SH Spotlight Recording and Mastering Questions---Answered here. Any more?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. PretzelLogic

    PretzelLogic Does not play well with fascists or southern rock.

    Location:
    London, England
    Here's an open question: I'm trying to convince some of my band-mates that it's not wasting money to spring for a slightly more expensive engineer for mixing (one we've used before and did a great job), and again for mastering. They argue that (and I quote) 'we aren't making OK Computer' and the songs are simple, so we don't need to pay as much. They're right in terms of commercial success - this will barely sell 500 copies (if we're lucky), and the songs arrangements are simple.

    But the actual material is easily the best stuff I've helped make in 20+ years of being in a band. It's dynamic and spacious, and the quality of the recording and playing is brilliant. My argument to them is that the sound of the songs is as vital to the actual compositions, and we'd be doing the songs an injustice if we didn't make them sound as good as we can.

    Can anyone point me towards a working example of what a difference a good mix can make to a song or album, which has two mixes - one basic and functional, and one that has significantly improved it - that I can use as an example of how important a good mix is to a song?

    My first thought is the pre-Shins band Flake Music. The original mix of their album is basic and un-dynamic, but the remix makes it far more spacious. Here's the original mix:



    (to be continued)
     
    All Down The Line and Plan9 like this.
  2. PretzelLogic

    PretzelLogic Does not play well with fascists or southern rock.

    Location:
    London, England
    and here's the 2014 remix of the same song:



    So, are there any more well-known examples of something like this that I can sit them down and use as a guide?
     
    Plan9 likes this.
  3. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    if you can afford it, you want it as good as you can get it surely ... in twenty years time they'll regret the cheap route.
    Push 'em into it lol
     
  4. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Des Moines
    My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves

    ...arguable if the new version is "better" though
     
  5. marcob1963

    marcob1963 Forum Resident

    Don't know if there are many such examples I can think of, but surely they can appreciate how important the mix is?

    I haven't heard them, but many here seem to prefer newer remixes of Jethro Tull albums. Perhaps something like Aqualung (the original vs the Steve Wilson remix) could serve your purpose?
     
    Plan9 likes this.
  6. Splungeworthy

    Splungeworthy Forum Rezidentura

    Steve, not so much a question about mastering, but how did you come to be involved in the "Totally Wired" compilation? What was it like dealing with such a diverse sampling of styles, and with bands that took such a "lo-fi" approach like The Slits and The Raincoats? And by the way, those songs never sounded better, even on their own albums.
     
  7. PretzelLogic

    PretzelLogic Does not play well with fascists or southern rock.

    Location:
    London, England
    We have that classic split in the band where a couple of them are focussed on getting the songs made, but have no knowledge or interest in how that's done once they've performed their bits vs. the band members who are interested in getting the detail right.

    And the difficulty is trying to explain to the primary songwriter, who is incredibly creative and talented but listens to music through their iPhone and can't tell the difference between a 128kbps mp3 and a FLAC, that this is important.
     
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    i understand that, he just wants to hear his songs finished
     
  9. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Not safe to say. Some had homemade, some used radio limiters, some used 1930s RCA optical limiters.
     
    JediJoker and thrivingonariff like this.
  10. bmoregnr

    bmoregnr Forum Rezident

    Location:
    1060 W. Addison
    @PretzelLogic I think the one that jumps out at me as needing the least explanation is Steven Wilson’s Chicago II remix.
     
    JediJoker and PretzelLogic like this.
  11. bmoregnr

    bmoregnr Forum Rezident

    Location:
    1060 W. Addison
    Steve I had a question about how you control the amount of space within the stereo image a particular remastering uses. Since I probably didn’t explain that right, say when I listen to the original CD of James Gang Rides Again it takes up the stereo image in a pretty regular way and you don’t think much about it. Then you play the recent Mofi SACD redbook layer of the same and boom it is much more full range in that stereo image if the stereo image isn’t bigger by a degree. Neither are better necessarily, and the full range in this case seems to get accomplished without excessive limiting or loudness, so I am just wondering how something like that gets accomplished. Is it really just limiting loudness, how many bits are used, some other level related tool; it doesn’t seem like eq to me as much as really how something gets positioned.

    I don’t know how you feel about it but I seem to notice say Kevin Gray’s more recent remasterings seem to have more of this full-range quality than I can remember from some of his older ones. Those with that smaller image can seem to feel at first flush as more open quiet and audiophile-y perhaps, but I have come to appreciate something that takes this more full range positioning approach without being loud or squashed say like Kevin’s recent Something / Anything? remaster.
     
