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too much detail

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
When I was at the Dallas stop of the World of Headphones tour, I was talking to Tyll about the texture quality of the McCormack. I told him the MID (and McCormack's amps in general) just do the absolute best job of speed, tonal accuracy and texture. Tyll shrugged and said, "it's too much texture if you ask me." A little flabbergasted, I decided to let it go rather than persue and argument. Judging from the HeadRoom amps, they seem to like that almost overly smooth heavy solid sound that could only have come from a lifetime of loving Krell gear. I understand it, I just don't agree with it.

So then I got this SACD player, right?

I picked up Boston's first album on SACD. I'm not really the biggest Boston fan but one thing I'd always loved about the band was that they used only analog equipment for all of their albums and they had very high production values. I guess when you release one album every ten years you can afford to be picky. Anyway, with that in mind--I had to hear how it sounded on SACD.

To my delight, digital artifacts are completely missing--as expected. It's a very analogue like sound and it's exactly what I was looking for in that respect.

...but it seems like the engineer played with the album a little. As if he said, "ooh I have a new toy that can do this" and I swear, the way I hear it, the closely mic'd individually recorded guitars sound like they have more texture than I've ever heard from an amplified electric guitar.

And here I am thinking about what Tyll said. Is there really too much of a good thing? It's fun to listen to and easy to lose yourself in, but it really does sound unnatural.

Anyone else finding this kind of quality in SACDs?
post #2 of 15
I wish I had your problems. ;-)
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Nezer
I wish I had your problems. ;-)
Well Nezer, buy an SACD source. There have got to be at least 3 rock recordings on SACD now. I mean come on, what are you waiting for!
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by kelly

Well Nezer, buy an SACD source. There have got to be at least 3 rock recordings on SACD now. I mean come on, what are you waiting for!
Cash.

On the remaster is there still the distortion (sounds like the tape was saturated) on 'Rock & Roll Band' about 1:20ish on the drums doing the 8th notes on the kick/floor tom? I believe it's right before the chorus.

Also, wasn't the big deal about this record form a sound engineering perspective is there was a lot of DI recording from the guitar? Or did Tom just close-mic all the amps?
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Nezer
What is DI recording?

I'll listen for the error in "Rock & Roll Band" next time and let you know if I find it.
post #6 of 15
Don't forget SACD/DVDA is lossless
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by kelly
Nezer
What is DI recording?
Depending on who you ask it's either Direct Injectiion or Direct Input. Regardless of what it stands for it's when the guitar is interfaced with the recording console usually though an electronic device that handles some of the functions a miced amp would do.

If I'm not mistaken Tom really pioneered this technique and this eventually led to the release of the 'Rockman' series of portable guitar 'amps' for headphones and DI use. Of course, this may have been the second album where all the neat crap came to be.

Also keep in mind that the first album was recorded in Tom's basement.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Nezer
Oh, ok. But the sounds I'm talking about could still be picked up from the vocal mics couldn't they?
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by kelly
Nezer
Oh, ok. But the sounds I'm talking about could still be picked up from the vocal mics couldn't they?
Hard to say seeing how I don't know what your talking about.

The album, while a great record, wasn't the best engineered in the world. It was, after all, Tom Scholz's first real recording (as near as I can tell) and by all accounts absolutly amazing for a first try. He certainly took a lot of lessons learned into a better studio for thier second album.

You can read a bit about Tom and his achivements in a brief biography at http://www.boston.org/tom.html

As near as I can tell he is an absolute genius.

If I were to buy an SACD player this is one of the discs I would pickup along with the Stevie Ray discs and a few of the Miles Davis discs.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Nezer
Interesting article. I never really knew that Boston was all about one guy.

I have to disagree about the recording quality. To me, on an absolute scale, this is one of the best sounding rock recordings from its era.

What is probably being highlighted here is that I'm not a musician and I don't really know the first thing about the recording process, though I often find myself asking musicians when I get the chance.

