R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 12   Go Down

Author Topic: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks  (Read 34887 times)

J.J. Blair

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12809
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #30 on: February 28, 2005, 02:51:57 pm »

I thought it was Bob, but I couldn't remember for sure.

BTW, I just sent my 2nd over to the mastering facility with copies of the album mastered and unmastered w/ a note attached.  I'll let you know what happens.  
Logged
studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

David Schober

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 298
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2005, 04:31:20 pm »

krabapple wrote on Mon, 28 February 2005 13:02

David Schober wrote on Mon, 28 February 2005 05:14

Hello all,
In my view the problem originates not at mastering, but with the mixers themselves.  Good mastering engineers cry out for decent mixes that aren't smashed to bits.  Maybe  some of the mastering houses are guilty of this.  But guys like Sax, Ludwig, Coyne, Grundman, Marino, etc are not guilty of this.  They pray for a decently mixed album and don't destroy it when it comes to them.



hmm...then, George Marino *didn't* do this?




Those pics do say a lot...however it's a bit anecdotal.  I presume those who posted the screenshots did their best to make sure none of the waveforms had been zoomed in.  But as I said above, if this was done in mastering, then guily as charged.  However, I still, still maintain that the buck doesn't stop with them.  The label, the producers, the artists all have authority to stop this kind of work, no matter where or when it happens.  All I can speak of is my personal experience with these guys.  Not a one of them expressed to me their prefrernce for squashing a song.  George did a great job for me and it was only slightly compressed on a few songs.  Some, mine being one of them mixed on an Neve, took no compression at all from him.

Please don't misunderstand me.  I'm not absolving all mastering engineers from blame.  But my experience is that the greater sin occurs before the mixes even arrive.  But even if it were true that it was all or mostly the mastering engineers at fault, where the hell are the mixers, producers, artists, and lables?  As I said before, if I got a ref that had been decimated by a mastering engineer I wouldn't accept it.  These little screen shots are interesting, but somebody approved it.
Logged
David Schober

PRobb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2057
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #32 on: February 28, 2005, 05:08:16 pm »

Its wrong to blame the AEs and MEs. A guys gotta work. And if the clients are demanding loud and you don't deliver, they will go hire someone who will. And its hard to blame new artists. Bob Ohlsson is right, its about what the first 15 seconds sound like in a presentation. And if some asshole committee has the power, you have to impress them. The ones who can to change this are the major artists. They have the power to say no. And if albums with dynamics start to sell, then the suits might see that everything doesn't have to be squashed to sell.
In the 80s, we would have been having this discussion about those crazy, huge snare drums being the loudest things on every record. This too shall pass.
Logged
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
-Edmund Burke

thesoundguy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 18
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #33 on: February 28, 2005, 05:10:18 pm »

David Schober wrote on Mon, 28 February 2005 21:31

Not a one of them expressed to me their prefrernce for squashing a song.


Im sure they can express their preference about being able to earn a living though.  Its my new favorite past time to blame mastering engineers, especially ones that work out of a certain place in NYC, but with the bands (?!!) and or labels so concerned with things being so loud, any good mastering guy can only lose a gig so many times because his ref wasnt "loud enough" before he starts to increase the level on his masters just to remain competitive in a retarded market.  Unfortunately, ME's need to eat and pay bills, so they have to compete with whatever BS the industry cooks up.

About two years ago I interviewed for a job with some very famous actor who was doing a record.  The interview ended with him throwing me out of his apartment after a debate went completely wrong over how loud a CD should be.  After that experience, there is absolutely ZERO doubt in my mind that some part of this is brought upon the industry by the artists themselves.  His honest question to me was "why would you not want the loudest CD possible, that is the whole point of mastering".  And this was said by someone who you would not expect to go and bite on some hype.

I would love to know what bob ludwig did to the last sheryl crow record which was about 300 dB over 0FS.  Her previous records were insanely good and I couldnt last through a song and a half on the last one.  It is really hard for me to swallow the idea that even someone like ludwig is immune to market trends.  The label is paying for his services, if they want it loud, by proxy of taking the job, the ME is obligated to make them happy.  The other option is not take the job, not give them a master they are unhappy with a post-it note attached to it explaining why it sounds so much better than what they thought they were paying for.  

Its not my intention to knock these people because they are just making a living.  But the suggestion that every single record that has gone to a ME for release on a major label has arrived to them THAT loud is just silly to me.  We can mix this stuff without a ton of limiting and an ME can master it all nice making us BOTH look like superstars and the label will hand the master to an intern with an L2 to get their level if thats what they are convinced they must have, which currently, for some reason, is the case.

