SH Spotlight Steve Hoffman: Do you ever try to make a recording "BETTER" than the original?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by kevintomb, Apr 1, 2007.

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  1. bhazen

    bhazen Fab Fourever!

    Deepest suburbia
    I've always visualised Steve as working in a dank basement lab, Tesla coils sparking, flasks and beakers giving off strange vapours, wearing a wizard's outfit; candles burning, he slowly opens a large black tome, with pentacle on the cover in gold (alchemist's ink) - the title? Audio Mastering by Hermes Trismegistus...

    "...Do not add e.q. unless the demons of Sibilance are kept well at bay with Wolfsbane, etc...."

    "...Compression carries a certain risk of loosing Homunculi (A&R men) upon the Earth..."

    "...keep a 45-RPM Parlophone copy of A Hard Day's Night close at hand, in case of moments of doubt..."
  2. John Cantrell

    John Cantrell Active Member

    Outta here
    "There. Hotel California's done..."


  3. "Most of the time the engineers want to try to make it sound better by EQ or compression, when actually, many times, the best sound is already on the master tapes (the correct ones). I do not know how he does it. Even sitting watching him at the console and he adjusted some frequency by 2db, and that was it, I still did not know how he could pick the one thing to make something come alive. Then he showed us the difference. It was small, but after pointing it out, we could hear it"

    I don't see anywhere in here where you said you were on a field trip...maybe I just didn't see it...sorry
  4. munson66

    munson66 Forum Dilettante

    Toronto, Ontario

    Straight from the horse's mouth.

  5. pool_of_tears

    pool_of_tears Searching For Simplicity

    And thank you for that link indeed.

    As you say, if more engineers did nothing, the cd world would be a much happier place, there'd not be much of a loudness war, etc...oh my, what would we talk about? :winkgrin:

    Btw, I managed to locate a used but spotless DCC Wheels Of Fire at a local shop for $25.00 thanks to your "prodding" a few weeks ago. I did an A/B to the old Atco vinyl...yikes...did they use polyester to press vinyl back then. :help: The cd sounds simply amazing.

    As for that comment about Steve working in a Reminds of the character Filo in UHF..."Secrets Of The we're going to teach you how to make plutonium from ordinary, everyday household items" :)
  6. bhazen

    bhazen Fab Fourever!

    Deepest suburbia
    Like the book said...beware moments of doubt.

    I'm thinking of organising a mob (complete with torches) to surround EMI and demand that they let Steve remaster the Beatles' catalogue.

    Burn the heretics!
  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    You're the one who wins, pal.
  8. munson66

    munson66 Forum Dilettante

    Toronto, Ontario
    :confused: If you wanted to know why the Buddy Holly disc sounds better than others, I'm just trying to 'splain. Not something to be won or lost. We all win because we get a great-sounding CD for very little scratch.

    I might as well try explaining why oysters taste more like oysters when you don't put horseradish or Tabasco on 'em...
  9. djdave

    djdave New Member

    i bought this cd at Bestbuy (canadian) in Kitchener for 4.99 folks (this week) aswell as the Whos' Whos Next (also done by Steve) for 4.99, check online and maybe be you can have them too for cheap.
  10. Now that's funny...LOL
  11. djdave

    djdave New Member

    Our Price: $4.99

    TITLE: From The Original Master Tapes

    ARTIST: Buddy Holly


    Track Listing

    Windows Media Player info currently unavailable for this CD
    1. That'll Be The Day
    2. Oh, Boy!
    3. Not Fade Away
    4. Tell Me How
    5. Maybe Baby
    6. Everyday
    7. Rock Around With Ollie Vee
    8. It's So Easy
    9. I'm Lookin' For Someone To Love
    10. Peggy Sue
    11. I'm Gonna Love You Too
    12. Words Of Love
    13. Rave On
    14. Well...All Right
    15. Listen To Me
    16. Think It Over
    17. Heartbeat
    18. Reminiscing
    19. It Doesn't Matter Anymore
    20. True Love Ways

    Producer: n/a
    Distributor: Universal Music
    Sku: 1183667
    Release Date: 1985
    Original Release Year: 1985
    Number of Discs: 1
    Production Details:
    Analog Recording
    Analog Mixing
    Digital Mastering
    Time: 44 min 16 sec
    Mono/Stereo: Mixed
    Studio/Live: Studio

    Buddy Holly & The Crickets: Buddy Holly (vocals, guitar); Niki Sullivan (guitar); Joe B. Mauldin (bass); Jerry Allison (drums).

