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What is good enough?

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Anonymous
May 12, 2005 4:39:00 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Much of the discourse here lately centers on determining the quality of audio
devices by whatever means we have to correlate casual observations with
scientific measurement. This is not surprising because we're chasing the last
10%, sometimes the last 1%, in performance.

What no one has mentioned yet is when is something good enough? For those of us
who need to use audio gear day to day for recording and sound reinforcement, we
have a job to do and we need to get it done the best we can realistically. What
we need to ask ourselves is: "when is this good enough?"

It's fun to split hairs about distortion spectra, but in reality the consumers
of audio services are not aware of the details at that level. If it takes
carefully controlled study to demonstrate a difference, it probably won't matter
in the world of commercial audio consumers.

Now for audio aficionados, there's reason to chase down these details and the
challenge of making convincing arguments is even fun, but it isn't necessary in
the real world. The range of quality audio devices today is more than
sufficient to allow excellent results with the available gear. Sure, there's a
big range of quality from Mackie/Behringer to GML, but in between there are
plenty of devices that do a very good job of capturing, storing, and reproducing
sound. The urge to get better and better equipment needs to be balanced with
reality: surely you can always spend money and get something new and marginally
better, but is it worth the expense and learning curve to continually
incrementally improve the kit?

I started recording on a Revere reel-to-reel with a crystal mic. Later I got
into Tascam analog stuff and then the early PCM F-1. After discovering B&K and
Schoeps mics, the SM-57s didn't seem so great anymore. But after 15 years
working (35 years in all) in the audio world, I find that the off-the-shelf
stuff available now is more than adequate for my needs. I no longer feel the
need to keep "buying up", but rather prefer to put my time into using what I
have and doing audio and music. I find the mid-level stuff good enough 95% of
the time.

-Jay
--
x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ------x
x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
x---------- http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jay/ ------------x

More about : good

Anonymous
May 12, 2005 8:34:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Very good points Jay. I'm an audio newbie but wanted to share an experience
I had with a very talent audio man - a recording artist friend of mine.

We were listening to an outdoor concert. Someone was playing a midi-guitar
and switched to a saxophone sample.

My buddy smiled and shook his head saying, "90% of people wouldn't know the
difference..."
I certainly didn't, though I'm on a mission to be able to. ;) 

That rule - the last 10% of results taking 90% of the effort - applies to
just about everything. :) 

C.j

"Jay Kadis" <jay@ccrma.stanford.edu> wrote in message
news:jay-D7B278.12390012052005@news.stanford.edu...
> Much of the discourse here lately centers on determining the quality of
> audio
> devices by whatever means we have to correlate casual observations with
> scientific measurement. This is not surprising because we're chasing the
> last
> 10%, sometimes the last 1%, in performance.
>
> What no one has mentioned yet is when is something good enough? For those
> of us
> who need to use audio gear day to day for recording and sound
> reinforcement, we
> have a job to do and we need to get it done the best we can realistically.
> What
> we need to ask ourselves is: "when is this good enough?"
>
> It's fun to split hairs about distortion spectra, but in reality the
> consumers
> of audio services are not aware of the details at that level. If it takes
> carefully controlled study to demonstrate a difference, it probably won't
> matter
> in the world of commercial audio consumers.
>
> Now for audio aficionados, there's reason to chase down these details and
> the
> challenge of making convincing arguments is even fun, but it isn't
> necessary in
> the real world. The range of quality audio devices today is more than
> sufficient to allow excellent results with the available gear. Sure,
> there's a
> big range of quality from Mackie/Behringer to GML, but in between there
> are
> plenty of devices that do a very good job of capturing, storing, and
> reproducing
> sound. The urge to get better and better equipment needs to be balanced
> with
> reality: surely you can always spend money and get something new and
> marginally
> better, but is it worth the expense and learning curve to continually
> incrementally improve the kit?
>
> I started recording on a Revere reel-to-reel with a crystal mic. Later I
> got
> into Tascam analog stuff and then the early PCM F-1. After discovering
> B&K and
> Schoeps mics, the SM-57s didn't seem so great anymore. But after 15 years
> working (35 years in all) in the audio world, I find that the
> off-the-shelf
> stuff available now is more than adequate for my needs. I no longer feel
> the
> need to keep "buying up", but rather prefer to put my time into using what
> I
> have and doing audio and music. I find the mid-level stuff good enough
> 95% of
> the time.
>
> -Jay
> --
> x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ------x
> x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
> x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
> x---------- http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jay/ ------------x
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 1:45:39 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Jay Kadis" <jay@ccrma.stanford.edu> wrote in message
news:jay-D7B278.12390012052005@news.stanford.edu...