I guess the moral is the customer is always right.  I recently worked on a project and recalled it because it was too loud and got it fixed and walked away happy, but Im the record label and the buck stops here.  When some monster coropration decides they want the loudest CD at any cost, ultimately who are we to say?  When a label can keep a band in the studio for 21 songs and say "I dont here a single yet, record more", then 23 songs "I dont here a single yet, go record more" (sad but true) they CERTAINLY can say "this isnt as loud as so and so, make it louder".  Its lousy to admit that, but isnt that the bottom line, they are paying customers, so...  Its up to indie guys who actually have some control over this stuff to change things, but bands now are so used to that sound, good luck trying to explain to them why their record shouldnt be as loud as the band they are competing with.  I can go on all day long about why Im not gonna mix like that but at the end of the day, the only clients I get are people that are predisposed to that style in the first place.  Im not converting someone dead set on a loud record, perhaps thats the better discussion instead of pointing fingers at whose fault all this is or isnt.

My next rant is about the EQ catalog reissues get for which some folks out there ruining my favorite records have absolutely NO excuse...

dave
Logged

Paul Frindle

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 380
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #34 on: February 28, 2005, 05:24:43 pm »

Bob Olhsson wrote on Mon, 28 February 2005 15:25

Paul Frindle wrote on Sun, 27 February 2005 16:32

...Of course the answer the regime is applying (which IMVHO we are suffering now in our art) is obviously and predictably to simply restrict your choices in order to maintain the economic ethos at all costs ...

If only it were that intelligent!

I see no signs of it being driven by anything other than classic middle-management paranoia, a classic example of the Peter Principle. Obviously the result looks exactly the same but the solution is different and I don't think nearly as hopeless.


Under normal circumstances I would hope that your belief was correct - that the phenomenon is simply a reflection of ignorance and sheep-like aping - rather than a reflection of a deliberate and measured desire for profit. But sadly IMVHO I think this view may be optimistic.
IME more aggregated 'intelligence' and resource is expended cococting marketing techniques and the atmospheres needed to support them than was ever allowed to be dedicated to the generation of the actual product itself Sad One visit to the inner workings within a head office of any multinational media corporation should be enough to illustrate that.
Logged

WhyKooper

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 91
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #35 on: February 28, 2005, 08:50:52 pm »

......."Its wrong to blame the AEs and MEs. A guys gotta work. And if the clients are demanding loud and you don't deliver, they will go hire someone who will......."

THAT is the most intelligent phrase spoken on most of this entire thread.  

If you work at McDonalds and you start giving me a hard time about what I'm ordering, you're not going to get my business.  And no doubt, you'll get fired in the process.

This isn't remotely like McDonalds?  Is mastering not a business?  Do the clients not order what they want and then sign off on the projects once they get what they want?  Including these so-called butchered mastering jobs?  

You guys who say things like "my mastering", "my mixes", "blame this guy", "this mastering guy butchered this poor artist's recording", "blame those guys", "things should be like this", "should be like that", "this is ruined", "that is ruined", "need to do this", "need to do that"...NO...these are not "your" mixes, these are not "your" mastering works.  

These works, these projects, these preferences, belong to the people who created the work, or own it because they paid for it, and are writing the check to you to have you to master the project.  And if they say "hotter", "Odb on everything", "squash it to make it as loud as these other 5000 projects, WHO ARE YOU to argue?  WHO ARE YOU to say, "but look at this waveform".  WHO ARE YOU to say, "but if I do this, your record won't have dynamic range just like all the other records that don't have dynamic range".

If I bring a work to you to master under the above terms and you give me a hard time, guess what?  You are not going to get my business.  Period.  I don't come to you to "educate" me. I come to you to do a task that needs to be done under certain parameters.  And if you meet those parameters and I sign off on the work...end of subject. If I'm a young artist who wants product as insanely loud and flattened as possible, and when I hear the finished "flattened" mastering job and decide, yeah, "It's loud and reminds me of the other stuff I want to compete with", WHO ARE YOU to argue?  If I say, do whatever to make it as loud as anything on the planet, and if I then sign off on your squash-job, WHO ARE YOU to condemn?

If you don't like the way certain styles of records are mastered, stop looking at their waveforms.  Stop listening to that style.  Stop listening and looking at any smashed masters from any style.   Stop accepting these types of jobs (if you're even being offered any) and go do some jazz or classical or something where you're working with a style that's recorded under the parameters YOU like and where you're surrounded by a bunch of people who WANT you to master the way YOU want to.  

