Recording quality?
Jan 18, 2013 at 3:36 PM Post #31 of 48

LFF

Co-Organizer for Can Jam '09
Member of the Trade: Paradox
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Posts
7,055
Likes
261
Quote:
Prod
Producers are not generally audiophiles, and neither are musicians. If their record comes up in rotation on the radio, in background music in a bar, in a venue with a DJ, or on somebody's iPod they want it as loud or louder than the previous song. It's partly a ego thing, partly marketing, and complete fallacy. Each of those play situations has a final volume control run by a human that will undo your best loud mastering if it seems too loud. Radio play is even worse because stations have their own, quite aggressive, audio processing that not only squashes everything to death but adds to the distortion present in a loud master. It's all over zealous fanaticism, and part of life in audio. Google "loudness war".

So true!
 
Jan 18, 2013 at 4:06 PM Post #32 of 48

jiminy

Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Posts
50
Likes
10
When I first got fairly good headphones it made quite a lot of my music sound boring, queen, Metallica, portishead, nivarna to name but a few don't sound as good as they should.
 
Jan 18, 2013 at 4:56 PM Post #33 of 48

LFF

Co-Organizer for Can Jam '09
Member of the Trade: Paradox
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Posts
7,055
Likes
261
Quote:
When I first got fairly good headphones it made quite a lot of my music sound boring, queen, Metallica, portishead, nivarna to name but a few don't sound as good as they should.

Nirvana's recordings are actually VERY dynamic. Too bad the mastering ruined them.
 
Jan 18, 2013 at 5:09 PM Post #35 of 48

jiminy

Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Posts
50
Likes
10
I don't know the differance between a bad recording and bad mastering, could you explain?
I do know that when listening on headphones, I listen to what sounds good throught them but not what I would prefer to listen to.
 
Jan 19, 2013 at 6:19 AM Post #36 of 48

penmarker

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Posts
1,336
Likes
313
Location
Malaysia
Quote:
I don't know the differance between a bad recording and bad mastering, could you explain?
I do know that when listening on headphones, I listen to what sounds good throught them but not what I would prefer to listen to.

Thanks for asking that, it had just struck me that I don't know the difference myself.
 
Probably, the bad recording has a lot of distortions/artifacts, but bad mastering has bad dynamics?

Also, while we're in this subject, is Adele's album 21 badly recorded or badly mastered? Her voice sounded somewhat detached than the rest of the track.
 
Jan 19, 2013 at 6:59 AM Post #37 of 48

jaddie

Account deactivated by request.
Joined
Mar 28, 2011
Posts
1,253
Likes
90
Quote:
Thanks for asking that, it had just struck me that I don't know the difference myself.
 
Probably, the bad recording has a lot of distortions/artifacts, but bad mastering has bad dynamics?

Also, while we're in this subject, is Adele's album 21 badly recorded or badly mastered? Her voice sounded somewhat detached than the rest of the track.

A good recording would present to the listener a believable and acceptable sonic reality, even though it may be completely fabricated.  It would be a presentation that would convey the performance without distraction.  A bad recording would contain qualities that would call attention to the fact that it is a recording and not a believable reality, things like distortions, noises, or unnatural tambre.  
 
A master is also a recording, so "bad mastering" is simply a attempt to assign responsibility to the mastering stage for the detracting characteristics.  That assignment may or may not be valid, distortions can happen anywhere between mic and release copy, and it's pretty hard if not impossible to tell where to put the blame.
 
Jan 19, 2013 at 8:09 AM Post #38 of 48

khaos974

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Posts
2,085
Likes
116
Quote:
Quote:
 
Have you ever gotten mixes/recordings that were so bad that you went "no amount of mastering can save that, re-record and redo the mix please!".

Yes...
 
Aside from some really bad recordings made by amateurs, I had one audiophile from Japan request I remaster his copy of "Death Magnetic". When I told him there was NO fixing it, he then asked about "Californication".
redface.gif

 
I feel your pain, Californication and Death Magnetic?
eek.gif

BUt more seriously, for records you are asked to master (and not re-master), how often do you have wonder if the guy who mixed had an idea of sound quality?
 
