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Why do so many great albums sound so bad? - Page 3

post #31 of 156

Amazing post.

There aren't soo many Alan Parsons on the world to make good sound on albums :).

 

(Sorry for the offtopic but i need to make a reflexion:)

It's crappy to see today two kinds of music (since my point of view).

One way we have the commercial music based on "all for the money", full of marketing and no taking regard about people's tastes has many ways. Musicians knows that and it's curious to see how ones don't care about it and others makes one comercial album and next take a "personal project" that it's amazing, i think it's because they feel free about it and with no pressure from their company. Time limit for commercial albums it's money and sometimes they lost the spirit on the way.

Another way it's the non commercial music, intimate, minimalist, taking new ways to sound; make for musicians dont't care soo much for the money but yes for their artistic feeling and what they really want to express. Fortunately The Net it's a wonderful place for they and gives them the possibility to show their job.

Since my point of view Music it's an Art to express emotions, testing new ways of sound, new ways of recording, etc, if we lost this we lost the spirit. I see Justin Bieber's songs and young people listening it and feel that taday's music sound the same on Justin Bieber, Rihanna, etc or whatever.

 

Greetings.


Edited by Remior - 4/5/11 at 4:56am
post #32 of 156

I seem to go against the trend here, in that I generally prefer modern CD releases to the older ones.

 

Overall, the modern ones sound more dynamic, whereas the older ones sound comparatively flat and lifeless, which is not cured by increasing the volume.

This is obviously a generalisation, as there are many exceptions to this. I think the best period was when when recording studios replaced their 1st generation digital equipment, but before the Loudness Wars started to get common place.

 

Example: I prefer the sound of Cowboy Junkies later releases like "Early 21st Century Blues" to earlier ones like "Black Eyed Man". But the exception is "The Trinity Sessions" because that one was recorded in a very distinctive way.

 

A key proviso is that I do take note of SQ reviews of a new release and avoid ones that get marked down on this point. And I'm more likely to get a "grown up" singer/songwriter album than say metal and really noisy stuff.

 

A second proviso is that I appear to not be bothered by moderate levels of compression - I deliberately don't look out for loudness/compression issues, because I want to enjoy my favourite bands, not get uptight about them. A high quality, yet forgiving, hifi system helps too.

 

post #33 of 156

I don't care how compressed an album is and I don't care much about how overproduced it is. My favorite album is supposedly overproduced, and very compressed. One thing I have noticed though, is some albums are very compressed, yet quiet. Others are moderately or lightly compressed but they are very loud. It seems that compression isn't really needed to make a song loud. So I always scratch my head when I hear something that is very quiet yet very compressed. I guess it's used for the certain sound it gives the song? Can anyone clue me in? Am I fooling myself because I know almost nothing about recording, mixing, and mastering?

post #34 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossinator View Post

I don't care how compressed an album is and I don't care much about how overproduced it is. My favorite album is supposedly overproduced, and very compressed. One thing I have noticed though, is some albums are very compressed, yet quiet. Others are moderately or lightly compressed but they are very loud. It seems that compression isn't really needed to make a song loud. So I always scratch my head when I hear something that is very quiet yet very compressed. I guess it's used for the certain sound it gives the song? Can anyone clue me in? Am I fooling myself because I know almost nothing about recording, mixing, and mastering?

 

You should care! Overproduction is one thing but over-use of studio tools is something we should all care about as it robs the music of its natural sound and feel. See this:

 


Compression is a reduction of the audio dynamic range so that the louder passages are made softer and/or the softer passages are made louder. This is not to be confused with a limiter as a limiter merely sets a level at which the dynamic range will not be allowed to go over in order to avoid clipping.

 

In general, it is best to use no limiting and no compression during recording, mixing and mastering.

 


Edited by LFF - 4/12/11 at 7:34pm
post #35 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAttorney View Post

Overall, the modern ones sound more dynamic, whereas the older ones sound comparatively flat and lifeless, which is not cured by increasing the volume.

This is obviously a generalisation, as there are many exceptions to this.

I think the opposite is the general case and modern ones that sound more dynamic are the exception.

Anyone that likes heavy metal should check this out:
Iron Maiden - Fighting the loudness war
Nowadays if you buy one of those old albums new you get a remastered version that looks and sounds like the newer ones. Dynamic range is very low, everything is compressed and sometimes you can clearly hear the noise from clipping - it sucks.
Quote:

A key proviso is that I do take note of SQ reviews of a new release and avoid ones that get marked down on this point. And I'm more likely to get a "grown up" singer/songwriter album than say metal and really noisy stuff.

Wait what? I don't understand what you're implying with metal here.
Edited by xnor - 4/13/11 at 4:46am
post #36 of 156

xnor, I'm implying that metal is one of the genres where the loudness wars have hit hard in modern times (based on what I've read). As have many "popular" releases, i.e. those that aim to get into the charts. Of course, there are bound to be many exeptions to making such statements from either viewpoint.

