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Clarity and depth of the 70's vs DAW and hard drive: Is it possible... Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 10th November 2009
  #121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PostHypnoticBoy View Post
And yet nobody has pointed out the rather obvious issue of over compressed mastering?

We can argue about a lot of the finer details involved until the ends of the earth. The start of the topic was based on a simple general issue. And it has a simple general answer. The way we now push the tracks to sound louder at quieter levels will leave them noisy and muddy at louder levels. Welcome to the music industry.
+1

IMO it's because of the ease of adding compression.

Less compression is needed with tape as you get a small amount of natural compression anyway.

Many recordings seem to have substituted recording things properly in the first place with over-processing/compressing everything.

The Loudness wars is also part of it IMO....
Old 10th November 2009
  #122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PostHypnoticBoy View Post
And yet nobody has pointed out the rather obvious issue of over compressed mastering?

We can argue about a lot of the finer details involved until the ends of the earth. The start of the topic was based on a simple general issue. And it has a simple general answer. The way we now push the tracks to sound louder at quieter levels will leave them noisy and muddy at louder levels. Welcome to the music industry.

I did and so did many others. Read again. Or what, am I on your ignore list or something?
Old 10th November 2009
  #123
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I think compression and mastering were mentioned...(EDIT...was writing all my BS and didn't see the post above yet... )

but, as far as mastering goes....if you're talking authentic 70s sound, and you recorded everything with true authentic 70s sound...I don't think smashing it will make any difference at all as to whether it still sounds completely and totally like the 70s...

i'm not even sure if you flat lined and over compressed individual 70s tracks, if it still wouldn't sound completely like the 70s....

that new Al Green album was mentioned as an authentic and good sounding modern 70s thing...does sound good...not really authentic though at all...but they did compress more to be modern, among other things...technically, sounds "better" to me than the 70s Al Green...but it doesn't really sound better...

I don't think old stuff sounds as "good" as people seem to think in a strictly hifi way...
Old 10th November 2009
  #124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11 View Post
I don't think old stuff sounds as "good" as people seem to think in a strictly hifi way...
I very much agree with that.
Old 10th November 2009
  #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11 View Post
I don't think old stuff sounds as "good" as people seem to think in a strictly hifi way...
Agreed.

For me, a lot of the attraction is the emotion present in older recordings that is seemingly lacking in our era of grid-defined, pitch-homigenized, "me too" music.

With that said, i also agree that there is a lot of stuff being recorded today that does contain that excitement and emotion, its just not on the charts and the home page of the iTunes music store.
Old 10th November 2009
  #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry b View Post
Agreed.

For me, a lot of the attraction is the emotion present in older recordings that is seemingly lacking in our era of grid-defined, pitch-homigenized, "me too" music.

With that said, i also agree that there is a lot of stuff being recorded today that does contain that excitement and emotion, its just not on the charts and the home page of the iTunes music store.
....which brings it all back again to Mr Swedien......in my sig heh

Definitely the reason all and sundry are going on about 70's recordings is not that they have more clarity, because they just don't. Simplicity maybe. But most definitely there was usually much more emotion = appeal. It was a different time. Watch a 70's TV show. Very innocent. Not like that now. More emotionally appealing/open. And I also believe that to some extent the sounds that happen when one uses the old gear are by now marked in our brains with connotations of goodness/a feeling, other than the tones coming from some good old gear just being pleasant in general. Whereas some of the boxes today may sound infinitely more 'impressive', 'real', etc, but I for one do not have any use of 'impressive' sound in my music and agree with Bruce about 'real' .....
Old 10th November 2009
  #127
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But recordings from the the 70's DO sound better than most of there.
Along with all the other great points about process, the style of the era , performance neccesities, etc... the fidelity of the material is just superior than anything happening today. I think the idea of clarity seems to take up too much of the conversation, as in todays music/technology is capable of making recordings with more clarity........which doesn't mean finer fidelity. (at least to me, not).

