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Author Topic: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?  (Read 39774 times)

NoWo

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2006, 03:01:36 am »

Mh,

Brad makes some statements that I can
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Adam Dempsey

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2006, 04:52:42 am »

Without generalising, I say G.A.S. is likely having a detrimental affect more often than it is not. There's so much to be said for keeping the signal chain simple (surgical treatment notwithstanding). I find I work faster and more in tune with the music, as opposed to against the grain tonally or dynamically. I'm enjoying limiting myself for now to just the Chandler comps (and/or their Gain tone!), STC-8 comp, API & Massive Passive EQs (rarely all at once). And working the gain stages/transformers for colour.

(Yes, very priveledged to be working from the new room and facility here with Jack! The room's almost twice as large as the one I'd spent the last 10+yrs in. 4 projects completed after much listening and so far surprisingly little adjustment for me to the monitoring, as the Duns & the custom ones I was using were very much based on similar designs, although the subs are much tighter & defined. But I digress  Smile  )
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Adam Dempsey
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Arif Muhmin

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2006, 07:58:55 am »

Warning: Pessimistic view follows.

Whether G.A.S. destroys modern records or not, is probably not the problem.

The problem is G.A.S. or not, if you make a hot record, spend hours finetuning all the equipment or plugins, and you release the record, ten thousand monkeys are gonna pop up from everywhere and try to duplicate your recording. And all your effort is lost, drowned in a sea of disinformation. Who will ever notice your recording? Usually, these people have lower morals, and play on "popular concepts" such as promiscuity, ignorance etc.. and they get more popular, and credit, for ripping off your track. Even though it may not sound quite as good, it still sounds like it, and so "they win". Face it, high quality recordings, and productions are not mainstream.

The root of this problem goes deep into the structure of society.
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bblackwood

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2006, 09:23:20 am »

steveeastend wrote on Thu, 19 October 2006 19:17

bblackwood wrote on Thu, 19 October 2006 16:25

yet all the great records we love had ONE compressor and ONE EQ in the mastering chain.




Hi Brad,

I would be curious being given examples.

Any record before 1980 would likely qualify...
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Brad Blackwood
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bblackwood

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #34 on: October 20, 2006, 09:32:29 am »

I think some are missing the point...

GAS is not a gear issue, but a human issue. The gear doesn't buy or use itself. More gear in and of itself isn't the issue, it's the general attitude that more = better, that more options = better product. I have more tools in front of me (with my relatively simple chain) than Bernie or Doug had for decades (perhaps have even now) yet they cut some of the most stunning records ever, heralded to this day.

Does more options = better or does more options = more distractions from listening?

I see so much discussion centering on what compressor or EQ one should buy, I see searches for 'color' devices everywhere, yet the great records we all seem to enjoy (generally speaking, of course) were pretty much made the same way: experienced engineers in good rooms with simple but effective chains recorded/mixed/mastered great performances.

Anyone with enough money and half a brain can amass a pile of gear, but few seem to know how to use it. I've mentioned this before, but have you ever noticed that a vast majority of established mastering engineers do not change their chains often? They have spent the time learning what are (more often than not) simple chains built to be transparent and focus on achieving results with those known devices.

Just seems like everyone wants to know what the best comp or EQ is when most everyone I know has more (better) tools than any of the greats did when they cut the classics. I'm not accusing anyone of anything, just hoping you guys will think about this and discuss it openly and honestly. I see it as an issue, perhaps you disagree...
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Brad Blackwood
euphonic masters

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2006, 09:55:31 am »

bblackwood wrote on Fri, 20 October 2006 09:32


Anyone with enough money and half a brain can amass a pile of gear, but few seem to know how to use it. ..


I agree.


...except with the "half a brain" part.
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Chris Athens

I believe your record has reached it's "loudness potential"

Jerry Tubb

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #36 on: October 20, 2006, 10:44:41 am »

bblackwood wrote on Fri, 20 October 2006 08:23

Any record before 1980 would likely qualify...


especially "Dark Side of the Moon"

Beatles, Hendrix, Led Zep, Miles, Mingus, many, many others.
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craig boychuk

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #37 on: October 20, 2006, 11:34:14 am »

Gold wrote on Thu, 19 October 2006 13:48

I think it has a lot to do with there no longer being an apprentice system.


