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Voicing a System: To colour or not to colour? - Page 3

post #31 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veto
Mastering is needed for almost every recording!
I think an awful lot of people would be really disappointed if they heard a raw mix.
Most recording studios dont have the right listening equipment to really make accurate sound decissions, certainly the smaller ones. This may sound strange but IMO this is true. Most of the time there's gone no thought in room/accoustic design etc. [...]
I don't know which studios you have in mind but this is absolutely not the case with the pro shop around, small or big. Maybe you're thinking about rich kids with a Protool rig in their bedroom?

A 'raw' mix should never leave the studio. The true original purpose of mastering is not to fix what's wrong but to prepare the master tape for the pressing plant, like making TOC and indexation in case of CDs pressing, converting analog master to digital and checking for data error. It also provide a set of fresh and experienced ears and (ideally) ultimate monitoring setup to check the final mix and doing very little sound processing if necessary. It should be like icing on the cake, it can't turn a bad recording into something stellar.

Good sound is all about talented engineers in the recording process. Ideally a mastering enginer should have nothing to do 'sound-wise' on the master tape.
Guys like Bob Clearmountain are famous for delivering immaculate final mix to the mastering studio. This is not 'raw' mix!. OK, not everyone is Clearmountain, but you're a professional or you're not. The problem today is that lot of guys think they are pro because they can afford a Protool rig while 15 years ago nobody was able to buy a 2'' Studer 24 tracks for home use...
post #32 of 262
You might be surprised at how many cd's are recorded in 'project studios' (by pro's!).
And I think it's only going to be more, there are an lot of 'big'studios closing because they can't compete anymore.
Btw With raw mix I didn't mean a (temp)monitor-mix.
A great recorded song can be ruined by a bad mixer (and mastering eng.).

I agree with the rest of your post although a good master can make a soso recording into a great one.
Also I think Clearmountain is not in his peak form anymore, I can't remember a cd he mixed that blew me away. That of coarse is highly personal and I keep hoping.

Veto
post #33 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by ephemere
For you, perhaps, but not for me. Consider two of the several available transfers of Schnabel's Beethoven sonata cycle from the 1930s. EMI is a label marketed at the lowest common denominator, and their transfer has a great deal of noise-reduction applied. It sounds nice and mellow. Good background music. Pearl is a label marketed at the connoisseur, and they applied almost no noise reduction or other processing to their transfer. The real Schnabel appears in these transfers, for anyone who is willing to listen.
I'm not sure where we disagree here. If I hear artifacts like noise reduction at work on a recording, my brain is focusing on them and it is disturbing my musical enjoyment. When there is no processing applied, I can focus on the music without any effort required to overcome obstacles and sort out what I think should be there and what should not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Veto
Also I think Clearmountain is not in his peak form anymore, I can't remember a cd he mixed that blew me away. That of coarse is highly personal and I keep hoping.
I agree. Clearmountain used to be wonderful. But most of these mixers sound the same now. Put up the song, compress the hell out of it, make it loud, and we're done. Not their fault, the record companies hold a gun to their head and tell 'em to make it LOUD LOUD LOUD so Norah Jones has to compete with Metallica.
post #34 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagle
I'm not sure where we disagree here.
Yes, we agree. I misunderstood what you said earlier. Sorry about that.
post #35 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veto
You might be surprised at how many cd's are recorded in 'project studios' (by pro's!).
And I think it's only going to be more, there are an lot of 'big'studios closing because they can't compete anymore.
Btw With raw mix I didn't mean a (temp)monitor-mix.
A great recorded song can be ruined by a bad mixer (and mastering eng.).

I agree with the rest of your post although a good master can make a soso recording into a great one.
Also I think Clearmountain is not in his peak form anymore, I can't remember a cd he mixed that blew me away. That of coarse is highly personal and I keep hoping.

Veto
I know about 'project studio', but IMO most of the time it's pro musiciens tracking in their home with a computer setup to save cost. But you have also big name musiciens with real studio in their home that are skilled enough to do the recording job themselves.

The key thing is TALENT here. A good engineer will produce good records whatever gear he uses, but you know that.

Clearmountain was just an example because he's famous, but today, yeah maybe he's getting old i don't know. Last stuff i got from him is maybe the 10 years old Rolling Stones "Stripped"...and it sounds amazingly good IMO.
post #36 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagle
... Put up the song, compress the hell out of it, make it loud, and we're done. Not their fault, the record companies hold a gun to their head and tell 'em to make it LOUD LOUD LOUD so Norah Jones has to compete with Metallica.
That's very true also. I've borrowed the last "Queens of the stone age", it was suffering from this problem. I have to say i don't buy a lot of new music today, hard to find good rock music these days...and there's this compression madness...
post #37 of 262
There are probably an infinite variety of variables that determine what a recording will sound like ranging from the acoustics of the venue, mircophones, cables, amplification, equalization used (if any), etc. These decisions are made based on economics, preferences of the recording engineer, etc. I would agree that a vast majority of "mainstream" music is produced to sound good on the radio or on a boom box, since that is where the money is. Converesly we are all aware of purist recordings that make our home systems sound great.

Add to this variability in recordings the same set of issues in the chain of electronics to reproduce a recording and you have an impossible challenge to tune a home system to deliver a realistic result. In fact much of the tweaking that we do to our systems is a form of adjusting the frequency response to suit our tastes.