Almost like saying a beer that is more transparent in color is oviouslly better than one with all that fuzzy yeast floating around........and we ALL know that's not true! LOL!

We actually buy the finest converters money can buy, then turn around and buy the finest saturation boxes money can buy (not me), trying to correct the sterile.........someone needs to explain this one to me.

It it all comes down to the quality of that black, alive space between notes. When all the music drops out, and maybe just one instrument is playing something soft, what's the quality of the magic in that dark silence when the instrument becomes silent? Almost like you need to refine the silence.

I'm not an expert or pro, but I do make alot of my own music and have used quite a bit of different gear over the years. I think to get a 70's style sound it's about the gear used to capture inspired (this is THE take) performances, and how the rooms are setup (mic placement, technique, etc..) I think someone with a 4 track cassette recorder and a hand full of nice mics could get it, even faster than someone with a blownout PT rig.
The sooner someone start behaving and embracing those techniques and limitations from then, the closer they'll get.

I've started by growing a silly looking mustache, and already my drum tracks sound better.heh
Old 10th November 2009
  #128
Gear Addict
Not that it's a solution for the "70's sound debate" but playback systems I think were better back then.

Joe Consumer cared about hi-fi and sound to an extent and was excited to pick up a new album and be blown away by it's sonics. Even better was the real audio enthusiast world. How many people remember their dad's geekin' out on some new speakers or preamp or record stylus or something back then? Music was a primary form of entertainment and was treated with reverence and respect.

Nowadays almost ever playback system I see/hear is grossly under-powered, with pathetic speakers in tiny plastic boxes, pumpin out music relegated for background noise while mom's unpackin' the fast-food diner she's "prepared" for the family.

Cheap, fast, plastic, instant gratification bull****.

Most factory car stereos sound like ****, most home playback systems sound like ****, most TV's sound like ****.

On many occasions I've taken people to hi-fi shops and let them listen to high-end speakers like Martin Logan electrostats, or B&W's or even let them listen on my big Tannoy coaxials and they're always floored by how good music can sound.

Maybe I'm over romanticizing audio enthusiasts from back then, but I estimate 90% of the playback systems out there today suck ass and force music to be the background experience that it's become today. Let's face it...You don't need a high-performance playback system to duplicate 6db of dynamic range. And who cares if it accurately hits even 60hz?!

Fix the playback and listening experience for people and this hyper-compressed, mega-bassed, overly bright crap that we hear today will go away.

Now...I'm gonna pop in my ear plugs and go back to punishing some tracks with 15db boosts at 3.5k, suck out all the mids, add hyper-bass-inflators, and strap an L3 across the master to make some pop-punk kids happy.

Later and ****.
Old 10th November 2009
  #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelyfan View Post
But recordings from the the 70's DO sound better than most of there.
Along with all the other great points about process, the style of the era , performance neccesities, etc... the fidelity of the material is just superior than anything happening today. I think the idea of clarity seems to take up too much of the conversation, as in todays music/technology is capable of making recordings with more clarity........which doesn't mean finer fidelity. (at least to me, not).

Almost like saying a beer that is more transparent in color is oviouslly better than one with all that fuzzy yeast floating around........and we ALL know that's not true! LOL!

We actually buy the finest converters money can buy, then turn around and buy the finest saturation boxes money can buy (not me), trying to correct the sterile.........someone needs to explain this one to me.

It it all comes down to the quality of that black, alive space between notes. When all the music drops out, and maybe just one instrument is playing something soft, what's the quality of the magic in that dark silence when the instrument becomes silent? Almost like you need to refine the silence.

I'm not an expert or pro, but I do make alot of my own music and have used quite a bit of different gear over the years. I think to get a 70's style sound it's about the gear used to capture inspired (this is THE take) performances, and how the rooms are setup (mic placement, technique, etc..) I think someone with a 4 track cassette recorder and a hand full of nice mics could get it, even faster than someone with a blownout PT rig.
The sooner someone start behaving and embracing those techniques and limitations from then, the closer they'll get.

