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R/E/P => R/E/P Archives => Klaus Heyne's Mic Lab Stickies => Topic started by: Klaus Heyne on May 12, 2008, 05:15:28 PM

Title: Critic At Large, Vo. I to IV
Post by: Klaus Heyne on May 12, 2008, 05:15:28 PM
‘Critic At Large’ is my new bog. For now, it’s technically simple, folded right into my forum, because other avenues have not opened up yet.

Here, in my muddy bog, I will bring up, and offer for discussion, random observations from the periphery, rather than the center, of the microphone and audio business.
Let me know whether it adds anything to your perspective of our profession.

Best regards,
Klaus Heyne


Topic One

The new ‘Mix’ arrived today. As usual, I leaf through it, while eating lunch, or on my way from the mailbox to the house- whatever non-exclusive attention I can spare.

I rarely feel better about the world of sound and recording, subjects I care very much about, after reading ‘Mix’ than before opening it. It seems to me that this magazine portraits the ‘business’ in a way that communicates to me “they are out there, doing it, and you are on the outside, not good enough to qualify and play golf with our pros”.

It's hard for me to pinpoint where that’s coming from. But some of it is because of Mix's joyless, mostly humorless, and, most disconcerting to me, passionless writing.

Profiles here are less of producers or engineers, and more of equipment, or dropping names of recent famous clients visiting these multi-mega-dollar studios featuring consoles that sleep six.
What I wish for is a more unpretentious, but passionate, in-depth session and set up analysis of works by dedicated audio professionals, somewhat like 'Tape-Op', but from a different angle.

There are exceptions to Mix’s killjoy approach. A few of the best writers in the business keep at it and try to juice up the mag, and I will continue to look for their work. But the exceptions only show up the rule more starkly: this is supposed to be THE magazine dedicated to the sensual joys of good recordings?

If one were to substitute the subject matter from ‘professional audio’ to, say, ‘trucking equipment’, would we know it, given Mix’s corporate approach to writing about our profession?


Then there are Mix’s “Field Tests”:


Topic Two

This month has a true gem. Tested was a Peluso tube mic, retail $1967. The writer concludes: “It (the Peluso 22 47 SE) sounds just like the world’s best U47 without the unpredictable nature of those old mics.”

I don’t know what to make of such a sentence. I assume, out of respect for an audio professional and writer, that the author is dead serious. That leaves but one logical reason for anyone still spending four times or more the amount a Peluso costs on a Neumann U47- investment speculation. Nothing else would make sense under that premise. You use a Peluso that is indistinguishable from very well-preserved U47 specimens on your most precious sessions. Period.
No need to look back. No more exposing investment-grade U47s to artists’ spit and seconds’ negligence, because that $1500.- street price mic sounds just like the world’s best U47 anyway.

Without getting disrespectful or emotionally invested in an argument here, only two logical conclusions can flow from that equipment review, if it were to be taken seriously, at its word:

1. Anyone who is still recording with or trying to acquire a U47 these days has not yet heard the news that a new mic, costing a mere fraction, will thrill and perform exactly the same, or better.

2. Anyone who already knows about this new mic, but continues to believe that a U47 is worth pursuing, even at current market prices, is tragically naive, an absolute ignoramus, a laughing stock among microphone cognoscenti.

Puts an interesting twist on my years of U47 restorations, work that often costs close to double of what a new Peluso would cost. All these hard working engineers, unemployed producers and starving artists who saved their pennies to be able to hear their babies in their original glory again- they must be idiots, bar none, and will all go into deep depression once they read the Mix review.

When will American magazine publishers understand that critical, well-researched and intelligently argued reviews of products may in the short run annoy manufacturers, but in the long run will only raise respect for the magazine which will gain credibility and trust from their readers, which, in turn will boost circulation and attract advertisers?

Look at 'Auto Motor & Sport' - THE bible of new car tests, and, for American tastes, unacceptably critical. How many improvements of new car models can be directly attributed to A M & S’s writers' first driving impressions, shared with an audience (and potential new-car clientele) several million-strong?

Our community has lost faith in believing that the current approach to 'tests' of microphones found in audio magazines are meaningful help for choosing a new mic. I hear it often from clients- they are unsure of whether to believe what they read, because they have been let down so often by the lies forced upon the writers by the all-powerful editorial hand of advertisers on the shoulders of magazine publishers.

Topic Three

AKG C24 #001. Interesting picture on page 39 of the same Mix issue. Shows a close-up of an AKG C24 stereo mic. “Serial Number 001” the sub-header reads.

I hope the owner of this fine mic realizes that his was actually not the first, but the nine hundred-sixty-third C24 made?
AKG embossed the C12’s actual serial number at that time in very small numerals on the bottom of the housing tube, as a guide for the final (large numeral) embossing by a different team in the factory. The picture is sharp enough that it's easy to decipher the "963" in tiny numbers. “001” on the housing tube above it most likely then was an afterthought, a ‘courtesy number’ as a former Vienna factory hand would call it. Done as a favor, and clearly out of sequence.
Title: Re: Critic At Large
Post by: Gone on May 13, 2008, 02:55:23 AM
Topic One -

Mix seems, among other things, to have moved towards the reinforcement and game audio markets. I'm not saying it's the wrong move, but it doesn't interest me personally.

As far as the more in-depth and truly artistic articles, it's perhaps surprising that EQ Magazine is far preferable these days. Recent features on Pink Floyd, the Who, and Nick Drake were very interesting - though not confined to, or even focusing purely on audio. Since it's more musician-targeted, sometimes the articles focus on production, with only references to recording technique. Nevertheless...

It's almost as if Mix has become bored with music recording and production.


Topic Two -

This whole concept leads almost inevitably to one question: can reviews in a magazine whose income is generated by advertising be worth anything?

I find two kinds of mic reviews; in the first, the mic is used on various sources, sometimes very odd choices, with no "standard" mic for comparison, or any comparison mic at all. Additionally, the mic pre used seems often to be either very cheap, or very obscure.

In the second, the mic is compared to a U47, and either "holds it own" (a phrase begging for a joke), or is preferred by both reviewer and client over the "top specimen" U47 at hand.

I have only heard the Peluso in comparison sample downloads, from various sources, as attempts to get a demo from manufacturer and distributor have failed. My experiences with mics from Rode, SE Electronics, Telefunken USA, and several other - all of whom have been reviewed "as good as a U47" - tell me these reviewers are either accepting payola, or desperately need their hearing checked.

Mandatory hearing tests for mic reviewers? Smile

But, since audio is so subjective and personal - and since 99% of people buying gear can't operate from a "money is no object" position - a "Consumer Reports" of audio gear seems an impossibility. As you, and many others, have so often said; you must listen to and use mics in your own situations, and decide if their quality, tone and price are the correct combination for your needs.

It's unfortunate that, with the recent influx of new manufacturers, it's nearly impossible to test all potential contenders in any class or price range. (For example, has anyone heard the Berliner mics yet? Marek Design?). This puts the obligation on each manufacturer to make demo units available to end users, in addition to (or instead of) reviewers.


Klaus Heyne wrote on Mon, 12 May 2008 16:15


All these hard working engineers, unemployed producers and starving artists who saved their pennies to be able to hear their babies in their original glory again- they must all be idiots, bar none, and should go into deep depressions once they read the Mix review.



