ruffrecords

The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« on: October 20, 2016, 12:59:10 PM »
I have listened to this album quite a lot in the last year in the car mainly because it has lot of the same drive an earthiness of their earlier albums. However, I hate the production/mastering, especially what they have done to Charlie Watts drums. It is so bad that after a few minutes it actually makes my ears hurt. I have no argument with the loudness wars - they were in full swing in the 60s when I first really got interested in music, but it seems to me that some of the methods currently in use actually make the music less listenable and this album is a good example.

I recently had cause to try to increase the loudness of some tracks I had recorded of a local singer/songwriter. I had played around with a few plugins and this had increased the loudness but it was still quieter than most modern material. So I experimented to see if I could achieve a similar loudness without the earache I get with super duper multi band compression techniques. In the end I tried a simple limiter with the threshold set at about -6dBFS and a fairly short decay. I was astounded at the result. It was a hell of a lot louder and the sound was very reminiscent of many of my favourite tracks from the 60s/70s. Lots of energy and punch but absolutely no earache.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'


Michael Tibes

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2016, 02:08:50 PM »
The mastering trend of the last decade or even longer seems to be driven by the idea to create the ultimate listening experience at moderate levels on mediocre equipment - like laptops or kitchen speakers. There are some prominent horrible examples from Metallica or the Chilly Peppers and certainly many more. I feel like mixing slowly caught up with the process and we learn how to create those really loud mixes which are still somewhat enjoyable despite the volume. Nevertheless, most often the most enjoyable moment for me is during the recordings, when the dynamics are still as intended during the performance.

Anyway, recording digitally and mixing in DAWs certainly doesn't make the sound more enjoyable either...

Michael

Seeker

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2016, 02:21:53 AM »
There is of course mangling that goes on in mastering, but these days most of the volume is coming from parallel compression during mixing. 

For what its worth... Andrew Scheps mixed both the chili peppers and the metalica albums you're referring too, and hes said many times he does not check on anything other than his main speakers, he mixed it that way because he liked it like that....

Personally, its over the line for me, but I do love some of the sounds that are achievable with modern mixing techniques... I just think it tends to go a bit too far....
"Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” - Miles

DerEber

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2016, 04:35:09 AM »
It always got to far in every century.
Then we have to wait for 20 Years before listening to it again.
Same in architecture or cars.

joaquins

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2016, 09:42:20 PM »
  You can listen to Californication in 8 bits and wouldn't notice a difference but between tracks while fade in/out. Try it out! Death Magnetic was way too far. I do hate the loudness wars and other "modern standard" properties of post production.

  While it's true for broadcasting there are some things that make the track pop out between the others when you listen to a full album it doesn't make any sense. As I'm more an album listener than broadcasting listener my choice is clear. Even albums way out of the standard sound great by they own, when you mix tracks from different albums you have a problem. Listen to The Empyrean after Californication and you'll fell deaf, do it the other way and you want to drill into your eardrums. But I rather listen the whole album of The Empyrean than Californication and have that earache you say.

JS
If I don't know how it works, I prefer don't turn it on.

Whoops

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2017, 01:24:21 PM »
The mastering trend of the last decade or even longer seems to be driven by the idea to create the ultimate listening experience at moderate levels on mediocre equipment - like laptops or kitchen speakers.

Yes, that's exactly it.
Also a lot of music playing devices have a limit in the output like the European iPod, so if the sound of the file is not squashed you barely have a decent volume. I'm a professional Engineer and I care, so I bought and external headphone preamp so I could have the volume I want, but a normal consumer will just ditch in a pinch an album that he can't hear on the iPod while listening on headphones on a train.
The Market doesn't care about quality, and to be honest unfortunately most people don't care, they want more songs, fast streaming, less cost, the smallest ever speakers.
It's all wrong for an enjoyable listening experience but we have to be real the people that care like us are a minority.

Anyway, recording digitally and mixing in DAWs certainly doesn't make the sound more enjoyable either...

Sorry that's simply not true.
Recording Digitally and Mixing in the DAW is not inferior to any other method, but can be superior in a lot of different aspects.
As always will depend on how it's used and the person that is behind the wheel.
Listen to any Tchad Blake mixed record of the last 8 years.