And, if you're not an ME, if you're just Joe-blow sitting on the outside blowing philosophy and psychology around, condemning ME's for the condition of recordings that ARTISTS and project OWNERS are PAYING to have done that way, you are severly out of touch with reality.
Logged

bblackwood

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7036
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #36 on: February 28, 2005, 09:14:53 pm »

Surely every mastering engineer out there does whatever he can to help the client achieve his/her goals. The problem lies with those mastering engineers that simply default to over-the-top levels with no input or direction to do so.

And yes, it is a very common problem, all the way to the 'top'...
Logged
Brad Blackwood
euphonic masters

Level

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1811
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #37 on: February 28, 2005, 09:23:14 pm »

I think Bob Katz K-14 should really be K-16 if you want to know the truth.

An excellent excuse to see levels get back to normal.

The "default" as Brad has stating, started in 1993/4 and it began with using the limiters in outboard Marantz professional CD recorders using analog input. Rapper mixers quickly realized they could hit analog in hard and the CD would not clip due to the inboard limiter..and the CD was damned loud. Then the A/R Scanks thought this was "better" and labels hired those rouge engineers to be in the bigger productions and from that, it became a horsepower game of idiotcy.

No Professional audio engineer started this.

It was the indies with Big Boy records and No Limit records that established this shit. They sold millions and everyone stuggled to keep up.

Beleive me, the compressors that started this shit reside in stand alone CD recorders and also the panasonic SV3700/3800 DAT machines.

My Sony 7050 (11K) would clip the crap out of digital with an analog input..the panasonic dats and the marantz CD recorders had built in limiters.

If I were to take a clean mix and ptch it into the SV3700 balanced input analog and crank the gain on the record input control to 10, it will sit there at -6dbfsRMS and actually sound sorta like the mix only jammed to hell.

This was what started this bullshit.
Logged
http://balancedmastering.com

"Listen and Learn"
---Since 1975---

Norwood

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 223
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #38 on: February 28, 2005, 10:19:50 pm »

Level wrote on Mon, 28 February 2005 18:23

I think Bob Katz K-14 should really be K-16 if you want to know the truth.

An excellent excuse to see levels get back to normal.

The "default" as Brad has stating, started in 1993/4 and it began with using the limiters in outboard Marantz professional CD recorders using analog input. Rapper mixers quickly realized they could hit analog in hard and the CD would not clip due to the inboard limiter..and the CD was damned loud. Then the A/R Scanks thought this was "better" and labels hired those rouge engineers to be in the bigger productions and from that, it became a horsepower game of idiotcy.

No Professional audio engineer started this.

It was the indies with Big Boy records and No Limit records that established this shit. They sold millions and everyone stuggled to keep up.

Beleive me, the compressors that started this shit reside in stand alone CD recorders and also the panasonic SV3700/3800 DAT machines.

My Sony 7050 (11K) would clip the crap out of digital with an analog input..the panasonic dats and the marantz CD recorders had built in limiters.

If I were to take a clean mix and ptch it into the SV3700 balanced input analog and crank the gain on the record input control to 10, it will sit there at -6dbfsRMS and actually sound sorta like the mix only jammed to hell.

This was what started this bullshit.


That is awesome... screw the $1500 L2, I just found a SV3700 on ebay for $160!  I'm adding mastering to my list of services! Laughing  Laughing  Laughing  

Logged
Michael Norwood
Wood Bros. Productions

J.J. Blair

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12809
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #39 on: March 01, 2005, 05:14:33 am »

Well, whoever said "somebody approved this," the answer is, that is what I'm bitching about.  As the client, listening to the CD outside of the mastering facility, I think it sounds like ass.

As far as WhyKooper's McDonald's analogy, there's a reason that McDonald's doesn't shit in a cup and sell it to you as a milkshake, either, even if you think you wanted that.  So why should MEs?  

Personally. I think that it's the ME's job to educate the client.  I mean, there were certain limitations on vinyl, and just because a client asked for it doesn't mean that you ignored the laws of physics and cut a disc that would make the needle jump off the turntable.  I mean, as an AE, when somebody asks me to do something that I know will make things sound bad, I explain to them why that is a bad idea or even let them try it so they can hear that it's a bad idea.  I don't just say, "You're the boss.  Even though I'm the professional, I'm going to let you make decisions that affect my reputation without tryng to dissuade you, because I'm afraid you'll hire some whore who will do anything you ask."  Have a single one of the MEs reading this explained to their client the effects of recursive processing and printing at 0db, and have been told to do it anyway?