Well, now I think professional jealousy rears its head - you're just upset that 7 year old Chinese girls in sweatshops can make mics just as good as the ones made by the best German designers.

If Neumann had any sense, that would be their hiring pool...
Title: Re: Critic At Large
Post by: sui-city on May 13, 2008, 03:36:52 AM
Nick Eipers wrote on Tue, 13 May 2008 08:55


But, since audio is so subjective and personal - and since 99% of people buying gear can't operate from a "money is no object" position - a "Consumer Reports" of audio gear seems an impossibility. As you, and many others, have so often said; you must listen to and use mics in your own situations, and decide if their quality, tone and price are the correct combination for your needs.


I think the question should rather be:

"If money is an object, then..."

This would allow for qualitative differences, and affordability.

The problem is that almost all microphones end up being on the same level. With reviews like the one Klaus pointed out, there simply seems to be nothing better than anything else. There is simply no hierarchy.

I have no doubt that there is a review somewhere that has a Rode K2 compare favourably with a U47. Now that must mean that the Rode and the Peluso must be comparable. So who cares what you buy?

So where is a consumer, pro or otherwise, to turn for honest information that, should they be unable to test a piece for themselves, they can trust?

I have also had an issue with phrases like: "It's good for its price."

That has got to be one of the most overused cop-outs ever. You can categorise almost anything this way. (with a few exceptions.)

All of this does also explain the rise of sites like Gearslutz where, regardless of the opportunity of abuse and misiniformation, it is sometimes like getting reviews from 35,000 people. And then you just pick the most popular response.

And of course, forums such as this.
Title: Re: Critic At Large
Post by: Andy Simpson on May 13, 2008, 10:05:06 AM
This industry has been guiding itself towards a state of impossible, numb subjectivity for a long time.

This state is brought on by an industry that thinks it has reached full potential and is happy to churn out the many pointless permutations of the microphones (& speakers) that were designed 60 or 70 years ago, safe in the knowledge that nobody can say one is better than the other without invoking the 'it's subjective' argument.

As a result of the endless subjectivity, there is no trust in the industry. Contradictions everywhere. The musicians have very little faith left or patience with marketing lies.

When this bubble of fantastically ridiculous mysticism finally bursts with a tiny penetrating needle of science, the industry will be seriously shaken.

Andy
Title: Re: Critic At Large
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 13, 2008, 05:47:38 PM
Quote:

“It (the Peluso 22 47 SE) sounds just like the world’s best U47 without the unpredictable nature of those old mics.”


Pure and simple: I call bullshit.

This also goes back to my beef with naming this mic anything to do with the U47 - It's using a knock off K67 capsule!  Seriously, how could it possibly sound anything like a U47 with a K67 in there?  I've put K67s in my 47, and even THAT didn't sound like a U47.
Title: Re: Critic At Large
Post by: Barry Hufker on May 14, 2008, 01:47:21 PM
Taking one of Klaus' first points, the magazine has got to keep you as an outsider.  Insiders know better than to get sucked into such crap.  After reading article after article as to how someone recorded something you realize everyone does it differently.  Why read any more of that and why not just do what you think is adventurous and advantageous.

Further, outsiders need to have a reason to stay involved.  They hope that some day they'll be in the refined atmosphere of the mystical.  And the gear hyped in reviews and adverts will get them there.  Beginners are exceedingly vulnerable to any and every influence.  I remember finally reaching the stage when I knew I had to find people who solidly knew the craft and learning from them.  I now plow through those magazines just to learn about the new gear available, never what they think of it.


There are still a couple of respectable magazines.  Sound on Sound quite often posts sound file examples of their tests.  While one can easily argue this is still flawed, it does go a step further towards letting the reader make up her mind (see how I kept that from being sexist??).

And Resolution seems to be a fine publication.  I don't subscribe but have read all the articles online.

Microphones: it was inevitable now that I look back that everyone and his brother should sell some brand of mics.  After all that is the next logical step from making and selling recordings.  Anyone has access to that technology.  So what is the next level not everyone has access to?  Manufacturing.  But that too is becoming saturated.  The trick now is to see the next step and beat all others to the punch and make a few bucks...


Title: [B]Topic Four[/B]
Post by: Klaus Heyne on May 14, 2008, 06:25:45 PM
Topic Four

Have you noticed the raging emotions being released over on Gearslutz on the topic of whether Neumann's (as of yet unreleased, untested, and entirely unheard) TLM 67 mic has merits or not? Eight pages of well over two-hundred posts in a couple of days...

Personal, deliberately hurtful, accusations flying back and forth... one warring side accusing the other of fighting for the wrong cause-
the camp of passionate Neumann-traditionalists (these are the ones with the back -NEVER RED!- diamond Neumann tattoo on their calves), the others, the 'objectivists', the modernists, left brainers, are ready to concede that times are a' changing' and old mics are just a thing for...old people and Japanese (strike that, it's now CHINESE) investors.

What I read between these lines of hate and heart: Microphones are essentially recording tools which transport emotions, above anything else; there to activate the senses, to stimulate visceral, rather than cerebral responses. Which some of them do nicely...

Can you imagine such a heated discussion about A/D converters?
Title: Re: [B]Topic Four[/B]
Post by: sui-city on May 15, 2008, 10:55:12 AM
Klaus Heyne wrote on Thu, 15 May 2008 00:25


Can you imagine such a heated discussion about A/D converters?


We've had those before too!

And not just at Gearslutz.
Title: Re: [B]Topic Four[/B]
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 16, 2008, 05:05:21 PM
I don't do gearslutz.  I like opinions from people who've actually made a record.

Rolling Eyes
Title: Re: [B]Topic Four[/B]
Post by: Barry Hufker on May 16, 2008, 05:16:59 PM
What can we say as audio professionals?  We are passionate about our craft.  We have standards which we try to keep.  We hate to see a world of high standards sliding into mediocrity.

I think we can take any aspect of audio - equipment, philosophy, technique, etc. - and get very passionate discussions.  But great microphones were, and are, built with some kind of loving care.  As the beginning of a recording process, for example, we know the project must "begin correctly".  Whether that's with a twenty dollar mic or a twenty thousand dollar one, that choice determines a lot about what we are able to do next so there is some special aspect to microphones.  That and the fact we can remember purchasing our first or a very special (to us) microphone.  That is a dear memory and one which we hold more tightly than the ones we have of other equipment.

Title: Re: [B]Topic Four[/B]
Post by: sui-city on May 16, 2008, 05:43:39 PM
J.J. Blair wrote on Fri, 16 May 2008 23:05

I don't do gearslutz.  I like opinions from people who've actually made a record.

Rolling Eyes


J.J.

think back to a couple of years ago, a little thread about clocks and conversion got fairly heated. Right here on PSW.
Title: Re: [B]Topic Four[/B]
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 20, 2008, 12:42:56 AM
Yeah, but if that's the thread I think you are talking about, part of the heated discussion had to do with a moderator who was also a manufacturer spinning his brand of voodoo.  Regardless, I find the amount of people here who've actually made a record to be a little higher than over there.  Or at least a record that I can listen to, to see if I want this person's opinion or not!
Title: Re: Critic At Large
Post by: Nick Sevilla on May 29, 2008, 11:20:09 PM
About Mix Magazine:

The reasons you put forth is why I have not read one for over two years.

