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Author Topic: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)  (Read 9845 times)

j.hall

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2006, 05:57:12 pm »

Colin and Brian...........

ok guys, simmer a bit.  no one is going to turn my forum into a flame fest.  this has always been the spot to come speak your mind and be respected for the ability to have and form opinions.

Colin, i agree that my examples are weak and better blending would have saved those records from being on my list.......

let's move this issue from "black and white" to more shades of grey.  steve's whole thing is to be hands off.  the compression issue just scratches the surface.  let's broaden the scope to something i was really trying to get at in his forum.

EQ, compression, effects.....these are all tools and paint brushes like Ross has said.

i've heard countless records that are claiming "natural" sound that just plain sound bad because the AE thought he/she needed to NOT use any EQ, compression, effects in order to fulfill some dogma.

the records i've listed, and will list are of course my opinion, of records that suffer from this problem.

so let's strike end hits and automatic midnight and call them amateur attempts, which is exactly what they are.

Colin, pick up shiner splay if you want to really dig into a record.

please wait till tomorrow so i can look through my CDs and records and list more so we might find one you have.

Brian, it's funny about Al.....he's a classically trained singer since birth.  his father is PhD in vocal performance and local liberal arts college.  Al can sing circles around just about anybody.  he hits harmony with little effort, and doesn't even rehearse them.  the guy is seriously unbelievable vocally.  very talented!  Splay is just weird.  i always thought that Al was trying to be "bad" so the scene would think he was good.....i'm sure you know what i mean.

pony express record is slick.  personally i love it.  i saw shudder on that tour and they sounded very similar actually.  so one could easily say that andy wallaces tightly compressed, effected and EQ's version of shudder to think was a natural representation of them...........

you guys can kick me in the teeth as hard as you want.....lets discuss this topic....rip it up, rip me up, whatever.

i think guys that sit down in recording studios with "rules of engagement" are doing their clients and themselves a great disservice.  i strive to make my clients happy, but i also strive to make records that i think sound good.  why would i do something i think sucks?  that makes no sense.

recording studios, rock bands, compressors, effects, EQ, amps....these things DO NOT exist in nature.  you don't hike through the woods and stumble onto Ocean Way with Fleetwood Mac rocking out.

Natural is not a word i ever use in recording because it doesn't exist.  we make records in buildings, with electricity with gear.  everything about the process is manhandled to one extreme or another.

i just fail to understand why people seemingly strive for mediocrity, and some times utter crap.

i understand that the above statement is relative to taste, style and skill set.  

so.........let's have it.
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j.hall

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2006, 05:59:15 pm »

BTW, take it easy on fibes (not that he needs defending)

but his sense of humor goes unnoticed at times while the man has put me on the floor laughing while starting flame wars......

he also adds interesting perspective that few around here have been able to deliver.

like i said, i'm not defending him, just helping to speed up your "interface" to his posting.
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pg666

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2006, 06:34:48 pm »

sorry. didn't mean to sound 'aggressive'. i actually agreed with everything you said in your last post.. except:

Quote:

so let's strike end hits and automatic midnight and call them amateur attempts, which is exactly what they are.


..which leads to the whole reason i posted in the first place. i think it's crucial to differentiate what i (and you/and everyone) personally don't have a taste for and what artists rationally conceive. i'm not saying you have to love 'guitar-centric' records or anything, i'm just saying you should be open to idea that it was deliberate and maybe even suggest that it enhances qualities you aren't noticing. MBV's 'loveless' had that effect on me. i would NEVER want drums to sound like that on any record i'm a part of. on the other hand, i eventually realized that euphoria-enducing guitar sound wouldn't be possible if the 'drums' didn't sound so small. i feel the same way about that hot snakes record; the guitars are shoved down my throat due to the way the other stuff was mixed.. and i have a feeling it was intentional. a more 'proper' mix would have taken that away from me.

i guess what i'm saying is what can immediately strike one as 'bad' can turn around and be 'great' in another way. that's what art can do to you  Smile

p.s. sorry to Colin for completely derailing this thread
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Colin Frangos

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2006, 06:42:21 pm »

j.hall wrote on Wed, 04 January 2006 14:57

Colin and Brian...........

ok guys, simmer a bit.  no one is going to turn my forum into a flame fest.  this has always been the spot to come speak your mind and be respected for the ability to have and form opinions.


I don't think anyone's flamed anyone. Or even disagreed, particularly.