I've started by growing a silly looking mustache, and already my drum tracks sound better.heh

So, all great songs to me, but in terms of "HI" fidelity, where do those contemporary productions sound inferior?? Of course - go listen to the original CDs / LPs, not those youtube's but they are a sketch to observe...
A Perfect Circle has much more and deeper bass (which I like), strings are more realistic in Dave Matthews band song, drums are stronger (meaning: more low bass and mids) and have more impact in contemporary recordings, etc.

That particular 70's song has much less bass - which opens up the sonic stage - and more reverb on the vocal - but that is a stylistic choice...

Led Zep - Kashmir

YouTube - Led Zeppelin - Kashmir

A Perfect Circle - The Package

YouTube - a perfect circle - the package

Dave Matthews band - YouTube - Dave Matthews Band - Halloween

70's sound has mojo, but hi-fidelity, accurate reproduction, possible dynamic range...??

Better S/N ratios, etc. are the trademark of TODAY.

These are just a couple of quick illustrations, there are many...

Find me an example of 70's production of such hi-fidelity as this (again - refer to the CD/LP for the real sonic experience, not this Youtube):

YouTube - Richard Bona - Kalabancoro

Old 10th November 2009
  #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelyfan View Post
But recordings from the the 70's DO sound better than most of there.
Along with all the other great points about process, the style of the era , performance neccesities, etc... the fidelity of the material is just superior than anything happening today. I think the idea of clarity seems to take up too much of the conversation, as in todays music/technology is capable of making recordings with more clarity........which doesn't mean finer fidelity. (at least to me, not).

Almost like saying a beer that is more transparent in color is oviouslly better than one with all that fuzzy yeast floating around........and we ALL know that's not true! LOL!

We actually buy the finest converters money can buy, then turn around and buy the finest saturation boxes money can buy (not me), trying to correct the sterile.........someone needs to explain this one to me.

It it all comes down to the quality of that black, alive space between notes. When all the music drops out, and maybe just one instrument is playing something soft, what's the quality of the magic in that dark silence when the instrument becomes silent? Almost like you need to refine the silence.

I'm not an expert or pro, but I do make alot of my own music and have used quite a bit of different gear over the years. I think to get a 70's style sound it's about the gear used to capture inspired (this is THE take) performances, and how the rooms are setup (mic placement, technique, etc..) I think someone with a 4 track cassette recorder and a hand full of nice mics could get it, even faster than someone with a blownout PT rig.
The sooner someone start behaving and embracing those techniques and limitations from then, the closer they'll get.

I've started by growing a silly looking mustache, and already my drum tracks sound better.heh
some 70's recordings sound ace. Some suck hard.

Same with all other decades.

As for the 70's sound. I'm working on a lot of original 70's and 80's multitracks right now for archiving and sync use. To get "the 70's sound" you need to completely work in the 70's way. Equipment, mentality and intensity-wise.... I tried doing Jackson 5 ITB, for example. Good - but not right. Did it on our Neve - pretty good. Not right. Hired in an old Altec console {thanks to Bob O for that reference - he really is a gent} - effortlessly right. Same as you couldnt do a modern record on old equipment - use the right stuff in he right mindset.
Old 10th November 2009
  #131
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In the 70's it was all big studio work.

Groupies were chewing bubble gum and feathering their hair on the naugahyde sofa along the back wall. The musicians gave 110% because...

... well, because they wanted to impress the Jordache hotties so they could "Get Down Tonight."

Today, with all the project studios, space is tighter, and the groupies are in another room.

That 70's sound... it wasn't analog gear, it wasn't multiple takes, it wasn't tape saturation... it was hormones.
Old 10th November 2009
  #132
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
In the 70's it was all big studio work.

Groupies were chewing bubble gum and feathering their hair on the naugahyde sofa along the back wall. The musicians gave 110% because...

... well, because they wanted to impress the Jordache hotties so they could "Get Down Tonight."

Today, with all the project studios, space is tighter, and the groupies are in another room.

