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Does this sound like s*** to you?
Old 9th February 2011
  #1
Gear Head
 

Does this sound like s*** to you?

Posted this on another forum called the Acoustic Guitar Forum and it was shot down.

The gist: I bought a pair of Little Blondies off Sahiaman a few months ago. I was elated and recorded a clip within a few minutes of getting them home. I posted that thread and someone replied saying it sounded like **** and that I shouldn't bother recording until I get a better signal chain. The more dickish posts were deleted but are referenced by a moderator.

Most people thought it sounded bad. That's cool. What confuses me is when I posted the clip in the Little Blondie thread a bunch of people seemed rather taken with it. In fact, everyone else who heard the clip thought it was most impressive. Not my playing or technique mind you. Just the sound quality.

But everyone on AGF thinks they sound meh.

The attitude is just dickish. I think they sound fantastic but maybe I'm a cloth ear.

So could you be brutally honest. Do these clips sound like **** to you?

SoundClick artist: The Random Audio Clips - page with MP3 music downloads
SoundClick artist: The Random Audio Clips - page with MP3 music downloads
SoundClick artist: The Random Audio Clips - page with MP3 music downloads
SoundClick artist: The Random Audio Clips - page with MP3 music downloads
Old 9th February 2011
  #2
Gear Addict
 
jsbeeth's Avatar
 

They're crazy. These sound quite good.
Old 9th February 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
Sounds great to me. But then, I have no strange message board driven agenda.

I just know what sounds good........to me.

Good playing as well.
Old 9th February 2011
  #4
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code green's Avatar
They sound good to me--perhaps I'd prefer a touch less brightness and sustain to the strings (if you're compressing, maybe ease off a bit?), but I'd be happy to get acoustic recordings like these. Your playing sounds good to me too!
Old 9th February 2011
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
refugee1's Avatar
 

Not sure why anyone would say they sound s***. Sounds good the way they are and have a good broad range of frequencies that would allow carving up for character.

I've been doing this for 15+ years and each year that goes buy I am more convinced that what sounds "good" is so subjective. Even the most uneducated person knows when something doesn't sound right (granted they have no idea why), but the recordings you posted in no way sound like s*** to me. Reminds me of the responses you might get on homerecording.com or whatever that website is.

The first time I heard "Float" by Flogging Molly I thought the acoustic sounded like s***... and then the music kicked in, and I loved it. Shaped perfectly for the mix.

Anyway, I like the mics...
Old 9th February 2011
  #6
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jinksdingo's Avatar
Hi tayloway,
I had a listen and will tell you what i though after,

First, it sounds like your too worried about 'other people' think regarding how your recording sounds.

You already state you think it sounds pretty good. But you say you have cloth ears.

Well mate you wanted brutal.

You have a listen as though you have never heard your clip before, like you are a new audience to it.

Keep your own council my friend.

Give it ago.
Old 9th February 2011
  #7
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Kingtone's Avatar
 

Personally i dont like the tone of the guitar or mics... but only as personal preference. It does NOT sound like **** though.
Personal-Opinion-Driven-Constructive-criticism
I think it is a tad too bright too. High mids and highs are a little hyped perhaps.
You could play with the position of the mics to bring a little more body out of the guitar.

Chin up though.
The world isnt at an end. There is always room for improvement... so believe in yourself and keep trying.
Old 9th February 2011
  #8
Sounds pretty nice to me. Maybe they clicked on the "Play Lo-Fi" button on SoundClick, in which case anything sounds crap.

The sound is perhaps a little compressed and would benefit from a nice bassline no end to fill out the lower end that the mic's don't seem to have focused on, but to me it sounds very serviceable, clean and nicely defined.
Old 9th February 2011
  #9
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tayloway View Post
So could you be brutally honest. Do these clips sound like **** to you?
OK, you asked for brutally honest, and I'm going to give you brutally honest. You clips are completely fine. If you released that, nobody would criticize the tone or the performance. Sure, there are little things I can pick out here and there, but they're minor, and not even worth my remembering by the end of the clips. Honestly, anybody who said your stuff sounds like s**t was just being an a**hole.