Quote:

let's move this issue from "black and white" to more shades of grey.  steve's whole thing is to be hands off.  the compression issue just scratches the surface.  let's broaden the scope to something i was really trying to get at in his forum.


Well... If you want to that's fine. But I'm really only asking about that initial suggestion you made, not the whole debate of whether compression and eq are legitimate tools. They are legitimate tools. They are also tools that can be abused to bad ends. Anyone who won't use them for some doctrinaire reason is an idiot. Steve uses them, he tries not to do what he percieves as over using them. You do, too. Your definitions of over-use are different. Fine. I think I have a pretty good understanding of both of your views of assorted tools, and I'm grateful for both.

Quote:

Colin, pick up shiner splay if you want to really dig into a record.


I spent a lot of time hanging out at the Empty Bottle way back when, and saw them a bunch of times when they were coming up. Good band. I only remember that record as being a disappointing example of what they do. If you think that's a good example I'll find a copy. I might regardless.

Quote:

please wait till tomorrow so i can look through my CDs and records and list more so we might find one you have.

Sounds good. I'm looking forward to it.

Quote:

Natural is not a word i ever use in recording because it doesn't exist.  we make records in buildings, with electricity with gear.  everything about the process is manhandled to one extreme or another.


First up, I don't think that when the word natural is used in this context it's ment as "out in nature". It usually is used as short-hand for a recording that attempts to simulate a real setting in which a band would be heard. It doesn't mean an unoptimized environment, just a realistic one. Yes, of course, stereo is an illusion and you'd never really hear a band the same way as you would in a stereo field. It's impossible to perfectly recreate a band with just 2 speakers. Nobobdy's arguing about that.


This all makes me think that maybe you misspoke over on Steve's forum, or misinterpreted what you replied to.

Steve said:
Quote:

Have you ever listened to a record and thought, gee, this sounds too natural? Too much like the real thing?


To which you said:
Quote:

see, i actually have.


I don't really care about your opinion in relation to Steve's, or about some grander issue of The Right Way To Record (tm). I also don't really care about the definition of "natural". Assuming you didn't misspeak, I'd like to hear some examples of what you're talking about so that I can understand where you're coming from. That's it.

And if you did misspeak, that's fine, too.

[edited twice for stupidity]
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Colin Frangos

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2006, 06:48:35 pm »

j.hall wrote on Wed, 04 January 2006 14:59

BTW, take it easy on fibes (not that he needs defending)

but his sense of humor goes unnoticed at times while the man has put me on the floor laughing while starting flame wars......

he also adds interesting perspective that few around here have been able to deliver.

like i said, i'm not defending him, just helping to speed up your "interface" to his posting.


Seems like a nice guy to me. I agree with everything he's said - in this thread, anyway. BUT MAN IF HE CROSSES ME OVER IN FLETCHER'S FORUM I WILL GUT HIM LIKE A TROUT!

As you were.
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j.hall

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2006, 01:04:54 am »

ok.....to look at steve's question more literally and not my slightly sarcastic/defiant reply.

i actually think the get up kids record i mentioned and the shiner record are perfect examples.

sure, they sound "natural"  and rock band playing in a room.  however, i think the "natural" representation of these records (that bob weston engineered) do the band a great disservice.  both bands are varying degrees of thick rock.  something that has been defined for a very long time and a full spectrum, in your face, guitar driven sonic ear candy experience.

i have yet to work with a rock band that said, "hey, recall that mix, we want less bass, thinner guitars, mixed back drums, and generally more room mics/verb on the whole mix so we can sound thin and non-confrontational or even remotely exciting"

rock n roll is supposed to kick you in the teeth, and i know for a fact that both of these bands 9both hailing for this town, and both of which i know members of) wanted to do exactly that.....kick you in the teeth with their brand of rock.....

shiner's follow up album was not very compressed (compared to current production and some of their own subsequent records) and it was vastly different for the weak, wimpy splay.  a heftier version of the band came out and i'd call the second record "natural" to what shiner was and was trying to be.

so splay may sound natural to one specific person's view of what "natural" is for that particular band.  

so when i say, compression is the sound of rock n roll.  that doesn't mean you just go around and abuse it, then tell your clients, "j.hall says this is the thing to do"

led zep has made some of the most talked about and most celebrated records in rock n roll history.  and those records are compressed.  

