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.

    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)
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  2. PretzelLogic

    PretzelLogic Does not play well with fascists or southern rock.

    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?
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  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
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  4. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    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?
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  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.

    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 Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Not safe to say. Some had homemade, some used radio limiters, some used 1930s RCA optical limiters.
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  10. bmoregnr

    bmoregnr Forum Rezident

    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.
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  11. bmoregnr

    bmoregnr Forum Rezident

    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

    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

    Wichita, KS

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


    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

    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.

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