To me it is more a vehicle for selling new products, than an objective medium.

Cheers
Title: Re: Critic At Large
Post by: marcel on June 21, 2008, 03:10:46 AM
Nick Sevilla wrote on Thu, 29 May 2008 20:20

About Mix Magazine:

The reasons you put forth is why I have not read one for over two years.

To me it is more a vehicle for selling new products, than an objective medium.

Cheers


+1

Since spending more time perusing PSW, I don't even look at audio trade magazines.  Not that I ever put much stock in them, but they used to be laying around the places I worked and I would read them when bored.  Now it all just seems like so much BS (Tape Op aside, sometimes).

Why would I want to read what are essentially paid endorsements when I can come on here and get considered opinions from those among the very top of their field on any given topic?
Title: Re: Critic At Large
Post by: Ralf Kleemann on June 22, 2008, 11:36:17 AM
Hi Klaus, hi all,
I assume you are reading the audio magazines for getting some impression about what's going on in the industry, and what people are talking about in the streets. I have the same impression as you about various publications in the English and German speaking world. "Sound on Sound" was one example, the German "Sound & Recording" was another - entertaining for a time, but at some point I just couldn't do it any more. I've just subscribed to the German "Professional Audio" because of some positive impressions that I had from reading it. Might be worth a try.

Having said that, nothing is quite like TapeOp, anyway! Wink

Best regards,
Ralf
Title: Re: Critic At Large
Post by: Barry Hufker on June 23, 2008, 12:14:52 AM
I subscribe to Tape Op but I can't say I've ever read an entire issue.  The font is small and always over some graphic which doesn't provide enough contrast for these 54 year old eyes.  No matter which glasses I use.

Sigh...
Title: Re: Critic At Large
Post by: studio1117 on June 27, 2008, 12:46:38 AM
I think tape-op is about as good it gets, it's no REP but it's not bad (and hey for some of us..it's free). At least there's some "real" articles in there.  We should be thankful we are in the industry we are in. Can you imagine reading an insurance trade magazine?
Title: Re: Critic At Large
Post by: Barry Hufker on June 27, 2008, 03:37:27 PM
Can you imagine making the money an insurance agent makes?  That offsets the magazine.
Title: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Klaus Heyne on July 13, 2008, 05:47:17 PM
Today was another of those excruciating ‘phone days’. Excruciating, because when I consulted with several mic owners for several hours on various topics, it was not fun. Not because the persons or objects of discussion were unpleasant, but because the physical act of communicating was.

By now, a clear majority of people I talk to on the phone for business and pleasure use cell phones, not land lines. Almost always bad sounding cell phone connections with efforts, at least on my end, to decipher some of the words said.

One of the calls today was to James Gangwer, a friend and repairman for vintage audio gear, when suddenly (and as usual, at a particularly relevant point in my argument) the connection was lost. He called right back. “What happened?” I inquired. He: “sorry, I bent forward; where I’m sitting, that’s what usually happens.” I said: “Why are you participating in a technology which promised so much and over the years has delivered so poorly?” He: “I have to.”

James is right. Most people get fired these days if they refuse to strap one on their belt, during and after work, on weekends, during vacations.

But this is also the age of voluntary, constant, habitual communication, the kind not required by the ‘man’. Soon it will be the majority of strollers on the streets of Honolulu, Tokyo or downtown Portland who habitually talk by themselves, or walk with others and talk alone. They don’t check their surroundings anymore and are not participating in the community around them- they are absorbed in a mental space at least partially removed from the physical space they’re in.

So be it. Besides, what am I? A Luddite whiner? Like those geezers shuffling through the park, pushing candy wrappers with their canes, complaining how the world has gone to hell?

No, but I would have thought that, given the significant amount of time we, the buying public which has made a Mexican the richest man on earth this year, because we spend so much time with our precious, super-high-fidelity-capable ear on that microwave thing, we would have demanded by now a more pleasurable audio experience from our cell phones!
At least, audio that is not a constant strain on the listener.

I would have thought that shoppers who shell out $300+ for their next communication device in one of those Verizon kiosks or ATT boutiques would at least partially test and select for sound quality- the core interaction of cell phones between man and machine.

It’s been a long time since I last asked, in the middle of a phone conversation, what brand and model the other party was using. Yes, I was always delighted when that rare call would come in where it sounded as if the caller was in the next room, not across the continent. I have more than once then gone out and bought that phone, so that my counterparts would have a more enjoyable calling experience when they talk to me.

Maybe we deserve the abominable audio quality that dominates cell phones, cordless phones, car stereos, and increasingly, CDs,
because, though we participate in a free and adaptive market now, we are not insisting on good audio of these devices as deal breaker for our purchase.

I bet you: if just 10% of consumers were insisting on better sounds from their audio-reproducing consumer devices we would have them by next year, 18 months tops.

So what kind of fool am I, spending the rest of my good, healthy ear-days in forums discussing the minute, barely audible differences between brands of capacitors or biasing methods in microphones?

Why do we even bother to strive for better sounds in recordings anymore? Why would anybody who accepts the sound quality of cell phones care for high fidelity anywhere else in his life?

Where have our expectations for technological progress in devices like phones gone, given that the first cordless phones, in the mid 1980s, sounded about as bad as the average phone does now?

P.S.: due to a software glitch, I had to copy and paste in the first few responses to this subject

Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Klaus Heyne on July 13, 2008, 05:48:50 PM
Barry Hufker wrote:
I don't own a cell phone and with a little luck maybe never will.

I pay the phone bill. The phone is for my convenience and no one else's. I enjoy being in the car where no one can reach me. I don't have the radio on. I even wear earplugs. It is quiet. And quiet is healthy. I refuse to be bombarded at every moment with some sort of sound by someone. I even have a dog who doesn't bark unless there is real danger. Quiet is our friend. I make it wherever I go. My students don't understand that - yet - and maybe never will. But quiet is a commodity not easily acquired.

A cell phone is a nuisance and not an advancement. I don't know how people talk so much on the phone - to whom - about what - why?

I'll say it again. Quiet is a friend.

I had a cell phone vendor ask me what I would do if my car broke down on the road and I needed to call a tow truck. I told him I'd waive someone down who had a cell phone.

http://www.hufkerrecording.com
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Klaus Heyne on July 13, 2008, 05:49:46 PM
YZ wrote:
Quote:

Klaus Heyne wrote on Fri, 11 July 2008 20:23

the buying public which has made a Mexican the richest man on earth



Nationality a problem, Klaus?

Kudos to that Mexican, I personally prefer it to be him than someone from 'the usual places'.

regards,

YZ

Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Klaus Heyne on July 13, 2008, 05:50:20 PM
Mike O wrote:

Cell phones are only the most recent examples; add a couple of personal pet peeves to the list. We can build $300 million aircraft that contains some of the most advanced technology available. We are told that communication with passengers is required before, during, and after every flight.

And a good portion of the time the communication from the attendent and/or captain is useless.