As someone who has benefited from the dying apprentice system, I can really relate to this.

I was getting seriously into audio right around the time when the "prosumer revolution" was starting with the advent of the 001. I went to school to learn the fundamentals, and afterwards I was lucky enough to get an internship of sorts at a real studio where the owner gave me lots of hands on experience, and lots of advice!

Of course, I eventually went out and got a 001 just like everyone else.

Difference is, I actually had an education, both theoretical and practical.

I have friends / acquaintances whose only education is the crap they read on-line or in magazines. No wonder they think that more is better!

Quote:


It really demonstrated what people wanted, instant results, fix everything in Protools, look how these plug-ins can improve evrything an make it louder. Whilst Digidesign and other DAW manufacturers are pushing this approach, I can't imagine people wanting to learn the art of recording and mixing properly.




Perfect example. And it has to be the right method, because it's official digidesign course material!


This sort of thing make me want to scoop out my eyeballs.




-craig
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jtr

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #38 on: October 20, 2006, 11:57:35 am »

bblackwood wrote on Fri, 20 October 2006 06:32

I think some are missing the point...

GAS is not a gear issue, but a human issue. The gear doesn't buy or use itself. More gear in and of itself isn't the issue, it's the general attitude that more = better, that more options = better product. I have more tools in front of me (with my relatively simple chain) than Bernie or Doug had for decades (perhaps have even now) yet they cut some of the most stunning records ever, heralded to this day.



I suspect that the titles to which you refer were probably "close to stunning" on the way IN to the mastering shop. Certainly the ME's earned their reputations , but I don't think these records represented the same production quality  most of us see on a regular basis.  Maybe that's because of G.A.S. at the mix stage.

We all appreciate the fine work of Mark Wilder. I think his remastering work is a good example of what a great engineer would have done "back then" if the tools were available.

I just ran down to my cd rack, and pulled out the titles I mastered that I am most pleased with. With one exception, each of these sounded great when I received them. My contribution had more to do with tiny touches to create a good listen, sequencing, spacing, and a bit of fade work.  The classic 5%....






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bblackwood

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #39 on: October 20, 2006, 12:08:07 pm »

jtr wrote on Fri, 20 October 2006 10:57

I suspect that the titles to which you refer were probably "close to stunning" on the way IN to the mastering shop.

Of course, I'm just focusing on the mastering aspect as that's what we're about here. In the initial post (as well as some successive posts), I've mentioned the tracking and mixing stages.

The point is, the entire production was done with a more simple chain in past years. Now we have all this great gear available and fewer people than ever seem to know what they are doing with it.

I'm starting to think that 'more options = more distraction/more crutches'...
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Brad Blackwood
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Arif Muhmin

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #40 on: October 20, 2006, 12:11:23 pm »

G.A.S. at the mix stage could definately be a problem.

Although I definately have taken material to 9dB++ without compromising soundquality.
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j.hall

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #41 on: October 20, 2006, 12:23:33 pm »

interesting topic.

i wonder how much this relates to the general decline of the master/apprentice relationship.

runner, intern, assistant........people seem to be skipping these things.

i'm sure there are many reasons, but i'll bet the price of admission is one very large reason.

it seems like far too many people on recording forums highly advocate just buying an Mbox and teaching yourself how to do it.

i wonder how this current mindset plays into brad's point.

"all i need is a sontec, crane song, prism, and manley EQ, and THEN i'll be able to cut records as good as *insert A-list mastering person's name here*"

instead of, "i need to get an internship with *insert name here* to learn what they know."

personally, i had the chance to do the apprentice thing and i was too young and arrogant to take it.

now years later i am now in a relationship like that, and seeing everything i missed.  in my early 20's i threw gear at problems because i lacked the experiece to know the room sucked acoustically, or the sound i printed was horrible, or the technique i used wasn't right for the application at hand........in my mid to late 20's i stopped throwing gear at problems and set forth to learn my craft.

so, with all this in mind, ande assuming it's true, i'd say GAS is a huge problem that stems from a deeper issue.
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Gold

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #42 on: October 20, 2006, 01:54:03 pm »

It is much more of a human problem than a gear problem. I've heard many awful recordings from yesteryear. If you put a huge pile of gear in front of someone who knows what they're  doing they'll ignore the stuff they don't know or will take too much time to set up or won't make much of a difference even though it's better.

