Back to the 70s ?
Mar 11, 2006 at 11:55 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

max-9

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 19, 2005
Posts
335
Likes
11
After a long , long break from "classic rock" I decided to take a return visit to the 70s. Compared to todays standards , the sound quality of those recordings really sucks and the new high end equiptment (headphones /digital players ) amplify how bad these recording are. Todays top 40 (rap music for example) is extremely polished compared to recordings from back then.
Despite the fact that the sound quality sucks , theres a raw human feel to that music that overcomes the crappy quality of the recording .
So is it sound quality or music quality that is more important ?
Example :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FI8SUc2SV4k&search=cream
 
Mar 12, 2006 at 12:20 AM Post #2 of 13

markl

Hangin' with the monkeys.
Member of the Trade: Lawton Audio
Joined
Jun 22, 2001
Posts
9,130
Likes
42
Totally disagree. Many of the best rock/pop recordings were made in the 70s. Great analog equipment at the peak of its maturity. Most modern recordings are completely squashed in dynamics to make them "louder". They are jacked-up in the treble and bass, given a smiley-face EQ and compressed to death. Yuck!

EDIT: by the way, Cream was from the 60s.
 
Mar 12, 2006 at 1:10 AM Post #3 of 13

PSmith08

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 24, 2005
Posts
1,422
Likes
11
I am with markl: late 70s analog is about as good as it got until fairly recently. Early 80s digital sounds glassy and fake in comparison in most cases. Now, there are bad recordings from that time period, as there are now. However, well-recorded mid to late 70s analog recordings are better than most records cut today.
 
Mar 12, 2006 at 3:43 AM Post #4 of 13

Denim

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Posts
962
Likes
10
max-9, you are stating your opinion on the sound quality from the 70's vs today. Also asking which you compare first, sound quality or music quality. I've got to agree with the other posters on the recording techniques of the late 70's being better than what is done to most recordings today. But that is also the second criteria for me when deciding if I buy, or not. If I don't like the music, then I'm not buying it no matter how well it was engineered. I've bought quite a few CD that were poorly mastered but had great music.
 
Mar 12, 2006 at 4:00 AM Post #5 of 13

cosmopragma

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Posts
3,091
Likes
11
Location
Germany
Quote:

Originally Posted by Denim
I've bought quite a few CD that were poorly mastered but had great music.


Well, and I've bought quite a few expensive excellently recorded/mastered CDs that were totally boring.
tongue.gif

On topic: I find the recording quality of the 70's generally not that bad, especially compared to many overcompressed and digitally clipping modern CDs.
Often there is some audible background tape noise, but that doesn't bother me much.And some of the early 80's remasterings for CD purpose suck and the Vinyl sounds better, but often there are later better sounding
reremasterings published.
 
Mar 12, 2006 at 1:05 PM Post #6 of 13

max-9

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 19, 2005
Posts
335
Likes
11
Perhaps its the late 60s early 70s I actually meant to discuss (sorry).

Well why would they bother to remaster these recordings if the sound quality is so great? I think todays recordings are superior as far as sound quality and editing . But then on the other hand , editing out all the little musical flubs and background noise creates a strerilized impersonal product.
Are the music cds of today over produced ? I think they are.
 
Mar 12, 2006 at 2:53 PM Post #7 of 13

Denim

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Posts
962
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by max-9
Well why would they bother to remaster these recordings if the sound quality is so great?


It makes you wonder, doesn't it? I understand you feeling about the sterile recordings now. It's more like the final output is computer generated and the music was never massaged through a human touch, if you get my drift. I've always had a picture in my head of the engineer on some massive board fine tuning each input to create the disc. Now that vision is replaced with a guy bringing up a software program with a few options to select the music style (rock, rap, hip-hop, etc.). Regardless of the selection, the same effects are applied to the music. I'm pretty sure I'm way off base on my vision, but it's probably only a matter of time before it's a reality. The studios have all the tools to put out a better product, but they are not geared for the home stereo and aim for a sound that works in a noisy environment.

I think there will always be a few talented guys out there who know how to put a disc together and will blow us away from time to time.
 
Mar 12, 2006 at 5:07 PM Post #8 of 13

max-9

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 19, 2005
Posts
335
Likes
11
Denim , Thats exactly what Im feeling ....It all seems a little too perfect .
Ive gotten used to the highly polished recorded , edited cds of today. Stepping back to the classic rock theres a lot of imperfections that my audio gear and ears are concentrating on. However I kinda like the more raw natural sound from back then , its less computerlike.
 
Mar 12, 2006 at 6:54 PM Post #9 of 13

markl

Hangin' with the monkeys.
Member of the Trade: Lawton Audio
Joined
Jun 22, 2001
Posts
9,130
Likes
42
Quote:

Well why would they bother to remaster these recordings if the sound quality is so great?


Every time an analog tape is transfererd to digital for release on CD, it's being "remastered". Albums may get remastered for a variety of reasons:

1. To make them "LOUDER" to "compete" with modern CDs by current artists. Can't be the quietest song on the kids' iPods, because the sad fact is, the average dude in the street equates "louder" with better. They will skip over songs with too much dynamic range, when compared to all the other tracks that are compressed to hell. I'd like to re-acquaint them with their volume knobs. So, instead we get a new product that's just "louder" not "improved".

2. To take advantage of modern digital equipment which is vastly superior to what they were using in the 80s. Sadly, they often use this technology to make them LOUDER, destroying the potential for improved audio quality.

