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Author Topic: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?  (Read 63348 times)

turtletone

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #45 on: October 20, 2006, 08:18:53 PM »

Come on guys, your ruining my gear purchase high.
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Michael Fossenkemper
TurtleTone Studio
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jtr

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #46 on: October 20, 2006, 09:24:21 PM »

TurtleTone wrote on Fri, 20 October 2006 17:18

Come on guys, your ruining my gear purchase high.



OTOH, I'm feeling pretty good about my simple setup right about now! Smile There's gotta be middle ground somewhere!

(Wow, Chris Athens sorta quoted me!)

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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #47 on: October 21, 2006, 08:34:58 AM »

I really love what I do and I really love music and working with musicians as part of the process of making a CD.

The problem is today everyone seems to be in such a hurry.  They want to get the CD done and to the replicator and out to their adoring fans. If this process takes anytime at all they loose interest or start to get upset with anyone that is standing between them and their goal of getting their music out.

Many musicians today don't seem to take the time and/or really know or care about what they are doing with the gear. This makes for some very bad recordings. They bring the hastily done recordings to me and say basically "fix it" and "make it sound the way we want it to sound but were unable to do ourselves".

When I suggest, after some careful listening, that the mix needs some work they get upset and do one of two things. Either they say "I don't have the time or the money to redo the tracks so just work with what you have" or they say thanks and take their work to someone who will not ask questions or someone who has a less critical ear and will just do the mastering and take their money.

I don't think a lot of people have the ears or the experience to really know what something sounds good or not good and they base their judgements on what they hear on their car stereos or IPODS playing MP 3s. I had a client recently that, while we were mastering, asked me if I had a way to plug into his IPOD because he wanted to show me how he wanted the songs we were working on to sound. After listening to the MP 3 on his IPOD he said "that's the way I want my stuff to sound like"

His frame of reference was a $200 IPOD and a pair of ear bud headphones. He could not relate to my monitoring setup and full range uncompressed music. He told me that he had a room full of equipment to do his recordings on but that he carefully converted everything he mixed to an MP 3 so he could listen to it on his IPOD and that was the way he was making his decisions on the mix.

Maybe we are going about mastering the wrong way and instead of worrying about a perfect monitoring setup we should instead shoot for the lowest common denominator instead of the highest since most people will be listening on less than ideal equipment and in a less than ideal listening environment.<GRIN>

I have a good friend who is a carpenter. The best one around. For years he worked with nothing but a hammer, a ruler and a saw and did outstanding work. He did not have any battery operated equipment and never used an air nailer. Within the past five years he has gotten a whole range of battery operated drills and saws. He also has purchased a whole range of air nailers that he loves. His work has gone from GREAT to EXCEPTIONAL since he has more time and has to work less physically to create his work. He is also able to do things now that he could only dream of years ago like putting a nail though a piece of very thin oak trim without the oak splitting or having a big nail hole to fill. He told me the other day that he does not know HOW he ever got along without the stuff he now has nor would he want to go back to the "good old days".

His way of approaching work has taught me a lot. If you master the basics and use them on a daily basis and then when needed add a new piece of equipment when the genuine need is there you will always be doing good work with the best equipment.

FWIW...
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-TOM-

Thomas W. Bethel
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Room With a View Productions
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Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness.

compasspnt

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #48 on: October 22, 2006, 01:03:37 PM »


As a wise man stated recently, the inmates are now running the asylum in many cases.



Having been involved in hundreds of mastering sessions with several of "The Big Guys" of the profession over the years, I can attest to the fact that in many instances of mastering these "classics,"  processing consisted of .5 or 1 dB changes in a few selected areas, and 1-2 dB of gentle compression.
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Andy Krehm

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #49 on: October 22, 2006, 09:52:04 PM »

Masterer wrote on Fri, 20 October 2006 14:26

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.

.


<edit>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.
<edit>

I like the Doctor analogy to learning and finally "graduating" to the first pro level of mastering.

However, taking it one step further, we should also note the innovations that the medical profession can now use to diagnose and heal, as compared to 20 or 30 years ago.

In other words, I mastered my first 1,000 albums with only one outboard compressor and equalizer along with some plug-ins.

Would I give up any of my current fabulous and very carefully selected pieces of gear and simplify my chain? Of course not and neither would any one else who finds their collection useful.

After all, if you have a choice of a tube eq, a precision analog eq and a digital eq,  you almost always have the right choice for the job. Sometimes all three, sometimes one or two and occasionally, none. Can you do it if you only have access to one eq? Of course but it might take longer and may not be quite as good. And if we can afford it, why not also have a alternate brand of one or all of the above three classes of eqs. It's up to the engineer to know when to use it and when to hit the bypass switch.

It is always the good engineers that turn out the best mixes and the best masters. And while the gear is definitely less important than the skill, talent and experience of the engineer, to do your very best work, it is important to have quality gear and a good selection of it, especially if you master a wide variety of music.

twelfthandvine

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #50 on: October 25, 2006, 02:37:18 AM »

bblackwood wrote on Fri, 20 October 2006 23:32

I think some are missing the point...
Does more options = better or does more options = more distractions from listening?


Your topic, Brad (and some of the posts here so far) really made me pause and think again.  By chance, an old skool producer and I were talking about this just last week.