> I started recording on a Revere reel-to-reel with a crystal mic. Later I
got
> into Tascam analog stuff and then the early PCM F-1. After discovering
B&K and
> Schoeps mics, the SM-57s didn't seem so great anymore. But after 15 years
> working (35 years in all) in the audio world, I find that the
off-the-shelf
> stuff available now is more than adequate for my needs. I no longer feel
the
> need to keep "buying up", but rather prefer to put my time into using what
I
> have and doing audio and music. I find the mid-level stuff good enough
95% of
> the time.

What would you define as "mid-level"? Could you give some examples of what
you call low-end, mid-level and high-end?

Peace,
Paul
Related resources
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 4:02:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Thu, 12 May 2005 21:39:00 +0200, Jay Kadis wrote:

> I started recording on a Revere reel-to-reel with a crystal mic. Later
> I got into Tascam analog stuff and then the early PCM F-1. After
> discovering B&K and Schoeps mics, the SM-57s didn't seem so great
> anymore. But after 15 years working (35 years in all) in the audio
> world, I find that the off-the-shelf stuff available now is more than
> adequate for my needs. I no longer feel the need to keep "buying up",
> but rather prefer to put my time into using what I have and doing audio
> and music. I find the mid-level stuff good enough 95% of the time.

The begin and the end of the chain: microphones and speakers, still are
expensive and difficult. Your SM-57 still sounds like a SM-57. For the
rest there is a range of real nice not too expensive products. Most of it
will do for over 95% of the time.

--
Chel van Gennip
Visit Serg van Gennip's site http://www.serg.vangennip.com
May 13, 2005 4:24:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

What is good enough for PA is not good enough for recording.

"Jay Kadis" <jay@ccrma.stanford.edu> wrote in message
news:jay-D7B278.12390012052005@news.stanford.edu...
> Much of the discourse here lately centers on determining the quality of
> audio
> devices by whatever means we have to correlate casual observations with
> scientific measurement. This is not surprising because we're chasing the
> last
> 10%, sometimes the last 1%, in performance.
>
> What no one has mentioned yet is when is something good enough? For those
> of us
> who need to use audio gear day to day for recording and sound
> reinforcement, we
> have a job to do and we need to get it done the best we can realistically.
> What
> we need to ask ourselves is: "when is this good enough?"
>
> It's fun to split hairs about distortion spectra, but in reality the
> consumers
> of audio services are not aware of the details at that level. If it takes
> carefully controlled study to demonstrate a difference, it probably won't
> matter
> in the world of commercial audio consumers.
>
> Now for audio aficionados, there's reason to chase down these details and
> the
> challenge of making convincing arguments is even fun, but it isn't
> necessary in
> the real world. The range of quality audio devices today is more than
> sufficient to allow excellent results with the available gear. Sure,
> there's a
> big range of quality from Mackie/Behringer to GML, but in between there
> are
> plenty of devices that do a very good job of capturing, storing, and
> reproducing
> sound. The urge to get better and better equipment needs to be balanced
> with
> reality: surely you can always spend money and get something new and
> marginally
> better, but is it worth the expense and learning curve to continually
> incrementally improve the kit?
>
> I started recording on a Revere reel-to-reel with a crystal mic. Later I
> got
> into Tascam analog stuff and then the early PCM F-1. After discovering
> B&K and
> Schoeps mics, the SM-57s didn't seem so great anymore. But after 15 years
> working (35 years in all) in the audio world, I find that the
> off-the-shelf
> stuff available now is more than adequate for my needs. I no longer feel
> the
> need to keep "buying up", but rather prefer to put my time into using what
> I
> have and doing audio and music. I find the mid-level stuff good enough
> 95% of
> the time.
>
> -Jay
> --
> x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ------x
> x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
> x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
> x---------- http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jay/ ------------x
May 13, 2005 7:18:10 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <jay-D7B278.12390012052005@news.stanford.edu>, Jay Kadis
<jay@ccrma.stanford.edu> wrote:

> After discovering B&K and
> Schoeps mics, the SM-57s didn't seem so great anymore.



I've owned expensive mics since I started, but I've *always* found
great use for 57's.

What is good enough?? I know what's good enough for me and I don't
press record until I have it.






David Correia
Celebration Sound
Warren, Rhode Island

CelebrationSound@aol.com
www.CelebrationSound.com
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 11:12:12 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Well at what point does it go from what's technically excellent to
what's euphonic? If perfectly flat response and awesome noise and
distortion spcs were what recording was all about we'd all be recording
with measurement mics . I think in the case of power amps flat and
clean is good. I also think that's where the differences are hardest to
notice if at all.

