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Clarity and depth of the 70's vs DAW and hard drive: Is it possible... Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 14th November 2009
  #241
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyjanopan View Post
can you post something recorded on PT and tape ?
You mean on an MP3? I think you have to be there.
Old 14th November 2009
  #242
And the other question is, are you hitting the tape relatively hard? If so, then it's not a fair comparison. To make it fair, you'd have to apply some smooth compression to the DAW version, because you are recording on one medium that effectively includes a soft knee sort of comrpessor and a bit of EQ'ing, to one that is just storing what you are giving to it.
Old 15th November 2009
  #243
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ARIEL's Avatar
Well I decided to chime in with all the opinions on what era has the vibe . I'm not sure what you are all currently buying or listening to but there a lot of great warm rich sounding recording with more 3D vibe and depth than stuff from the past that is out today !!. But i do hear a lot in the metal side with brutal high end that makes the ears bleed . Funny thing is when i listen to my cd's from artists of the 70's I think about how it would sound better remixed with todays tools .
One problem is too much high freq info which causes brittle ness and that could be problematic of any generation .
Songs and skill makes a big difference to catch that vibe , Jamiroqui is an excellent example of great vibe and sound .

Here is a link of an artist that is very 70's is - steely dan meets prog meets pop with female vocals . The band was amaing . all drums done in 5 hrs - half the songs full takes , bass done in half a day - gtrs longer as we had 4 different guitar players in and they wrote there parts on the spot as well as they did not hear the song before hand . pretty much a few takes and done as they figured out what they wanted . The vocalist was flown in from toronto - had 4 days to sing 8 tunes - never heard any them as well , was fed the lyrics and melody - a few warm passes then started the takes . Keys same thing a day and done . This was an great joy to work on . The writer only had a bass line written and built up the songs in the studio while we tracked . Changed a line or two after the vox and gtrs were done to lock up better , he also played the drums . But this is what you get when working with theory and talent masters .

My Silent Eye on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Videos
Old 15th November 2009
  #244
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
And the other question is, are you hitting the tape relatively hard? If so, then it's not a fair comparison. To make it fair, you'd have to apply some smooth compression to the DAW version, because you are recording on one medium that effectively includes a soft knee sort of comrpessor and a bit of EQ'ing, to one that is just storing what you are giving to it.
i record to more or less - 10 on tape that is calibrated at + 9.
i don't believe that digital is just storing what you are giving to it.
i think digital removes a lot of spatial components of sound and i think
it's abilities to track certain frequencies are based more on science than
practical applications. 15 ips 16 track can make bass and drums come to life
on a dance floor in a way that i don't hear from digital. i only like analog classical.
i don't think strings transfer well to digital

in london, there is much more dancing than nyc and it is amazing to watch
the floor and feel of the floor depending on whether the dj is spinning vinyl, playing
cd's or playing mp3's from a laptop......the laptop clears the floor.....the cd is
not great.....the vinyl is a completely different thing - it is gentle and soft, it's
highs can be tremendously accurate and silky without aggression.

if you look at a graph of my studer A827 - it is pretty accurate at both 15 ips
and 30 ips

it is a great time to buy a tape recorder as they are being left aside by so many
high quality used tape is very available at $75 a reel.
how great it is that someone can buy a really great tape recorder for $7500.
one that will last for the next 25 years. one that is designed to be cared for
and repaired and not part of the world of upgrades and planned obsolescence.


what changed my life when i moved over to analog in 2003 is how easy it is
to get great sounds

i never had that sense with digital

obviously, i need to come to terms with the fact that my world is like a tiny niche
now, like a medieval reenactment society


i'll try to get with that


be well


- jack
Old 15th November 2009
  #245
Airwindows
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
It could be mixed in a way that would sound like any other crappy home recording demo, but I fortunately knew how they sounded life... and had a vision of a bit lo-fi psych fusion 70's sound like the Bitches Brew by Miles Davis.
But here's the thing- the real 70s stuff DOES sound like a crappy little home recording demo when compared to modern recordings. You have to recalibrate your ears, and know WHY you are recalibrating them.

