abechap024

Probably Personal Taste...
« on: September 02, 2010, 04:02:09 PM »
But I've realized some of my favorite, most interesting recordings are NOT perfected to alll get out.

It seems like somewhere along the line there spouted up all these unspoken rules, like:

"You must be able to hear what the vocals are saying at every word" I've even heard some engineers say that if you can't make sure that the vocals aren't perfectly audible at every word you should find a new job.

But It may not be "right" to let a vocal part sink under the rest of the music for a bar or two, but I tell you it sure does make the music more interesting. All with a grain of salt of course...

Over perfection...can start to strangle the music is all...

Just a thought,
Carry on.
Abe

AC Sound - some DIY circuitboards


Re: Probably Personal Taste...
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2010, 04:25:25 PM »
As a younger engineer working with younger bands, I've come to see there's a reactionary approach to album making.  I don't make records that sound like Mutt Lange did them, but I do like things to sound good.  However, these days indie bands always complain that something sounds too clean.  It's immensely frustrating.  I can understand making a room mic crunchy, effecting a vocal, fuzzing out the bass, but respect the source.  Otherwise you're merely serving up the converse of auto-tuning and polishing the talentless.

How many albums did you buy and say, "Wow, these songs are great, but I wish this record sounded sh*ttier."?  

Winetree

Re: Probably Personal Taste...
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2010, 04:37:34 PM »
Never had that problem with analog.
Only when recording went to digital did I start to hear it "it's to clean"

abechap024

Re: Probably Personal Taste...
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2010, 04:44:59 PM »
Yes,
Its a little Ironic that the "sound" of MXLs in a bedroom with bad gain staging has become what kids expect their music to sound like...


I really like some of the indie records coming out, mainly because of the interesting "spaces" you can really hear the room/etc... I don't know if that's what your bands mean about dirtier, but there is definitively a trend (with some) of making everything distorted and flat sounding.

I think its maybe a more saftey net for the young performers than anything. Its easier to sing into a mic with tons of crunch on it then having to project mic less in Carnegie hall.

But like anything ultimately its just a Fad.

AC Sound - some DIY circuitboards

pucho812

Re: Probably Personal Taste...
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2010, 04:46:05 PM »
Listen to the Beatles or Zep. the recordings are far from perfect but dammit if it doesn't move you in some way. The sonic and recording should take a back seat to the song. Yeah it's an engineers job to make it sound good. but so what. Some of the best songs have far from perfect recordings. Yet we love those recordings. When you hear things like the kick pedal squeak on john bonhan's kit, it just puts you there...
You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is.

Re: Probably Personal Taste...
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2010, 04:47:09 PM »
How many albums did you buy and say, "Wow, these songs are great, but I wish this record sounded sh*ttier."?  

Dozens, if not hundreds of times.

wtmnmf

Re: Probably Personal Taste...
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2010, 07:54:09 PM »

Re: Probably Personal Taste...
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2010, 09:30:57 PM »
Yeah those "sh*tty" pdfs are fun read.
From my experience, it's not just the usual analog vs digital, sequenced vs live stuff.
I think that if you work on your stuff too much it loses some spontaneity and charm.
Spontaneity is somewhat akin to inspiration, and I think it shows clearly...

abechap024

AC Sound - some DIY circuitboards

Re: Probably Personal Taste...
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2010, 08:15:04 AM »
In making a record recently, a band complained to me that it sounded too clean. I asked them what they wanted from this album. "Do you want it to be popular amongst 8 hipsters in Brooklyn for 15 minutes or do you wan to make something that has the potential to last and affect a broad range of people?" In the end we compromised but I'm happy with the results. 

The "sound" of an artist isn't in the compression or distortion or the analog or the digital or the vintage of the modern... The sound of an artist is in the songs and in the voice and in the fingers that play the instruments. Our job is not to make everything perfect. Our job is to faithfully reproduce the sound of an artist. The unique perspective we bring to that process is what makes every engineer, producer and mixer a snowflake. 

Most people don't notice how screaming loud the tambourine is on all of the old Stones records. They accept it as it's own paradigm as I'm guessing you all have. Listen again though, and think about your radical acceptance of that mix choice all of these years. Then think about that the next time you find yourself spending hours on riding one part until it's "perfect".  There is so much to learn from the imperfections of hits. 


eskimo

Re: Probably Personal Taste...
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2010, 08:58:20 AM »

Re: Probably Personal Taste...
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2010, 09:34:44 AM »
Our job is to faithfully reproduce the sound of an artist.

I agree that often this is the case, but not always. I liken recording to taking photos.  Sometimes you need everything well lit and in focus, but sometimes the subject demands black and white, grainy, narrow depth of focus, heavy shadows, heavy post processing, etc.  The resulting piece is not an accurate representation of what was being photographed.  The process itself becomes part of the work.

I guess that's the difference between a portrait studio and an art studio.  Which one to use depends on what you are trying to capture.  If a band wants band photos that don't look like they were taken at Sears (but this is what you guys look like...), you need to be willing and able to pull off their vision, for better or worse.

Re: Probably Personal Taste...
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2010, 08:27:49 PM »
Of course. That's what I mean about bringing your own perspective. I'm just saying not to lose sight of the song during the process. That's the difference between the classic records and now. It's not the gear that made those records great. If the Beatles had PT, Ol George would have used it and those songs would still be groundbreaking hits.

I guess that's the difference between a portrait studio and an art studio.  Which one to use depends on what you are trying to capture.  If a band wants band photos that don't look like they were taken at Sears (but this is what you guys look like...), you need to be willing and able to pull off their vision, for better or worse.

I agree. The key is that it's what THE BAND want and not about some article someone read that said transformers are cool. 

jtoole

Re: Probably Personal Taste...
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2010, 08:30:01 PM »
I think the photo analogy is a good one.  Where the process itself can be transparent or a core part of the work itself.

It seems to me that there are movements in music that differ (almost) only by their production values and recording styles.  This is somewhat of an exaggeration, but how long have we been hearing blues progressions now?  Same chords, different sounds.  I think the sound of a record plays a huge roll in how it fits within the continuum of recorded music.

Regarding a day-to-day approach, I've had this recurring idea lately that in recording the critical choices are about 'where' to introduce some color or distortion.  You can try to delay this to the last step and leave it to a mastering engineer, or you can commit early and make esthetically pleasing compromises when you still have that control.  


Re: Probably Personal Taste...
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2010, 02:41:11 AM »
How many albums did you buy and say, "Wow, these songs are great, but I wish this record sounded sh*ttier."? 

Dozens, if not hundreds of times.

I don't think I put that right.  I completely agree with your points, though.  I guess my point is, why labor over it?  If you want it to sound like a cassette four track, then why go to a studio? 

A record can be raw and gritty but still have impact and fidelity.  I'm just opposed to lo-fi for the sake of lo-fi, because some asshole on Pitchfork will take you more seriously for it.  The "indie" scene is dead.  It has really just become a mirror of slick pop, and just as pompous.  There are just as many rules and the acts have become just as disposable.  I feel sorry for kids trying to be serious about music making these days.  In many ways it's easier to market yourself than ever, but the value of good music is at an all time low.  I maintain hope though.


 

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