It has also nothing to do with the ear fatigue you get from Over-Limited Squashed music, mp3, listening from tiny  frequency limited speakers.

Over the years I recorded to tape and to digital, I mixed with an analog console or in the DAW, the workflow of course is different but I can achieve the same results in terms of the final sound quality, none is better than the other.
Well with Tape what you put in is rarely what comes out, so that can be good or bad depending on the situation.
But I never found Mixing in the DAW making my mixes more fatinguing than mixing in the SSL console,
what I found is that after mastering and when people listen them on laptop speakers everything is fatiguing.

There is of course mangling that goes on in mastering, but these days most of the volume is coming from parallel compression during mixing. 

Not really, parallel compression is used for punch, tone, timbre and not for volume.
As the peaks already reached 0dbs digital a long time ago, volume is achieved only 1 way, by Limiting of some sort.
Normally achieved by the use of different methods of Limiting and not resorting to just one limiter.
Clipping the AD input converters and the use of a chain of several Brickwall Lookahead Limiters (instead of just having one doing all the work) is commonly used.
Mastering Engineers are not the culprits normally, Musicians, Bands, Record Labels, Radio Producers are always demanding that, it's not new , people are trying to have their record louder than their neighbour for the last 50 years, although nowadays it's just over the top.

Like I said before, it's important to realize that we and other people that care are a minority worldwide, the majority doesn't care.
General consumers don't research or just don't mind, they react on trends and marketing hype, like the general ideia that was sold to them at the present time that Vinyl sounds better, it's good for record labels as their revenues decreased so much they had to find ways other ways to profit, now they are able to re-realease Vinyls of the old catalog, also CDs are dead so let's convince them they have to buy the Vinyl.

What a general consumer that says "Vinyl sounds better" will never do is a listening test. They will never compare.
They also don't know is that most Vinyl pressing places nowadays use inferior materials for the compound.
They don't know that mastering to vinyl is not really done, or it's done without cutting manually the master.
Also test pressings are not really done nowadays because of cost saving and because everything is made in an hurry and rushed.
They don't know that although they bought the expensive 180gram  Vinyl that the information that was printed there was not prepared for the format, or it was not cut into the format properly, or that the extra 60grams of are just some cheap plastic that was mixed in the compound to give weight.

It's a business, it's entertainment they look for profit.
It's an Art for us we look for quality.


For what its worth... Andrew Scheps mixed both the chili peppers and the metalica albums you're referring too, and hes said many times he does not check on anything other than his main speakers, he mixed it that way because he liked it like that....

Personally, its over the line for me, but I do love some of the sounds that are achievable with modern mixing techniques... I just think it tends to go a bit too far....

Yes I like old technics/tools, and also like you I like modern technics/tools. For me it's just more tools being it old or new, digital or analog.
I also have to be honest, for some types of music, I like it with a degree of limiting, but not to the level of most records nowadays.
It's a completely different thing you achieve when the limiter threshold is set so that recovers back to zero and when it's pushed is a way it never really recovers, everything gets squashed and no dynamics are left.

I don't think the over-limiting in the Metallica's Death Magnetic album was due to Andrew Scheps.
The controversy on that album came when people started to listen to the song in the Guitar Hero game because they found it sounded better than the Album version. The difference was that the Guitar hero song was not mastered, or not mastered in the same way as the Album tracks.
But the Andrew Scheps mix is the same, the only difference was mastering.
Once again I really think that could have been a request from the band and not a mastering decision.