Which brings me to my next point, which is, f**k "other" people. Do what you like, and what makes you happy. Most people own exactly zero Beatles records. Most people categorically don't like anything Miles Davis ever recorded. Most people wouldn't spend a dime on the most perfect recording of Beethoven's violin sonatas known to mankind. The vast majority of people couldn't care less about last year's #1 selling record, no matter what year it is, and probably even hate it. So, f**k "other" people.

As a musician, you're always playing to a niche market. Who cares what a self-selected sampling thinks about your music - especially a group of self-appointed "experts" who have nothing better to do but yammer on on some idiot message booard. So do what makes you happy. If you believe in what you're doing, then maybe someone else will believe in it, too. And that's all that counts.
Old 9th February 2011
  #10
Gear Head
 

Thanks for the words and the tips.

If I may ask. How might I coax a less bright and more natural sound out of these recordings?

None of them are processed in ANY WAY. I have a mic placed at the bridge and a mic placed at the 12th fret at like a 45 degree angle towards the soundhole.
Old 9th February 2011
  #11
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Oh, wait. Let me revise that just a bit. The lo-fi clips sound pretty bad. The hi-fi clips sound good to me. So maybe they just listened too the lo-fi clips, and weren't being a**holes afterall. Which brings me to my next next point, which is only present things to other people in the best light, and one that meets your own personal vision.

As far as less bright goes, maybe move the bridge mic to the lower bout. For the neck mic, I don't usually tilt it. Basically, reposition carefully until it sounds right. Or bite the bullet and throw a little EQ on. EQ isn't a sin, you know. You could also consider going mono. Your stereo field sounded pretty wide to me, which exaggerates the 'spacing' of the differences in high frequencies between the two mics.
Old 9th February 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Kingtone's Avatar
 

Depending on the guitar... you could move them away just a little and direct them more towards the center of the guitar /sound hole.
Try them as an X-Y pair and see what results you get.
Also, your preamps maybe making them a little bright.


as for the guitarist on the other forum... youve heard the joke;

Q. how many guitarists does it take to change a light bulb?
A. 100... 1 to change it and the other 99 to gripe about how much better they would do it.
Old 9th February 2011
  #13
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andersmv's Avatar
 

This is why I don't offer any recording advise or post things of that nature on the AGF. It's a great site for Taylor guitars and guitars in general, but the atmosphere in regards to recording can be quite hostile sometimes, don't worry about it. Those clips sounded very good and well balanced for the sound you were going for. The only thing that would really improve it would be to have a better room, thats about the only thing that stood out to me. I only say that to give some constructive criticism, you did a good job.

It seems like there are a good amount of people that post on both of these forums, but some of the guitarists on AGF get a zoom recorder and think they are certified recording engineers. As a result, they get a big head on their shoulders and are a bit "opinionated" in a not so constructive way. My advise is keep the recording stuff for this forum, that way you can enjoy the AGF a lot more. I've done that and enjoy it a lot more now!
Old 9th February 2011
  #14
Gear Nut
 
J.R. McNeely's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
Which brings me to my next point, which is, f**k "other" people. Do what you like, and what makes you happy. Most people own exactly zero Beatles records. Most people categorically don't like anything Miles Davis ever recorded. Most people wouldn't spend a dime on the most perfect recording of Beethoven's violin sonatas known to mankind. The vast majority of people couldn't care less about last year's #1 selling record, no matter what year it is, and probably even hate it. So, f**k "other" people.

