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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.

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  1. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Planet Earth
    Great,I have just ordered this:doh:
    Dave Decadent and Tensilversaxes like this.
  2. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Planet Earth
    Haha...another great example for tub(e) compression:edthumbs:
    tappioha, JulesRules, Kkfan and 6 others like this.
  3. vonwegen

    vonwegen Forum Resident

    Too late to cancel?
  4. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Planet Earth
    Think so....
  5. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    By the way... too much sauce ruins every meal IMO
  6. Krzysztof Maj

    Krzysztof Maj Forum Resident

    Are we trying to justify and accept the recent ****ty new albums in terms of sound quality (not music) and what is going on the music mass market being just flooded with overcompressed releases? Hope not. To me, when you look for new album from Metallica, Sting or Stones those are the victims of loudness wars and compression - why, that's something I cannot totally accept and understand!

    DR7 or 6, c'mon! Is it impossible to release them with better dynamic range and record with good quality having such new and advanced technology as of today? Why compress them so high and lost almost all of the feeling of the music "air", drums impact and smooth sounding high hats and instead, serve the listener a headache? Who is responsible for that trend, are those musicians deaf and not listening to their album or they just don't care making money?
    Contact Lost and longdist01 like this.
  7. Yost

    Yost Always Wondered How Other People Did This

    Too little compression also makes it sound like a different genre. If you listen to the original CD master of the title track of Duran Duran's Notorious (DR16), it sounds like a jazz recording. Listening to it on a good sounding compilation (with DR12) actually makes it sound like the pop music it really is.
  8. marcob1963

    marcob1963 Forum Resident

    Actually, I'm an analog man, but that CD version you posted wasn't as compressed as the needle drop.

    It appears that the needle drop may have been recorded direct to a camera and compressed by the camera.
    Tadpole in a Jar likes this.
  9. Sordel

    Sordel Forum Resident

    Midlands, UK
    Yes, I like it too. At the risk of allegorising it - and speaking as someone who has never been in a recording studio but has some experience of cooking - I'm thinking that compression also speaks to the limitations of a recipe. When a recording engineer sets up a room, I'm thinking that there is a recipe for that: which microphones, how many, where they're placed depending on the configuration to be recorded. A lot of people would think that if you do the recipe right you're going to end up with a good result, but the simple fact is that the recipe only reflects a "standard" ingredient. Maybe the peppers are extra hot today or the onions on the mild side. Sure, you can tailor the levels before you start recording, but musicians make their decisions as to dynamics on the fly. If I read our host correctly, compression essentially gives you a per-second way of correcting that (passively) so that things get pulled towards a coherent mix.

    I had actually always thought that it was reverb that did this: in studio multitracking don't you record the separate dry signals and then put on a reverb at the end to "glue" everything together and make it sound as though it was recorded all in the same space at the same time? But clearly you need different types of glue for different types of recording and if you are recording "live" (as of course pretty much all those vintage recordings were) then getting a coherent reverberation would never have been the challenge.

    I do wonder though whether my snob affection for those mono remasterings (such as the John Coltrane and Miles Davis remasters) aren't just a roundabout way of getting the squeezed dynamic range that I am supposed to be avoiding in remasterings of later material. Wouldn't it be terrible to spend all that money to satisfy the same aural craving? :nyah:
  10. James_S888

    James_S888 Forum Resident

    I think you or someone should send this to Stephen Marcussen.
    Compression is a tool, not a hammer.
    I love "Blue and Lonesome", but the mastering, the compression applied is so extreme it really detracts from the performances.
    The high resolution digital has a DR of 7.
    The vinyl apparently - I'm still waiting for it to arrive, it's completely sold out - has a DR of around 10.
    JulesRules and McLover like this.
  11. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    Preparing a "State-of-the-Art" meal is more difficult to setup a room!!! The best ingredients do not guarantee a good meal, even it was well cooked. The flavor must flow together...... that's the reason I've been disappointed with a few ***-restaurants all over the world.
  12. Krzysztof Maj

    Krzysztof Maj Forum Resident

    Yes, vinyl releases of the same albums - Stones, Sting, Metallica and Yes - all have better DR values than the digital versions which are extremely compressed and distorted.
  13. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    But they do NOT sound MUCH better. Maybe a little more pleasant to the ears.... overall the LPs are also crap!!!
  14. James_S888

    James_S888 Forum Resident

    Yeah, it's a real problem. I'm assuming because this compression takes place in digital. Overdone digital compression and clipping being highly unpleasant on a broad band system.
    And the Stones album, it clips, continuously.
  15. James_S888

    James_S888 Forum Resident

    Rather facetiously I sent the following to Marcussen mastering.