Or how about any drive through? Spend a gazillion $ trying make these enterprises as effecient as possible in terms of pushing people through. Put in a audio system that subverts the very communication that is critical to starting each ahd every transaction and is a major component of ensuring accuracy.

Audio communication is most certainly undervalued in much of our interaction with each other.

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Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Klaus Heyne on July 13, 2008, 05:50:47 PM
YZ wrote:
Back on topic:

My first cell phone was an Ericsson, in 1998.

Very good sound quality, I was surprised.

From then on it was a steep downhill run in terms of sound, as the phones got smaller.

I have my cell phone for emergencies, so I rarely make a call; when I am called I keep it short and I don't answer the phone if I am driving.

I agree with most of what has been said, specially about being disconnected from your immediate surroundings... last year I saw a teenager chatting on the phone and the girl next to her texting avidly as they rode in Disneyworld's Splash Mountain...
Not to mention people discussing personal matters or business loudly in public places so comfortably as if they were inside the 'cone of silence'.

But I extend this 'anti-cell' rant to include the use of portable computers; Several times I saw important or sensitive info being typed into spreadsheets or presentations in public places.

regards,

YZ

Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Klaus Heyne on July 13, 2008, 05:51:20 PM
Silvertone wrote:
Barry, I'm with you. I don't want to be found when I'm away from Silvertone. I know "but what if it is an audio emergency?". My answer... "get a life, there is no such thing as an audio emergency!"

Klaus, I agree when people listen to bad MP3's all the time I think, "why do I spend so much time laboring over this material?" but we both know the answer... It is to please ourselves even more than the client!

btw I hope James is feeling better these days. I owe him a phone call.
Larry DeVivo
Silvertone Mastering, Inc.
PO Box 4582
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
www.silvertonemastering.com

Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Klaus Heyne on July 13, 2008, 05:51:57 PM
RPhilbeck wrote:
Cellular carriers took their networks digital a few years ago. That means they can compress signals as the traffic on the network increases, so they can fit more calls in, and we all know what compression does to audio quality. It is going to get worse as unlimited plans become the norm, and people start using their phones as baby monitors and such.

That is a larger part of the equation. The other part is just the speaker/mic components for that particular brand of phone, and how many times its been dropped, had coca cola spilled on it, dropped in the toilet, road noise, etc.

I've got a Blackberry 8830 and the wired ear bud to keep that thing as far away from my head as possible.
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Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Klaus Heyne on July 13, 2008, 05:52:53 PM
teleric wrote:
Quote:

 Barry Hufker wrote on Sat, 12 July 2008 01:49

Quiet is our friend. I make it wherever I go. My students don't understand that - yet - and maybe never will. But quiet is a commodity not easily acquired.

I had a cell phone vendor ask me what I would do if my car broke down on the road and I needed to call a tow truck. I told him I'd waive someone down who had a cell phone.

Very good points. How bad would i love to be able to open the window in my apartment and not hear a single car, or drilling machine. I'm bound to live in a doubled glass windows home.
Or how great it would be to walk in the city without having to wear ear plugs.

THE big selling argument (not just for phones) is FEAR!!

I once had a Siemens phone that wasn't bad. Now I have a Nokia from work I can barely use because the speaker is so bad. It has become painful to speak with it in a noisy environment.
eric harizanos
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Klaus Heyne on July 13, 2008, 05:53:30 PM
Barry Hufker wrote:
For the audio professional: an all tube cell phone (select AC701) with either an M7 or CK12 capsule. Cost of the cell phone: $300.00. Cost of the microphone connecting into the cell phone: $11,000. Knowing you've got the coolest cell phone: priceless.

Stay tuned for the electrostatic earphones so you can hear the cell phone.

http://www.hufkerrecording.com
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Tomas Danko on July 14, 2008, 06:08:05 AM
I find the cell phone to be a tool. And as such, we should not blame the hammer, L2 limiter or the cell phone but perhaps the people abusing them. I too agree on the way kids today are slaves to their cell phones which makes them miss a lot of the real life that's going on around them.

I keep my cell phone around wherever I go. But I rarely answer whenever someone is calling, unless I really want to. I don't go running to it whenever I get a new SMS to find out what it was.

And it's almost always in silent mode.

I do play a lot of small games on it, say some Sudoku while in the subway, or so. And by doing certain simple communication over SMS both my friend and myself can tend to it whenever we feel like it. It's nifty to be able to Google something if you ar curious but not next to a computer. And it's very good to find out about the subway schedule when you're out and about.

So in a way I find it to be a very useful tool, and it is rarely bothering me because I never let it do so.
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Tomas Danko on July 14, 2008, 06:21:59 AM
Quote:

RPhilbeck wrote:
Cellular carriers took their networks digital a few years ago. That means they can compress signals as the traffic on the network increases, so they can fit more calls in, and we all know what compression does to audio quality. It is going to get worse as unlimited plans become the norm, and people start using their phones as baby monitors and such.

That is a larger part of the equation. The other part is just the speaker/mic components for that particular brand of phone, and how many times its been dropped, had coca cola spilled on it, dropped in the toilet, road noise, etc.

I've got a Blackberry 8830 and the wired ear bud to keep that thing as far away from my head as possible.
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A connection over a network, be it GSM, AXE or whatever, can be flagged for higher bandwidth/better sound quality by the system. A friend of mine who used to do a lot of phone system hacking knew how to do this, and whenever I spoke to him on the phone he told me to hang on for a moment and then he upgraded the quality of the line.

Sometimes the difference was tremendous.

I don't know how one can order such a service, let alone if it even exists on today's GSM networks. But it's there somewhere.

Another friend of mine works at Sony Ericsson, he's developing their smart phones (P-series). He told me that they had sent out a specification for the loudspeaker in one of the phones (IIRC it was the P800 and/or P910i). The bean counters thought it would be too expensive so instead they ordered an inferior transducer that was not even close to spec.

It turns out it had a huge resonance once implemented into the physical structure of the cell phone, which made it sound totally awful.

The solution?

They had to code some DSP functions that notched out the resonant frequency, which caused the phone to be more sluggish and some functions to be downsized. Talk about a band aid.

Way to go.
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: MagnetoSound on July 14, 2008, 06:30:17 AM
Tomas Danko wrote on Mon, 14 July 2008 11:08

I keep my cell phone around wherever I go. But I rarely answer whenever someone is calling, unless I really want to. I don't go running to it whenever I get a new SMS to find out what it was.

And it's almost always in silent mode.



And you can always turn it off.


Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Tomas Danko on July 14, 2008, 07:26:02 AM
Indeed! Smile

I often discover my wireless "land line number" phone somewhere at home and realise it's been off for over a week.

No idea why I still have the service, I never pick up the phone when people call anyway.
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Frankenheimer on July 14, 2008, 07:58:09 AM
As i am talking over the phone for several hours a day, it made sense to change the way of conferencing. Why not use IP Telephony, i thought.

As I am located in Austria, the cell phone providers are on the way of digitalizing all the traffic through IP gateways. So, I joined the train and my company bought an add on to the cellphone, called IP Telephony services.

Now I am very happy because I use my audio environment to make calls. So only the Sound Card on my Mac, the mixer and the mic are involved. So my cellphone is turned off and all calls are routed though the provider's IP Infrastructure.Think about it.