I've got Pink Floyd 'Pulse'. There's nothing so disconcerting as hearing the subsonics effects of the modern era (freaks out my cats!) and then hearing the difference from the subsonics effects of the DSotM era on the effects tapes like on Speak To Me. The whole bottom octave, maybe two, are just not there, yet this was super wide-range for the day.

It's absolutely trivial to get extended highs these days. In the 70s, there was some overtones (like in really harsh cymbal crashes etc) even beyond 20K, but you have to remember that was like 24 db down! The big silky 70s stuff had just as extended highs but it was sounding about 12 db down from what modern stuff would use, and sounding 20 feet farther away... your ear has to adjust to such changes in tonal balance.

I was alive in the 70s- I was a little kid, and when I was growing up my whole musical obsessions centered around EARLY 70s recordings, notably prog-rock. Some tracks that obsessed me could not possibly be heard now without loud complaints. I was totally consumed with worship for a particular climactic full-band accent in 'Cross-Eyed Mary', the band kicking back in with great authority after the flute solo, with Zep-like impact. But that album also has Zep II-like tonal balance- hell, you can barely hear the cymbals or the kick half the time, and yet THE MUSIC burst through with incredible authority...

Poster of the 70s style jazzrock thing, you had it half right. The playing and arranging were very 70s. But it's not the fact that you used plugins to do so many things- it's that you did those things at all. When you put up a raw track (hopefully miked well and all, with a great performance) you get a sound that sounds kinda bedroom demo. Especially with the moving-coil mics you used... the sound seems boxy and small, there's a certain texture to it but you mostly hear everything it lacks, hear how weak in highs and clarity it is, hear plainly everything that MUST be done for the sound to be big and fullrange.

And yet you gotta leave it alone if you want the 70s thing, because that stuff is powered by just what you hear- the GHOST of the highs, lows, etc. It makes you want to twist the knobs because you can just feel what it can become, but in the final mix if you leave it alone you will STILL feel those things it's 'supposed' to have, and other sounds will distract and trick you into thinking you have everything you wanted.

The 70s sound is basically three things, some of which can be had out of DAWs and some require either a committment or some doctoring.

First and most important, bandlimited tonal balance. You can't fight the boxiness too hard. Wherever possible leave stuff totally blah and untouched, 'raw' and demolike. 80s is cool too and you can get twisty with the knobs, but every sonic quality you can bring out of a sound DISTRACTS from the musical statement of the instrument or voice. You want to end up with NOTHING to focus on except the musical statement- you don't even want it to sound obviously 'good' as sound, you just want the musical statement delivered. Any attention to sound as sound is wrong. (Back in the day it took great expertise to get UP to this level but now it's all about drawing attention to the sound AS sound, and leaving stuff so raw and uncooked sounds totally 'wrong'. Yeah- wrong like a fox...)

Secondly, and Bob Ohlsson drew attention to this, way less compression and limiting. This one I've actually measured. You would not believe the peak headroom on some of these albums. I've been asked to bring back my sonogram studies of these things- I measured stuff for peak vs. RMS loudness. All the stuff, ALL the stuff that's classic seventies- including compress-fests like Dark Side and Boston's first album- has insane, crazy high headroom being actively used. You have to know that when musicians play more passionately and especially sing more passionately, the peak energy goes up relative to if they're phoning it in. Listen to the vocal tracks on Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain' for instance. Then in the mix, this peak energy is not lost to compression, distortion and limiting. 'trash' effects- not anything like as common as people think. The 70s was not about throwing around lots of soft-clipping effects, that's the same as dirty limiting. Peaks went way out there- tape is funny, it doesn't all give up at once and wasn't always used just to smash into. People routinely accepted and liked peaks so hot that any modern engineer would reach for a limiter, saying 'I can't leave this, or my song's gonna end up 24 db down from radio friendly'. Yeah, not exaggerating- that stuff WAS 24 db down from modern radio friendly. Measure it off vinyl for yourself...

