfolk martin's 456 is playing OK. Almost every roll I ever encountered in the last 10 years needs baking
Old 4 weeks ago
  #66
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
baking is easy. Just get a fruit dehydrator with a temperature control. Or if it doesn't have a control, hook it up to a Variac and stick a thermometer in there. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't go over about 130 degrees F.


I am very surprised that norfolk martin's 456 is playing OK. Almost every roll I ever encountered in the last 10 years needs baking
I haven't had much luck playing back DATS from the 90's - they shed like crazy.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
I haven't had much luck playing back DATS from the 90's - they shed like crazy.
I must admit, I have never baked a DAT. The spinning head must be murder on an old tape.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #68
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
IIRC baking is only needed for tapes of a certain era - when they switched from using maybe whale oil to synthetic my mind wants to say, but I could be totally making that up.

Either way, early tape might well not need baking!
That is absolutely true not every tape needs to be baked and for some baking it could destroy it. I've worked on restoring some Ella Fitzgerald records that had we baked the tape I was told they would have been destroyed.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #69
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DistortingJack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoltenVoltage View Post
There's no way this song isn't heavily compressed. From the side stick to full smashing drums - roughly the same volume. Most of the other tunes have a similar soft-loud-soft-loud dynamic.




Here's Albini revisiting the track in 2013. It sounds way more natural and less compressed (even though the mastering is quite loud of course).
Old 3 weeks ago
  #70
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Sigma's Avatar
i had to splice a snapped DAT..oy
Old 3 weeks ago
  #71
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
i had to splice a snapped DAT..oy
I've seen DAT tape gets detached from the hub, and I've seen them crunch and/or stretch, but I've never seen one snap.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #72
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I've seen DAT tape gets detached from the hub, and I've seen them crunch and/or stretch, but I've never seen one snap.

Grover Washington jr ..the engineer didn't run 2 copies..GW left ..label needed tracks ..i ws cheif eng so i fixed the snap and it did do a nice clean snap..i did the normal 90 deg cut for digital to not lose parity
Old 3 weeks ago
  #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Honkermann View Post
This raises the question: is type of music Albini records best served by a “documentary” approach? Traditionally, classical music is recorded that way. But rock recordings have been artificially constructed in the studio, at least since the days of the Beatles.

Personally, I prefer the artificial/constructed approach. The studio is an instrument, not a laboratory. The best engineer/producers are artists, not scientists.
Most people don't buy rock albums because of the engineers/producers. Seeing as Nirvana came out of a certain scene & vibe that basically revered Albini's aesthetic (if not the man himself), it's pointless to question his/their choice -- that's what made them what they were.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post


Here's Albini revisiting the track in 2013. It sounds way more natural and less compressed (even though the mastering is quite loud of course).
I've always preferred the rawer tracks on that album. Scentless Apprentice is my favorite track on the album, maybe their entire discography & I can't imagine liking it as much if it had been polished into an unbearable sheen like the hits (or Nevermind). Also makes me wonder what kind of a band they could have become if/when Grohl's ego caught up to Cobain's.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #74
Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post


Here's Albini revisiting the track in 2013. It sounds way more natural and less compressed (even though the mastering is quite loud of course).
That mix is not particularly pleasant. The snare is distractingly in your face in the intro and he didn't scoop out room for the vocal.

The chorus loses the vocals as well - guitars are way too loud and also lack the necessary EQ.

Kurt's voice is the star of the show and the album version lets you hear every word.

Yes, the 2013 mix is more natural, but, in this case, that's not the best choice - IMHO
Old 2 weeks ago
  #75
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoltenVoltage View Post
There's no way this song isn't heavily compressed. From the side stick to full smashing drums - roughly the same volume. Most of the other tunes have a similar soft-loud-soft-loud dynamic.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post