That 70's sound... it wasn't analog gear, it wasn't multiple takes, it wasn't tape saturation... it was hormones.
HA HA!! Love it!!
Old 10th November 2009
  #133
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I really like Richard Bona's records. I actually saw him play with Joe Zawinul is New Orleans. I have all his albulms, they sound good. A wonderful soul.

Dave Mathews production style just doesn't do it for me I'm afraid. Hi-fi in a non flattering way to me ears. I think it's hard to beat JonI mitchell's 70's sound or even Neil Young's production style, WAY more fireplace and winter air in that sound. DM has nicely recorded albulms.......and that's it, that where (for me) the emotional sensation stops, it ONLY has a hi-fi sound, there's no romance at all in the sound of his production. His music is fine. Steelydan's first records sound superior to me, as in hi-fi with a vibe, not JUST a fancy studio sound......that always falls short.
Old 10th November 2009
  #134
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
I tried doing Jackson 5 ITB, for example. Good - but not right. Did it on our Neve - pretty good. Not right. Hired in an old Altec console {thanks to Bob O for that reference - he really is a gent} - effortlessly right. Same as you couldnt do a modern record on old equipment - use the right stuff in he right mindset.
I totally understand that and agree. That's the problem I have when folks buy something REALLY NICE, but it has nothing to do with the sound they are after......."But this piece is SO high end....it HAS to help" > lol.

I agree, the gear should make sense with the bottom line goal.
Old 10th November 2009
  #135
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
In the 70's it was all big studio work.

Groupies were chewing bubble gum and feathering their hair on the naugahyde sofa along the back wall. The musicians gave 110% because...

... well, because they wanted to impress the Jordache hotties so they could "Get Down Tonight."

Today, with all the project studios, space is tighter, and the groupies are in another room.

That 70's sound... it wasn't analog gear, it wasn't multiple takes, it wasn't tape saturation... it was hormones.
LOL!

Kick ass! Jordache jeans and feathered hair needs to come back. THAT'S the spirit.
Old 10th November 2009
  #136
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While I'm thinking about it, today's production style has a bit too much lowend for my taste, when the high's are blended to balance out the mix,
everything becomes so BIG and Crisp, and although it sounds hi-fi, I feel it also sounds sorta cheap.

This is just my taste, but I know when I turn up music, I don't want the bass to rumble my windows and the hi's to drop birds from the sky. I want a nice balance of music, where fidelity is king and not an example of what technology is capable of. I think that's probablly where I'll differ from most.
Old 10th November 2009
  #137
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Hi Fi is a lot like the F64 large format view camera approach to photography.

What's in front of the lens had better be blemish free!
Old 10th November 2009
  #138
I get the same sounds today as I got in the 1970's. I use the same tools. The storage is the only thing that changed.

I stay off DAW's and shut off the computers. All analog outboard, analog console.

No one complained until the computers took over audio production.

"Hey, Sound Doctor, why does it hurt my ears when I use the DAW?"

Sound Doctor, "Don't use the DAW".

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 10th November 2009
  #139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
I did and so did many others. Read again. Or what, am I on your ignore list or something?
Sorry The Listener. You are correct. I somehow skipped a whole page while reading through this.
Old 10th November 2009
  #140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redvelvetstudios View Post
from Radar user Dan Lanois:

"It's interesting how everybody references Led Zeppelin records today, but nobody wants to make them anymore.

“Instead, they go into the studio and choke the bass drum to death, make sure it sounds ticky with no roundness whatsoever, and God forbid it should ever resonate. So that's where we're at today; we have our references intact, but we are not brave enough to do anything with them.

“The greatest folly of modern times is to try to make things sound small, so they occupy a tiny space in the picture and can cut through the mix or something. It is crazy. Engineers will cut down everything below 400 Hz from an acoustic guitar because they think it's booming. But 90 percent of the body of the guitar is in that range. If you kill that, you're left with the scratchy-nails-on-the-blackboard sound. Or people use transducers that sound like crap. Or you get the flunky engineers (who all end up doing work for television) rolling off the bottom end, because TV sets aren't supposed to have the capacity to reproduce that.