In mastering excess gear really interferes with getting the job done. It's part of what I like about the job. I really like limited tools. Years ago I did sound for an acapella group. One of my favorite things was to get to the radio station and get handed four RE60? and a Shure mic mixer. It gives you something to do.
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Paul Gold
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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #43 on: October 20, 2006, 02:26:21 pm »

j.hall wrote on Fri, 20 October 2006 12:23

interesting topic.

i wonder how much this relates to the general decline of the master/apprentice relationship.

runner, intern, assistant........people seem to be skipping these things.

.


This may be the greatest single problem with "engineering" today.

Many problems like G.A.S. and the S.H.I.T.S. [skipped hard intern time, sorry!!] are symptoms of this phenomenon.

Consider this old and overused analogy: There are lots of reasons why becoming a doctor is hard. The years of study, the cost of schooling, and the brutality of residency. One of the results of these trials is that only the most dedicated, stubborn, obsessive and egomaniacal [and in a few cases, talented] will make it. It's a system that culls the weak from the herd. I'm generalizing of course [there are some very bad doctors] but it's a very hostile envoronment for a dilettante.

Imagine if all you needed to become an M.D. was some cheap software and a six month course at DigiDoctor [or maybe a book] and you could hang a shingle and start chargin' the big bucks for botox down in Boca.

Everybody wants to skip to the front of the line and start charging Tom Lord-Alge money.

I have lots of kids ask me how to get into this business [I have a couple of friends that audio school teachers]and I always tell them the same thing. You can start at the bottom and work your way up, or you can go to school and get a degree/certificate and then start at the bottom and work your way up.

Needless to say this kind of thing gets greeted with a lot of blank stares.

It's so appropriate that someone would mention Mark Wilder. Mark is as old school as it gets [in a good way] even though he has plenty o' gear. It's no coincidence that he's a skilled and patient mentor [couldn't have done it without ya buddy, seriously]. Mentoring is hard work. Being an apprentice is hard work too. You can't make up for that by buying a Sontec.

Nobody wants the real answer to the question what gear should I buy to get [fill in blank] sound, or what settings should I use to make my master [fill in blank], cause the answer is always the same. Buy whatever box you want but you still gotta start at the bottom and work you're way up.


... or you can just buy ProTools.
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Chris Athens

I believe your record has reached it's "loudness potential"

greg charles

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #44 on: October 20, 2006, 02:42:56 pm »

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Thu, 19 October 2006 05:48

In the old days music was an enjoyable part of your life and you took the time to savor it and learn from it. Today most music is background and you very seldom, if ever see someone sitting down for any length of time actually listening to music. It is always done literally on the run, whether driving the car, on your IPOD while you are traveling somewhere or as a background to other tasks that you are performing. It has become the background sound for this generation and is just part of the background clutter that they have to deal with on a daily basis.



Couldnt agree more.

Music has been "cheapened."   It became free on Napster, and to  younger generations it is still free.  In the 70s people sat in their "listening chair" in the living room and played the whole album. They read the liner notes.  The CD killed the liner notes and besides we dont have the time any more.

Today most are happy with MP3 quality and no one seems to care or notice Paris Hiltons "Stars are Blind" averages around -8dbRMS because after all no one is really listening to it.  

Look what Alan Parsons did in the 70s.  We have all this great high tech gear that gets less expensive each year and available to an increasing number of people. But the people aren't as experienced.  Listen to Walter Sear rant on about the death of the big recording studio and how you interned for years and slowly worked your way up the chain.  Today we want instant gratification and get frustrated when the new vintage emulation doesn't achieve what Alan Parsons did 30 years ago.  So blame the equipment and conduct more gear "shootouts" right?

Im sorry I sound like a jaded 70s hold-over.  I was just a kid then.







 
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