Transducers are the biggest variable. Two mic models willl always sound
different through the same electronics. Two speaker models will always
sound different connected to the same amps. Spens your money on the
mics and speakers first!

So when it comes to things like Mic pre's, EQs and compressors we're
listening for flavor. The specs for an LA-2A just can't compare to
super clean modern gear but... that's not why we use it. Same for old
Neve pre's and so much legendary gear. Like guitar amps, these peices
are more musical instruments in a way. Starting in the 60s music
recordding went from getting the best natural reproduction to creating
a sonic canvass by deliberatly distorting sound.

Sometimes the argument gets so heated it's forgetten that it may not
have ever been stated clearly. If your goal is to create a straight
wire equivalent amplifier or pre then does it stand to reason that
equal specs should prove equal audio? IF YOUR GOAL IS STRAIGHT WIRE
GAIN. It seems apples and oranges to compare a trasfomer based pre like
a Great river to such a device. A Grace preamp however would be a valid
comparison.
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 11:36:19 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <78Qge.206843$cg1.113138@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>,
"Paul Stamler" <pstamlerhell@pobox.com> wrote:

> "Jay Kadis" <jay@ccrma.stanford.edu> wrote in message
> news:jay-D7B278.12390012052005@news.stanford.edu...
>
> > I started recording on a Revere reel-to-reel with a crystal mic. Later I
> got
> > into Tascam analog stuff and then the early PCM F-1. After discovering
> B&K and
> > Schoeps mics, the SM-57s didn't seem so great anymore. But after 15 years
> > working (35 years in all) in the audio world, I find that the
> off-the-shelf
> > stuff available now is more than adequate for my needs. I no longer feel
> the
> > need to keep "buying up", but rather prefer to put my time into using what
> I
> > have and doing audio and music. I find the mid-level stuff good enough
> 95% of
> > the time.
>
> What would you define as "mid-level"? Could you give some examples of what
> you call low-end, mid-level and high-end?
>
> Peace,
> Paul
>
>


I'd consider Soundcraft, EV/JBL, Allen&Heath, AKG 414, Yamaha "pro" boards and
the like to be mid level. Stuff that falls in the middle of the price range for
that type of gear.

Low-end would be Mackie/Behringer analog stuff, Shure SM-57 (that one is
arguable): most of the stuff you find in Musician's Friend catalog for example.

Upper end would be DPA, Schoeps, Neve/SSL/Euphonix, GML, ADAM/Meyer and the like.

I know there's a lot of overlap in some of the categories, but generally
speaking one could go by pricing and target market. The low-end stuff is
heavily mass-marketed and the high end is boutique. Mid-level stuff not
surprisingly falls in between

-Jay
--
x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ------x
x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
x---------- http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jay/ ------------x
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 11:50:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Jay Kadis wrote:

> Much of the discourse here lately centers on determining
the quality
> of audio devices by whatever means we have to correlate
casual
> observations with scientific measurement. This is not
surprising
> because we're chasing the last 10%, sometimes the last 1%,
in
> performance.

I think that when we are in fact very sucessful with a
project, we were sucessful because we addressed one or more
30% items that we weren't getting before.

> What no one has mentioned yet is when is something good
enough?

If you listen to legacy recordings, its hard to escape the
idea that what now seems to be ancient technology actually
worked quite well when people were able to hit some sweet
spots.

> For those of us who need to use audio gear day to day for
recording and
> sound reinforcement, we have a job to do and we need to
get it done
> the best we can realistically. What we need to ask
ourselves is:
> "when is this good enough?"

It's good enough when the recording makes people smile, day
in and day out. Goosebumps are optional, extra but you do
get points for them, too.

> It's fun to split hairs about distortion spectra, but in
reality the
> consumers of audio services are not aware of the details
at that
> level.

I find that its a matter of priorities. I'd rather (and do)
have 30 mics in the $50-300 price range than 3 mics in the
$500-3000 range. BTW, I actually did have two $1500 mics in
my possession to use freely for a couple of years, so this
is not quite me whistling in the dark.

I don't think that anybody with a brain and much experience
will fight with me if I say that a $150 mic placed just
right sounds better than a $1500 mic placed suboptimally.
There's safety in numbers. This speaks exactly to what is
good enough.

What's good enough is what gets the job done. If Ethan keeps
his customers and himself happy with a $50 SoundBlaster,
then my collection of $200-400 M-Audio cards which look so
much more elegant on paper, is meaningless for him. One iro
ny is that my daily-driver M-Audio cards are in some
people's view, entry level products. There's an argument to
be made that the *real action* is in cards in the class of
the LynxTWO class, or dedicated high-end hardware or Lavry's
elegant high end converters with >120 dB dynamic range
feeding the digital inputs of a Lynx.