“Instead, make a thing sound as big as you possibly can, so it can hold its head up with dignity and pride! When you pipe a Bob Marley track through a TV set, it will sound fantastic because everything in the sound picture is perfect. Even though the television set may not be capable of putting out anything below 90 Hz, you still get relative harmonics ringing. So by putting 30 Hz in there, you get a better 150 Hz. That's why old records sound better than current ones; producers were not afraid to crank up the bass.

“Now it's all about cranking up the hi-hat and making things as bright as possible — and for God's sake, roll off everything in the low midrange and don't have any bottom. And then go home and listen to old Led Zeppelin records for inspiration! The only records that sound good these days are hip-hop records, because the producers understand something about bottom end.”
I've read many a great things on GS about the reasons why records sounded the way they did back in the ole days heh , even from our very own Bob Olhsson, but this above from Daniel Lanois really hits the mark thumbsup
Old 10th November 2009
  #141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelyfan View Post
I really like Richard Bona's records. I actually saw him play with Joe Zawinul is New Orleans. I have all his albulms, they sound good. A wonderful soul.

Dave Mathews production style just doesn't do it for me I'm afraid. Hi-fi in a non flattering way to me ears. I think it's hard to beat JonI mitchell's 70's sound or even Neil Young's production style, WAY more fireplace and winter air in that sound. DM has nicely recorded albulms.......and that's it, that where (for me) the emotional sensation stops, it ONLY has a hi-fi sound, there's no romance at all in the sound of his production. His music is fine. Steelydan's first records sound superior to me, as in hi-fi with a vibe, not JUST a fancy studio sound......that always falls short.
I really like the stuff from Ambrosia, Little River Band, and Player
Old 10th November 2009
  #142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
Speaking of the 70s, check out this video. It's a 70's German band called The Rattles. It's not an example of clarity and depth, but check the groove during the verses on this one. The chorus is a little bit of an overwrought Hair musical type thing, but the groove in the verses just flat kills.

YouTube - The Rattles - You Can't Have Sunshine Every Day (1971)

thumbsup
Old 10th November 2009
  #143
Gear Addict
This notion that records sounded better in the 70s or whenever is an illusion. A great song transcends the medium in which it is delivered. The one thing that really sticks out in this thread is the fact that home listening systems are quite a bit "cheaper" and less hi-fi today than in the glory days of vinyl (probably a function of living in the iPud era and the fact that most commercial electronics manufacturers have been cheaping out on their home hi-fi systems for the past 15 years)...can you spell C-H-I-N-A?
Old 10th November 2009
  #144
And definitely proof it's not an issue of sonic quality:

YouTube - OH BABY LOVE - Mothers Finest

Even taking into account the Youtube quality, even I could probably do that well in terms of sonics. I assume it was probably recorded in some moderate studio in Atlanta, since that's where they are from, and probably on a pretty small budget since they were mostly a regional band? But it kicks serious butt. What a great song for a bass player. Simple, but The Thumb of God.
Old 10th November 2009
  #145
On the Lanois quote, though I generally am very much in line with his way of doing things, I would have to question the thing about low end. There was a good bit of discussoin elsewhere about the extent to which early consoles and outboard gear would significantly reduce anything under 50Hz. And that would appear to be true, since you don't hear a lot of heavy low end generally in 70s records. And since many of them were targeting vinyl, I guess that would have been even more of an issue. It seems like that ability to have mondo low end is more of a digital modern thing, where there's no limit other than 0dB of how much low end you can have in a song.

It seems to me more of an issue of not low lows, but saturated first octave lows, and often a quite de-emphasized first octave on the bass guitar as well.

That's obviously a completely different issue from the other thing he's talking about, of people today doing super crunchy, compressed, bright mixes on purpose.
Old 10th November 2009
  #146
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Are we confusing technical limitations of the times with simple aesthetic and artistic preferences?