Thirdly, and the final puzzle piece- there wasn't modern compression and 'trash' distortion so much, but everything had subtle distortions and bandlimitedness. You could get very extended highs, but they were going to be 24 db down from the bass, and slew limited for the lacquer cutter. You could get enormous headroom, but not in the mathematical way you get with digital- instead, there's a 'bloom' from very very GENTLE saturation curves, not even ones that end with a 'no more' saturated clip. I discovered this from some of my software (freebie, don't worry)- I have this thing called Channel that's very popular and free, and I kept noticing that people always set it to about halfway. At full crank, it'll work as an ultra soft clipper- but the thing is, halfway, it's half dry, it doesn't actually clip completely anymore. I 'fixed' it by making the curve more adjustable and removing the 'dry' part, and everybody freaked and demanded the old one back. I put it back and tried to figure out what had happened, and it's about saturation curves, but ridiculously gentle ones that don't even sound like a distortion at all.

That tiny nonlinearity- and in nature everything has a nonlinearity, even AIR isn't linear to the extent digital math is- is the final missing puzzle piece, though saturation effects are usually the first place people look, and effects much cruder than the real thing.

So: bandlimiting, refusal to doctor the sound in such a way that it draws attention AS sound, refusal to compress and limit in such a way as to reduce peak energy (compressing to bring out peak energy is fine tho) and lastly, tiny nonlinearities and saturation effects on everything, too subtle to be heard as such but enough to reduce some of the 'demo-y' qualities. And then you end up with some of the 'demo' qualities that will make other sound engineers tease you and 'beat' you in 'sound quality' to even the most untutored listener- but if you've done it right, you have a really compelling, raw, alive-sounding muscular track and the same untutored listeners will be able to connect to that.

This is not magic. Really it's not. You don't have to trash things to the extent of the Daptones, either- but you do have to let go of the need to out-sound-quality anybody. It's a sucker's game, like trying to make a pop song better by putting in more and faster notes. You want not only the heart of the thing, you want ONLY the heart of it with everything else pretty much ignored.

Honest, it's not as mysterious as people make it out to be.
Old 15th November 2009
  #246
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
But here's the thing- the real 70s stuff DOES sound like a crappy little home recording demo when compared to modern recordings. You have to recalibrate your ears, and know WHY you are recalibrating them.

Wow, I've never had my mileage vary so much.
Old 15th November 2009
  #247
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Wow, I've never had my mileage vary so much.
I think he's basically right in most cases. I mean, Night at the Opera, Bat out of Hell, most of the Yes records. They are pretty rough from a sonic perspective. Night at the Opera I think probably more to way too many bounces to get all those tracks done maybe than with anything else. But A lot of my favorite records from that time don't sound that particularly great, IMO, in terms of raw recording quality. Wish You Were Here is another one. They are less than perfect in a good way, but nothing like the raw fidelity that many modern albums have.
Old 15th November 2009
  #248
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Clarity and depth of the 70's

Back in the day Hunger and Fear were two of the driving forces behind the great music. The creative drive was uncompromised and men could freely express themselves, even be rewarded for their expression thereof. A bigass Studer or Ampex could take a finger off or even kill you. We monitored LOUD and smoked while mixing. Now we use closefield, spellcheck and eat sushi. Software, DAWs and computers can only piss you off and will never lead to greatness.
We're all pussies now, sing pretty and play it safe in music and life. Can we ever return?Ask Fletcher.
Old 15th November 2009
  #249
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heres what sealed it for me

I love Tool. undertow= tape, aenima= pro tools....both are amazing records...both were done by extremely skilled producers and engineers in hi end pro studios...but when you hear them side by side, as I did when i was watching the dvd from the salival box set you notice something interesting....undertow leaps out of the speakers and envelops you within the mix....aenima sounds great, but never remotely begins to leave the plane of the speakers...nuff said

of course...it could just be that Sylvia Massey is the baddest badass in the history of badassery...if i could only make toms sound like that
Old 15th November 2009
  #250
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"You could get very extended highs, but they were going to be 24 db down from the bass, and slew limited for the lacquer cutter."