What my original post was alluding to was the texture/air/ambience of the electric guitars. On a good recording in a good system, you should be able to hear the squeaks of the strings, the reverb of the plucked sound off of the board and the rub of the fingers. (In acoustic recording, I consider it to be a far more important quality.) These sounds are part of how you tell how close or how far away a musician is in space (along with difference in volume).

For me, the SACD version of the Boston album may actually be "too much." Whereas I often complain about missing texture, especially in piano and other string instruments, there's actually so much of it that my brain feels like someone is pulling a fast one on me. It's a surreal feeling that pulls me out of the music a little bit.

Am I making any sense?
post #11 of 15
If he was DI recording the guitar that would explain where it comes from because those sounds wouldn't have a chance to get lost in the air before hitting a mic.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great recording, especially for a first commercial effort from Tom. Had he been in a 'real' studio I imagine it would probably be a benchmark recording. But, there are, however, flaws. Most of which is saturating the tape causing distortion where you wouldn't really want it. Though it is nice to hear that on occasion becasue modern digital recordings are just too, well, clean and perfect.

This is one more reason for me to buy SACD so I can hear the guitar sound like a guitar. All those things are what I listen for in a guitar and especially the pick against the strings. That gives subtle clues as to what the right hand was doing. It's often easy to figure out what the left hand is supposed to do if the right hand is doing what it's supposed to.
post #12 of 15
I've been telling kelly all along that I don't want to hear details that I wouldn't normally hear if I were in the audience. I am not a fan of closely miced recordings. He's like, if it's in the recording, I want to hear it god damn it! ****ting on me for wanting a more realistic experience rather than getting the most accuracy that science can pump out... And here he is complaining that there's too much texture, rofl.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Audio&Me
I've been telling kelly all along that I don't want to hear details that I wouldn't normally hear if I were in the audience. I am not a fan of closely miced recordings. He's like, if it's in the recording, I want to hear it god damn it! ****ting on me for wanting a more realistic experience rather than getting the most accuracy that science can pump out... And here he is complaining that there's too much texture, rofl.
You would notice (if you weren't incapable) that I'm still not condemning equipment that reveal the recording--that I am instead questioning the remastering of the recording.

My opinion is that if you have equipment capable of revealing details, you will sometimes hear more detail than you should because the recording was not made (or mixed) properly. If you have equipment that is incapable of revealing details, you will not hear them when you should even if the recording is flawless.

To strike a dead horse once with cliche and once more with analogy: Looking through a clean window does not guarantee that a pretty girl will pass by it. However, looking through a dirty window does decrease your odds of noticing her if she does.
post #14 of 15
IMO, there is no such thing as "too much detail", as long as it's represented in the proper *proportion* to everything else. For example, I don't mind hearing the fingers moving on the neck of the guitar so long as it's presented at the appropriate realistic volume level versus the actual guitar sound. It should not be presented with the same degree of importance as the music itself.

I think a large part of what high-quality audio gear does, and SACD/DVD-A players with their wide dynamic range do so well, is to be able to represent extremely subtle changes in the volume levels of sounds. Lesser gear and Redbook CDs tend to be more bandwidth-limited and monochromatic.

Anyway, I never ever tire of hearing new things in my favorite recordings with the caveats I've expressed above.

markl
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Mark

I agree with what you've posted here, of course. With this recording I'm referring to, I feel that it isn't porportionate and wonder if sometimes when people feel the gear is "overdoing it", they think it's not porportionate also.

An argument could be made that if an engineer as a certain amount of control over where to place mics, etc. that if the target audience and/or monitoring equipment is less capable of revealing detail than your equipment that you may be getting a dispoportionate amount of detail.

And really, in this case, I'm talking more about texture than I am resolution and depth, which you alluded to. I don't know that you could have too much resolution and depth -- I've not yet heard it anyway.
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