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Author Topic: Several Level Session Questions  (Read 3752 times)

Level

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Several Level Session Questions
« on: February 01, 2005, 06:09:23 pm »

I have some interaction to discuss but most of it remains broad range, so I will not bring that up..until I feel a need. (later)

So, without further ado, I have a few questions, if you don't mind...

On Tres Hombres from London records, I have the original purple label mix and even with the limitations then (kick clipping the hats a shade) I find it a good production overall.

I dig it!

I was asked once to do a remaster of it actually..but I did not get the gig because of time shift and we all know what that means. besides, at that time, crucial decisions were yet to be made.

Now, who had the bright idea of putting those new drums in LaGrange/Bus/Chicago for the remixes? I think they suck actually. Not a good decision and I still wonder (besides the kick making the hat a shade blurry on original from console overload or cutter clipping, one of the two or both) why this was done?


2.

I was with Lenny when he bought an audiophile system and hated it. (Wilson Watt Puppys) It had no dynamic impact and we set him up with basically a PA type system for home audio.

How is his listening evolving? Does he now understand dynamic integrety? Does he care anymore or attend mastering sessions? I know he has been through the gambit of audio for consumers at no limit prices.

Lastly for now...

I work with a few Jazz Giants on contract from the 60's. I am having no problem connecting with them in vibe and in monitoring. How often do you have to explain the up to date equipment and translation to assure your older artists that what you have happening is the real deal?

Mastering is finally coming to a stage of utter importance to the older cats. They can hear what it is all about.

Do you like to attend sessions during the mastering phase?

Cheers,

BR.

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compasspnt

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Re: Several Level Session Questions
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2005, 03:30:52 am »

Level wrote on Tue, 01 February 2005 18:09



Now, who had the bright idea of putting those new drums in LaGrange/Bus/Chicago for the remixes? I think they suck actually. Not a good decision and I still wonder (besides the kick making the hat a shade blurry on original from console overload or cutter clipping, one of the two or both) why this was done?








Wow, this is a really sticky subject with me.  I have been VERY upset for many years about this.

When Warner contemplated re-releasing several (6) ZZ albums in a CD "Six Pack"I was asked by a party to remain nameless to remix several of the older albums.  This was because they had only been released previously on vinyl, and since this was to be for COMPACT DISK (!) they obviously would have to be remixed FOR DIGITAL use!  I explained that the original mixes were just fine, and that a CD remastering by an excellent engineer (Bob Ludwig and I had done the mastering, at Masterdisk, of almost all of the original vinyl releases, so I thought Bob just MIGHT be an OK guy to do it!) was all that was required.  But no, they just had to be remixed FOR DIGITAL (don't forget all the consumer equipment, especially headphones, which was already then being labeled "Digital Ready!")

So I was ready to relent when I was told that they had budgeted one to three whole DAYS to remix the five albums (they had decided that Eliminator wouldn't need remixing since it had been on COMPACT DISK already!)  I explained that you couldn't possibly properly remix five albums in such a short time; they said that was what it would be.  So I refused to do it.  I wouldn't be a part of such a ridiculous scheme ruining music that I loved.

So they got someone else to do the mixes.  That person got a WENDEL (that awesome sample machine [sarcasm here if you didn't notice]) and had EVERY SNARE AND BASS DRUM BEAT bash away with the same samples, same non-dynamic levels, all through all of the songs!!!  They also didn't make several of the edits which I had made by extending fade outs with repeated sections (with different guitar lead bits for variation), etc.  When Ludwig got the mixes for mastering, he called me, aghast.  He couldn't believe it either!  I had to instruct him on how to TRY to recreate the edits with "similar" bits of the song (but no gtr variations).  He HATED the mixes and begged me to find some way to intervene.  But few music executive(s) have either ears or taste (those of you who DO, know who you are; I'm obviously not talking about YOU!), so these atrocious, mutilated mixes WERE RELEASED, and have been almost ALL that was available of those classic ZZ albums on CD all this time.  Finally, last year WB released a new box set using many of the original mixes, mastered properly for CD.

Whew...you shouldn't have gotten me started on THAT ONE!!!

Anyway, thanks for the interest.

TM
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compasspnt

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Re: Several Level Session Questions
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2005, 03:46:44 am »

Level wrote on Tue, 01 February 2005 18:09


I was with Lenny when he bought an audiophile system and hated it. (Wilson Watt Puppys) It had no dynamic impact and we set him up with basically a PA type system for home audio.

How is his listening evolving? Does he now understand dynamic integrety? Does he care anymore or attend mastering sessions? I know he has been through the gambit of audio for consumers at no limit prices.

BR.




Lenny, when I started working with him (just before the "5" album), was pretty set in his ways of only using very old, vintage equipment.  Now I LOVE a lot of vintage gear; I bought a lot of it when it was new...(hopefully that's exaggeration).