Ahh now here i am with you and totally agree that is seems and I might be wrong that. I opened up a recent CD in Wavelab, by a band i actually really enjoy and it was if it had been mixed to, as flat as possible across the frequency spectrum. As a result it sounds bloody bright and the bass completely lacks any real drive and impact at all..

That is, it seems that, because digital can actually be ,pretty much flat, you have to fill the darned spectrum, just to prove it. The problem being that, you end up confusing your brain as to what should be perceived as the dominant tones in a track and are ushered towards the high mids and low treble , where, there is , in effect an overload of information. The brain seems to interpret this as sounding *forward* and as a result, bass light...

The effect being, the song is led by the upper mid and low treble when, in reality, it should be the kick and bass doing that...
Old 15th November 2009
  #251
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Quote:
Originally Posted by themaidsroom View Post
i record to more or less - 10 on tape that is calibrated at + 9.
i don't believe that digital is just storing what you are giving to it.
i think digital removes a lot of spatial components of sound and i think
it's abilities to track certain frequencies are based more on science than
practical applications. 15 ips 16 track can make bass and drums come to life
on a dance floor in a way that i don't hear from digital. i only like analog classical.
i don't think strings transfer well to digital

if you look at a graph of my studer A827 - it is pretty accurate at both 15 ips
and 30 ips
An A827 is arguably the flattest and least "coloured" machine ever built. Yet at 30ips NAB, the headbump at 115hz is pronounced, and even more at 15ips. And 15ips results in about 1/2db down between 1k-7k. So by its very nature, it's not flat.

Of course, these are small degrees of gain or loss, but when one considers that mastering can sometimes consist of .25db to .5db changes in EQ, these little "quirks" make a significant difference, especially when cumulative.

This is coming from a longtime former tape DIEHARD. I mean for real. 15 ips, CCIR, 996 formulations only, underbiased .5db for some extra fitz. I was committed 100% to using tape ONLY forever. I came up on tape, and it was comfie for me. Five years ago, you could not have paid me to go Pro Tools. No way, no how.

Then, I actually took the time to listen to the two mediums. Keep in mind this was against a Studer A827 at 15, 30, CCIR, NAB, etc... I tracked for several months to tape and PT simultaneously constantly comparing and listening.

Much to my complete dismay, Pro Tools retained the depth, width, and space that I was used to with tape, only without the softening of transients that tape imparts. That was the difference, which frankly, was aesthetic and preferential, not a decisive advantage one way or the other.

Slowly, as I started to let my dogma subside and not control my process, I began to understand how to achieve the results I wanted with Pro Tools. It was my mindset. I kept expecting stuff to come back the way tape did, but it doesn't. In the case of drums, I generally preferred the softening of transients from tape - but with a bit of skill, I began to soften my transients prior to hitting Pro Tools, using various methods rather than relying on tape compression.

The long and short of it is that over this time, I came to realize a few very important things, that have changed the way I work:

- I miss the PROCESS of working on tape. Rewind time and the resulting ear break from constant playback. Committal. Decisive, etc....but, by using my brain and common sense, I can achieve the above with Pro Tools. It just requires awareness.

- I miss the softness of tape, especially with drums. But, with a bit of understanding, I realized that Pro Tools is simply a different medium, which requires me to think about HOW to record differently.

- I prefer the "native" sound of tape, to the native sound of Pro Tools. However, neither are completely ideal, and both can be made to sound virtually indistinguishable from each other, save for inevitable tape hiss.

- Tape machine electronics (later machines excluded) have a distinct tonal character. Machines like the Ampex MM1200 have a distinct character, one which imparts itself on input and output, resulting in yet another two layers of "subtle" EQ and manipulation. THIS CANNOT be overstated. Digital converter electronics (until recently) have historically been designed to be very antiseptic by nature. Not until recently have we seen converter electronics design adopt the principles of the very best tape machines, with the use of transformers and Class A paths, etc....

No comparison of the two is accurate unless the exact same benchmark is applied to the delivery of signals to and from the medium, not just the medium itself.

- not all tape is the same. Some formulations can sound atrocious, just as some A/D/D/As are. Some are stunning.