« Last Edit: January 08, 2017, 08:20:28 PM by Whoops »

Seeker

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2017, 04:43:21 PM »
Just clarify when I said "volume" what I really meant was dynamic range. 
Also, I didn't want to sound like I'm crapping on Andrew Scheps, I'm a fan of his work and have watched many of his mixing videos, and technical talks... 
Regardless of exactly where it's happening in the process, there are a lot of modern recordings where I wish the final product had a slightly wider dynamic range...
"Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” - Miles

Whoops

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2017, 05:41:45 PM »
Yes I know, I also like his work.

leadbreath

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2017, 05:47:54 PM »
Be it limited to death or mastered crap, if a band is sh*t then it will sound sh*t (Metallica)
f**k marlbro's and weed ill stick to smoking germanium and silicon

Whoops

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2017, 05:53:12 PM »
Be it limited to death or mastered crap, if a band is sh*t then it will sound sh*t (Metallica)

LOLOLOLOL

Maybe we should keep to The Stones then...  ;)

Ian, I don't know the album, but I will have a listen
« Last Edit: January 08, 2017, 08:18:01 PM by Whoops »


Pip

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2017, 06:43:08 PM »
Thank You for the response to the comment about digital recording and computer as tool their-of AKA DAW. It was implied along the way that it is inferior to other approaches. I am assuming meaning analogue?

I agree with the sentiment that it (DAW)  is not and that it is in many ways better and more accurate then any and I mean any analogue storage medium! Tchad Blake's work is one of the best examples that can be given for the debate!

They are all just tools in the hands of craftspeople and nothing more!
Pip
New York City
http://geosonixlab.com

Whoops

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2017, 08:25:57 PM »
Thank You for the response to the comment about digital recording and computer as tool their-of AKA DAW. It was implied along the way that it is inferior to other approaches. I am assuming meaning analogue?

I agree with the sentiment that it (DAW)  is not and that it is in many ways better and more accurate then any and I mean any analogue storage medium! Tchad Blake's work is one of the best examples that can be given for the debate!

They are all just tools in the hands of craftspeople and nothing more!

Completely agree.

ruffrecords

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2017, 04:50:11 AM »
I have said this before; for success in the music business you need:

1. Real talent
2. Catchy melody
3. Well constructed arrangement
4. Capable musicians
5. Quality recording gear
6. Luck

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2017, 10:40:12 AM »
I have said this before; for success in the music business you need:

1. Real talent
2. Catchy melody
3. Well constructed arrangement
4. Capable musicians
5. Quality recording gear
6. Luck

Cheers

Ian

Hi

I agree with you for "long" success.
But for success only, point 6 is enough  :-X

Best
Zam

Pip

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2017, 12:32:58 PM »
"Success"

suc·cess
səkˈses/
noun
noun: success; plural noun: successes

    the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

So I say that any project started, toiled on in the middle and then completed, is by definition a success! Emphasis on completed!

Now if that project whatever it is goes on to see the light of day (get a following) and result in changing something (like some ones feelings or attitude) and maybe even generating some revenue (show capital gains) well then full marks as they say in the UK! But the fact that it was completed is all the success anyone can truly hope for. In short do it first for yourself without confusing business with pleasure!
   
Pip
New York City
http://geosonixlab.com

ruffrecords

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2017, 02:28:35 PM »
"Success"

suc·cess
səkˈses/
noun
noun: success; plural noun: successes

    the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

So I say that any project started, toiled on in the middle and then completed, is by definition a success! Emphasis on completed!

   

Absolutely correct. But if you set yourself easy goals you can always claim to be a success. If you aim to write a number one song you may find success eludes you.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

tommypiper

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2017, 06:07:39 PM »
I don't think the over-limiting in the Metallica's Death Magnetic album was due to Andrew Scheps.
The controversy on that album came when people started to listen to the song in the Guitar Hero game because they found it sounded better than the Album version. The difference was that the Guitar hero song was not mastered, or not mastered in the same way as the Album tracks.
But the Andrew Scheps mix is the same, the only difference was mastering.

I believe you are wrong on this.  I knew one of the Guitar Hero game engineers, and he played me the discrete tracks from several artists -- vocals, guitar, harmonies, etc -- all separate tracks.  We heard Fleetwood Mac and others -- amazing to hear the vocal harmonies soloed!  Spot on.  Beautiful. 

Guitar Hero had access to all the discrete tracks, from all the artists, AFAIK.  Thus, it was a new mix in the Guitar Hero game, and NOT the Andrew Scheps mix. 