Kind regards

Franz
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Barry Hufker on July 15, 2008, 12:13:06 AM
Your description sounds a bit like Vonage or Skype.  Am I missing something or is that it in essence?
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: aamicrophones on July 15, 2008, 03:34:12 AM
I was in New York a couple of years ago and there were three young ladies in front of walking down 5th Avenue together but each talking into cell phones at the same time.  Who were they talking to?  Maybe each other just because it looked cool?  It was very surreal but probably more common than I had imagined.  

Later that day I stopped into a STARBUCK's to feed my caffeine addiction and have a quick look through the New York Times.  Sitting across from me was a women of amazing pulchritude who looked directly at me and starting speaking... for a moment I thought she found me attractive, interesting or just a friendly face, which surprised me in New York.  Then I realized she had a bluetooth device in here ear and was speaking with someone on her cell phone and not addressing me even though she was looking directly at me and speaking.  At that point it struck me as just rude behaviour.

Now folks have iPods with 1000's of  songs and they walk around with earbuds attached to their heads for hours on end.  Listening to low resolution MP3 files and ignoring the sounds of the world around them.  It makes me wonder why we spend all that time in the studio tuning the monitors, the acoustics and perfecting the microphone selection positioning.  

I suppose the iPod MP3 format sounds impressive, compared to the cell phone audio quality.  The latest cell phone audio quality in my experience is not better than the old toy wire recorders we used to play with as kids in the 60's.   However, you can select from 1000's of ring tones to annoy the other folks in the restaurant trying to have a quiet meal.

The best use of a cell phone I ever saw was a fellow trying to cross a busy street with one of those massive old Ericson analogue phones the size of a shoe.   A driver turned the corner without looking and almost run him over but he jumped back in time and hurled the phone at the vehicle putting a huge dent in the hood.

The other annoying thing is folks who put posts on youtube of live performances taken with their cell phone.  This does not put the performer in a good light when you see a shaky hand held performance with god-awful audio.  (...)

My wife has the news on and someone was just killed in a car today because they were busy texting while trying to drive!

I like to go for walks out on the local trails here in the Okanagan for the solace and to listen to the sounds of nature.  However, I see folks with their iPods and earbuds on these trails.  We have rattlesnakes here and it is nice to be able to hear their warning sound or the sound of a black bear and her cubs crunching through the trail instead of the pitch corrected sounds of the latest IDOL winner.

Dave Thomas
www.aamicrophones.com  







Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Barry Hufker on July 15, 2008, 07:13:04 PM
Given what you say, Natural Selection will eventually weed out the cell phone and the iPod distracted.  Nature is wonderful.
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Ryan Slowey on July 16, 2008, 03:10:34 PM
I find the overuse of cell phones frustrating and sometimes awkward. It's a distraction and a symptom of overstimulation. It's strange to me, to see people taking a walk through the park near my building on a beautiful day, all the while on their cell phone. Missing the wildlife and gardens and pretty girls or what-have-you. Exchanging a moment of thought and/or relaxation for pointless conversation.

As a college student (graduate now), I was always confused when during breaks between classes, EVERYONE would immediately pull out their phones and dial, and gab through the whole break. This during a time when I would sit down and chill out... maybe have a smoke, grab a coffee, or chat with a friend (in person)...you know, actually take a break and clear my head.

At my weekly FOH gig, I constantly see people answering calls while a band is playing and trying to talk over the music, or leaving to talk outside.

I own a cell phone now, after years of avoiding it. I got it for the convenience of it, but I treat it pretty much the same way as a lan line. It's always on vibrate, and I only answer if I it's not rude to those around me and I want to talk to the person calling. Very often I just let it go to voicemail.

Don't even get me started on the Nextel walky-talky type phones.... ugh.  Rolling Eyes
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Stephen Andrew Bright on July 17, 2008, 10:57:52 PM
Here's the thing about cell phones: it is driven by demand. The reason there is not a decent sounding phone on the market might be because either nobody wants one, or nobody has tried to make one.

I'd bet there are several people here who could cobble together a pro audio cell phone -- or at least a pro audio land line -- but would anybody pay $1500 for a world class audio phone???
Stephen
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. II
Post by: Tomas Danko on July 18, 2008, 06:46:34 AM
Siemens once used to make cell phones that had transducers from Bang & Olufsen in them. They sounded better than average. Some early Ericsson models also had these transducers. I figure the Bang & Olufsen cell phone to have updated ones inside, although the rest of that phone sucks.

So it seems as if it's something the industry already tried out but people didn't dig it well enough to consider the increased cost.
Title: Critic At Large, Vol. III: Music In Every Room
Post by: Klaus Heyne on October 07, 2008, 02:46:43 AM
Funny flashes came to appear,  
quite randomly first, then here, then there.

These were the kinds of thought flashes I have not yet been quite comfortable to share with others, at least up to now:  was what I was experiencing part of getting older or, worse, getting old?

I used to excitedly step into any warehouse- or closet-sized used CD and LP store and roam those sacred isles, time suspended, for hours, discovering the odd treasure almost every time I go, then taking my finds home, eager to put headphones on and get lost in the music... I shudder to admit it- it has been years!

For a while I was unclear and quite confused: Was not my whole life built on the promise and premise of good music, good sounds? Leaving my entire existence in Germany to start anew, to be closer to the music? Spending countless nights on sticky, smokey bar room floors, playing the last set to empty chairs till 1:30?  What happened to the unexplainable excitement of hearing a new band, a new production, an exquisitely recorded song?

When I first heard my middle aged friends mumble to me about the annoyance of “music in every room”, about the disquieting accompaniment of the same 180 songs in every dentist’s chair in America, I literally tuned them out. Fuddy Duddies, just like my parents! I remember, I could barely sell them the Beatles’ “Here There and Everywhere” at the time- too much beat! Too much change of habit required!
So here we go, buddy- getting crusty, artistic arteries hardening.  Not me, of course!

Then, about five years ago, I started getting annoyed with myself about my dismissive reaction to music. Lost most of my interest in experiencing new sounds- self- and foreign-made, seemed all the same gray to me.

What the hell? Me too? I noticed how I got increasingly irritated every time I would enter any type of store, office, elevator, plaza, garage... indeed! music in every room! Shit music scratching at my auditory nerves from every room! Music I did not choose, did not want to adjust my mood to, music out of any context, music that made no sense to me, music as utter, complete background, music that had no purpose, it seemed, other than to animate me to spend my money more willingly on items I otherwise might not spend it on.

Finally, two days ago, on a beautifully mild, fall afternoon, a funny thing happened on my way from the parking lot of a giant mall to the frontage of the name-brand stores: I hear music from everywhere in the sky! Cream’s ‘Crossroads’ of all songs imaginable, squawking from tiny waterproof loudspeakers mounted high on the mall’s lamp posts! Every lamp post! As far as my eyes could see!

