Man, they knew what they were doing in the 80s

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by MichaelK, Oct 28, 2005.


  1. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I've been listening to three 80s CDs in my car this past couple of days, all very different musically:

    Roxy Music, Avalon, remastered 1999
    The Smithereens, Green Thoughts
    Roger McGuinn, Back From Rio

    What I love about these CDs (and what I loved about the Avalon LP when I had that), is that you can crank these guys up LOUD and they sound spectacular from beginning to end (try cranking My Chemical Romance up loud, see how you feel after 30 seconds). The highs shimmer like no CD you hear today, while the lows still grab you by the cohones and don't let go. The mixes have sonic depth and fullness. They are such a pleasure to listen to, effortlessly delicious to my ears.

    I miss that. I haven't heard a rock album in years about which I felt that way. I've heard some Americana, acoustic and classical albums that I love from start to finish, but not rock. Rock albums now, overcompression issues aside, are too perfect, repetitive and lifeless for my tastes. There's no "juice" in the arrangements. I love M.C.R., Green Day and all that, but their CDs sound flat as a board to me. THAT's a real crime: that instead of being outraged by what guys half my age are doing, I'm f*cking bored as hell, numb, yawning at the radio. One exception: XTC. But they're my age, not young, and they haven't made a new CD in what, five years...? :(

    I won't even go into what a musical masterpiece Avalon is – that's for another thread. :D

    Just venting. I'm done. Fire away!
     
  2. Red Ant

    Red Ant Member

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    Avalon is only one of the best recorded albums of all time :)

    I can't take a lot of it these days - if i'm gonna go Roxy i'll pull out "For Your Pleasure", or any of Manzanera's 70s solo efforts, BUT: "Avalon" stands with "Aja" as one of the pinnacles of recording and production :dude
     
  3. joseph

    joseph Member

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    Another incredible SOUNDING record from way back is/was David Crosby's first solo album "If only I could remember my name."
    The vinyl was great....but even the MP3s sound excellent.
    The engineer Stephen Barncard is still active; a year ago I emailed him saying what a terrific album that was, and he emailed me back a thanks!!
    http://barncard.com/barncards/sqb/SQBhtml/sqb_RandyBio.html
     
  4. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Engineered and mixed by Bob Clearmountain. :)
     
  5. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    +1 on Avalon and Aja being two excellent sounding albums in every way. I am sure I will get stoned for this but I will go for it anyway. ANALOG TAPE. There is nothing like it. I am sure they both were done on Analog tape. I Don't remember the timeline but I don't think that the Mitsubishi digital multitrack was out for either of those. Soory I am tired and can't think straight right now. What do you guys think? Also not to cut Bob Clearmountain short. He is a genius.

    Don't get me wrong. I love Protools for the benefits of recall and writing and some production but it has made many of us not think linear from beginning to end anymore. I work in Protools everyday and for fast turnaround you can't beat it.

    Also as it was said already all of the mojo , music, spontaneous things, excellent arangements and production just seem to be lacking as a whole nowadays.

    I am just about to do an acoustic christmas album on 2" tape and mix through a console. I can't wait. On a Stevens machine also that came out of an old famous studio in L.A.
     
  6. elambo

    elambo Member

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    No, I don't think you'd get stoned for liking analog tape. Most people do, but digital has advanced so far in terms of sound quality that digital's editing abilities make it the choice for most projects. The small improvement in sound that analog offers now isn't enough for most, and tape is getting to a point where it's hard to come by.
     
  7. KungFuLio

    KungFuLio Senior Member

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    May you posess many maintainence skills or have a great tech on hand. Great sounding machines but boy do you have to baby them!
     
  8. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    And produced by Rhett Davies....:dude
     
  9. sears

    sears Member

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    Another Clearmountain mix that I love is "Victim Of Love" by Bryan Adams. Not a terribly exciting song but the mix is exciting, immense and detailed. Love the bass.
     
  10. joseph

    joseph Member

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    On a related note, I read where most of the mastering house engineers will bounce digital tracks into analog for mixing and mastering, then bounce back to digital for the final 'glass' product.
    Does this really make a difference in how the final product (ie digital) sounds?
     
  11. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    originally posted by elambo

    The sound difference is not huge but it is still there. I totally agree. Digital editing is far to useful, especially with the lack of talent and ability in some artists that get record deals now. That is a whole other subject. My favorite way to work but I rarely get to anymore is to track basic tracks to analog feeding Protools at the same time so that I can keep multiple takes and not have to change the reel of 2". Then all else is done "In The Box". You really can't beat those 5 minute recalls as opposed to a day.