(I don't recall  if heard the Metallica tracks or not on that visit, I do remember Van Halen and Fleetwood Mac and others.  I understood from my friend that all the artists had provided discrete tracks.)  That would clearly explain why it sounded different / better.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2017, 06:14:05 PM by tommypiper »
Imagine a wet, slightly chilled from its gas release and decompression, with water droplets condensing, sucking surface tension, slowly sliding down the side, capped by a healthy virgin froth on top..

Whoops

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2017, 06:28:22 PM »
I believe you are wrong on this.  I knew one of the Guitar Hero game engineers, and he played me the discrete tracks from several artists -- vocals, guitar, harmonies, etc -- all separate tracks.  We heard Fleetwood Mac and others -- amazing to hear the vocal harmonies soloed!  Spot on.  Beautiful. 

Guitar Hero had access to all the discrete tracks, from all the artists, AFAIK.  Thus, it was a new mix in the Guitar Hero game, and NOT the Andrew Scheps mix. 

(I don't recall  if heard the Metallica tracks or not on that visit, I do remember Van Halen and Fleetwood Mac and others.  I understood from my friend that all the artists had provided discrete tracks.)  That would clearly explain why it sounded different / better.

Hi Tommy, thanks for your insight.
Although those are not discreet instrument tracks, it's not the original multitrack or guitar hero mix. That's called "STEMS".
Once the Mix is made "STEMS" of instrument groups are bounced to stereo.
ALL the drums tracks with all the process made during mixing are bounced to a Stereo file. (individual drum tracks can be 10,20, or 40, you will never know)
The the same is done for all bass tracks,all  Keyboards tracks and all guitar tracks and so on.

The idea is that in the end you have Stereo files of each group of instruments with the sound they have in the mix - STEMS

Those Stems from the Scheps Mix are the tracks that were sent to Guitar Hero.

If when doing the STEMS the processing that was on the Master Fader was the same as the final Bounce that was sent to Mastering I really don't know.



tommypiper

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2017, 05:22:27 PM »
Whoops - yes, you're right about the stems.  That's what I meant... I heard stereo stems.   :)  Still, discrete instruments....

Sounds like the only difference was lack of mastering, but I'm lost in the details now...

Anyway, earlier in the thread, on those 1-6 points for success in music... I think we can toss most out the window nowadays.  The only real thing that pushes music to "success" (lots of streams) is that it's pushed, featured by streaming services and the labels.  Period.  End of story.  (Repetitive, simplistic and uninspired lyrics or self-centered raps, monotonic melodies, virtually no chord changes, very anti-musical, let's face it -- being musical has become out of fashion.)   

#1-6 have lost relevance, at least in much of modern music, across modern genres, even current rock..  There are still catchy tunes well put together, but it's becoming more the exception.... Classical genre, yes #1-6 somewhat apply, but there is also a lot of crap famous classical music .  #4 is about the only requisite for Classical.  And it's definitely not requisite anymore in other genres.   :)  I could go on.  Never mind.

what is the world coming to..   ;D



Imagine a wet, slightly chilled from its gas release and decompression, with water droplets condensing, sucking surface tension, slowly sliding down the side, capped by a healthy virgin froth on top..

Seeker

Re: The Stones - "A Bigger Bang" and loudness
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2017, 08:52:56 PM »
Here is a quote from Ted Jensen who mastered Death Magnetic, taken from Blabermouth.com, but it is an article I've seen used more than once....

"I'm certainly sympathetic to your reaction, I get to slam my head against that brick wall every day. In this case the mixes were already brick-walled before they arrived at my place. Suffice to say I would never be pushed to overdrive things as far as they are here. Believe me, I'm not proud to be associated with this one, and we can only hope that some good will come from this in some form of backlash against volume above all else."

I respect Andrew  Scheps very much, he's been a big influence in my mixing approach, so this isn't a dig at him or anyone who's responded to this thread, just trying to relay the info that's out there.
Personally I think the 'volume' had to do much more with Rick Ruben, he does have a penchant for LOUD, but that's just my 2 cents...

Either way, even the fans got pissed, so I think Ted was right... not many people will squash things that much again.... 
"Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” - Miles