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post #136 of 334

There actually is a purpose to the high levels of compression in popular music. The thinking is that most people today don't listen to albums. They have individual tracks on shuffle in an iPod. On an album, you want to control the dynamics and vary them. But in shuffle, you have no control of what comes before or after your track. What works on the album suddenly sound anemic and quiet when it's shuffled in with random songs. So everything gets compressed up so it sounds "loud". They did this with 45 singles back in the jukebox days too.

 

The problem comes when someone wants their "loud" to be louder than the other "loads" It spirals out of control.

 

A similar problem that doesn't get discussed much is the bass bloat in pop music. In order to compensate for cheap earbuds and crappy portable speakers, engineers put WAY too much bass in their mix. It works for the crappy equipment, but play it on a decent stereo and you can't hear the music for all the whomp of the bass.

post #137 of 334
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

 

On one of my previous jobs, I had access to a recording studio with a full pro tools workstation. I did comparison tests between high bitrate audio and bouncedowns of the exact same tracks at redbook. This was on reference equipment. No audible difference. I also worked with 24 track analogue, and I remember the convoluted things we would have to do to avoid the buildup of the noise floor from bouncing tracks down to make room for more. Not pretty.

 

Sorry to let you down like that.

I come from listening to LPs. And concerts live. Lots of them. And frustration from the almost bottomless canyon between the two experiences. Made even more bottomless with the introduction of the CD/redbook. 

 

I never set foot in a studio - after visiting a couple and seeing/hearing first hand how the true sound gets first meticiously tortured and then finally murdered. 

 

24 tracks ? Shudddddeerrrr ! I can imagine noise buildup to be a problem with analog - but 24 tracks in itself is crazyness of the 1st degree all by itself !

Digital or analog, does not matter at all. With 24 tracks, it does not really matter in which format one records - the errors are so big that the game is over before anything comes to the recorder at all. If one wants to record signal worth of preserving with high resolution I am talking about.

 

Pro tools ? No - THANK you. The best recipe how to sound like godzillion other guys out there. Similar to the Yamaha DX-7 keyboard in its day - open the tea can, out jumps the sound of DX-7. In everything but classical music ...

 

2 mikes > preamp > recorder . THAT'S IT. No mixing desk, limiters/compressors, de-essers, and other whatnots. The entire album from the last link is comprised of live-in-the-"studio"-played pieces - absolutely no editing ( save for that unhappy compression ) - we merely picked up the best takes for the release.

post #138 of 334
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

There actually is a purpose to the high levels of compression in popular music. The thinking is that most people today don't listen to albums. They have individual tracks on shuffle in an iPod. On an album, you want to control the dynamics and vary them. But in shuffle, you have no control of what comes before or after your track. What works on the album suddenly sound anemic and quiet when it's shuffled in with random songs. So everything gets compressed up so it sounds "loud". They did this with 45 singles back in the jukebox days too.

 

The problem comes when someone wants their "loud" to be louder than the other "loads" It spirals out of control.

 

A similar problem that doesn't get discussed much is the bass bloat in pop music. In order to compensate for cheap earbuds and crappy portable speakers, engineers put WAY too much bass in their mix. It works for the crappy equipment, but play it on a decent stereo and you can't hear the music for all the whomp of the bass.

Sad - but so very true.

post #139 of 334
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post
 

I have not even touched the loudness wars yet ... yuck !

 

But sure did tell an otherwise good friend a couple of juicy ones over the phone for compressing the final CD issue of one of my recordings. It was done at the final decision of the artists - who were told by the, who else, radio people, that the recording does not sound "loud" enough . 

 

It was  who felt insulted for all the "blood & tears" that went into that recording of the master - only to be made from a mountain into a molehill.

 

It was one of my last direct to CD-R recordings prior switching to DSD. Here in yet more impoverished version, samples from the FOLK Etc's band's website  :

 

http://www.folketc.si/04Glasba.html

Thanks for sharing!