    Producer: Norman Petty.

    Compilation producer: Steve Hoffman.

    Principally recorded in Clovis, New Mexico in 1957 and 1958.

    Digitally remastered by Steve Hoffman.

  12. Actually, we all win. I want to thank you for what you do. I just ordered Buddy Holly. I have Mamas/Papas and the tribute to Peter Green that you did and they all sound great.
  13. That clarifies and logically explains what I like to hear in music. An excellent primer for those of us who can't verbally express it as well as you did. Great analogy on the glass door something I can relate to (as I've done photography, video and film shooting in my former life).

    I've tried for years by the way to explain to folks why the stereo version of "Eight Days a Week" sounds better to my ears than the mono version on "Beatles for Sale". You've done it so much better than I could have an advantage of the tools of your trade...

  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Great, glad it helped!
  15. Manic Mechanic

    Manic Mechanic Active Member

    Twin Cities
    Deciding to take no action, is in fact, taking action. Thank Gawd some people, including our host, get this.
  16. BeatleJWOL

    BeatleJWOL Senior Member

    You're absolutely right, he does do something to the original recordings. He leaves them the way they were recorded. :D
  17. Aman

    Aman Forum Resident

    The Village, NYC
    I just read that interview, and I found it extremely informative. It really gives a lot of insight into how you work, Steve, and also provided me with a greater understanding of how the human ear perceives music.

    I do have one question, though - just a point of confusion for me. You mention that part of your 'breath of life' philosophy is that you often try to make one instrument "stand out" as the most natural-sounding, usually the voice or the lead instrument. I have many of your recordings, however, and I would say that I find in all of them that all of the instruments are both tastefully portrayed and placed on the sound stage. Is this the kind of thing that you have to resort to only when the situation is really bad (as in, you must decide between natural vocals or "removing that bass cloud"), or do you apply this technique all the time?
  18. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled me!

    United States
    But, I posted MY thread about the "Groove On" CD, addressed to you on March 31!:) THis is why I posted it:
  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Everything else falls into place (usually) when I use this technique so what you are hearing is good. It means I'm doing my job correctly..
  20. vinylman

    vinylman Forum Resident

    Leeds, U.K.
    The Buddy Holly disc was one one of the first CDs I ever bought (when it first came out - around 1985, off the top of my head) and even though I only had an average beginner's system then, it very rarely left my CD player. 'True Love Ways' can still leave me gobsmacked. I wish half the CDs I'd bought since then had used proper masters, too. Steve, every time I listen to it, I'm so grateful you chased the masters.
  21. Runt

    Runt Forum Resident

    Motor City
    "...But, why should I build that treble boost right in to the CD or LP like Rhino and some other companies do? You can't get rid of it that way. And believe me, someday, you will want to get rid of it!"

    Man, you nailed it right there, Steve. I want to get rid of it, but it ain't going away on so many CDs now. And I'm suffering from serious ear fatigue these days from most current that I know and love, and want to listen to. But it's literally getting too painful. :sigh: I used to think boosted EQ meant added that was somehow a good thing. Now I know better.
  22. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled me!

    United States
    The sad thing is that non-audiophiles like that built-in treble boost because their hearing is bad, and they know it. Whatever happened to just turning up your tone controls? Most non-audiophile gear have them, so what's the deal?
  23. Buzzz

    Buzzz Forum Resident

    back here on Earth
    This is impressive - this is why we learn, why we pay attention and gather information... to be able to come up with stuff like this.
  24. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    So, sometimes nothing is everything? :D :)

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