Jan 20, 2013 at 12:44 AM Post #39 of 48

TheGrumpyOldMan

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 19, 2012
Posts
504
Likes
51
For me it depends...
 
- on the kind of quality issue: pop & crackle, thin-sounding old recording etc. I can live with (ex.: Django Reinhardt) Brickwalled recordings, hardly. And while DR is not the be-all and end-all, a quick check at the DR Database or running the checker will give me a pretty good indication how it will sound to me during actual listening....
 
- on the level of the quality issue: for example a 7-8 on the DR range doesn't bother me, I'll tolerate even 6 or so if I like the music, but after that... For some vinyl rips, if the person didn't clean the record and didn't bother with even a basic de-crackle, it can get pretty distracting.
 
- on how much I like the music... duh. But actually I find that "old" CDs I bought during my youth (which coincided with its beginnings) sound better now (on the fanciest equipment I have owned since those days) than most modern "remasters" : p
 
A specific example of going over the edge: I quite like Florence + The Machine ever since a friend made me discover Lungs at that time. Now her style has a bit of bombast, and the album wasn't the greatest in terms of DR. But it was perfectly OK, wouldn't stop me from listening to it many times.
 
Then Ceremonials came out, was looking forward to it, listened to it and thought yeesh. But I really wanted to like it and gave it a couple more listens. And haven't listened to it since then apart from rarely 1-2 songs. I cannot bring myself to listen to the whole album... it's already all bombast without the variation present in Lungs, but then the total brickwall mastering took it far over the edge, intentional or not. Interestingly, even "non-audiphile" reviewers who liked it commented on how some of it was almost too much for prolonged listening (without framing it in terms of another Loudness War victim)
 
In a similar vein, NZ singer Kimbra's somewhat over-produced studio album is actually borderline OK, but some of the "live" in-studio tracks (and an outdoor one) so much more compliment her talent that I'll take the compressed audio extracted from the HD YouTube vids (and background noise), warts and all, any day over the same songs on the lossless CD-rip...
 
Jan 20, 2013 at 4:03 PM Post #40 of 48

Nirvana Woman

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 7, 2012
Posts
175
Likes
12
Quote:
A good recording would present to the listener a believable and acceptable sonic reality, even though it may be completely fabricated.  It would be a presentation that would convey the performance without distraction.  A bad recording would contain qualities that would call attention to the fact that it is a recording and not a believable reality, things like distortions, noises, or unnatural tambre.  
 
A master is also a recording, so "bad mastering" is simply a attempt to assign responsibility to the mastering stage for the detracting characteristics.  That assignment may or may not be valid, distortions can happen anywhere between mic and release copy, and it's pretty hard if not impossible to tell where to put the blame.


How about narrow sound stage, and a total lack of definition and articulation on instruments?
 
That's not sarcasm, by the way... i seriously wonder sometimes when stuff sounds bad whether I just have some kind of software setting wrong or if stuff is seriously that bad-sounding. It happens to me with so many EDM mixes... you're enjoying a track, great instrument separation and a bass that you can feel as well as hear clearly... and then it mixes into something aweful and you feel the need to sort of zone out for the next five minutes...
The problem with (deep) house music is that most commercial releases aren't really that great... You find the best music by listening to mixes compiled by dj's who share your taste.
Some of them consistently only seem to publish (free!) mixes that are technically great sounding... others not so much. It's really weird to me how that can be so variable.
 
Jan 20, 2013 at 6:01 PM Post #41 of 48

ukon16

Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 4, 2013
Posts
57
Likes
10
Quote:
How about narrow sound stage, and a total lack of definition and articulation on instruments?
 
That's not sarcasm, by the way... i seriously wonder sometimes when stuff sounds bad whether I just have some kind of software setting wrong or if stuff is seriously that bad-sounding. It happens to me with so many EDM mixes... you're enjoying a track, great instrument separation and a bass that you can feel as well as hear clearly... and then it mixes into something aweful and you feel the need to sort of zone out for the next five minutes...
The problem with (deep) house music is that most commercial releases aren't really that great... You find the best music by listening to mixes compiled by dj's who share your taste.
Some of them consistently only seem to publish (free!) mixes that are technically great sounding... others not so much. It's really weird to me how that can be so variable.