The producer is still on PT5.x and his rack hasn?t really changed for a period resembling forever.  Still manages somehow to pump out world class mixes for world class talent.  He puts this down to knowing exactly what the gear actually does.

Whilst I don?t know that GAS ?destroys? modern records I will agree that it doesn?t always make them ?better?.  We all have to look in the mirror sometimes and I?ll admit that when I get something new I am guilty of putting it in the chain as an experiment to see what it?ll do (especially if there?s the luxury of time).  Objectively, it probably doesn?t do the track any favours with the advantage of hindsight.

FWIW, most of the guys I?ve looked up to seem to ?hear? what the music can become and pretty much what?s required to get it there as they?re listening to it being loaded up.  There is no doubt that this comes in part from an intimate knowledge of their chain.

It?s maybe a bit like being an MD for a jazz act.  Lots of people can be great players, but the skill in taking charge of the arrangements is partly in knowing what doesn?t need to be played.  And this takes experience as well as good ears and learning how to play.  

Kind regards,
Paul Blakey
12th & Vine Post

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Jerry Tubb

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #51 on: October 30, 2006, 12:47:53 PM »

bblackwood wrote on Thu, 19 October 2006 10:25

Just think about it more, deeper. <snip> all the great records we love had ONE compressor and ONE EQ in the mastering chain.


OK I'll tighten the focus on Brad's original topic:

If you had to choose only One Equalizer and One Compressor to use for mastering, which ones?

You know my choices already.

I challenge you to do it for 3 days, see how much you can get done.

Bypass all the extra processors and focus on the basics.

Think of it as "Survivor" for mastering engineers : - )

JT
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Gold

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #52 on: October 30, 2006, 01:01:33 PM »

I only have two Eq's and one compressor. And the second EQ isn't full featured. So it isn't much of a stretch. I wouldn't mind another compressor but I'm not in a big hurry. I have a couple of plug in EQ's but only because I had to buy them with the L2. I'm about to add a more full featured EQ. If it covers the bases that the QE covers then the QE goes.
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Paul Gold
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Barry Hufker

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #53 on: October 30, 2006, 01:04:29 PM »

OK, let me take a slight but important turn.

While we probably can't know, would the engineers who made the classics we love have used more signal processing if they would have had more?

I will give Tommy Dowd as an example -- he embraced 8 track the moment he could; he multi-miked, he embraced digital...  Those that knew him... did he use more processing gear as it became available?

Barry
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Bob Olhsson

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #54 on: October 30, 2006, 03:29:14 PM »

Barry Hufker wrote on Mon, 30 October 2006 12:04

...I will give Tommy Dowd as an example -- he embraced 8 track the moment he could; he multi-miked, he embraced digital...  Those that knew him... did he use more processing gear as it became available?
According to Joe Atkinson, one of my mentors who worked as Atlantic's mastering engineer for over ten years before he came to Motown, Tom did not embrace the 8-track for overdubbing. He saw it as being the best way to do stereo mixes in the future as a means of preserving the value of Atlantic's catalog.

Joe told me they had 5 Pultecs in the whole place. One in the mono cutting system, two for stereo cutting, one in the control room that was generally used on the EMT plate and a second used to EQ. lead vocals. They would add mids and clean up the low-end in mastering.

Here in Nashville they had individual channel eq. early on but engineers tried not to use it because they felt it kept things from blending together right.

On the other had at Motown, we generally used LOTs!

dcollins

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #55 on: October 30, 2006, 11:39:05 PM »

Jerry Tubb wrote on Mon, 30 October 2006 09:47


If you had to choose only One Equalizer and One Compressor to use for mastering, which ones?



The ones you are most familiar with.

Quote:


I challenge you to do it for 3 days, see how much you can get done.



Some guys have done essentially this for 40 years, so it must have some merit!

DC

Barry Hufker

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #56 on: October 31, 2006, 12:54:36 AM »

According to Tommy's own words in that wonderful DVD documentary about him (I'm being sincere).  He liked 8 track because of the mixing flexibility no matter what.  He delighted in demonstrating to people how the balance could be changed at will.  That was how he got everyone hooked on it.

Barry
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Jerry Tubb

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #57 on: October 31, 2006, 03:00:38 AM »

dcollins wrote on Mon, 30 October 2006 22:39

Jerry Tubb wrote on Mon, 30 October 2006 09:47


If you had to choose only One Equalizer and One Compressor to use for mastering, which ones?



The ones you are most familiar with.

Quote:


I challenge you to do it for 3 days, see how much you can get done.



Some guys have done essentially this for 40 years, so it must have some merit!



Amen.
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Terra Nova Mastering
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Bob Olhsson

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #58 on: October 31, 2006, 01:39:22 PM »

Claude Hill told me the other day "I've never heard of anybody replacing a recorder with one that didn't record more tracks than the one they already had."

Sonovo

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Re: Is G.A.S. destroying modern records?
« Reply #59 on: October 31, 2006, 01:56:19 PM »

Well,

I just got a Stellavox SM8 that does 2 tracks only. A bit of a step backwards compared to a laptop that will do a gazillion 24/96 tracks (with plugs and other junk as well).

I like the purist approach, and am looking forwards to renting the conservatory and doing 2 track direct to tape recording. Should be fun. Besides, mixing is such a chore, better to get it right the first time  Razz .

Cheers,
Thor
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