But much of the gear LK had wasn't working too well.  This is true, of course, of many older pieces; you HAVE to keep them up.  I tried using some of his stuff, but much of it wasn't up to what I thought it should be.  The monitors he thought he wanted were big old clunky Tannoy's; I mean the OLD ones.  They sounded terrible to me.  I don't believe they were even close to what they sounded like when new.  Just because something's old, that doesn't mean it's necessarily GOOD.

So I bought some new Tannoy 215's, which were at least listenable, if not great; LK likes to hear it LOUD, so these did that trick.  (The mix was done on Genelec 1032's though.)  I got him interested in samples, used a lot more modern keyboards, a greater variety of guitars, much newer drums, and many other modern "conveniences."  Although I really liked his previous material, I tried to encourage him to be himself, and not automatically try to copy verbatim other artists.  And we recorded in Protools.  This was indeed a strech for him!  Now I do love analogue tape, but with the "new way" we were recording (loop record, cut/paste, etc.), analogue was not viable.  On some cuts, I did track throug analogue tape machines into PT, to try to get the best of both worlds.  This made overdubbing tough, however, so I didn't keep it going for that part.

TM
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compasspnt

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Re: Several Level Session Questions
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2005, 03:48:42 am »

Level wrote on Tue, 01 February 2005 18:09


Lastly for now...

How often do you have to explain the up to date equipment and translation to assure your older artists that what you have happening is the real deal?




Well, I guess I don't work with very many "older" artists.  Usually I'm working with newer ones.  But the times I do, I've had no trouble explaining the "improvements" in sound today (that's a whole 'nother topic:  How is sound "improved" today from say the 60's + 70's, and how is it no where near as good?)

TM
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compasspnt

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Re: Several Level Session Questions
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2005, 03:56:14 am »

Level wrote on Tue, 01 February 2005 18:09



Do you like to attend sessions during the mastering phase?





Whenever possible, I attend mastering sessions.  I've been very fortunate to have used two great mastering engineers (and both great human beings as well) for more than 90% of the output I've done.  Those are Bob Ludwig and Ted Jensen.  I trust both of them explicitly, but I find that I always have extra input when I'm there, and we have all worked well together.  I've probably been in attendance for 80-85% with them.

Recently I have also been mastering some projects myself, and I have always attended those sessions.
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zmix

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Re: Several Level Session Questions
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2005, 04:03:40 am »

According to some friends, ZZ TOP were known for the quality of their records.  

Remixing, and triggering drums and adding digital reverb to classic rock records is like some terrible nightmare...

I own one ZZ Top record on CD, it's called "The Best of ZZ TOP" and there are NO remixes on it! I felt lucky after I heard one of those remixes on a rock radio station...  "La Grange" sure didn't need any reverb on those galloping drumsticks at the beginning! I like the little drop out on the right channel that happens around bar six. Sounds like tape! And please, why does every A&R think that reverb belongs on a rock vocal?  

I'm flabbergasted, and babbling, sorry.  

Thank you Terry!! I wish that they had listened to you.

Level

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Re: Several Level Session Questions
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2005, 05:13:48 pm »

Quote:



Recently I have also been mastering some projects myself, and I have always attended those sessions.



LOL! I love it!

I appreciate you taking the time for my questions. I really do. yep, Lenny listens LOUD. His first "audiophile system" went into clipping very early and he would have been better off with a crown and some Klipschorns at that junction. Sadly, the store he was purchasing from changed ownership (was Don Turnipseeds store) and got into the home theater business. Time flys when you are having fun.

We are on the same page with those horrible drums..that is good to know...well it is a no brainer. Quite possibly the worst decision ever concocted by the mooks.

Take care and thanks!,

BR
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Level

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Re: Several Level Session Questions
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2005, 07:20:35 pm »

Zmix, I got a copy without that little drop out. I hear what you hear on your version as well.

If Terry had anything to do with it, you never would know it was there..because he would have not allowed it.

Reminds me of Alan Parsons. Not even approached for the remixing of DSOM for DSD. And it shows. It is not horrible..it is simply not authentic to the original mix...is all.

Fortunantly, when I get in touch with him next time, I think I have something for him to work with Smile
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zmix

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Re: Several Level Session Questions
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2005, 11:45:23 pm »

Level wrote on Wed, 02 February 2005 19:20

Zmix, I got a copy without that little drop out. I hear what you hear on your version as well.

If Terry had anything to do with it, you never would know it was there..because he would have not allowed it.



On my copy, it's a subtle shift to the left at bar 5 beats 3 and 4, or at 0:07 into the track. It sounds like a splice to me, a slight ducking in the hiss level on the right side. I love it, as I said. To me these are priceless artifacts, littered throughout rock's recorded history. I'd miss them if they ever got fixed.

Also, I didn't quite fllow what exactly you were saying that Terry wouldn't allow...?

Level

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Re: Several Level Session Questions
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2005, 01:20:02 am »

If he heard that anomily, he would have found a way to deal with it. It obviously happened in a post post dub to another press.

I feel Terry would not have let something like that slip through..unless it was simply unrepairable.
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