Here's Albini revisiting the track in 2013. It sounds way more natural and less compressed (even though the mastering is quite loud of course).
Listening to these back to back is kind of amazing. I hadn't listened to the released/original in a long while, and I hadn't bought the anniversary version. The first version is kinda boring in comparison. There's no push and pull. And the reverb on the vocal is just so "vocals are supposed to have reverb." Steve's version has this very true to life thing that I really like. The dry voice is really nice and intimate. And the first chorus knock you over. Steve's mix sounds like a band. Scott Litt's mix sounds like a production.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #76
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
For me, Albini always mixes vocals like he doesn't like them and the words don't matter. His own, especially. And at least when I'm mixing something, if the listener has to adjust the volume midway I consider it to be a fail.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #77
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
For me, Albini always mixes vocals like he doesn't like them and the words don't matter. His own, especially. And at least when I'm mixing something, if the listener has to adjust the volume midway I consider it to be a fail.
Yeah, Steve tucks in the vocal. That's why Geffen brought in Scott Litt...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Listening to these back to back is kind of amazing. I hadn't listened to the released/original in a long while, and I hadn't bought the anniversary version. The first version is kinda boring in comparison. There's no push and pull. And the reverb on the vocal is just so "vocals are supposed to have reverb." Steve's version has this very true to life thing that I really like. The dry voice is really nice and intimate. And the first chorus knock you over. Steve's mix sounds like a band. Scott Litt's mix sounds like a production.
Man, to my ears the Albini mix sounds like a demo and the Litt mix sounds like a record.

Different strokes for different folks.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #79
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noah330's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoltenVoltage View Post
There's no way this song isn't heavily compressed. From the side stick to full smashing drums - roughly the same volume. Most of the other tunes have a similar soft-loud-soft-loud dynamic.

Never been a Nirvana fan, even though they were marketed to my demographic as I graduated hs in 94, but I give them props for the Jizzy Pearl homage in their video.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #80
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
Man, to my ears the Albini mix sounds like a demo and the Litt mix sounds like a record.

Different strokes for different folks.
That's kinda what I said. I just think simple and demo like can be really cool for a band like that. And when the record hit I thought HSB was really great. I'm just reacting in the hear and now that was 3AM.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #81
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DistortingJack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
Man, to my ears the Albini mix sounds like a demo and the Litt mix sounds like a record.

Different strokes for different folks.
I have heard many demos in my life and they very, very rarely sound anywhere as good as that.

I know what you mean, in terms of the subjective lack of polish, but it's really the lack of reverb and compression. You know, things that are actually quite unnatural and we add as ear candy that we all love, but make the sounds way less "real".
Old 2 weeks ago
  #82
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In the end, I try to adjust as little as possible. Only what is needed to be interesting and convey emotion.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #83
Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post
I have heard many demos in my life and they very, very rarely sound anywhere as good as that.

I know what you mean, in terms of the subjective lack of polish, but it's really the lack of reverb and compression. You know, things that are actually quite unnatural and we add as ear candy that we all love, but make the sounds way less "real".
Maybe “rough mix”/“board mix”/“premix” are better terms then? I think that’s what was being conveyed...it didn’t sound finished.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #84
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I liked the Albini version better, which surprised me.

I didn't expect to.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo3 View Post
I don’t think he was really doing that a million years ago, on something like Surfer Rosa...the album that is maybe a major reason he got to make the rest of the stuff.
i assume you mean this is a good example of working without compression etc?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdtrbn View Post
Hmm, I have a vague memory that he regularly talks against using tape outside the "linear range". This is the best/first reference I could find:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lq-Zxnryzv8#t=2m30s


in the video he just says he avoids tape compression whenever possible
Old 2 weeks ago
  #87
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitsmith View Post
in the video he just says he avoids tape compression whenever possible
From what I know, have read, and seen, distortion on Albini records come before the mic, not after. Generally speaking.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
It should be pointed out that Steve thinks of himself as a documentarian. He's trying to capture, preserve and convey that. He wants the listener to hear the band, not the record, if that makes sense.

seems almost like the exact opposite to the way someone like brian eno might work (studio as an instrument and all that)
Old 2 weeks ago
  #89
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitsmith View Post
seems almost like the exact opposite to the way someone like brian eno might work (studio as an instrument and all that)
I completely agree. I dig and respect both.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #90
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toledo3's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitsmith View Post
i assume you mean this is a good example of working without compression etc?
no.

I mean it is a good example of a popular record he was involved with, arguably the one that allowed him to make more records with higher profile acts...but also a record that seemingly did not follow most of the rules he made up *subsequently*. Which he has also pointed out himself.
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