> If it takes carefully controlled study to demonstrate a
> difference, it probably won't matter in the world of
commercial audio
> consumers.

I spent several years of my life figuring out how to hear
differences between good power amps in carefully-controlled
blind listening tests. I've done it, and anybody who wants
to can listen to that difference by downloading files from
www.pcabx.com. What my friends and I learned from this
exercise is that once you hear the difference, its hard to
escape memories of that old Peggy Lee song about "Is that
all there is?".

> Now for audio aficionados, there's reason to chase down
these details
> and the challenge of making convincing arguments is even
fun, but it
> isn't necessary in the real world. The range of quality
audio
> devices today is more than sufficient to allow excellent
results with
> the available gear.

Take a Guitar Center store, mediocre and yucky as it is,
and time-transport it back 10, 20, 30 years ago. How far
back do you have to go before that event would be the Second
Coming of Audio?

> Sure, there's a big range of quality from
> Mackie/Behringer to GML, but in between there are plenty
of devices
> that do a very good job of capturing, storing, and
reproducing sound.

I think the right current $50 SoundBlaster on a good day
could be a sonically transparent recording device. In 1969 I
think it was, I proudly purchased a ca. $600 Revox A-77
hoping that it would be a reasonably transparent recording
device. I think that would be around $2,000 in current
dollars. Analog tape euphonics aside, the A-77 wasn't
transparent then and no amount of new tech in the context of
its basic design would make it transparent today.

> The urge to get better and better equipment needs to be
balanced with
> reality: surely you can always spend money and get
something new and
> marginally better, but is it worth the expense and
learning curve to
> continually incrementally improve the kit?

IMO, mics and rooms and how to use them is where its at.

> I started recording on a Revere reel-to-reel with a
crystal mic.

That would be me a 7th grader in the A-V room of Harper
Woods High School playing around with exactly that kit. The
one with a stainless steel case, right? It was such a step
up from the Webcor.

> Later I got into Tascam analog stuff and then the early
PCM F-1.

That would be me in my early 30s listening to my first
digital tapes made from the console feed for DSO radio
broadcasts. They were carefully shepherded by their maker,
given their iffy legal status. The speakers were Maggies, it
was someone else's living room. The imaging was so precise
we sat on a row of chairs, one behind the previous one.

> After discovering B&K and Schoeps mics, the SM-57s didn't
seem so
> great anymore.

The good news is that today, you don't have to step all the
way up like that, to do far better than a SM-57.

> But after 15 years working (35 years in all) in the
> audio world, I find that the off-the-shelf stuff available
now is
> more than adequate for my needs. I no longer feel the
need to keep
> "buying up", but rather prefer to put my time into using
what I have
> and doing audio and music. I find the mid-level stuff
good enough
> 95% of the time.

Amen, brother.
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 11:57:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

>Low-end would be Mackie/Behringer analog stuff, Shure SM-57 (that one
is
>arguable): most of the stuff you find in Musician's Friend catalog for
example.

I don't know about lumping MAckie with Behringer. Personally I put
Mackie at mid level though I guess that would be a case of overlap
since they have such a broad line. I've seen far to many Mackies in use
professionally in recording studios, live sound and TV production to
put them in the low end. Rolls, Samson, Tapco (Mackie's lower line)
etc. that's low end. Mackies compare quite well with Soundcraft & Allen
& Heath in many ranges.

C'mon an SM-57 is a pro mic period. Just because it's under $100
shouldn't make it low end.
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 12:10:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1115996257.635760.73530@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com>,
tymish@hotmail.com wrote:

> >Low-end would be Mackie/Behringer analog stuff, Shure SM-57 (that one
> is
> >arguable): most of the stuff you find in Musician's Friend catalog for
> example.
>
> I don't know about lumping MAckie with Behringer. Personally I put
> Mackie at mid level though I guess that would be a case of overlap
> since they have such a broad line. I've seen far to many Mackies in use
> professionally in recording studios, live sound and TV production to
> put them in the low end. Rolls, Samson, Tapco (Mackie's lower line)
> etc. that's low end. Mackies compare quite well with Soundcraft & Allen
> & Heath in many ranges.
>

There is a lot of overlap to be sure, but I specifically mentioned the _analog_
Mackie/Behringer stuff, as both of them have decent digital gear that I would
consider mid-range. Their analog stuff is clearly not as good as the
Soundcraft/Allen&Heath stuff. Look at the mechanical parts and preamp quality.
We have several mackie boards (1604, 1642, 1202) that have suffered major damage
in general use. The Soundcraft 200 Delta we have has been in use for live sound
for a decade and has one bent pot shaft. It also sounds better.