    Hi there Mr. Marcussen,

    This is more in the nature of a general question.

    Why did you brickwall the 44.1/16 CD and hi-resolution 88.2/24 versions of “Blue and Lonesome” and give it a DR of 7?

    It clips continously too. Why is that?

    The way it was recorded, the tape itself must be very open and breathing.

    Contact Lost and JulesRules like this.
  16. James_S888

    James_S888 Forum Resident

    Unsurprisingly, I got no response.
    JulesRules likes this.
  17. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    NS, Canada
    Years ago I said it would be great if someone would produce a cd that illustrated what is being talked about.

    Use a track that all the experts tell us is over-compressed, then follow it with the same track remastered by Steve. Then do this for other genres. Cover the waterfront.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2016
    Lewisboogie likes this.
  18. Yost

    Yost Always Wondered How Other People Did This

    I'm not sure why you're quoting me, as I didn't type the text in that quote.
  19. BSC

    BSC Forum Resident

    Glasgow, Scotland
    Very interesting.

    I do think in some cases Beck's Sea Change springs to mind that the versions with a little compression sound better than the one that doesn't and I thought that with the Roxy set but I'd need to go back and A/B things that was in my older system. Certainly the complaints on the Zep reissues never made sense to me these new ones seemed quite clearly to be the best versions but others prefer the Diaments.......
  20. brainwashed

    brainwashed Forum Hall Of Fame

    Boston, MA
    Slightly off topic... I've been toying with the idea of recording our little ol' country band (in the heart of Boston MA!) in a new club we've been playing in for the last few months. A very large stage (maybe 30' x 20'), with high ceilings, carpeted floors, acoustic wall tiles in the rear. Maybe 10 feet in front of the stage the ceiling rises up to 20 feet high or so. Nice, open sound, but the room is quite large. I'd be using an older, restored Otari MX5050 reel deck that captures a warm, pleasing sound. What type miking would you guys favor? A few mics that capture everything, then maybe direct from the PA for vocals? Should bass, guitar and steel guitar be mic'd separately? Assuming we get a decent recording, would/should a compressor/limiter be used in the mixing process? Most of this will come down to me doing everything. From set up to final mixing. Being the bass player I HAVE to capture that fat tone I favor. Previous recordings, some dating back to the early 80's, always end up sounding a bit boomy to me, even on our studio stuff. Any advice would be most welcomed. Thanks, Ron
  21. HarvG

    HarvG Forum Resident

    Chicago Suburbs
    To start, great post by Steve.

    The Raspberries example works for me as I've been a fan going back to the 70's, but over the years, always knew their albums sounded somewhat crappy, even when I had my early receiver/turntable/speaker set-ups at my parent's home.

    Regarding the "great for AM radio" (which was key back in the day when we listened to a lot of music on our transistor radios and prehistoric record players), did Motown take the same approach to get that "Sound of Young America", or did they do something different?
    389 Tripower likes this.
  22. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Athens, Tennessee
    Yes, it is the 1960's style of high energy Rock recording. The Raspberries compressed, brash, in your face style of recording was done for a reason. The group wanted that 1960's uber compressed AM radio Rock sound. Done for style and for art. Motown's recording style is very unique, and very compressed in mono.
    389 Tripower and HarvG like this.
  23. marcb

    marcb Senior Member

    DC area
    Maybe you didn't get a response because he has no idea what "give it a DR of 7" means? (And I say that as someone who finds DR ratings to be useful in my purchase decisions)
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2016
    Grant and Jack_Straw like this.
  24. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    Des Moines
    Steve, in your opinion/experience is there an ideal DR amount for different types of music? Or is it all specific to each recording?
  25. c-eling

    c-eling Fruit Juice Everywhere

    7 Incher's have a tendency to be cut quite hot, impossible to compare between the compact disc (via youtube) well in this case a very low bit rate mp3 was probably used for the YT submission
    I had to lower the input on this one quite a bit as an example
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2016
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