3. The artist's catalog moves to a new label, now they have to be re-issued so the new owners can cash in.

4. The old stock of the original CD issues is out of print, so its time for a new batch, may as well add a couple tracks and encourage fans to buy them all over again, with a "digitally remastered" sticker on them to make them believe sound has actually been improved, when it's really just LOUDER.

Quote:

I understand you feeling about the sterile recordings now. It's more like the final output is computer generated and the music was never massaged through a human touch, if you get my drift. I've always had a picture in my head of the engineer on some massive board fine tuning each input to create the disc. Now that vision is replaced with a guy bringing up a software program with a few options to select the music style (rock, rap, hip-hop, etc.). Regardless of the selection, the same effects are applied to the music. I'm pretty sure I'm way off base on my vision, but it's probably only a matter of time before it's a reality.


It's called Pro Tools and it's been around for years. But really, the enemy is compression, which makes every CD sound exactly the same, because they are essentially the same, a wall of sound blaring at maximum volume in digital clip.

And don't knock tape hiss. You don't want mastering engineers to digitally strip it out. You can't just remove hiss, you also remove musical information as well. No-noised recordings sound AWFUL, all teh air is sucked out, the highs are muted, and it sounds like a wet blanket has been thrown over your speakers.

VIVA tape hiss!!!
orphsmile.gif
 
Mar 12, 2006 at 7:35 PM Post #10 of 13

Doc Sarvis

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Posts
1,283
Likes
10
Nice post markl - the fact is, there is no objective standard at work here as to what exactly is meant by "sound quality". It means different things to different people. Audiophile types tend to define it as realistic, you-are-there sound, while others on the board here might think of bass-heavy, studio generated, compressed and loud music as "better". A look at the "well-recorded rock" thread confirms what I am saying - everyone is coming to the issue from different paradigms, so to speak.

As a major audio buff, I will agree that until very recently the old stuff was better, sound quality wise. In the classical world, many people believe that the best sound was from the 50s! It wasn't until digital "came of age" that DSD recordings like Kaplan's Mahler 2 were able to seriously challenge the old stuff.

Its all highly subjective.
 
Mar 12, 2006 at 8:39 PM Post #11 of 13

PSmith08

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 24, 2005
Posts
1,422
Likes
11
Quote:

Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
As a major audio buff, I will agree that until very recently the old stuff was better, sound quality wise. In the classical world, many people believe that the best sound was from the 50s! It wasn't until digital "came of age" that DSD recordings like Kaplan's Mahler 2 were able to seriously challenge the old stuff.

Its all highly subjective.



Even then, in the classical world, the DSD stuff only becomes competitive on better-than-average equipment. However, my overall take on the reason why the best sound came from the 50s and 60s is the fact that there wasn't as much monkeying around with sound. Granted, Culshaw's production of Solti's Ring is a notable exception, but there is a purity in the recording process that lends itself to transparency. With the rise of spot-miking, overzealous splicing, and odd edits in the 1970s, there were a lot of weird recordings. Zubin Mehta's LAPO Planets is a good example, as is well-known, despite the fact that it seems to be the audiophile's disc of choice.
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 12:01 AM Post #12 of 13

Ingo

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Posts
2,030
Likes
12
Quote:

Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
Nice post markl - the fact is, there is no objective standard at work here as to what exactly is meant by "sound quality". It means different things to different people. Audiophile types tend to define it as realistic, you-are-there sound, while others on the board here might think of bass-heavy, studio generated, compressed and loud music as "better". A look at the "well-recorded rock" thread confirms what I am saying - everyone is coming to the issue from different paradigms, so to speak.

As a major audio buff, I will agree that until very recently the old stuff was better, sound quality wise. In the classical world, many people believe that the best sound was from the 50s! It wasn't until digital "came of age" that DSD recordings like Kaplan's Mahler 2 were able to seriously challenge the old stuff.

Its all highly subjective.





Even "well recorded", "well engineered" items don't sound much like what you hear in the crowd at a concert, or sitting in a studio, or watching musicians jam. Ever stood next to an upright bass? Or a kickdrum? That's not bass-heavy? You don't hear a LOT of bass when you're there? For classical music it's so complex it's very hard to discern anything when you're at a concert because of the acoustics of the venue. I guess I just don't understand what everyone is talking about?
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 12:57 AM Post #13 of 13

PSmith08

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 24, 2005
Posts
1,422
Likes
11
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ingo
Even "well recorded", "well engineered" items don't sound much like what you hear in the crowd at a concert, or sitting in a studio, or watching musicians jam. Ever stood next to an upright bass? Or a kickdrum? That's not bass-heavy? You don't hear a LOT of bass when you're there? For classical music it's so complex it's very hard to discern anything when you're at a concert because of the acoustics of the venue. I guess I just don't understand what everyone is talking about?


I can only speak of hall acoustics in the classical world, as most rock venues aren't noted for great sound. There are great halls, good halls, and awful halls both for live and studio perfomances. The Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin and the Musikvereinsaal in Vienna are really stellar halls from a recording viewpoint. The Jesus-Christus-Kirche is a clear, pretty neutral venue, and a lot of great records have been cut there. Places like Symphony Hall in Chicago (the lower balcony is fantastic there, though) and the various Metropolitan Opera halls are decent enough. However, places like the "new" Philharmonie in Berlin are probably on the low end of the spectrum. Eugen Jochum, for one, steered fairly clear of the Philharmonie when it opened, as its boomy, slightly muddy acoustic wasn't his idea of good.

Probably TMI, but - again - there is a range of halls and acoustics that vary.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top