> C'mon an SM-57 is a pro mic period. Just because it's under $100
> shouldn't make it low end.
>

Hey, I said that was arguable. It is pretty finicky about loading and a lot of
newer mics in the same price range sound as good or better and are less
sensitive to what you plug them into.

-Jay
--
x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ------x
x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
x---------- http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jay/ ------------x
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 12:35:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

>Their analog stuff is clearly not as good as the
>Soundcraft/Allen&Heath stuff. Look at the mechanical parts and preamp
quality.
>We have several mackie boards (1604, 1642, 1202) that have suffered
major damage
>in general use.

I'd still argue. I've used some Mackie's for years without incedent. I
also know of A& H mixers that have problems and Soundcrafts that have
flimsy jacks and other hardware. Mind you a 200 is a far cry from the
Spirit line which is more in competion with a Mackie. A repair tech I
know tells me how many Mix Wizards he gets in the shop.
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 3:21:47 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Jay Kadis wrote:
<snipped content so I can go off on the following cotent:>
> I started recording on a Revere reel-to-reel with a crystal mic. Later I got
> into Tascam analog stuff and then the early PCM F-1. After discovering B&K and
> Schoeps mics, the SM-57s didn't seem so great anymore. But after 15 years
> working (35 years in all) in the audio world, I find that the off-the-shelf
> stuff available now is more than adequate for my needs. I no longer feel the
> need to keep "buying up", but rather prefer to put my time into using what I
> have and doing audio and music. I find the mid-level stuff good enough 95% of
> the time.

I, too, started on cheap gear that was probably attrocious. But, you have to start somewhere. It was
reel and it was ugly, but I slowly upgraded to better and better stuff and am currently using the
Tascam DA88 system for printing. My studio is a hybrid, if you can call it that, blending digital
and analogue and it is great.

I don't have the "high end" esoteric, gonna cost you a small mortgage, well so much for the college
fund for the kids gear, either. The point being that when I listen to music recorded just 30 years
ago and consider the equipment they were using at that time (very expensive for the day), I realise
that the mid-level gear of today, if produced by a good manufacturer and retaining good QC through
the production cycle, is as good or better than the high end gear of 30 years ago. Those recordings
were stellar and clean and quiet, in spite of what we might today call barbaric conditions -- which
they weren't.

So I agree that to spend obscene amounts of money on equipment is actually not the most efficient
application of financial investing to assemble a quality studio capable of producing "world class"
recordings. Knowledge is the key, and knowing the capabilities of your equipment and also its
limitations allows you to wrest amazing results out of it that would stand up to anything produced
in the squillion dollar studios.

That said, I certainly wouldn't turn down opportunites to own such gear, if it were possible to
obtain it at reasonable expense. ;) 

--fletch
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 4:01:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

SSJVCmag wrote:
> On 5/13/05 10:12 AM, in article
> 1115993532.425910.20560@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com,
"tymish@hotmail.com"
> <tymish@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Well at what point does it go from what's technically excellent to
> > what's euphonic? If perfectly flat response and awesome noise and
> > distortion spcs were what recording was all about we'd all be
recording
> > with measurement mics .
>
> This is always brought up and it's really NOT the point. Indeed music
based
> on the MUSICIAN and INSTRUMENt being both of a calibre that they MAKe
the
> requisite sound is what classical, most jazz, and some bluegrass/folk
is all
> about and indeed measurement mics (or close equivalents, are what's
used
> traditionally in these cases, the Sound IS There, your job is to be
sure the
> technical chain is as transparent as possible.... The Rule being 'You
Can;t
> Know What You Can't Hear" and HERE we find how this applies to ANY
> production: that the SAME specs are needed as a STARTING POINT even
if your
> chosen art style is NOT sonic portrait photography but abstract,
> impressionism... You still need to know what you;re really doing and
thus
> the chain must be as good as the above or you'r efooling yourself and
making
> your job harder. CHOOOSING to make a blurry/monochromatic/hyper-real
image
> is NOT about OLY knowing how to use a camera that can do nothing BUT
that.

Note I said we would ALL be recording with measurement mics. I know
some who do and cases where that was my goal. Sure there are SDCs that
could be called close equvalents. Sheops for example. However a larger
percentage of recordings use a variety of microphones each chosen for
thier signatures. Many of the greatest classical recording were made
with large diaphgram mics which certainly aren't measurement mics and
have a sonic signature. There's a million ways to skin the recording
cat and hence a mutitude of options for the tools to do the job. It's
part science part art.
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 5:52:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 5/12/05 3:39 PM, in article jay-D7B278.12390012052005@news.stanford.edu,
"Jay Kadis" <jay@ccrma.stanford.edu> wrote:

> Much of the discourse here lately centers on determining the quality of audio
> devices by whatever means we have to correlate casual observations with
> scientific measurement. This is not surprising because we're chasing the last
> 10%, sometimes the last 1%, in performance.
>
> What no one has mentioned yet is when is something good enough? For those of
> us
> who need to use audio gear day to day for recording and sound reinforcement,
> we
> have a job to do and we need to get it done the best we can realistically.
> What
> we need to ask ourselves is: "when is this good enough?"