 

To continue my Cowboy Junkies example as what I glibly called "grown up" music, I've just received their 2010 release Remnin Park. Sounds good to me, if you disregard the occasional deliberately distorted sound affects. I don't know or care how much compression has been added to this album, but on my system it has a dynamic, live feel that reminds me of some aspects of the glory vinyl days.

 

The higher quality ADCs and digital manipulation equipment in recording studios these days is superior to the first generations, so the recordings should be better - as long as you manage to avoid the worst excesses of the loudness wars. No doubt LFF will put me straight here smile.gif

post #37 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAttorney View Post
The higher quality ADCs and digital manipulation equipment in recording studios these days is superior to the first generations, so the recordings should be better - as long as you manage to avoid the worst excesses of the loudness wars. No doubt LFF will put me straight here smile.gif

 

Thanks for the recognition but your statement really depends on what people define as "better".

 

To me, while the modern studio does contain all the newest and best equipment, many studios have yet to equal what Roy Dunann could do in the 1950's and 1960's. There are a few labels who do an excellent job recording but they are unfortunately the exception rather than the rule.

 

Personally, I'm not a fan of multi-mono stereo productions. Here is a perfect example of overproduced modern mono recording crap and one of the golden age of recording:

 

Modern approach crap:

bs mic'ing.jpg

 

Golden Age approach:

bs-non mic'ing.jpg

 

Yes...that's 1..ONE mic on the drums! Total of 4 microphones to record Time Out! I think everyone here will agree that Time Out is an audiophile recording of exceptional quality versus, say...Californication.
 

 

post #38 of 156

That jab at califorication is not fair that album is know to be a bad recording,

you just picked a bad apple out of the bunch. not very fair.

post #39 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaunybaby View Post

That jab at califorication is not fair that album is know to be a bad recording,

you just picked a bad apple out of the bunch. not very fair.


It's very fair as it exemplifies the type of recordings put out now. Also, Californication is NOT a bad recording. It's a bad mastering job. If you heard the master tape, you would notice that the recording is actually decent. Also, the picture of the multi-mic'd drum set was actually taken at a Red Hot Chili Pepper recording session. wink_face.gif

post #40 of 156

LFF one question:

do you think it's enough to fight against "Lodness War"  to enable "replay gain" on your Winamp or Foobar? the are anything more we can make to fight against "loudness war", maybe homemade re-editing the original sound?

I have it activated and i must to say that sounds change a lot for the better, sound it's more natural and you really apreciate the punch on the bass sounds. I even can listen sounds hidden by the rest of overrated sounds.

 

post #41 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Remior View Post

LFF one question:

do you think it's enough to fight against "Lodness War"  to enable "replay gain" on your Winamp or Foobar? the are anything more we can make to fight against "loudness war", maybe homemade re-editing the original sound?

I have it activated and i must to say that sounds change a lot for the better, sound it's more natural and you really apreciate the punch on the bass sounds. I even can listen sounds hidden by the rest of overrated sounds.

 

 

It's a hard fight to fight. I do it by not buying any modern "remasters" and stick to buying old used versions or vinyl editions that I know are properly mastered. I also support companies like Acoustic Sounds, Tacet, Chesky, Audio Fidelity and other companies who have high recording and mastering standards. I also do my research before buying anything new and in most cases will not buy a new remaster or release unless it is mastered by one of the mastering engineers I respect. You can sometimes fix new releases but it's very difficult to do and nearly impossible without the right tools and know how.

 

I don't use replay gain. Replay gain doesn't fix the loudness war problem, it just adjusts the perceived loudness so that there are no jarring differences when you switch from one album to another. See HERE for a more detailed explanation of what replay gain actually does.

 


 

 

post #42 of 156

LFF thanks for the answer, i'm a bit disappointing  because then i must be feeling Placebo "replay gain" effect... hehehe

post #43 of 156

This forum has given me the first lucid explanation of the woes of compression/over-production I've read. I'm not an expert on the subject, but the preservation of more natural dynamics seems desirable. In many cases.

 

But let's not go too far. Compression is just a tool, used in the interest of achieving certain effects. Some recordings, especially louder ones, gain in overall power what they lose in nuance - and it that's what you're going for, it's a valid goal. But the problem is, many producers over-compress tracks as an easy fix to make music sound "better." 

post #44 of 156

One way to check is by looking at the dynamic range of a album. You can search this site to find a lot of albums dynamic range.

 

http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/index.php?sort=id&order=desc&page=1

post #45 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

One way to check is by looking at the dynamic range of a album. You can search this site to find a lot of albums dynamic range.

 

http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/index.php?sort=id&order=desc&page=1


+1 I check that site daily.  It's a great resource when deciding which version of an album to buy

 

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