compression, when used musically and appropriately affords you the chance to get things up front, in your face and aggressive.  rock bands want that.  they want their music to explode and make people raise their fist in the air and shout, "hell yeah this ROCKSSSSSSSSSSS"

so yes, i believe there are records out there that sound to natural as it relates to the style and goals of the music.  i believe there are records out there that the band had dreams of it sounding huge like an andy wallace mix but simply didn't know how to express that, or that they were even allowed to express that.  and sadly tey were stuck in a room with a guy how's dogma about recording reserved him to thinking his only role was to capture this band in a room, and wait for them to direct him on his every move from there on out.  here-in lies what i consider a great idsservice to one band's dream, creativity, and art.

another great example. (and this is a testament to an engineer honing his craft)

jimmy eat world - static prevails (cut by mark trombino)
sounds like crap to me.

jimmy eat world - clarity (cut by mark trombino)
only a few years later then static prevails mark trombino has honed his craft and presents a beautiful record.  brilliantly compressed, IMO.  full of vibe, full of charm....that record is amazing.  it's tender, yete rocking, just like the songs.

jimmy eat world - bleed american (cut by mark trombino)
this is kick you in the teeth rock n roll

the band is presenting a much harder edge and mark just slam dunks the mixes.  are they compressed?  practically crushed......and it just explodes out of the speakers and makes you smile and think "now this is rock n roll"

Low - Trust.....to me that sounds natural.  sounds like a slow-core band playing in a 150 year old catholic cathedral.....guess what, that's exactly what it is.  steve obviously disagrees, but i think this is one of the most gorgeous sounding records i've ever heard.  tchad blake is easily one of the best mixers i've heard.  he's spent his life time honig his craft.  NO ONE can mock his style.  he is truly unique.  many people try to get low-end like tchad's and fail.  many people try to do "his thing" and can't.  bands seak him out to get that.  they want it and honestly, it's awesome.
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j.hall

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2006, 01:14:54 am »

pg666 wrote on Wed, 04 January 2006 17:34


i'm just saying you should be open to idea that it was deliberate and maybe even suggest that it enhances qualities you aren't noticing.




i'll give you automatic midnight....that could be deliberate as john always make very guitar heavy records.  however, keep in mind that suicide invoice and audit in progress are just as guitar heavy and still have tight drums and decent bass and those records were cut and mixed by ben moore.

honestly man, i've been doing this a long time, and it might sound arrogant, but there is a difference between deliberate and straight up amateur.  to me, the fugazi record sounds amateur.  it sounds like they just kept pushing the faders up.  "oh now i can't hear the bass, more bass......oh now i can't hear the vocals, more vocals......oh now i can't hear the................."

skilled trained chefs can taste food and tell you what's in it, if it was prepared well, if it's any good.  i don't see myself any different then that. sure, i can be fooled, i'm not some robot.....but for the most part, i can pick out an amateur attempt from a deliberate one.  and i say both of those records are amateur.

i've done records when i first started that sound 10 times worse then both of those.  i've also cut records that sound 10 times better....yeah, i said it!!!!!!!!!

sure, i love both those bands very much, and both of those records. but that doesn't make them easy to listen to

if you have ever seen hot snakes live you'd agree with me that the band sounds like suicide invoice and audit in progress.....they really do sound like that live.
so i guess ben's compressed version of them is.....oh dare i say it.......natural
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pg666

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2006, 09:27:15 am »

well, i have a feeling we're never gonna agree on the fugazi thing (the hot snakes thing i'm not so passionate about, it was just initially odd seeing that record listed as 'unlistenable' with all the utter shit out there to pick from) but oh well.

i basically agree with your points about shiner and the get up kids. to me it sounds like they were both going for 'raw and gritty' more than 'natural', which was probably not in good taste. whichever the case, bob weston's same 'approach' has yielded great results (to me) on records by Shipping News, Mission of Burma, June of 44, Rachel's, New Brutalism, etc.. so i wouldn't just dismiss it and start squashing/heavily EQing things by default. i wouldn't let the sound of '4 minute mile' (mostly the fault of tguk) sour an approach that can work for many (but certainly not all) records.
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Fibes

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2006, 10:06:35 am »

Colin Frangos wrote on Wed, 04 January 2006 18:48

j.hall wrote on Wed, 04 January 2006 14:59

BTW, take it easy on fibes (not that he needs defending)

but his sense of humor goes unnoticed at times while the man has put me on the floor laughing while starting flame wars......

he also adds interesting perspective that few around here have been able to deliver.

like i said, i'm not defending him, just helping to speed up your "interface" to his posting.