'good enough"' is defined inherently by
the product itself, intended audience and dstribution format...
Multiplied by the Need For Speed at any particular point in the production
process.

IT is unfortunately often primarily PRACTICALLY defined in production by one
or more people in positions of power in the chain of production who may be
experienced and wise, or more often dumber than a fencepost, about making
that particular decision.
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 5:52:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

How about this:

"Good enough is when the product contains no obvious technical errors and
the content is free to shine through for the target audience."
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 10:05:47 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 5/13/05 10:12 AM, in article
1115993532.425910.20560@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com, "tymish@hotmail.com"
<tymish@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Well at what point does it go from what's technically excellent to
> what's euphonic? If perfectly flat response and awesome noise and
> distortion spcs were what recording was all about we'd all be recording
> with measurement mics .

This is always brought up and it's really NOT the point. Indeed music based
on the MUSICIAN and INSTRUMENt being both of a calibre that they MAKe the
requisite sound is what classical, most jazz, and some bluegrass/folk is all
about and indeed measurement mics (or close equivalents, are what's used
traditionally in these cases, the Sound IS There, your job is to be sure the
technical chain is as transparent as possible.... The Rule being 'You Can;t
Know What You Can't Hear" and HERE we find how this applies to ANY
production: that the SAME specs are needed as a STARTING POINT even if your
chosen art style is NOT sonic portrait photography but abstract,
impressionism... You still need to know what you;re really doing and thus
the chain must be as good as the above or you'r efooling yourself and making
your job harder. CHOOOSING to make a blurry/monochromatic/hyper-real image
is NOT about OLY knowing how to use a camera that can do nothing BUT that.
Anonymous
May 14, 2005 4:35:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<tymish@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> I've seen far to many Mackies in use professionally in recording
> studios, live sound and TV production to put them in the low end.


You can thank/blame the bean-counters for their presence in most pro
settings, not the people who actually have to painfully persuade audio
out of them.

They can be used in a way that doesn't cause significant harm, but you
have to be really careful. Better gear lets you concentrate on doing
good instead of avoiding harm.

I don't begrudge Mackie its place -- it's an important and valuable
place -- but a pro studio ain't it. Jay got it right.

--
"It CAN'T be too loud... some of the red lights aren't even on yet!"
- Lorin David Schultz
in the control room
making even bad news sound good

(Remove spamblock to reply)
Anonymous
May 14, 2005 1:12:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I think a lot depends on context. I just track drums to 4 track
cassette (running in parallel with the 2 inch and synced in PT later).
I'd consider that a low end piece of gear, but put in context it did a
thing that the hing end EMI compressors and the Neve/Distrossor
combination couldn't do.

I htink you've got to rate gear on how successfully it delivers the
intended result. A Macke rack mixer may score high for mixing keyboards
in a live rig, but the same mixer will score low when the deisred
resule is a hi-fi recallable mix off a 2 inch tape.
Anonymous
May 14, 2005 1:12:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I think a lot depends on context. I just track drums to 4 track
cassette (running in parallel with the 2 inch and synced in PT later).
I'd consider that a low end piece of gear, but put in context it did a
thing that the hing end EMI compressors and the Neve/Distrossor
combination couldn't do.

I htink you've got to rate gear on how successfully it delivers the
intended result. A Macke rack mixer may score high for mixing keyboards
in a live rig, but the same mixer will score low when the deisred
resule is a hi-fi recallable mix off a 2 inch tape.
Anonymous
May 15, 2005 12:42:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

SSJVCmag <ten@nozirev.gamnocssj.com> wrote in
news:BEAA2971.7C84%ten@nozirev.gamnocssj.com:

> 'good enough"' is defined inherently by
> the product itself, intended audience and dstribution format...
> Multiplied by the Need For Speed at any particular point in the
> production process.
>
> IT is unfortunately often primarily PRACTICALLY defined in production
> by one or more people in positions of power in the chain of production
> who may be experienced and wise, or more often dumber than a
> fencepost, about making that particular decision.

I agree with this interpretation.

Good enough is when the client is satisfied with the product.

