SH Spotlight I was asked "Why do recordings need compression/limiting during recording, mastering?"

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
    Interesting, though kind of disconcerting that a lot of it might be driven by conformity/following fashion. We need a few relatively mainstream mavericks to say "I don't care that it doesn't sound like other albums. I want it to sound like this" so that we can set a new fashion.
     
  2. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
    What would it even mean to have a recording that "reproduces life" though? Are you just meaning to reproduce a live band sound? I'm not a big fan of that approach, because I see the studio as a unique instrument in itself. You can do things in a recording studio that you can't do, at least not very easily, with a live band, and I like when artists exploit the possibilities of that.

    To me, thinking that a studio should only be used to make a band sound just like they sound performing live (in what environment though? They can sound all different ways in different environments) would be like thinking that an electric guitar should only be used to sound just like an acoustic guitar. An electric guitar is a unique instrument, with a lot of unique timbral possibilities. Why not fully explore the possibilities of each instrument?
     
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  3. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    Location:
    Arizona
    Oh, they're out there, and they do say that, but they are far outnumbered. We don't need a few mavericks, we need a lot of them!
     
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  4. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    Problem is, it's easier to make a recording that "sounds like a record" than one that "reproduces life". So that's what everyone does.

    I have nothing against the creative use of the studio as a tool, but I do believe in learning to walk before you try to run. Recording for fidelity to the original source is learning to walk. No one even tries to anymore.

    It kind of reminds me of classic car restoration. It's actually a lot harder to restore an antique car to its original condition than it is to make it into a custom hotrod. So custom hotrods are what everyone does with old cars now.
     
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  5. bordons

    bordons Member

    As a recording and mastering tool, the compression/limiting in Raspberries songs was too heavy handed for my taste, and I suspect the the group's goal was to produce loud-sounding hits for airplay. On the other hand, I believe the Raspberries employed audible compression/limiting as an artistic instrument to produce the auditory "pumping" between electric guitar strums and drum beats that propelled songs like "Go All The Way" and "I Wanna Be With You."
    High fidelity? Hardly, some of it is a soupy mess from a fidelity standpoint. But for me, the heavy compression/limiting added excitement and energy to those songs that helped make them the classics they are. So I guess I'm suggesting that sometimes even bad compression/limiting can be good, depending on the intent and the listeners' response.
     
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  6. telepicker97

    telepicker97 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwest
    So...what's been happening at the majors since the late 90s?
     
  7. telepicker97

    telepicker97 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwest
    Raspberries records don't have that hard digital limiting and DRC that cause the clipping and subsonic bass fighting with ultra shrill harmonies that make me turn off a lot of redbook digital commercial recordings.
     
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  8. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    Location:
    Arizona
    That too.
     
  9. imajindat

    imajindat Member

    Location:
    Philadelphia
    This is great info, thanks!!
     
  10. Paul Saldana

    Paul Saldana Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hallandale Beach
    and again with the off-topic: the CD 'All This Stuff And More vol 1' has those tracks and they sound pretty great there too.
     
  11. Paul Saldana

    Paul Saldana Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hallandale Beach
    There is an added problem with that title that some discs have either no bass, or average bass/midrange and insane treble. One of the Polydor cds is only slightly bright, the MFSL cd sounds amazing. The 3-cd Deluxe is just okay EQ-wise but it is louder than some older reissues.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
  12. Troystar

    Troystar Active Member

    Location:
    Victoria BC Canada
    I have the Notorious Remasters from 2010 how different is it to the original?
     
  13. Troystar

    Troystar Active Member

    Location:
    Victoria BC Canada
    Do most modern records use Digital or Analog compression? How can a person who isn't an audiophile master tell the difference?
     
  14. Yost

    Yost Forum Resident

    I don't know the 2010 mastering myself. Based on the DR figures it looks quite okay. But the original is insanely dynamic and personally I do like that.
     
  15. Dukes Travels

    Dukes Travels Forum Resident

    Location:
    Land of Confusion
    this. i wont entertain anything under dr10.
    i think electronic music (kraftwerk) gets away with dr of 8 and under, whereas rock doesnt.
     
  16. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Forum Resident

    Not answering for Steve, but in my experience, there are myriad different types of music within different types. Certainly Elgar's Enigma Variations and Stravinsky's Sacre du Printemps would not benefit from the same handling, and neither would the music of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.
     
  17. Dukes Travels

    Dukes Travels Forum Resident

    Location:
    Land of Confusion
    this sounds more to be your equipmnt/listening area, than the mastering of the album.
     
    altaeria likes this.
  18. Spruce

    Spruce Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brigg, England
    Then wouldn't it be the case with every album, rather than the specific one he mentioned?
     