In "audiophile-dom" tone controls or equalization is a bad word. It detracts from a pure "wire with gain" concept. As described in the folowing link to a Stereophile review from 1992, however there have been audiophile quality products that address this challenge.

http://www.stereophile.com/amplifica...llo/index.html

The product is a highly sophisticated "6 band equalizer" made by Cello Music & Film, a company that went out of business in 2000. I have owned their "Audio Palette" for 8 years and it has been my best ppurchase of a piece of audio gear. It enables you to tune the recording to adjust for decisions by the recording engineer, your systems characteristics and your tastes. It makes old recorsings sound like new and new recordings sound better.

Too bad they don't make them any more but you can occasionally find them for sale on ebay and audiogon.
post #38 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidNY
The product is a highly sophisticated "6 band equalizer" made by Cello Music & Film, a company that went out of business in 2000. I have owned their "Audio Palette" for 8 years and it has been my best ppurchase of a piece of audio gear. It enables you to tune the recording to adjust for decisions by the recording engineer, your systems characteristics and your tastes. It makes old recorsings sound like new and new recordings sound better.
Better - or more to your taste?
My philosophy is "warts and all" - no processing is ever going to restore what wasn't there in the first place.
Straight wire with gain, that's me
post #39 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by catscratch
I try to get the most accurate rendition of acoustic instruments possible in my rig. However, as I was reminded numerous times, we all hear music differently, and what sounds realistic to me may not sound realistic to other people.

For instance:

I was a concert pianist, and I am used to hearing a piano as I would were I sitting in front of the keys. This means that I'll hear more of the vibrations of the strings, hear a brighter sound as the upper frequencies aren't lost due to the distance the sound travels, hear more detail from the piano itself (pedals and keys creaking, pages turning, fingernails tapping keys, etc) but less of the acoustic properties of the recording venue, and in general I'll prefer a more up front sound - it sounds real to me this way.
(snip)
Same here. And I agree with most of the balance of this post, that a lot of people "hear" - that is, register audio frequencies - the same but "expect" different things.

Once 'trained' in audio, by simply listening to instruments playing music, almost anyone can discern one instrument from another, often discern played in different manner, different spaces and by different people. Many rock n' rollers can tell Eric Clapton's sound from another performer. People can indeed perceive differences.

But it is what an individual expects the difference to be that seems to make the issue. You and I expect an immediate, up-front sound because that is / was our life's experiences - as we spent a lot of time in or near the players of the music we expect a near-field soundstage and frequency response. For those who's experience is mostly made up of large concerts they expect that sound to be reproduced in their own homes - probably based upon an amplified sound with some tailoring by the engineer. A Pink Floyd fan has only heard Pink Floyd via amplified, electronic, large-venue means and expects their own Pink Floyd experience to mirror their (only) live experiences. A jazz musician expects his own home stereo listening experience to mirror his live experience, even while listening to the same Pink Floyd.

Different expectations of the same music. We are 'hearing' the same but mentally seek different presentations of that hearing. The 'voicing' of a system seems to be based upon the general pattern of your sought presentation.

I still think - maybe too "purist" - an equalizer pretty much offends my sensibilities. The engineer himself went for a particular presentation during the mix; to change that presentation is to make an entirely different performance. If you do not like the presentation, that is your prerogative. But that is also what makes the recordings unique and to modify every one to meet your expectation is to remove the uniqueness of the music.
post #40 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenf
Better - or more to your taste?
...and what would the difference be?
post #41 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by adhoc
...and what would the difference be?
"Better" should be able to be proved objectively. "More to your taste" is apparent in the reverse.
post #42 of 262
Personally don't give a rat's *ss about so-called "neutrality". No two people will agree on what "neutral" sounds like anyway. Why build a system that appeals to *someone else's* idea of "neutrality"? Or a machine's idea of "neutrality"? The machine doesn't have to listen to it day in and day out-- you do! I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't pick the piece of gear that rings their bells the most, gives them the most enjoyment (unless you're some kind of self-hating masochist)? What other criteria is there?

Personally, when I listen to a new piece of gear, I only know "I like" and "I don't like". That's it.

Especially with something as personal as a headphone system. You alone get to hear it, it's not like a stereo system where the whole family can gather round and listen. A headphone system should be for *you*.
post #43 of 262
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by markl

Personally, when I listen to a new piece of gear, I only know "I like" and "I don't like". That's it.

Especially with something as personal as a headphone system. You alone get to hear it, it's not like a stereo system where the whole family can gather round and listen. A headphone system should be for *you*.

Yep, I agree 100%. This is exactly what I'm alluding to I suppose, we build for our own ears not for some perceived true north.
post #44 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanth
Yep, I agree 100%. This is exactly what I'm alluding to I suppose, we build for our own ears not for some perceived true north.
It sounds like you 2 above have the solution and no longer need anything else to go by.
If the people say its accurate, but you dont like it or enjoy it, who the hell cares anyway? Isn't this suppose to be entertainment?
That being said, the majority of people blindly and deafly groovilizing the sound with a U,[even before listening to the song] washing out the vocals should know what good sound is before deciding on doing that to the EQ. Then after trained to hear what FLAT is, them deciding on going back to the U EQ, I would respect the decision more, because their mind has been opened.

Oh sorry...umm
I have never heard the phrase "True north", but i get the idea.
I just truncated its meaning to perceived truth.
Can you explain [young LA mind here] I Find Canadians
have a different idea on their daily phrases compared to an Los Angeles young mind
post #45 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by adhoc
...and what would the difference be?
If you equalise you are just fooling yourself that it sounds "better".
Why the sarcasm?
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