SH Spotlight I'm asked stuff: Favorite mastering engineer, best BOSTON CD, best TRAVELING WILBURYS CD, etc..

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. George P

    George P Notable Member

    Me too. Luckily we got a lot of them on MFSL SACD.
    wayneklein likes this.
  2. kw21925

    kw21925 Lieutenant-Corporal; Gazpacho Police

    'Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. ~Louis Hector Berlioz'
    Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test before the lesson. - Dan Quisenberry
    30 ounce, stevef, RiRiIII and 10 others like this.
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Noted and added.
  4. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    I hope that once the best sources of Woody Guthrie's Columbia River Recordings that have been found are to be used that you would do the remastering as I would love a bit of an improvement in the sound of these historical recordings over the Rounder CD release.
  5. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    North Carolina
    Just bumping this up because I love this thread. Read through the whole thing again. So much fun!
    billnunan and ggjjr like this.
  6. James_S888

    James_S888 Forum Resident

    Sophisticated Lady Jazz Quartet ???

    Comments? As there are three records coming out on 45 rpm vinyl.
    soundQman likes this.
  7. jeddy

    jeddy Forum Resident

    Steve, this Coltrane disc you did sounds spectacular!
    Sounds like john is playing in my room!
    The horn sounds sooo real with a very realistic "bite!"

  8. jeddy

    jeddy Forum Resident

    I can testify for the Target Harvest Cd...
    It does sound wonderful
  9. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    North Carolina
    @Steve Hoffman, you've mentioned in the past that your main focus when it comes to mastering is to get the vocal to sound lifelike, and then balance the instruments as best as possible from there. What's your approach when it comes to instrumental music? Do you approach the lead instrument the same way as you would approach the vocal and make it the center of attention, or do you aim for a balance between all of the instruments and then see what the song needs from there?

    I realize it varies from song to song, and from genre to genre, but I'm curious if you have a general approach and how different it is from your approach to vocal songs.
  10. Joy-of-radio

    Joy-of-radio Forum Resident

    Central ME
    I too am looking forward to Steve's response. His approach to mastering reminds me so much of how I adjusted the color settings on television sets of yore. Yep, unlike modern television sets, vintage cathode ray tube sets had three potentiometers to adjust red, green, and blue levels. When flesh tones looked natural, the overall colors were pretty much perfect. I imagine some instrumental music can be challenging especially if it's electronic, whereas acoustic instruments generally have a distinct sound, which a mastering engineer will hopefully try to reproduce as faithfully as possible in an audio recording.
  11. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Guys, it's whatever the main instrument is. Focus on that. If it's an orchestra, the body as a whole, like you would hear in concert.. This is what every recording engineer used to do in the old days..
  12. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    North Carolina
    Thanks! But now you've got me curious... what about a jazz fusion song where there's solos from guitar, piano, saxophone, and other instruments like that? Would you put the focus on the main theme at the beginning/end/between solos? Would you adjust the EQ on the fly to suit each section?
  13. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Just take the EQ average and use it. Trust the mixing engineer.
  14. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    New Braunfels, TX
    Not as easy as you've outlined.

    My shade tree audio mastering of a 1930's Jimmy Rodgers recording of The Last Blue yodel had me getting him to sound like it was recorded yesterday with AU reverb and EQ plugin in Audacity. It's amazing how much nuance in sound I can pull out of such a mono recording.

    The resonance of the acoustic guitar is so pliable I shaped in so many different ways from a howl to a hum to a AWE tone I got to the point I just didn't know where or when to stop because it all sounded like a real acoustic guitar. Time just slipped away as I was having so much fun changing the sound of this old recording.

    I imagine you experience the same kind of fun.
    Tim Bucknall likes this.
  15. thnkgreen

    thnkgreen Question Everything…Politely

    NC, USA
    I picked up a copy of the 2 cd set Uh Huh - His Greatest Hits by Ray Charles earlier today. I am absolutely floored by the sound quality, listening to it using Audirvana and a pair of Edifier speakers. My compliments to our host. :wave:
  16. mdm08033

    mdm08033 Senior Member

    Please consider listening to some of the Atlantic jazz and blues sides Mr. Charles recorded with Milt Jackson. The common, double CD Soul Brothers / Soul Meeting is vintage audio nirvana. Produced by Wexler / Ertegun and engineered by Tom Dowd.
  17. thnkgreen

    thnkgreen Question Everything…Politely

    NC, USA
    Thank you for the tip. I’ll look for it now :righton:
    Baron von Tollbooth and g.z. like this.
  18. g.z.

    g.z. Forum Resident

    :thumbsup: Thanks kindly. Ordered. :D
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2021
  19. spice9

    spice9 Senior Member

    New York, NY
    Bobby Whitlock turned his Q&A's from your forum into a great book. Have you thought about pitching this one to a publisher? So much great info...
    supermd likes this.
  20. Isamet

    Isamet Forum Resident

    New York
    Just bought it per your recommendation. Looking forward to hearing it!
  21. jeddy

    jeddy Forum Resident

    It's nice to hear a "real sax" edge and all.
    very lifelike
    Isamet likes this.
  22. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    Since we're on an instrumental kick right now...I remember you had maybe two for me about the OMNI Magazine series you did, with all the New Age and synth stuff. I wonder if you might have anything to say about working on that from memory. I mean, there's nothing really "natural" in the sounds on those, and most of it was written or performed in no possible concept of a natural space to begin with.

    What's it like to determine the best course to remaster out of instrumental source material that has no basis in reality to begin with? What if "the air between the instruments" is theoretical to begin with?
    Joy-of-radio and Tim Bucknall like this.
  23. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    I remember the OMNI series but I can't remember a thing about working on it. LRS in Burbank and we used analog tape, mostly without EQ. Was very easy to do. That's all I can recall..
  24. we were nearly spared 30 years of stupidity?
    Didn’t you have a spare kidney you could sell?

    Steve, first of all. Thanks for creating and maintaining this wonderful community for us

    When do you think the audio fidelity of mainstream pressings of popular music peaked?

    was there a point when audiophile hi res formats like DVD-A could have become mainstream but for bad luck or a corporate decision?

    Was the lossy audio plague inevitable once the algorithm was created?

    do you have any ideas who may have mastered
    The 1984 RCA bowie compilation Fame & Fashion?

    Semi serious final question
    if it was possible to make a cd sound like that in
    1984 why doesn’t everything sound like that
    What’s the magic ooofle dust that was sprinkled on that album?

    thanks for your time
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2021
    goer, Joy-of-radio, jhm and 1 other person like this.
  25. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    I think they got to market about 3-5 years too late. Once Napster rolled around it was game over for a more-expensive successor to the CD.

    It's unfortunate DVD-Audio didn't debut at the same time as DVD video back in '97... Might have had a chance.

    The format war with SACD didn't help.

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