- I don't miss the cost of tape, but I miss the simpler documentation.

- EVERY ENGINEER should own or work on a tape machine somewhat regularly, because it is not only historically and presently valid, but the process will introduce a bevy of skill into your brain, and it WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER ENGINEER. Tape work forces you to think about fundamental principles of recording, and that is a good thing.

- ANY, absolutely ANY dogma about any piece of gear, recording medium, process, style, etc. is simply a result of ego. Ego gets in the way of learning, and learning and music are the only two things I care about.
Old 15th November 2009
  #252
Here for the gear
 

I can't believe how clarity and depth are terms that are being applied to 60's and 70's recordings, especially depth. When the first high slew rate op amps started appearing in the late seventies the first thing you noticed was depth. I had a board with a few channels modded with Analog Devices chips and in a direct comparison the one thing you noticed was you could hear more room, hence more depth, with the faster chips. As far as tape creating depth, listen to some of the direct to disk recordings from that era recorded with the same classic boards with the slow op amps and you will hear true depth compared to multi- track tape projects. Clarity is more a function of great engineering and great sounding instruments. As several have mentioned above, probably the ridiculous levels gone after in modern mastering is responsible for most of the harshness heard today. Take a modern Steely Dan or James Taylor record, turn it up loud and see if you experience the same harshness/listener fatigue the OP referred to. Just my rant.
Old 15th November 2009
  #253
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steelyfan's Avatar
 

Lovin' where this is going.thumbsup
Old 15th November 2009
  #254
Airwindows
 
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I think the bottom line is, almost anything modern is to some extent larger than life. HF content you could only get from a sound by putting your ear right up to it (on lots of sounds at once), bass flat down to who knows what, either rolled off or 20 hz- a presentation designed to get the most out of the given medium, which is 'flat'.

Equal volume for 8K is NOT the same as it is for 80 hz (much less 30 hz). Bass frequencies require larger waveforms to hit comparable listening volume. That counts even for the boxy low mids people get rid of in modern mixes.

When you leave in a natural, human-friendly tonal balance, it DOES sound like a cheap demo (perhaps with really nice organic qualities) to the modern ear, because we've been trained to select for brutal information overload, INDISCRIMINATE information overload.

If you can hear the reflection of the snare drum's snare rattle bouncing off the floor, that's theoretically a cool mix element, as attention getting as the sound of the fine details of air coming past the vocalist's vocal chords. And in there somewhere is the midrange elements on which the vocal performance rides...

You could call it an intelligibility mix, but making every possible sound attribute have equal value and weight is not MUSICALLY intelligible. And yet if elements are obviously lacking in intelligibility, that's where you get the 'demo-y' perception from. I prefer 'raw', think it has better connotations.

I stand by my feeling that 70s mixes come off as more 'demo-y' than modern stuff, lacking in clarity- but you have to remember that I LIKE that stuff and consider it a serious problem to amplify every possible mix element until everything is equal value. In the 70s and 80s on vinyl, peoples' early attempts to do this were limited by the target format- you simply couldn't put full scale 16K onto a record, period, so you HAD to have a working tonal balance with mids louder than highs for the record to play at reasonable volume.

CDs have no such restrictions, so the default has become WAY more clarity than is musically useful, and a tonal balance that is distracting and unnatural. That's the DEFAULT against which the good recordings seem 'demo-y'. The whole idea is that it's possible to have too much clarity when you can have the air blowing past a vocalist's nose hairs at equal volume to the kick drum. Not everything has equal importance.
Old 15th November 2009
  #255
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check out
"after midnight"
by nat cole - 1956

53 years ago

i have friends with beautiful neve consoles and emm labs converters and
i don't think they will never achieve this tonal balance and spatial depth.
i would imagine "after midnight" is a three track recording

the new 100% analog pure pleasure vinyl of this title is like having
nat cole on a chair in your room


beautiful


be well


- jack
Old 15th November 2009
  #256
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
You mean on an MP3? I think you have to be there.
yea, can be mp3, when you put led zeppelin or the beatles on mp3 it keeps own sonic character
Old 15th November 2009
  #258
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Last night I listened to the whole of 'The Royal Scam' on vinyl. One of my very favorite records, but I listened in a different way with this thread in mind. I think people are confusing lo-fi as a choice versus limitations of the gear. I think that the vocal tracks would definitely be considered lo-fi by today's standards. I definitely think this was a choice. It really feels like the vocal track is being added as another instrument in the sound stage rather than be the main thing that the rest of the song is supporting. Much different than the modern approach.