  19. Yost

    Yost Forum Resident

    As an electronic music lover I can tell you that Kraftwerk sounds much better at DR15 than at DR8. As is the case with any music, imho.
     
  20. Bigbudukks

    Bigbudukks dbster

    Location:
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Actually it's the recordings. Both of these records have been like this for decades now regardless of what system I was using at the time. It wouldn't matter if I had a house but since I live in an apartment it matters a great deal. It's annoying, but at least the music is good.
     
  21. Chooke

    Chooke Forum Resident

    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    Mostly digital these days but it depends on what type of sound the producer and/or artist is trying to achieve.
     
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  22. Chooke

    Chooke Forum Resident

    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    Nearly all productions use compression. It is not used to destroy the sound quality, but for the opposite reason. For example making drums sound like drums or to correct the EQ of a recorded track to help with separation. Another example is that vocals have quite a wide dynamic range, even from syllable to syllable, so when mixing this in the with rest of the track, parts of the vocal are slightly too loud and parts of it too quiet, compression equals out these variations so we can hear a nice vocal line.

    As a general rule though, the more processing done, the more the sound quality suffers. So one of the main concerns for the producer is to balance the amount of processing to improve separation (and other factors) and the amount of processing which negatively affects the sound quality. Production is not an exact science, it is an art and virtually always involves some level of compromise, and this is where the skills, ears, experience and judgement of a good engineer like our host, Ludwig, Ricker etc can make a real difference over an amateur's “in the box” production.

    The article below by Ian Sheppard (of dynamic range day fame) provides a broad overview of why compression can be good when used skilfully, or bad when abused.

    Using compression to add punch, warmth and power to your mix - Production Advice
     
    violetvinyl likes this.
  23. Hmph. Ideally, a recording should NEVER need ANY kind of signal processing..... most of the time, that kind of stuff is used to compensate for lazy-ass recordings made by lazy-ass engineers, or to also compensate for just bad production. If maybe they (and the artist or band) had a little more patience, they could make recordings with a VERY FINE attention to detail, so that they can get everything just right at the source, and thus, NEVER EVER treat ANY of their recordings with ANY kind of signal processing......

    • Equalizers? Especially the "legendary" "oh-so-wonderful" Neve/Trident/API/SSL/Pultec/Sontec/GML etc. stuff? Ugh, NO. Learn to tune a drum AND point a microphone! :mad: :tsk:
    • Compressors? Especially the "legendary" "oh-so-wonderful" Fairchild/SSL/Neve/UREI/Teletronix/dbx etc. stuff? Oh, please, NO. Again, learn to tune a drum AND point a microphone! Also, learn how to produce, as well!
    • Reverb? Especially the "legendary" "oh-so-wonderful" Lexicon/EMT etc. stuff? No, no, NO! Yet AGAIN, learn to tune a drum AND point a microphone!
    • Console saturation? Especially the "legendary" "oh-so-wonderful" Neve/Trident/API etc. stuff? Nope, absolutely NOT. Learn to tune a drum! Learn how to point a microphone! Learn how to produce!
    • Tape saturation? Especially the "legendary" "oh-so-wonderful" Ampex/Studer etc. stuff? Oh no. Please, NO. Learn to tune a drum! Learn how to point a microphone! And pretty pretty please, learn how to PRODUCE!
    Ugh..... stupid wannabe "engineers" with more ego than actual talent and apparently VERY little or just plain insufficient patience..... seriously, what is the POINT of trying to band-aid and polish a hot, steaming turd? :disgust: :thumbsdow :realmad: Get it right at the SOURCE!!

    P.S. This is NOT a jab at Steve in case you didn't know, or else you somehow vowed to COMPLETELY miss the point of my post...... I just get SO frustrated at utterly shallow and righteously stupid engineers who simply do NOT deserve ANY sort of place in the recording industry...... there ya go. Bye. For now.
     
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  24. Troystar

    Troystar Active Member

    Location:
    Victoria BC Canada
    Where do you find the DR figures of an album and what does it mean?
     
  25. Chooke

    Chooke Forum Resident

    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    Dynamic Range data base here Album list - Dynamic Range Database

    Discussion on what the DR figures mean here Understanding the parameters in the dynamic range database

    and why the database cannot be used to compare with vinyl or lossy formats here Is the DR database really accurate for vinyl?

    Bear in mind that the DR figure is just one indicator of a good recording/mastering. I have come across several releases with a high DR that don't sound good and vice versa, for reasons that are not directly related to the dynamic range - eg noisy, poor EQ choices etc.
     

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