As I am usually left to create my product autonomously, the client I find
hardest to satisfy is ME. If I can get past my own quality control, the
client is usually happy.
Anonymous
May 15, 2005 7:25:35 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Jay Kadis wrote:
> Much of the discourse here lately centers on determining the quality of audio
> devices by whatever means we have to correlate casual observations with
> scientific measurement. This is not surprising because we're chasing the last
> 10%, sometimes the last 1%, in performance.
>

Unless you're privileged enough to have a real professional studio, with
rooms designed by acousticians and especially built for tracking, IMHO
people focus too much on the noise floor of their equipment and not
enough on the noise in their tracking room...or the sound quality of
their peamps/ADC's and not enough on the sound of the room, or the
talent, or the quality and intonation of their instruments.

For example, I spent nearly the entire day yesterday just tuning up my
drum set and not only does it sound like a new (much more expensive)
set, but my recordings sound twice as good as they ever did...and the
set was supposedly professionally tuned just a few months ago.

I took apart every drum, cleaned them, fixed loose screws, replaced old
heads with high quality new ones and most importantly of all LISTENED to
every drum individually AND on the drum set, front head, back head, both
heads, with snare, without snare, with cymbals, without cymbals.....does
the kick make the snare rattle? how bout the toms? what if you tighten
the snare? what if you change the tuning ofthe drums relative to one
another?

One thing that most drummers don't consider when tuning their drums is
how they sound from the mic's perspective. Most drummers tune from the
"front" of their drums, and therefor hear more of the front head, the
phase relationship of the back head to the front and attack from the
stick. While in fact the mic is probably hearing mostly the back head
and it's phase relationship with the front and less stick sound (of
course this assumes you're mic'ing only from the back).

Most importantly, remove any drums/cymbals from the set that you're not
using while tracking. That floor tom will resonate like crazy, so will
the ride, along with anything mounted to the kick drum....do they really
need to sit there and make noise if you aren't using them?

I know this sounds off-topic, but it just goes to show that a lot more
can be acheived in the area of overall sound quality with a few hours
spent LISTENING critically and tightening some bolts as opposed to
irking out a few extra dB of dynamic range or some subjectively labelled
"better sounding" ADC.

Is there anything in your tracking room that hums or otherwise makes
noise? Are there really ugly standing waves? Perhaps a large glass
window or metal surface reflecting high-end? Is the room balanced
acoustically? Is there too much low-end or high-end? Too wet or too dry?
Is your mic placement or stereo mic'ing technique giving you the best
possible results? Do those guitar strings need changing? What about the
intonation of all your instruments? If you've answered these questions
and solved these problems, then great, on to the spec sheets, but it's
my guess that a lot of us home studio owners have not.

Anyway, point in case, you'll probably get a MUCH better recording by
tuning up that snare drum and moving the mic 1/2" than you will by
spending an extra $500 for high-quality ADC.

Jonny Durango
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 7:51:59 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hey Jay,

I agree with you totally. I have the privilege of working on an SSL in a
great sounding room with great gear. My rig at home however is
'mid-level' MOTU stuff with mid-level RODE mics and great instruments. I
enjoy listening to the stuff produced out of my own non-pro room at home
as much as out of the professional facility where i assist. It's nice to
have really great analog outboard gear, but then again, i'm an
"all-four-ratios-pushed-in-on-an-1176" kinda guy anyway, so who am i to
talk about noise floors in the first place... :p 

Roach

Jay Kadis wrote:
> Much of the discourse here lately centers on determining the quality of audio
> devices by whatever means we have to correlate casual observations with
> scientific measurement. This is not surprising because we're chasing the last
> 10%, sometimes the last 1%, in performance.
>
> What no one has mentioned yet is when is something good enough? For those of us
> who need to use audio gear day to day for recording and sound reinforcement, we
> have a job to do and we need to get it done the best we can realistically. What
> we need to ask ourselves is: "when is this good enough?"

*snip*

> I find the mid-level stuff good enough 95% of
> the time.
>
> -Jay
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 8:08:16 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mike Caffrey wrote:

> I htink you've got to rate gear on how successfully it delivers the
> intended result.

Okay.

> A Macke rack mixer may score high for mixing keyboards
> in a live rig, but the same mixer will score low when the deisred
> resule is a hi-fi recallable mix off a 2 inch tape.

Now I offer you a single nickname: Tonebarge. Check his work on the RAP
CD's, and realize how much it isn't just about the gear. If he can do
that with a 1604, why can't I? I know the answer: chops.

--
ha
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 8:08:20 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Julian wrote:

> What is good enough for PA is not good enough for recording.

Not necessairly a defualt rule to go by. Plug a 57 or 58 into Great
River and notice how useful the mic could become, even in the studio.