As a musician, you're always playing to a niche market. Who cares what a self-selected sampling thinks about your music - especially a group of self-appointed "experts" who have nothing better to do but yammer on on some idiot message booard. So do what makes you happy. If you believe in what you're doing, then maybe someone else will believe in it, too. And that's all that counts.
YES!!!!! thumbsup
Old 9th February 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
 
dustyreels's Avatar
 

For some reason, i couldn't get the clips to load. I will say in the future, you may consider asking "What do you think ov these recordings?" I had it in my head that they were gonna sound bad. Even tho I'm a fan ov the little blondie mics (from clips I've heard) and will have one soon. It's kind ov like having someone ask "does this milk smell spoiled to you?" It always does reguardless just on the account ov placebo. But then again, everyone seemed to like the clips here so maybe I'm speaking out ov class. Or, due to the popularity ov the little blondies, people here had a subliminal suggestion that they would like it. Please note I'm not doubting anybodies ears or intelligence, just a thought. I'm only human and well... so is everyone else here. If I were to ask this, I leave out all info except that you want to know opinions. This way, you get a relatively clean slate from any psychological pre-dispositions. I wish they would load (I have a good computer?) If Unclenny says you're good, you must be.
Old 9th February 2011
  #16
Gear Head
 

Here's another seemingly contradictory criticism. Again... it's not the criticism that gets me. It's the inconsistent criticism. One person says it's "too bright" and another person says "too dark/middy"

Quote:
They sound like they were recorded inside a cardboard box though. There's a sonic quality that seems to mute or compress the overall sound -- very round edges with some dullness. The mids dominate (mids and some lows) with the overtones in those ranges being sonically dominant even over the primary notes -- what's missing is headroom and some clarity and distinction between notes. I wouldn't say it sounds like **** though but there's an element of the musical expression that is sonically missing here. I'm not sure what you want from us though -- you want a producer to come in and say yea or nay? An engineer? I still say yea even though I wasn't blown away by the sound. It's good but not great or memorable sonically.
I can dig criticism. It's a great way to get better at something. It's hard to learn anything from that sort of inconsistent criticism though. :(
Old 9th February 2011
  #17
Lives for gear
They sound like a decent acoustic guitar recorded with a decent small diaphragm mic. Solo, the high mids sound a bit chunky to me (sort of like the sound of a piezo pickup, a little) and there's less sparkle and air to it than I like. That said, they're perfectly reasonable and much better than a lot of the acoustic music that people pay for. In the mix, even those few complaints would disappear. For the record, my bogey for acoustic guitar recording is something from the CSN+Y years.
Old 9th February 2011
  #18
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dustyreels's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tayloway View Post
It's hard to learn anything from that sort of inconsistent criticism though. :(
One thing you can learn from the differing opinions is that it's subjective and taste oriented. One man's crappy sound is another man's artistic expression.
Old 9th February 2011
  #19
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code green's Avatar
^^^I'm guessing that's based on a listen to the lo-fi stream. The difference is really quite remarkable.

On a more general note, I've found that the more a person's talents fall under the "armchair" rubric, the more contentious, negative, and flat-out opinionated their criticisms of just about everything--from performance to gear to genres--tend to be.
Old 9th February 2011
  #20
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyreels View Post
One thing you can learn from the differing opinions is that it's subjective and taste oriented. One man's crappy sound is another man's artistic expression.
Yeah. Still it's hard to make something you think sounds good and then hear this.

Quote:
I would say I would really like it as an effect, like a low-fi intro or bridge. It is a really cool sound. But I don't think it has the "body or edge" to be the acoustic sound for the main rhythm track.
Old 9th February 2011
  #21
Lives for gear
 

I'm on AGF but didn't see your thread. Listened to the hifi clips on soundclick and I think its a cracking good recording with a cracking good sounding guitar. Dunno what those guys were complaining about but talk is cheap anyway.
Old 9th February 2011
  #22
Lives for gear
 
dustyreels's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by code green View Post
On a more general note, I've found that the more a person's talents fall under the "armchair" rubric, the more contentious, negative, and flat-out opinionated their criticisms of just about everything--from performance to gear to genres--tend to be.
Good point.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tayloway View Post
Yeah. Still it's hard to make something you think sounds good and then hear this.
When I decided that I wanted to professionally play music, I consciously accepted that more people will dislike my playing that like t. I figured that I would play for those that wanted to hear it. It seems that the more popular a musician gets, there's more people that hate it. But that shouldn't stop anyone from creating art for themselves and for those that like it.
Old 9th February 2011
  #23
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DigitMus's Avatar
 