It was so decreed, I imagined, that gross sales for the mall would be going up by .8% if shoppers are .8% happier. This is achievable, it was decreed, by means of force-feeding dear shoppers memories of better musical times past.  
Whether it’s Whole Foods’ playlist (Monkeys to Lovin’ Spoonful), Trader Joe’s playlist (Four Tops to Natalie Merchant; speaking of Natalie Merchant: there is not a day or place at any store or mall where she ever takes a break!), or Sears’ playlist (urban contemporary- the light touch), there is no more quiet time for my ears, no more place to just hear or coax out of its cob webbed corners the music in my head, no more restaurant where I can enjoy random sounds created on the spot by the people around me.  No letup.

It’s not even optional any longer, but, from my sense of wandering around places of business or congregation, clearly compulsory practice now for every merchant: If your business does NOT participate in this Chinese water torture from opening day one, we promise, your doors will be closed for good on day ten!

Maybe my artistic arteries are not clogged after all, maybe I am just chronically overstimulated by the ceaseless, uncaring bombardment of background music which is done for the basest, unkindest, uncaringest motives imaginable; overstimulated to the point that music has lost its specialness, for now... until the Luddites develop what’s already in my arsenal as antidote for visual bombardments by public TVs: the zapper.

P.S.: Has anybody yet connected the aerial Musak bombardment to the lagging music sales?
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. III: Music In Every Room
Post by: compasspnt on October 07, 2008, 03:00:42 AM
Too much music.

Everywhere.

Watching TV, a constant bombardment of pieces, changing genre every 30 seconds.

Everystore, every hallway.

Via satellite.

By way of Internets.

Hipping, hopping along.

Gone are the days of choice.

It is too much.
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. III: Music In Every Room
Post by: megaphone on October 07, 2008, 03:51:42 AM
Klaus Heyne wrote on Tue, 07 October 2008 07:46



Maybe my artistic arteries are not clogged after all, maybe I am just chronically overstimulated by the ceaseless, uncaring bombardment of background music which is done for the basest, unkindest, uncaringest motives imaginable; overstimulated to the point that music has lost its specialness, for now... until the Luddites develop what’s already in my arsenal as antidote for visual bombardments by public TVs: the zapper.



Maybe... but my experience for now is that one consequence of this over-stimulation is that when I'm at home, where I could at last choose the music I want to listen to, I'll choose... silence. Too much bad music kills the good one...
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. III: Music In Every Room
Post by: Tomas Danko on October 07, 2008, 08:09:03 AM
Due to the constant over saturated exposure of music today, it has lost a lot of value.

It's become a background commodity of little importance, to a lot of people. It's very easy to get, and collect, a lot of it is not very good these days anyway, and kids are bombarding themselves into hyperinfonautism running YouTube clips on their computer screens along with a stolen DVD on their flat panel TV while playing World Of Warcraft surrounded by a plethora of chat windows. Oh, and iTunes or Winamp is streaming them senseless with lots of music. Somewhere there in the background.

It's the equivalent of OD'ing on sugar.

No wonder people do not value music these days. Unless they go see their favorite artist or band live, even if it's just the latest band they are supposed to have seen live so that they can state this in all their chat windows.
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. III: Music In Every Room
Post by: Barry Hufker on October 09, 2008, 01:10:20 AM
We've all said this before.  Music is a commodity and no longer an art.  You'll think I'm old.  You'll think I'm boring.  You'll think I'm crazy(ier).  I tell you truly - a good set of earplugs are worth everything.  The world is a much better place when it's not so noisy.  I can think.  I can concentrate.  I preserve my hearing from traffic noise and just general noise exposure - as one would rest their eyes after staring at a bright light.

Earplugs are a cheap investment in peace of mind and a better day.  I don't listen to music in the car.  I wear earplugs.  I think about the day or hum a song to myself.  There is no cell phone, there is no distraction.  And I can still hear what I want and need to -- it all just happens a lot more quietly.

Go to Walgreens and purchase some plugs.  Wear them for a week.  It doesn't matter that you may look eccentric or like an idiot.  I'll think you to be a trendsetter.  And you'll see (hear).  After a week the world will be a nicer place.  You'll be more relaxed, rested and will enjoy more of what you choose to hear.

Barry
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. III: Music In Every Room
Post by: Ryan Slowey on October 09, 2008, 10:02:17 AM
One place that wasn't mentioned in your essay, is musical instrument stores. I get infuriated when I'm at a shop, trying out a guitar or amp, and I'm struggling to concentrate on what's important, because there's some sort of [very loud] "rock" music blasting over the house system. Very frustrating.

Bothers me at record stores that have listening stations too. You can't hear what you're sampling, because you can't get the headphones above the in-store music. That, to me, seems like a major marketing blunder.

I very much appreciate and mirror your sentiment, Klaus.

Very well stated.


P.S. It's funny that you mention dentist offices, because I often describe songs or genres of music as "dentist office music" in my critiques of some of the easy listening crap that I hear (everywhere).

Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. III: Music In Every Room
Post by: Fletcher on December 31, 2008, 07:54:34 AM
Yet there are many times when I'm at the grocery store and will hear the music from a client, or something I've worked on and will smile.

Unfortunately, it is a very small segment of the population that views music as anything more than a commodity.  It is a very small segment of the population that would like to have the "soundtrack of their day" be silence.

We have been trained by the movies we watch that music should accompany all of the actions of our day... in some small way we feel more important because there is a "soundtrack" for our day... one we probably would not have chosen, but a soundtrack none the less.

Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. III: Music In Every Room
Post by: aip on January 14, 2009, 02:26:16 PM
Fletcher,
It's good that you mentioned movies,since I'm now & then truly surprised by the almost total absence of music in many older films. The sound tracks are a delight because of the very engaging background sounds, and, in a good film, by the incredible force of the human voice. Some recent films also use this approach, using the overall ambiance and the color palette as a convincing support for the drama.
I've been in Europe for about 30 years, and there is much less music in the air over here, but as a downside, it's also harder to just go out any night and hear good live music at cheap prices. I lived in Ann Arbor for 10 years (68-78), and there was indeed a huge amount of music in the air! But, it was mostly live, which gets me to my point - I think canned music and its omnipresence on cheap speakers is the culprit. I rarely get bored with live music.
Dan
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. III: Music In Every Room
Post by: Unwinder on May 27, 2009, 12:52:16 PM
This thread is like, a year old..but yeah,

Music has become a financial 'instrument'.   Laughing

Confused  

The way it appears, it's basically a result of programming and statistics, presumption. The music reflects the numbers. Consumer analysis, market acceptance, etc..etc. Someone should write a book entitled..."Music according to Market Analysis".

It feels like there's no discovery anymore, no innovation except for machine assist...no human discovery. This is why i really miss bands like Zeppelin. Put on Houses of the Holy..instant wonder and awe. Ahhh...the 70's...how i miss them, even though i wasn't there..


Klaus, where's your ipod? This way you can block all that noise and listen to your own selections?