:beerchug:

post #140 of 334
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post
 

I never set foot in a studio - after visiting a couple and seeing/hearing first hand how the true sound gets first meticiously tortured and then finally murdered.

 

Ha ha! Throw out all of your audio equipment!

 

Honestly, I think you're parading about a little too much here. I don't think you really believe any of this. But I will say this... You would have a MUCH better chance of bridging your gulf between live performance and recorded music if you understood some of the nuts and bolts of how music is reproduced. Magical thinking and flowery words don't make stereos sound better. Neither does removing all technology from the equation. Well thought out application of acoustic and sound reproduction principles makes for great recorded sound. That takes a bit of listening to people who know of what they speak, and an attempt to understand what's being said. You're smack dab in the middle of a lot of pretty knowledgeable folk here. All it takes is asking the right questions and not retreating to an argumentative stance that you have little chance of backing up with facts.


Edited by bigshot - 11/9/13 at 12:40pm
post #141 of 334

I may be misinterpreting here, but I think analogsurviver is saying that the majority of studio mastering folk are not taking a top priority of preserving maximum fidelity of the music at time of recording, no?

post #142 of 334

Mastering is a necessary part of the process of releasing music on CD or LP. It isn't intrinsically "good" or "bad". Everything is mastered. The quality of that engineering is what makes the difference, not the process itself. The same is true of miking and mixing. Audio engineers make decisions based on fundamental techniques of recording. The quality of those decisions make sound good or bad, not the process itself.

 

When you record music, you have tools at your disposal which can be used to make the recorded sound a faithful reproduction of the music. If those tools are used properly, it improves the audio quality. Good sound doesn't happen by itself or happen by default. It has to be created.


Edited by bigshot - 11/9/13 at 12:57pm
post #143 of 334
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

I just took this test under not so ideal conditions and i can definitely hear 19khz. This is with people talking, TV on, and doors being shut throughout the house. Coincidentally, 16khz is painful for me, I had to immediately stop listening. I may be able to hear higher than 19KHZ, i will do so tonight when it's quiet as a mouse.

 

EDIT Here's the link

 

http://www.audiocheck.net/audiotests_frequencycheckhigh.php

It is good to know you can hear that high. It is becoming more acceptable for people to believe some can hear beyond what was considered limit of hearing- 20KHz. In my late twenties I was able to hear 22KHz (and damaged some super-tweeters increasing the volume to find out if I could hear higher). I remember reading that people of Eastern origin maintain their hearing capacity longer than Europeans. I don't know if any recent research has been carried out on this subject. I won't take the test now- I think I know what I can hear- below 10KHz.

post #144 of 334
Quote:
Originally Posted by wtaylorbasil View Post
 

It is good to know you can hear that high. It is becoming more acceptable for people to believe some can hear beyond what was considered limit of hearing- 20KHz. In my late twenties I was able to hear 22KHz (and damaged some super-tweeters increasing the volume to find out if I could hear higher). I remember reading that people of Eastern origin maintain their hearing capacity longer than Europeans. I don't know if any recent research has been carried out on this subject. I won't take the test now- I think I know what I can hear- below 10KHz.

Yes, and thankfully I quickly realized my foolishness to turn it up and try to hear something higher. I suspect I listen at much quieter levels than the average person. I just popped open Decibel Meter Pro on my iPad, and the average A-weighting is 65dB, listening to a loud electronica track. I wouldn't surprised with Eastern vs. Western origin hearing capacity. I would wager a large effect of retaining our hearing is by not living in loud cities, which we perceive to be a 'baseline' of quiet. Go to the country and that baseline is drastically lower. I live in the country and I value my hearing -recipe for success.

post #145 of 334

65 dB is pretty typical for loud listening.

post #146 of 334
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

65 dB is pretty typical for loud listening.

Yeah, that is my definition of 'loud', its usually much lower. After I wrote that I found myself turning it down by a good bit.

post #147 of 334
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

 

Ha ha! Throw out all of your audio equipment!