  12. yasujiro

    yasujiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    tokyo
    Thank you.
     
  13. Was browsing the $1 CD bin at the local record store today, and was happy to find both Toga Rock releases which I had not have heard before. That was a nice catch, and the first volume is the one mastered by our host.
     
  14. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    ?

    I haven't listened to them in a while, but I thought they both were.

    EDIT:

    I just looked it up at AllMusic, and it says there that Steve mastered Vol. 2

    Toga Rock, Vol. 2 - Various Artists | Credits | AllMusic
     
  15. marcb

    marcb Senior Member

    Location:
    DC area
    IIRC, he mastered both of them, but there are copies of Vol 1 out there (and maybe Vol 2 too?) with different mastering.
     
  16. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Forum Resident

    Location:
    Australia
    Supreme common sense is bound to do a lot of heads in.
     
  17. Front 242 Addict

    Front 242 Addict "I'll drink the moonlight from your hands"

    Location:
    Tel Aviv ,Israel
    I would like to ask a few questions

    what is exactly sidechain compression?

    Who built the first compressor To use it in the studio on musical recording?
    I suppose that the engineers in the studio noticed that something sound wired in the music ,that all the sounds don't blend very well or they have weak signal, so also in order to prevent from the listener to lower and raise the volume every minute due to appearance of very loud sounds/very quiet sounds, someone thought how to make the sound mixed better and also how to give them more power,am I right?
    it was a good idea but technically how they implement the idea? Who built it ?


    Thank you:)
     
    latheofheaven likes this.
  18. JediJoker

    JediJoker Audio Engineer/Enthusiast

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    I can take this one:

    Dynamic range compression, at its most basic, is the reduction of dynamic range. In practice, nearly all DRC of audio is accomplished using tools operating on the same principles of decreasing amplitude above a given threshold level (called "downward compression") or increasing amplitude below a given threshold level (called "upward compression"). Downward compression is far more common than upward, and will be the focus here. In traditional use, the compressor is triggered by the same audio on which it acts. When the signal level rises above the threshold level, its amplitude is reduced (the volume is turned down). Once the signal level drops back below the threshold level, the compressor releases (the volume is turned back up to nominal).

    In sidechain compression, the compressor is triggered by one audio source, but acts on another. When the trigger signal rises above the threshold level, the amplitude of the target signal is decreased. Once the trigger signal drops back below the threshold level, the compressor releases. In music, sidechain compression is found commonly in electronic dance music. Therein, its most popular use is downward compression triggered by the kick drum, compressing as little as just the bassline or as much as the entire rest of the tracks. This is what gives EDM its signature "pumping" sound, in most cases.
     
  19. Front 242 Addict

    Front 242 Addict "I'll drink the moonlight from your hands"

    Location:
    Tel Aviv ,Israel
    Thank you JediJoker for very interesting ,detailed explanation:)
     
    latheofheaven likes this.
  20. Evan

    Evan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Petal, Mississippi

    Vol 1. You have to look at the disc to tell them apart. That and Steve used the stereo "I fought the law".
     
  21. latheofheaven

    latheofheaven My Pants are FULLY Analog...

    Excellent band, BTW... (Front 242) :righton: :agree:

    ***EDIT

    I don't think I have EVER seen one of their albums listed here or talked about... You almost NEVER hear about any Industrial albums here... :)
     
    Front 242 Addict likes this.
  22. onlyacanvasky

    onlyacanvasky Forum Resident

    As another example, sidechain compression is what allows talkback radio hosts to talk over the top of callers. There's a compressor configured in such a way that when the host speaks, the volume of the caller is crushed.
     
  23. Front 242 Addict

    Front 242 Addict "I'll drink the moonlight from your hands"

    Location:
    Tel Aviv ,Israel
    latheofheaven Excellent band,I totally agree :righton: There are threads in the forum about Front 242:) (remastered cds vs original cds) and other great industrial threads here.

    I sent you links to These treads to your inbox. Regarding the mastering of the original industrial cds , they have excellent DR:thumbsup: Even considering the style itself which is more Edgy.
     
    latheofheaven likes this.
  24. JediJoker

    JediJoker Audio Engineer/Enthusiast

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    True, though that's usually called "ducking."
     
    onlyacanvasky likes this.
  25. onlyacanvasky

    onlyacanvasky Forum Resident

    Very true, I meant to add that in the post but got distracted. An application of compression using the sidechain that's so specific it has a name.
     
    JediJoker likes this.

Share This Page