I noticed a lot of the drums and instruments are toned down, but turned up. Things pop out at you more this way. All artistic choices from what I can hear. Everything seems to blend together so nicely. And the result is that turning it up loud does not hurt your ears, it actually feels quite nice. This is not my experience with modern "high fidelity" recordings.
Old 15th November 2009
  #259
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camus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
But here's the thing- the real 70s stuff DOES sound like a crappy little home recording demo when compared to modern recordings.
Not when you play them at the same volume after compensating for the 'loudness' factor.

"The Hissing Of Summer Lawns" doesn't sound like a crappy little home recording demo, in any shape, way or form. That's like saying "Seven Samurai" is like a home movie because it doesn't have the CG of Transformers 2...
Old 15th November 2009
  #260
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themaidsroom's Avatar
 

don't interrupt the sorrow
Old 15th November 2009
  #261
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SubwayRocket's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by l.sicilian View Post
You are absolutely right, and your kids too. You forgot to add Stanley Clarke's School Days, Jaco Pastorius, Ray Gomez, Return to Forever's Romantic Warrior... and in case you haven't heard it, check out Lenny White's Adventures of Astral Pirate (a must have).
Herbie Hancock, Mahavishnu, Dregs, ELP,

Yep, I have those, I didn't wannna write a book, Lol. They love it all though.
Most of these kids (we have alot coming over) love all that stuff, and their parents stuff too. Alot of kids dont have someone playing this kinda stuff for them, Seems the kids under like 15 accept the force fed Jonas bros and the like, ect, ect. funny but not just my son and friends, but then I hear one of them "oh, my girlfriend is way into Stevie Wonder" . They're blown away by Songs in the Key of Life. . . They seriously ask me, "how come they dont write music like this today? Hey, Whadoo I kno . . .

Dont forget, in the 70's you still had alotta big band guys around looking for work so you had more peeps in the mix who were experience with more detailed arrangement, that was just the norm for them. . . Ya hear that influence alot of that stuff too. . Maybe it's just a cycle, and we'll come back around ???
Old 15th November 2009
  #262
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themaidsroom's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SubwayRocket View Post
Dont forget, in the 70's you still had alotta big band guys around looking for work so you had more peeps in the mix who were experience with more detailed arrangement, that was just the norm for them. . . Ya hear that influence alot of that stuff too. . Maybe it's just a cycle, and we'll come back around ???
sadly, i don't think it will come back around because it was born of and fed by a world
of middle class live music opportunities in the early part of the 20th century.....
people could play and make a living. they could develop and feed into other musical
situations. that does not exist today. the level of musicianship was just a completely
different thing. i have been lucky enough to make records with clark gayton and
anita o'day and have seen that old world in practice. with clark gayton, he'll bring
in 10 musicians - they have never seen or played the piece - we record them live
to 16 track - if they come in at 7:00, we have two takes at 8:30 - most of that time
is my set up - the players are all mo-fos extreme - they can sight read something
for the first time and make the first take the keeper.
it is very thrilling to record. my favorite work.



there is no way to dial up a decade or two of playing every single day with other
great players

thank god those kids can hear the brilliance of "songs in the key of life"
that gives me hope


be well


- jack
Old 15th November 2009
  #263
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by themaidsroom View Post
check out
"after midnight"
by nat cole - 1956

53 years ago

i have friends with beautiful neve consoles and emm labs converters and
i don't think they will never achieve this tonal balance and spatial depth.
i would imagine "after midnight" is a three track recording

the new 100% analog pure pleasure vinyl of this title is like having
nat cole on a chair in your room


beautiful


be well


- jack
lovely stuff.So many good Nat tracks....
Old 15th November 2009
  #264
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ltemma74 View Post
Side note...Muse strikes me as the current band most capable of delivering the rock opera goods. I agree that they stand up to the likes of Queen and other great bands on a musical and songwriting level.