D.
Title: Re: Critic At Large, Vol. III: Music In Every Room
Post by: checkedgoldtop on June 12, 2009, 07:47:00 PM
Maybe you are just cynical, I make music for myself and that is it, to me there is more soul in my stuff than anything that has ever been produced because I made it for one reason alone, to please me. Forget about what you are around, if you are in the business, your ears are muffled.  Check out some my morning jacket, flaming lips, beck, grizzly bear, neat stuff is out there.
Title: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: Klaus Heyne on August 11, 2010, 05:46:18 PM
Recently, Jeff Beck gave an interview to NPR’s ‘Weekend All Things Considered’ promoting his new CD. From what I could tell from the snippets played, this was yet another of Beck’s grab-bag recording affairs of recent years spanning an unlikely arc, from robot-shred to a Strat-version of Puccini’s Nessun Dorma. JB said he uses his guitar more and more as “an approximation to the human voice”- cleaning up ye olde fuzz box approach to electrified guitar he pioneered during his early rock & roll days.

A few weeks ago, the guy turned 66! To me, he continues to be the role model of a musician who remains phenomenally contemporary and flexible in his musical outlook, while continually refining his craft. And doing so  well into an age usually associated with a rock musician’s retirement, liver transplant or, worse, milking dry and dragging down his past musical glories on state fairground stages.

I could never figure out how JB could get better as a guitar player from decade to decade, considering numerous stories of yearlong hiatuses, when he would rather play grease monkey in the garage pit under his hot rods instead of practicing scales for hours. (There’s yet another role model for every aspiring guitar god: play with the best sidemen/women on the best stages all over the world, and never practice!)
And, I don’t mean ‘better’ as in: ‘not bad for a sixty-six-year-old’; but simply better, by any definition of what makes a guitar player’s output more refined.

There was the night, at Frankfurt’s Storyville Club, ca. 1970, when a couple of JB aficionado buddies of mine and I were patiently waiting out (better: enduring) a three-hour set by opener “Fat Mattress” (Noel Redding’s short-lived solo-project), only to be told by the promoter, around 1:20 in the morning, that JB would not show.
“Why?” the enraged crowd demanded to know. “Because he didn’t feel like playing tonight!” the resigned promoter intoned from the stage. On the way home that early morning my emotions vacillated from feeling insulted (who does he think he is!) to insecure (did JB peek through the curtains during the opener and decided that I and my German peers were simply not sophisticated enough an audience for the British master to waste his talents on?)

Whatever the cause of his absence, I reciprocated with my own JB abstinence for a few years, only to be transported within the first few notes from Beck’s black painted Gold Top Les Paul to absolute bliss at his show at Berkeley’s Greek Theater, ca. 1978. Simon Phillips on drums, Max Middleton on keys as I recall; I forgot who was on bass.
It was heavenly: The tone! The power! (four Marshall stacks discretely hidden behind a black curtain) The dynamics!

Sitting there that evening on the cold stone bench in the chilly amphitheater with the backdrop of sun’s last rays bathing the Golden Gate bridge in warm orange-red I recognized JB’s solution for any guitar (and bass) player who has ever been driven insane by incompetent FOH mixers: do not chance some hack behind a 96-channel board to ruin your tone! JB delivered the sweet, powerful overdrive blow from his guitar directly, right out of his battery of KT88s or EL34s or whatever glows out the back of his Marshalls, into the assembled Celestions below, out to my ears, keeping full control of his tonal and dynamic expression; and not to be messed with by crystalline PA tweeters or other interlopers to good sound.

I found JB’s 1980’s and early ‘90s recorded output lackluster, and, despite ever more nuanced and inventive use of the Stratocaster-by then pretty much his exclusive tool of expression-his playing was stylistically all over the map, patches of textures or riffs with little discernible song material; recordings I bought of that period were one or two-time listening events before being filed under ‘B’ in my LP/CD rack.

----------
Jeff Beck’s recorded output throughout the 1990s remained thematically scattered. Not unlike Neil Young, he flirted with the cutting edge stylistics of the decade- rock hard drum machine loops, wrapped in barbed wire and submerged in digital ice.  Yet, his musical maturation and technical mastery of the Stratocaster continued to dazzle in his live shows. His ingenious use of the vibrato bar (an evolution continuing to date) made him the true successor, rather than imitator, of Jimi Hendrix’s pioneering use of the whammy bar as musical expression rather than gimmick effect.

Considering JB’s unlucky hand to fully communicate his art to the listener through his records- and I mean most of his recordings past his two George Martin-directed masterpieces of the mid 1970s- it is not surprising that one of the finest testimony to his genius is a live-DVD, recorded last year, at Ronnie Scott’s in London. With Vinnie Colaiuta on drums and the astounding female Australian bassist Tal Wilkenfeld, who at the time was barely 23 years old (where could she possibly go from here?), JB’s playing is not showing the usual ravages of time, drug use or arthritis, even if I tried hard to find them.  Aside of his furrowed face, and a gallon of hair dye that’s keeping his 60’s style mane jet black, one would be hard pressed to detect a flattening or decent in his artistic arc in this latest documentary of his masterful guitar playing.

But actuary tables can’t be beat: make an effort to catch the master live, while he’s at the top of his game!
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: compasspnt on August 11, 2010, 06:06:52 PM
Jeff is a true Master of the instrument.

Few, if any, can match him.

He has consistently played well, and I agree, he shows no signs of aging or slowing down at all.

He has taken good care of himself, and has not fallen prey to some of the bad influences that have affected certain others.

Jeff is also a very intelligent and nice person, and I would wager will perform astoundingly for many years to come!

Go Jeff.
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: Glenn Bucci on August 12, 2010, 01:17:46 PM
From Jeff Beck, I learned of his mentors...Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, and Louis Armstrong and have greatly enjoyed their music as well.

Jeff's current band has Ronda Smith on bass who is more of a groove/funk player, and he has Max back on drums from the old days. He sounds pretty amazing as he works his textures on the notes with the whammy bar, and a little less speed. The energy in his playing has inspired my playing as well since I started playing guitar in 1976. Clapton, Beck, and Mick Taylor were my biggest influences on guitar.
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 12, 2010, 01:18:11 PM
I have some multitracks from a concert he did a few years back.  Soloing his guitar and listening is a revelation.  His trem arm technique alone is a work of art.  

THE.  BEST.  ELECTRIC.  GUITARIST.  ALIVE.  PERIOD.
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: compasspnt on August 12, 2010, 01:29:12 PM
J.J. Blair wrote on Thu, 12 August 2010 13:18

THE.  BEST.  ELECTRIC.  GUITARIST.  ALIVE.  PERIOD.



Fixed that for you.
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: Bill_Urick on August 12, 2010, 08:19:50 PM
J.J. Blair wrote on Thu, 12 August 2010 13:18


THE.  BEST.  ELECTRIC.  GUITARIST.  ALIVE.  PERIOD.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlfxe8ujn7M
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: KB_S1 on August 13, 2010, 06:18:28 AM
For all that Jeff Beck's 90's material may not be the most highly revered it did serve a great purpose for me.
It acted as a bridge between my Dad and I for musical taste and understanding.

When he bought 'Who else' he was intrigued by all the programmed drums and I was fascinated by the real guitar playing being integrated into it.
This led to me playing him a lot of my stuff like The Prodigy, Leftfield and the Chemical Brothers and explaining how it was made (roughly).
I got to hear a lot more of Jeff Beck and was introduced to the fairy tale that was British rock and pop in the 60's and how all of these incredibly talented musicians wove together and formed so many great bands with timeless albums.

