SH Spotlight Steve's Mastering Secrets, Part II

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by salleno, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. kt66brooklyn

    kt66brooklyn Senior Member

    Location:
    brooklyn, ny
    The second one.
     
  2. Perisphere

    Perisphere Forum Resident

    Noise was always a bugaboo in recording. The idea of noise reduction became more of an issue as tape track counts increased through the 1960s and beyond.

    The version of Dolby noise reduction that only deals with noise in the high frequencies is Dolby B, which only acts on frequencies above about 3 kHz. This was developed in 1970 for cassettes, and was also featured on a small number of consumer reel-to-reel tape decks in the 1970s.

    The original Dolby noise reduction system was designed for use with professional tape equipment, and is known as Dolby A. It hit the market in 1965, and deals with noise across the full audio spectrum. It reduced noise across all frequencies an average of about 10 dB.

    Dbx noise reduction was developed in the mid-1970s. It also deals with noise across the full audio range, and can reduce noise levels by up to about 30 dB.
     
  3. acjetnut

    acjetnut Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Steve,

    Do you ever find that there are certain EQ moves you do that come up more often then others? I have heard of mixing engineers doing things like always cutting frequencies below 70hz, or boosting certain frequencies in bass drums to match the bass guitar better. I know that you have certain "go to" frequencies (in your interview archives), but is there anything that seems to work fairly often for your mastering work, or is it the case that every recording requires a completely unique approach?
     
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    You mean like an Equalization Formulae? No, not for me. Other than the "pressure points" you mentioned, each case (recording) is unique..
     
  5. Hawkman

    Hawkman Supercar Gort Staff

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Thank you!
     
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Yeah, thanks. I didn't want to type all of that.
     
  7. Perisphere

    Perisphere Forum Resident

  8. Grant

    Grant Cranky! It'll happen to you too, kids!

    Location:
    United States
    You know, i've talked to many music fans that appreciate the bass being slashed. They can't deal with deep bass.

    I always want to hear all the bass that's there. To this day, many mastering engineers routinely slash bass to help make a CD sound louder. What a shame! the CD can store all that information, and the engineers just lop it all off.

    Sorry for the digression. Back to the Q&A!:winkgrin:
     
  9. Perisphere

    Perisphere Forum Resident

    I understand, Grant. Lots of home stereos cannot cope with high levels of bass frequencies, especially the deepest ones below about 50 Hz. So slashing some low end does help some music appear to play louder on their stereos without breakup, while those of us with equipment that doesn't suffer the same limitations sense we're missing out on something.

    Unfortunately, I have had some encounters with what a music director at one radio station I once worked at called 'Baptist karaoke': the pre-recorded 'accompaniment' or 'soundtrack' (sic) recordings used by all too many singers in churches. I have produced small vanity albums for people who wished to make albums of their singing, using CDs or cassettes they furnished of the music they wanted to sing to.

    On some of them, especially those produced in the last few years, the use of 5 string electric basses can be detected by the sudden occurence of really low bass notes (not coming from a keyboard of some type). The trouble is, these lowest notes are often much louder than the other notes played, and not due to dynamic emphasis on the player's part. In dealing with this situation, I have had to roll off some extreme low end (not cut it completely!) just to bring it under control. Not something I'd ever do with, say, a pipe organ recording, where I want every bit of that low end to come through, full and natural.
     
  10. Hawkman

    Hawkman Supercar Gort Staff

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Your comments have been noted and will be reported to Master Spy, comrade!
     
  11. Grant

    Grant Cranky! It'll happen to you too, kids!

    Location:
    United States
    You know, it's funny, it doesn't seem to matter much about the quality (price tag) of a stereo system. Some can't handle it, some can.

    Seems to me that a lot of mastering engineers just give what is expected, a sound the listener is used to instead of more of what is actually on the tapes. We have gotten to a point where the goal is not to issue a sound of what's on the tape, but a gross mutation to make the mp3 (Seems that today, mp3 is the new bad excuse to muck with the sound. It used to be radio.) lovers happy. I'm glad we still have Steve, who wants to reveal what's actually there.
     
  12. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Some 8 tracks too. I thought Dolby B functioned from 500hz up?
     
  13. CardinalFang

    CardinalFang New Member

    Location:
    ....
    Steve... even though we haven't heard it, any thoughts on Van Halen's 1984? How were the tapes? How did they sound? Anything jump out at you?
     
  14. Perisphere

    Perisphere Forum Resident

    I'm not sure about Dolby B working from 500 Hz up, but I'd forgotten about the 8 tracks!
     
  15. vanmeterannie

    vanmeterannie Forum Resident

    Not to derail the thread, but I run sound in a church and have for years, and this is another place where loudness in mastering is a problem; often, especially for choir numbers, the actual sheet music has real dynamics marked, which the choir director will follow, but the track is squashed so there's no sympathy between the dynamics of the actual performance and the track. And riding the levels doesn't really work when there's little range in the actual track, I've found.
     
  16. His Masters Vice

    His Masters Vice W.C. Fields Forever

    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
  17. Grant

    Grant Cranky! It'll happen to you too, kids!

    Location:
    United States
    Dolby A was used on professionally recorded tapes, and as I understand, affected all frequencies.
     
  18. turniton1181

    turniton1181 Past the Audition

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Hey Steve,

    I'd like to know if you could share some experiences you had mastering from digital sources (DAT, U-matic, AIF/WAV, etc.). What would you have considered the best digital master you ever worked with? Worst?
     
  19. salleno

    salleno Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    So. Cal.
    I would like to know as well. I believe you (Steve) used a DAT copy of "Mack The Knife" by Louis Armstrong for your Smokin' Jazz Compilation. It must be the best version of that song on the planet. Can you share any insights on what you did with that track.
     
  20. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Great and great!
     
  21. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    How do you mean exactly? Best in terms of what?
     
  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    What I did with it? Nothing. It was a DAT of the original Columbia master recording. Flat transfer.
     
  23. turniton1181

    turniton1181 Past the Audition

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    In terms of the overall sonic detail of the source. Like, do you get a sense of "the breath of life" or do you get a cold, sterile, "needs some work" vibe when you first hear the master.

    I'm curious if you have any specific examples of when you heard sonic nirvana from a digital master that you worked with. Any that really stick out?
     
  24. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    A shame we could never get this one from DCC :sigh: So, you didn't have to tweak the tapes that much? The original "target" CD of 1984 sounds kinda flat and lifeless, not like your Van Halen I DCC at all. I wonder what those early Warner engineers did (or didn't do) to that first CD release?
     
  25. ElevatorSkyMovie

    ElevatorSkyMovie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oklahoma
    My cd is also extremely bright. 7K and 10k are way jacked up on it.
     

Share This Page

molar-endocrine