Unfortunately I get a serious case of listening fatigue when listening to Muse. More so than most other rock bands. Their bombastic operatic material seems to suffer more than the average rock song from compression, limiting, distortion and other modern production techniques and artifacts. I wish that band would produce a 70's style production. I think the resulting clarity, depth, and preservation of dynamics would serve their style particularly well.
thats true. But yeah - true of a lot of modern stuff..... my argument is it's not the bands or the songs. It's the labels trying to be "louder" all the time - forced on them by dumb ass radio jocks who couldn't spot a good tune if it battered them around their self conscious ego driven heads - Zane Lowe ... I'm specifically pointing that finger at you.
Old 16th November 2009
  #265
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steelyfan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
The whole idea is that it's possible to have too much clarity when you can have the air blowing past a vocalist's nose hairs at equal volume to the kick drum. Not everything has equal importance.
Bravo. More music should sound like your post.thumbsup
Old 16th November 2009
  #266
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steelyfan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Last night I listened to the whole of 'The Royal Scam' on vinyl. One of my very favorite records, but I listened in a different way with this thread in mind. I think people are confusing lo-fi as a choice versus limitations of the gear. I think that the vocal tracks would definitely be considered lo-fi by today's standards. I definitely think this was a choice. It really feels like the vocal track is being added as another instrument in the sound stage rather than be the main thing that the rest of the song is supporting. Much different than the modern approach.

I noticed a lot of the drums and instruments are toned down, but turned up. Things pop out at you more this way. All artistic choices from what I can hear. Everything seems to blend together so nicely. And the result is that turning it up loud does not hurt your ears, it actually feels quite nice. This is not my experience with modern "high fidelity" recordings.
**** man, you nailed it.
Old 16th November 2009
  #267
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Mertmo's Avatar
 

I have a friend that I record sometimes that is not tech or engineer savvy in any way.
We were talking the other night and he put it in a cool way. He was basically saying that
he missed the effect of his mind reaching part way into the recording, to meet the music
inside that space. He said the modern over limiting was more like the music was being
projected at him at high speed, sort of pinning him down with it's size and power.

I had been following this thread for a while, then that conversation, then this post:

Quote:
I stand by my feeling that 70s mixes come off as more 'demo-y' than modern stuff, lacking in clarity- but you have to remember that I LIKE that stuff and consider it a serious problem to amplify every possible mix element until everything is equal value. In the 70s and 80s on vinyl, peoples' early attempts to do this were limited by the target format- you simply couldn't put full scale 16K onto a record, period, so you HAD to have a working tonal balance with mids louder than highs for the record to play at reasonable volume.

CDs have no such restrictions, so the default has become WAY more clarity than is musically useful, and a tonal balance that is distracting and unnatural. That's the DEFAULT against which the good recordings seem 'demo-y'. The whole idea is that it's possible to have too much clarity when you can have the air blowing past a vocalist's nose hairs at equal volume to the kick drum. Not everything has equal importance.
YES!

The massive frequency range, the power the excessive volume gave us all over the
listener, the ease with which you can control all of it with a home computer...

Wacky stuff.
Old 16th November 2009
  #268
Lives for gear
 
Mertmo's Avatar
 

In thinking about this more, most specifically the limiting and volume issues...

It's almost like volume dynamics leave space for your ears and mind to extend back and
forth toward the music, like a dance. Your ears and mind are in motion, filling in gaps in
the perceived sound, moving towards and receeding from the transients in the music.
As opposed to the super-loud limited sound, which leaves no room inside for your ears
and mind to move around in. Much less of a two way relationship, pretty damn one
sided, really.

No wonder no-one sits and really listens anymore, opening themselves up to an
arguably higher level of recorded music experience. No wonder music is being
experienced largely in the background of other media, or as an accessory to another
experience. Listening now is like getting aurally assaulted, why would you put yourself
in that position on purpose? It hurts!