For that alone I am very grateful to Jeff Beck.
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 14, 2010, 11:58:36 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96XiH5C7gos&feature=relat ed
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: burp182 on August 14, 2010, 04:09:21 PM
I agree with everything that's been said about Jeff. He is amazing in his continuing upward curve. I feel fellow legends Page and Clapton both leveled off (or declined, depending on your preferences) but Jeff continues to amaze.
One thing - Klaus mentioned in his first post that Jeff doesn't depend on the PA to get his sound to the audience. This can be an issue. Several years ago, I went to see Jeff at the Universal (now Gibson) Amphitheatre. Not a small place. Jeff was SO LOUD that only about a third of the crowd was left at the end. The performance was jaw-dropping, so that wasn't the reason for the exodus. I went to the FOH position to talk to the mixer and he showed me the fader all the way off. Sooo....be prepared in case it's one of those nights but never miss him live. That's why they invented earplugs!
Best damn tinnitus of my life...
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: Tim Campbell on August 14, 2010, 06:58:59 PM
Jeff Beck is the reason I ever started playing music.

I saw the Yardbirds on the Hullabaloo tv program. Jeff was playing his esquire and to me as a 10 year old kid I thought he made it sound like a saxophone (I didn't know anything about distortion at that time). That seemed like the most exciting thing in the world - learn to make a guitar sound like a saxophone.I've spent many of these years since trying to do just that.

I had kind of drifted away from Jeff's playing for a while until I heard "Nadia". No other guitar playing moves me as much as his on that song.
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: Unwinder on August 17, 2010, 04:51:10 PM
Klaus Heyne wrote on Wed, 11 August 2010 22:46

 
I could never figure out how JB could get better as a guitar player from decade to decade, considering numerous stories of yearlong hiatuses, when he would rather play grease monkey in the garage pit under his hot rods instead of practicing scales for hours. (There’s yet another role model for every aspiring guitar god: play with the best sidemen/women on the best stages all over the world, and never practice!)
And, I don’t mean ‘better’ as in: ‘not bad for a sixty-six-year-old’; but simply better, by any definition of what makes a guitar player’s output more refined.




He simply doesn't get in his own way..

He's in alignment with that which is already there. So, he doesn't resist change...and so he becomes more 'present' in his craft. That's exactly why it's so hard to define or, describe.
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: Klaus Heyne on August 17, 2010, 05:09:32 PM
Well said. Thank you! I shall remember that for my own musical endeavours.
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: Jim Williams on August 18, 2010, 10:52:25 AM
My experience with Jeff was with luthier Rex Bogue at a Mahavisnu Orchestra concert back in the 1970's. We had built the custom double neck guitar John McLaughlin made famous. Jeff also played at that same Santa Monica civic auditorium concert. John was all gaga about his custom guitar and invited Jeff to meet Rex and me, the guys behind his groundbreaking double neck guitar.

Jeff was extremely rude and blew us AND John McLaughlin off badly. Afterwards I felt badly for John as Jeff was a major league asshole to him, not being very concerned about myself. I've met enough major league famous a-holes in my life not to get worked up about it. As much as I have enjoyed some of Jeff's output, every time I hear him I think about that guy at that concert. I can't separate the artist from the man.

You only have one chance to make a first impression.
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: Plush on September 03, 2010, 11:48:01 PM
Here's Jeff at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago this summer.

I had a chance to have a beer with him and visit for a little while.

He's looking great and playing fantastic!

He outshone all other players that day.

Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: compasspnt on September 05, 2010, 12:49:04 AM
Jeff in slightly earlier days...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd1FaijgJ1U&feature=relat ed
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: Tim Campbell on September 06, 2010, 07:46:21 AM
Terry,
It's funny that you picked that clip (what a bunch of youngsters). Though it's Jeff in the video, it was Clapton playing guitar on this tune and this is the song that's credited with making Clapton quit the Yardbirds.
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: compasspnt on September 06, 2010, 08:28:43 AM
Indeed, I knew that, and should have mentioned it.  I was just amazed by finding that early (goofy) film footage.
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: KB_S1 on September 09, 2010, 12:58:22 PM
Going to see him next Wednesday.
I will report back, possibly in the saloon if more appropriate?

Edited: Just found out gig is 20th October. Mis-information from my Mum.
The feedback will be delivered here as per Klaus's request.
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: Mikes on September 10, 2010, 06:17:26 PM


J.J. Blair wrote on Sat, 14 August 2010 17:58

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96XiH5C7gos&feature=relat ed



Apart from THE. BEST. ELECTRIC. GUITARIST. ALIVE. I really dig the rhythm section in this one, especially the bass player.  Anybody here knows the bloke's name ?

Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: GREGL on September 16, 2010, 05:43:16 PM
Saw him in the  80's with SRV (the first show of their tour together). I probably needn't mention it was one of the best shows I've seen in the 40 years I've been  going to concerts.

JB was loud but his tone was incredible.
Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: Klaus Heyne on September 16, 2010, 06:09:57 PM
Mikes wrote on Fri, 10 September 2010 15:17



J.J. Blair wrote on Sat, 14 August 2010 17:58

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96XiH5C7gos&feature=relat ed



Apart from THE. BEST. ELECTRIC. GUITARIST. ALIVE. I really dig the rhythm section in this one, especially the bass player.  Anybody here knows the bloke's name ?



It's Stephen Amazing on bass, Jim Copley on drums, Andy Clark on keys. More here:
  http://www.gibson.com/en-us/Lifestyle/Features/rare-jeff-bec k-video-oxblood/

This web page is interesting also because it identifies JB's guitar: I always thought the combination-tail piece 1954 Les Paul Gold Top had the best sustain and heft of tone of all Les Pauls ever made. Combine that with a couple of humbuckers, which he added, and you are in business! (Never mind the funky paint job and the Schallers!!)

Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: Mikes on September 23, 2010, 06:41:34 PM


Thanks for the information, Klaus!


Seems like Stephen Amazing aka Steve Fields vanished from the scene pretty early.  No trace of him (in the web) after Upp.  Anyway, he really earned his nick - what a bass player!

I'm not at all surprised about your emphasis on the wrapover bridge.  If you're not into fancy string gauges, it's the way to go for added sustain and snappiness.

I always wonder why it isn't more popular - its such an improvement, tonewise.

Title: Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
Post by: KB_S1 on October 21, 2010, 07:14:00 AM
I saw Jeff Beck's concert last night. Really enjoyable show.

Some details:

Support act was 'Trombone Shorty'. Good start to the night with a jazz to funk bluesy vibe. They joined the main band for a number at the end of the night.

JB's band was Rhonda Smith on bass, Narada Michael Walden on drums and Jason Rebello on keys.

I don't even need to comment on the guitar skills.
The concert was 99% instrumental. Rhonda Smith sang little snippets on a couple of numbers. That was a bit challenging for me over the 80+minutes of the show but the technical brilliance of the band, balanced with musical interest pulled it off.

One thing I wasn't too keen on was the synth sounds throughout. Given the fabulous guitar sound, bass and drums were fairly sparse the pad synth sounds stood out to much. Not my thing. Personally I think a real piano or Rhodes would have suited more.

Great night and despite being all seated I enjoyed the venue.
(A quick edit to add that the venue was the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow.)