 

Honestly, I think you're parading about a little too much here. I don't think you really believe any of this. But I will say this... You would have a MUCH better chance of bridging your gulf between live performance and recorded music if you understood some of the nuts and bolts of how music is reproduced. Magical thinking and flowery words don't make stereos sound better. Well thought out application of acoustic and sound reproduction principles do. That takes a bit of listening and an attempt to understand what's being said. You're smack dab in the middle of a lot of pretty knowledgeable folk here. All it takes is asking the right questions and not retreating to an argumentative stance that you have little chance of backing up with facts.

Well, in my anything but humble opinion I was being VERY modest. Considering the state of equipment that you can find in the studios - even the best ones.

 

Magic thinking and flowery words do not make stereos sound better - but well thought out application of solutions to the failings that dwell lurkingly in the pro gear, nicely and evenly distributed, from the microphone cartridge to the last speaker driver - does. 

 

Trouble - there are so many and at first glance so well hidden most people are simply not aware of. Or worse - they can be aware of (at least some of them), but try to negate or downplay the importance of that failing - because they happen to be manufacturer/dealer of the offending component and would like to admit that the said component stands in the way of good sound the last thing in the world. And will try anything to supress the information about inadequacy of their equipment.

 

There is very little audio equipment capable of reproducing my latest recordings correctly - regardless of price. It was a great struggle to arrive at this position - it is similar if you give an inexperienced driver off the street to drive a Formula 1 car. The slightest touch on the pedal produces acceleration at which he/she will panic - and things will go from bad to worse from there on. Most audio equipment, home or pro gear, just can not produce sound with this kind of precision. There is nothing out there I would not consider upgrading/modifying before being accepted as a link in my recording chain.

 

It took a good friend, PhD in physics and professor at the university, tenor singer and who in the meantime became producer/mastering of most of  choir recordings done by me , some 5 years to finally grasp what I am doing with equipment. And believe me, he and other singers of one of the very best male choirs in existance , Vokalna Akademija Ljubljana - VAL , led by maestro Stojan Kuret,  did not find ever greater resolution of the recording chain to their liking at first; only grudgingly they accepted the fact that to sound good on resolution this high they need to practice even harder. 

 

But we are all "crazy amateurs" - willing to go any number of extra miles, beyond what professionals can afford , in order to produce the best result we possibly can achieve - not to any "standard", but to push the envelope.

 

Here the excerpt from the very first concert ever given by VAL, recorded in 44.1/16 directly to CD-R in March 2009 : things are much *different* today :

 

post #148 of 334
The creation of music is art. The faithful reproduction of sound is science. Two entirely different things. When it comes to choosing audio equipment, the creativity of the artist doesn't enter into it. That's what you think about when you go to choose the CD you're going to listen to.

 

This is exactly what I meant. Too many people approach audio (not music, audio) as an art, when it really is a science. Rationalization is not good enough; you must have true reasoning if you want to find reality.


Edited by Tus-Chan - 11/9/13 at 2:07pm
post #149 of 334

It is the job of the recording engineer to know how to use the tools to make great sound. If the sound isn't great, it's because the engineer isn't up to the job, not because there's something wrong with the equipment.

 

I've been very lucky to work with some very good recording engineers. I've worked with a couple of bad ones too, but they didn't last long with me.

post #150 of 334
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

It is the job of the recording engineer to know how to use the tools to make great sound. If the sound isn't great, it's because the engineer isn't up to the job, not because there's something wrong with the equipment.

 

I've been very lucky to work with some very good recording engineers. I've worked with a couple of bad ones too, but they didn't last long with me.

I agree with the above.

 

With one exception - no matter how good is the engineer, he or she can not record things equipment is not capable of recording.

 

That is specially true for percussive sounds - no recording I have heard equals the speed/attack/call it whatever you like of a drum kit ( or similar ) heard live from a reasonable close distance. It is 44.1/16 Aichille's heel.

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