I always assumed the reason that 70's records had less bottom end had less to do with the equipment and more with what sounds were fashionable and the production decisions being made to support that fashion. Are people going to look back at 2010 thirty years from now and say "the equipment back then could not really reproduce 350 Hz" just because the general production trend these days is to pull that stuff out?

I own a multitrack tape deck from the 70's. When I record music using it, the sounds are the furthest thing from the 70's.

Brad
Old 10th November 2009
  #147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
And that would appear to be true, since you don't hear a lot of heavy low end generally in 70s records.
I don't think that Lanois was just talking about mainstream rock records but rather about reggae/dub and funk records from the 70ies.

Less presence will emphasize the low end no matter what the subsonic content is. And the 70ies were no different than today inasmuch as typical consumer playback systems were very limited in their frequency response.

If you want to understand the '70ies sound' then you got to look at the whole cultural picture which wasn't really a pretty sight for the most part. But the 70ies bellbottom/ochre/shag carpet 'aesthetics' really fit the sonics of the time which very much deader, duller and less innovative than the 60ies.
Old 10th November 2009
  #148
Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
I don't think that Lanois was just talking about mainstream rock records but rather about reggae/dub and funk records from the 70ies.

Less presence will emphasize the low end no matter what the subsonic content is. And the 70ies were no different than today inasmuch as typical consumer playback systems were very limited in their frequency response.

If you want to understand the '70ies sound' then you got to look at the whole cultural picture which wasn't really a pretty sight for the most part. But the 70ies bellbottom/ochre/shag carpet 'aesthetics' really fit the sonics of the time which very much deader, duller and less innovative than the 60ies.
Well, I was there wearing my bell bottoms, with my 'fro, and with shag carpet in my bedroom. So I do understand it. I was fairly young, but I was there.

Anyway, I was commenting more on his remark about sub-sonics. If the equipment was not passing it, and if vinyl coudln't really handle it anyway, leaving aside if anyone could reproduce it, how could it have been there really?
Old 10th November 2009
  #149
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Studiodawg View Post
This notion that records sounded better in the 70s or whenever is an illusion. A great song transcends the medium in which it is delivered. The one thing that really sticks out in this thread is the fact that home listening systems are quite a bit "cheaper" and less hi-fi today than in the glory days of vinyl (probably a function of living in the iPud era and the fact that most commercial electronics manufacturers have been cheaping out on their home hi-fi systems for the past 15 years)...can you spell C-H-I-N-A?
I agree about the song transcending mediums for sure. I think what alot of people forget about it is that plenty of people stll have killer stereo systems and listen to vinyl......which IS a superior medium to cd. I realize that in the bussiness aspect of things, for artist to press vinyl probablly seems unrealistic (but is a sign of artist/labels who REALLY care......and their fans/collectors buy vinyl because THEY want the best sound, especially for astonishingly good music. ex. = Thrill Jockey) Not lots of people still do this, and folks mix for Ipods and crappy car stereos, but not everyone has to follow this most dreadful of trends.....that doesn't lend itself to longitivity, it's becomes like the 80's gated drum verb thing....or the future mullet at worst! LOl.stikestike heh

After listening to Fleetwood Mac, Willie Nelson, SD , Joni , Miles Davis, any old country , Return to Forever, The Smiths , Joy Division, etc..... on vinyl, modern mixes fall WAAYY short in the sound quality dept. on cd.
compared to 70's on vinyl.

I do realize that the world is a changin', but I'm not goin with the flow when the flow ain't happen'.

I propose someone try this listening test.

Put in a Dave Mathews cd, anyone of'em and have a listen.....great band, great music........ let your ears rest for @ 5-10 minutes and then put on Men At Work's vinyl record "Cargo". Turn up the volume on your home stereo to match the volume of the cd. That should answer alot of questions.
Old 10th November 2009
  #150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
Well, I was there wearing my bell bottoms, with my 'fro, and with shag carpet in my bedroom. So I do understand it. I was fairly young, but I was there.
Yes but I have proof! heh

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