I wondered the same about deep house abd EDM in general.
 Some are amazing and others I'm like "What".
 
I'm a noob when it comes to audio production....I always assumed the musicians and producers would do the mastering themselves or learned the craft well as an amatuer.
 
BTW, where do these producers come from? Do some believe people like these compressed, messed up records...or perhaps they actually do? Wouldn't surprised me if they ran some double blind test and people liked them.
 
I remember on Reddit a radio exec and former DJ explained why radio sucked; marketing research indicated the only market listening and worth advertising to was 30-40 year old soccer moms shuttling kids around. Hence the repetitive hits to keep them locked on one dial. The market asked for crappy radio more or less.
 
Jan 20, 2013 at 6:40 PM Post #42 of 48

Nirvana Woman

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 7, 2012
Posts
175
Likes
12
Quote:
I wondered the same about deep house abd EDM in general.
 Some are amazing and others I'm like "What".
 
I'm a noob when it comes to audio production....I always assumed the musicians and producers would do the mastering themselves or learned the craft well as an amatuer.
 
BTW, where do these producers come from? Do some believe people like these compressed, messed up records...or perhaps they actually do? Wouldn't surprised me if they ran some double blind test and people liked them.
 
I remember on Reddit a radio exec and former DJ explained why radio sucked; marketing research indicated the only market listening and worth advertising to was 30-40 year old soccer moms shuttling kids around. Hence the repetitive hits to keep them locked on one dial. The market asked for crappy radio more or less.


Mm yeah to account for the EDM part of things, maybe it's true to say that there's many of those producers who don't have the greatest of equipment available because they have less means to make things work. Don't know how much truth there would be in that.
 
I don't know if you know the Balance0xx series... But there on one hand you'll have Joris Voorn's Balance014, which is a truly excellent, exquisite sounding album start to finish. And then there's Luke Fair's Balance011, which starts sounding like a mess about halfway through CD1. I never even get to CD2, that's how bad it is. Which is a total shame, because the music on it is insanely good =/.
Not to mention the Global Underground series, which are riddled with just terrible, terrible releases.
 
Anyway, enough negativity and venting for today :p.
 
Jun 1, 2014 at 8:36 AM Post #43 of 48

SilverEars

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 18, 2013
Posts
11,361
Likes
4,862
Hi, I have a question.  What makes some recording sound better than others?  Is it the recording process, the equipment, or else?  I notice typically Jazz, classical, are well recorded.  Are they just easier to record well vs pop music?
 
I notice typically pop music has the highest percentage of bad recordings.  Is there any reasons for it?  Is it to make it sound good enough on crappy set of phones and low bit rate?
 
I just recently got the Marantz audiophile music collection, it has unbelievebly detailed sounds, why do the industry not do this as standard?  Same for Eva Cassidy recordings, they are so accurate, realistic, and detailed.
 
Jun 1, 2014 at 3:53 PM Post #44 of 48

bigshot

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Posts
22,418
Likes
4,330
Location
Hollywood USA
It's hard to generalize, but usually the quality of sound has a lot to do with the way the music is tracked. Placement of the mike and the type of mike used can make a huge difference, as can the acoustics of the recording venue. Second, mixing. Overall balances are key to separating out each individual voice of the instruments. Jazz and classical is usually recorded well and directly, with a minimum of overdubbing and manipulation in the mix. That helps maintain a realistic presence too. Classical and jazz musicians can play their instruments and perform without editing. Pop songs are often created from millions of bits spliced together because the musicians can't perform the music real time all together.
 
Jun 1, 2014 at 4:38 PM Post #45 of 48

sonitus mirus

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Posts
1,782
Likes
614
That is the one thing that I did not consider, talent.  I mentally figured in all of the mass market gimmickry, youthful consumer demographics with inexpensive players, and time and resource limitation available to get something out there while the iron is hot, so to speak; however, I forgot to factor in the idea that the musicians are generally technically superior with their instruments and performance quality with classical and jazz.  While purely subjective, it is difficult to ignore as a major consideration.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top