To me, the rising popularity of classic rock/pop music, the way that relatively small
body of songs and albums is being iconized more and more every year...
It makes so much sense, before the extreme volume and limiting came along, the
music invited you in to play with it. Now you just get screamed at and punched in
the face, even with music that is stylistically soft. Is it really a surprise that fewer
people are willing to get deeply into just listening to music?

Tons of other reasons for the state that our art form is in. TONS. But this is
really important. I'm really starting to think a lot about volume and how big a factor
it is. If it's even possible for us, as a collective of artists and professional craftsmen, to
somehow re-educate the public about truly great sound... (who knows if it is)
I think that lowering the volume of recordings and letting the dynamics breathe again,
not too mention getting back to AT LEAST the initial CD standard of 16bit/44.1 as a
standard file format, would go a LONG LONG way towards restoring a culture of
active music listening and appreciation by the public.

It's nice to think about but hard to do. My band is finishing up our new record, and
I'm really wondering if I have the balls to stand up to them and refuse to put out an
overly loud record. They're going to want to. The urge to sound as big as every other
record out there is powerful, I have yet to meet anyone who could really resist in the
end, despite numerous philosophical conversations about it with clients in which they
agree. When they start saying "louder", will I have the guts to finally say NO, and
put some clever little disclaimer on the record explaining why the listener should turn
it up? I want to REALLY BAD.

Maybe I'm wrong and re-educating the public about dynamics in recorded music, full
bandwidth files, etc. wouldn't change a damn thing about music culture.
It's nice to dream, though...
Old 16th November 2009
  #269
Lives for gear
 
larry b's Avatar
 

Old 16th November 2009
  #270
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mertmo2 View Post
In thinking about this more, most specifically the limiting and volume issues...

It's almost like volume dynamics leave space for your ears and mind to extend back and
forth toward the music, like a dance. Your ears and mind are in motion, filling in gaps in
the perceived sound, moving towards and receeding from the transients in the music.
As opposed to the super-loud limited sound, which leaves no room inside for your ears
and mind to move around in. Much less of a two way relationship, pretty damn one
sided, really.

No wonder no-one sits and really listens anymore, opening themselves up to an
arguably higher level of recorded music experience. No wonder music is being
experienced largely in the background of other media, or as an accessory to another
experience. Listening now is like getting aurally assaulted, why would you put yourself
in that position on purpose? It hurts!

To me, the rising popularity of classic rock/pop music, the way that relatively small
body of songs and albums is being iconized more and more every year...
It makes so much sense, before the extreme volume and limiting came along, the
music invited you in to play with it. Now you just get screamed at and punched in
the face, even with music that is stylistically soft. Is it really a surprise that fewer
people are willing to get deeply into just listening to music?

Tons of other reasons for the state that our art form is in. TONS. But this is
really important. I'm really starting to think a lot about volume and how big a factor
it is. If it's even possible for us, as a collective of artists and professional craftsmen, to
somehow re-educate the public about truly great sound... (who knows if it is)
I think that lowering the volume of recordings and letting the dynamics breathe again,
not too mention getting back to AT LEAST the initial CD standard of 16bit/44.1 as a
standard file format, would go a LONG LONG way towards restoring a culture of
active music listening and appreciation by the public.

It's nice to think about but hard to do. My band is finishing up our new record, and
I'm really wondering if I have the balls to stand up to them and refuse to put out an
overly loud record. They're going to want to. The urge to sound as big as every other
record out there is powerful, I have yet to meet anyone who could really resist in the
end, despite numerous philosophical conversations about it with clients in which they
agree. When they start saying "louder", will I have the guts to finally say NO, and
put some clever little disclaimer on the record explaining why the listener should turn
it up? I want to REALLY BAD.

Maybe I'm wrong and re-educating the public about dynamics in recorded music, full
bandwidth files, etc. wouldn't change a damn thing about music culture.
It's nice to dream, though...
Get your balls out dude! Make a record that sucks people IN not throws itself in their face fist first! We need some of those, and mine will follow suit! Like your thinking!
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