    By the way KungFuLio. I think my friend babies those Stevens (He has 2) because they don't breakdown that often but I will also disclose that John Stevens himself maintains them for him. Boy that guy is a genius but a real interesting dude. I also do have some very limited analog maintenence skills which helps.
     
  12. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    originally posted by joseph
    Yes, I know alot of guys that still use analog tape for this. For me, I will bounce my final mixes to 1/2" analog either at the time of printing or later from an already printed mix stem for delivery to the mastering session. It does sound different. I won't say better because in some cases the digital print is what feels better to some. I think for big rock and roll I prefer the analog bounce but with some R&B the digital Protools stem had more nuts. It just depends....
     
  13. DANOCASTER

    DANOCASTER Supporting Member

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    It's not as "convenient" and it wont work in yer car:D But VINYL makes almost everything from the early 80's and earlier sound MUCH PHATTER - given you have a nice turntable and nice pressings

    I have a vintage system that is KILLER for listening to the classic stuff. Marantz / Linn / Big Ol Klipsch speakers, etc..Listening on this system reminds me WHY I got into rock n roll in the first place. Putting on a cd - well...DOESNT

    I cant tell you how many times I got a cd that was HUGE to me in my youth - and I thought "huh..not as good as I remember" - only later to find it on Vinyl and pop it on and then say "WOW - listen to how AWESOME that is !!"

    Doesnt work the same w/ new stuff. It's really just when it was tracked, mixed, mastered, and pressed in the analogue domain
     
  14. covert

    covert Member

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    I think if you do more research, you'll find that this is very uncommon, at least in teh sense of bouncing to tape and back. You may find somethat will pass stuff through some analog processing, especially eq. Most will try to avoid adding conversions.
     
  15. Impulse 101

    Impulse 101 Member

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    Another big problem with production today is that durning mastering they squash every ounce of dynamic range out of the music. Everyone wants it louder, but louder isn't better.

    JT
     
  16. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Dark side of the Moon. As far as Im concerned still one of the best recorded albums of all time!:)
     
  17. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    People sometimes mix a hi-res digital multitrack down to tape, but I don't know of anyone who transfers a digital final mix to tape for mastering...?

    Mastering houses don't make the glass master. That's done at the duplicating facility.
     
  18. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    This was my point - which is why it not possible to listen to a "loud" CD at loud volume for more than a few seconds.

    They're meant to sound loud at very low real-world levels. CDs with more natural dynamic range can be cranked up to where I personally like to listen.

    But there are mastering engineers who are such artists that they can make an album "loud" without the accompanying ear fatigue. Bob Ludwig and Greg Calbi do it best, IMO. The 1999 remaster of Avalon is louder than the other two I mentioned, but it can still be cranked.
     
  19. Mike Dresch

    Mike Dresch Silver Supporting Member

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    That's the biggest problem with a lot of todays music. Everyone wants their album to sound as loud as their favorite bands disc. I do a lot of small indie discs and recently had a band that wanted to buck the trend. One of their favorite sounding discs is Metallica's Black Album so we kind of used that as a reference point when mastering it (the band is called Nodes Of Ranvier if you're interested). The beauty of matering it a little bit softer is that you turn up the mix and it just keeps blooming and sounding bigger. You turn up a lot of recently released recordings and it just farts out due to the massive amounts of peak limiting and compression.
     
  20. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    Completely wrong. I know many records that have arrived on analog tape of late to some of my friends. Also, One of the reason's they master in the analog domain is also so that they can covert back to digital with converters that most anybody cannot afford. Mastering Engineer's at Bernie Grundman's and Ocean Way that I know always go in to their analog domain and back through some of the best converters on market. A good conversion is worth every bit of another conversion because of the extremely low or non existant jitter in their systems. The end result is a wider smoother sound stage in the mix. Also more open high end and tighter low end. All from a good clock no matter if it involves a conversion. There is more damage from what I have heard in example from copying of files over and over again. I could not believe the difference I heard when mastering from a file burned to DVD then copied to the Mastering house's Computer vs. the one played directly off of RADAR. I was shocked. Digital copies are not always exact. :(

    On another note: It is however a shame that most producers or usually A&R only allow the Mastering Engineer to leave a dynamic range of a few dB.:confused:
     

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