Where's Dave Collins in this conversation?
Logged
studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

JGreenslade

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 824
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #40 on: March 01, 2005, 06:49:28 am »

To be honest, I’m not sure the current fad for hot RMS levels stems from inbuilt limiters fitted to CDR burners in the early ‘90s. To my ears the “loudness race” started around the ‘70s, probably earlier, and much of it would have been a desire to compensate for the S/N ratio of broadcast, and the environments that house typical receivers.

I feel the problem has come to a head in recent times because of the proliferation of digital “finalisers” or “loudness maximisers” which have taken the "art" to its ultimate conclusion; whereas in the ‘70s / ‘80s engineers could implement analogue tape and analogue compression to maximise volume, which required a degree of technical understanding and could sound vaguely “pleasing” if performed “tastefully”, we now have digital packages such as the L2 or TC devices which enable any Schmoe to push a button and flat-line the mix without any real thought going into the process.

It's not just MEs - Pummelling a mix through plug-ins is second-nature in many studios, and they don’t even stop to think for a second – everything else sounds this way, why would I want to be the misfit? I wish you could see the expression on some people’s faces when I’ve tackled them on this issue – “you’re joking right? I have to do this, the company will reject my mix”.

An issue that concerns me deeply is the way that, considering so many high-profile artists / projects such as the last Johnny Cash LP have received the pancake treatment, the currency of “studio engineer” has become devalued in the eyes of many music lovers. On numerous occasions now, in real life and through web groups, I have seen hi-fi enthusiasts / record collectors pour scorn on “studio engineers” (mastering engineers included, they’re all the same in muso’s eyes), as if they were second-rate compared to engineers in other audio fields. They don’t stop to figure out the industry infrastructure (why should they?), and tar anyone involved with the process with the same brush, based upon the gross distortion / zero dynamics they witness on many releases. I can give numerous examples of when I have witnessed this contempt… Once you explain the commercial process to them, and they comprehend that much of this pressure comes from A+R / schmokus groups, their attitude changes, but how many of this vital music buying group know an engineer who can explain the causal factors to them?  


On a visit to a photographic studio last week, the owner was telling me about a “dynamics package” he’d downloaded for his Mac for the purpose of maximising MP3s. Apart from DBX expanders years ago, I think this is the first time I’ve seen dynamics processing directly targeted at the consumer. He seemed pleased with the results… I wonder what the long-term implications of such software will be???

Justin
Logged
Audio is a vocational affliction

"there is no "homeopathic" effect in bits and bytes." - HansP

Brent Handy

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 171
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #41 on: March 01, 2005, 07:29:11 am »

I just submitted a disc for a band to Disc Maker.  I wanted to see what they could do with their new mastering room.  We got back the proofs, and I am alsmost certain that nobody listened to the disc.  Same thing.  It was within .01 of full scale, it was terrible.  What's worse is that we wrote on the submission form to leave it as it was, with dynamics, just tweak as little as possible.
Logged

Brent Handy

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 171
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #42 on: March 01, 2005, 07:34:39 am »

If this is the end that we all get, then why even bother recording above 16/44.1.  If is is going to be nice and jagged, lets just make it that way from the start, put the ME's out of work and take their pay.  In my opinion mastering is an unnecessary process now, if that's they best they can do.
Logged

bblackwood

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7036
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #43 on: March 01, 2005, 08:14:27 am »

J.J. wrote on Tue, 01 March 2005 04:14

Have a single one of the MEs reading this explained to their client the effects of recursive processing and printing at 0db, and have been told to do it anyway?

Sure, but it's their art. There's nothing wrong with giving the client what they want, what's wrong is simply doing it assuming that's what they want...

I have cut obscenely loud records at the request of my clients and will continue to do so, but if they don't ask for it, they get a nice, conservative level that sounds good.
Logged
Brad Blackwood
euphonic masters

J.J. Blair

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12809
Re: stop the madness!: proof that brickwall limiting sucks
« Reply #44 on: March 01, 2005, 10:40:25 am »

As I have said in regards to production, audio professionals should get the option that directors get, when creative decisions made by other people compromise their work to the point that they think it will harm their career: The movie becomes directed by 'Alan Smithee'.  It's funny, when they showed Dune on network TV in the '80s, they cut that thing to pieces.  I mean, they had edited about two hours off that David Lynch wanted in the film, just for theatrical release.  But aparently the TV edit was too much to bear. But not only did the credits say "Directed by Alan Smithee," a great deal of the crew had their credits changed to Bob Smithee, Joe Smithee, Dough Smithee, etc.  LOL.

I just hate the fact that somebody might listen to this album as is and then think that I don't know how to engineer or mix, because it doesn't sound at all like what I mixed.  I would think that an ME who is asked to make an album sound shitty against his judgment should want the same anonymity, no?
Logged
studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 12   Go Up