While I am not anyone of note, I have been in this business for several decades, so I'll give you my opinion.
Your tracks don't "suck", but they're nothing to brag about, either. (Neither are mine, so don't let that stop you.)
I've been fortunate enough to work with a number of Grammy and Platinum Album winning artists and engineers over the years, and have at least a passing acquaintance with most of the ones who post here - and none of the ones I know are among the people telling you there's nothing wrong with your tracks. Your tracks don't sound like sh¡t, but that doesn't mean they're stellar examples, either. Since none of the examples were in the context of the final production, it's hard to give you specific criticisms. (Unless you're releasing a solo acoustic guitar album, in which case I suggest you listen to a lot of examples of that particular genre, and re-evaluate.)

One thing I can suggest is that the sound lacks a sense of 'real space' around it - acoustic instruments interact with the space around them, and that is an integral part of their sound. If the space around the instrument is either 'bad' sounding (poorly/not treated acoustic space), or absent (very close miking - or recording in a "dead" space), the instrument sounds artificial, or has an unbalanced response and/or distracting room resonances or nulls.

The bottom line is, it's your call - the examples I heard might sound great as one element of a finished production, but as a solo acoustic sound I find them lacking - nor do they sound the way I would want them to as a featured part of a full production.

Take all this with a grain of salt. Your detractors on the Acoustic Guitar Forum were being hypercritical, but you can't dismiss them out of hand. You still have much to learn (as do I, and most of us here), and the best measure of this is when you can listen to your own recordings and say "I don't care what anyone says: that's great!" There are very few of my own recordings I can say that about, but at least there ARE a few. heh

Scott
Old 9th February 2011
  #24
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitMus View Post
While I am not anyone of note, I have been in this business for several decades, so I'll give you my opinion.
What a great critique!!

There are many of us who put our music out there in the hope that someone will listen and perhaps help guide us on to improvement. A comment and lesson like this is a real jewel.

But when the others come as thrown stones it's still up to us to try and get something positive from them, even as we let them bounce off us.
Old 9th February 2011
  #25
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CrankyChris's Avatar
 

I've learned: the biggest mistake you can make is to assume people know what they're talking about. Because they don't. Most people on here are idiots

I think they sound good. Certainly not "****ty" by any stretch of the imagination.
Old 9th February 2011
  #26
Gear Addict
 

listened to the first two tracks, they sound decent.

definitely a little heavy on the compression, especially in the first sample. maybe a little lacking in room sound as mentioned, but in context it could be just right.

i listen to many "classic" recordings where the acoustic gtrs sounds like crap, nothing but string sound, no body or room, totally dry. but i guess it worked for the mix, at least in somebody's mind.

your samples do not sound sh*tty to me, though.
Old 9th February 2011
  #27
Gear Addict
 
soulfield's Avatar
 

Sounds good to my ears. Some people just love to hate.

Rember the movie Team America.

"there are three kinds of people in this world......."
Old 9th February 2011
  #28
Gear Nut
Its ok.

Its ok sound for me to.

soundbank
Old 9th February 2011
  #29
Gear Head
 

Thanks for the kind words!

I really appreciate the long post Scott made about sense of space. He made a few comments that REALLY made sense about the room and distance.

I'm in a giant basement with concrete floors and walls. Unfinished so the ceiling is just wood frame. As for the distance. The mics are about 6 inches away from the sound hole.

I imagine that can't help my recordings in any way. I mic so close because the room is noisy. I can either place the mics farther away and crank up the gain/volume thus capturing a lot more room noise OR I can place the mics closer and turn them down capturing less room noise.

Is there anything I can do right away as in changing my technique or an inexpensive piece of equipment I could buy to help improve the sound of my recordings?

Thanks again guys. I really appreciate you taking the time to listen to these clips and offer your critique!
Old 10th February 2011
  #30
Gear Nut
 
rustez's Avatar
 

I just did an A/B comparison, I stuck my head in my unflushed toilet and then listened to your clips, and i have to say that your clips sound nothing like S***.
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