Seems like a nice guy to me. I agree with everything he's said - in this thread, anyway. BUT MAN IF HE CROSSES ME OVER IN FLETCHER'S FORUM I WILL GUT HIM LIKE A TROUT!

As you were.


As a former Bard student you sould know not to bring a fillet knife to a gun fight.

In case you were wondering Rusty James is my little brother.

eh heh.




It's not as black and white as one might suggest in todays music climate but in a lot of respects the stuff that merely needs to be invisibly captured tends lean closer to art than commerce.

First and foremost--"Do no harm."




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Fibes
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j.hall

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2006, 10:15:32 am »

pg666 wrote on Thu, 05 January 2006 08:27

it was just initially odd seeing that record listed as 'unlistenable' with all the utter shit out there to pick from) but oh well.



i never said it was unlistenable......what i said was, and i'll quote myself:

....sound so bad to me i can hardly listen to them.....or i can't listen to them at all.

so, that doesn't mean either records are "unlistenable", it means i have hard time listening to some of the records i listed, and others are down right unlistenable........i never itemized it.

Quote:


to me it sounds like they were both going for 'raw and gritty' more than 'natural', which was probably not in good taste.



to me it sounds like they chose the wrong guy to cut a record with.

Quote:


whichever the case, bob weston's same 'approach' has yielded great results (to me) on records by Shipping News, Mission of Burma, June of 44, Rachel's, New Brutalism, etc..



i won't argue with that.  i never said bob sucks, or should never cut another record again......i just think on these two examples bob actually did the bands a disservice

Quote:


so i wouldn't just dismiss it and start squashing/heavily EQing things by default.



i've never promoted that in this thread, nor anywhere else.

Quote:


i wouldn't let the sound of '4 minute mile' (mostly the fault of tguk) sour an approach that can work for many (but certainly not all) records.


i could not disagree more with you saying GUK is responsible for the sound of that record.  i think that's a gross over sight.  trust me, i shared a practice space with them, i know how dissapointed and heart broken they were.

the interesting thing to me brian is your own personal example i have yet to bring up till now.  we've spoken on the phone about the RRoT EP that you are unhappy about.  that was recorded "natural" at electrical audio by greg norman.  the two thing i remember most are you saying something to the affect of:

"the guitar amp in the room sounded great, just like i wanted, but the tones put to tape are totally different"

and

"now that i've been through the process at electrical i knew what to expect and that i needed to be much more hands on when i cut the full length"

so you yourself have experienced the exact same dissapointment.  and i highly doubt you'd put 100% of that blame on yourself.  so it's really not fair to do it to the get up kids, if you like them or not.
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pg666

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2006, 10:37:00 am »

Quote:

so you yourself have experienced the exact same dissapointment. and i highly doubt you'd put 100% of that blame on yourself.


i actually do. it's no ones fault but mine for not being more honest with myself about the kind of production that i thought made me look 'cool' and what i actually wanted. i'm remixing a few songs this weekend actually!

but back to the get up kids, my 'faulting them' was more due to me not liking their songwriting and thinking their playing was really sloppy. should they record with someone who can tighten them up a bunch? absolutely! cuz the 'truth' isn't pretty..

i don't think anyone would argue that bands shouldn't get exactly what they want in the studio. my only point to posting initially was that if a band actually acheives that it should be respected (at least on some level) and not "it would be good if it fit my definition of good and had the amount of compression and EQ as i see fit". anyway, i'm not gonna beat this into the ground anymore.
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j.hall

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2006, 11:15:55 am »

i think we're repeating our same points, which don't happen to be far off from each other.

can't wait to hear the RRoT re-mixes.
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Colin Frangos

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2006, 12:57:44 pm »

Fibes wrote on Thu, 05 January 2006 07:06


As a former Bard student


Who sent you? WHO SENT YOU?!?!?
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j.hall

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2006, 01:06:42 pm »

Colin Frangos wrote on Thu, 05 January 2006 11:57


Who sent you? WHO SENT YOU?!?!?


the syndicate surrounds you, and watches you.

you can not escape the syndicate.

the syndicate has you!
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Fibes

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Re: Compression (in reference to a thread over in Albini's forum)
« Reply #29 on: January 05, 2006, 01:43:04 pm »

The dog is turning grey.
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Fibes
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