--
ha
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 8:08:21 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1gwp5y4.1p9twoocrldl1N%walkinay@thegrid.net>,
walkinay@thegrid.net (hank alrich) wrote:

> Julian wrote:
>
> > What is good enough for PA is not good enough for recording.
>
> Not necessairly a defualt rule to go by. Plug a 57 or 58 into Great
> River and notice how useful the mic could become, even in the studio.
>
> --
> ha


One of the best-sounding piano recordings I've heard from my students was done
with 2 SM-57s. I had to double check to be sure he really used 57s. He used
the Biamp Legend console preamps.

-Jay
--
x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ------x
x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
x---------- http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jay/ ------------x
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 8:20:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Been following this discussion with fascination - not an "audio guy" but
want to learn to better my video work.

I had to chuckle at this post because it introduced so many terms I'm not
familiar with - "TLA's" (three letter acronyms) and FLAs (four letter
acronyms)

What on earth is a "RODE" or "MOTU?" LOL! (I'll Google it while I'm at it)

Here's another stab at "good enough":

When someone who works in your field (be it audio, video or carpentry) can
look at your production - you don't feel the need to justify the quality and
they nod with respect at what you've done knowing the resources you had on
hand.

Case in point: a co-captain of mine (I work in aviation) has a trained ear.
(Berkeley School of Music Boston). He's my acid test and sounding board for
audio - I'm his for video. The other day, he did a voice over for an
aircraft training video I'm producing. It sounded like he'd done it in an
anechoic room with a studio mic.

He actually did it with a cheap, web-cam type mic and a piece of nylon
stocking.

It's not the tool, it's how you swing it. ;) 

Now I'm on a mission to *be able to* listen to that recording and say, "oh,
you did that with a web cam mic... nice job." ;) 

C.

"Mike Rocha" <therealroach@rogers.com> wrote in message
news:U-6dnS7yrd_G1hffRVn-vg@rogers.com...
> Hey Jay,
>
> I agree with you totally. I have the privilege of working on an SSL in a
> great sounding room with great gear. My rig at home however is 'mid-level'
> MOTU stuff with mid-level RODE mics and great instruments. I enjoy
> listening to the stuff produced out of my own non-pro room at home as much
> as out of the professional facility where i assist. It's nice to have
> really great analog outboard gear, but then again, i'm an
> "all-four-ratios-pushed-in-on-an-1176" kinda guy anyway, so who am i to
> talk about noise floors in the first place... :p 
>
> Roach
>
> Jay Kadis wrote:
>> Much of the discourse here lately centers on determining the quality of
>> audio devices by whatever means we have to correlate casual observations
>> with scientific measurement. This is not surprising because we're
>> chasing the last 10%, sometimes the last 1%, in performance. What no one
>> has mentioned yet is when is something good enough? For those of us who
>> need to use audio gear day to day for recording and sound reinforcement,
>> we have a job to do and we need to get it done the best we can
>> realistically. What we need to ask ourselves is: "when is this good
>> enough?"
>
> *snip*
>
>> I find the mid-level stuff good enough 95% of the time.
>>
>> -Jay
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 10:13:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

C.J.Patten wrote:
*snip*
> It's not the tool, it's how you swing it. ;) 
>
> Now I'm on a mission to *be able to* listen to that recording and say, "oh,
> you did that with a web cam mic... nice job." ;) 
>
> C.

Word up brotha. It's all about how ya swing it. A good carpenter will
never blame his tools.

MOTU stands for Mark of the Unicorn. Their website can be found at
www.motu.com They make recording interfaces (hardware that converts
analog audio signals into digital signals. There are varying degrees of
"convertors" and they are commony fought over on this newsgroup)

RODE is an australian microphone manufacturer that makes mid to
upper-mid level microphones. I like them a lot. They're at
http://www.rode.com.au/

hope that helps,

Roach
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 10:16:09 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

C.J.Patten wrote:
*snip*
> It's not the tool, it's how you swing it. ;) 
>
> Now I'm on a mission to *be able to* listen to that recording and say, "oh,
> you did that with a web cam mic... nice job." ;) 
>
> C.
>

Sorry just realized there were some other terms there.

SSL stands for Solid State Logic, and is a top-end mixing console
manufacturer. http://www.solid-state-logic.com/

And an 1176 is a famous compressor made by a company called Universal
Audio (originally by Urei). It's got a cool sound and can sound really
aggressive depending on how it's set. http://www.uaudio.com/

Roach
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 12:36:35 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Cool! Thanks for the links Roach! :p 

Chris


"Mike Rocha" <therealroach@rogers.com> wrote in message
news:a4WdnS28f9H18RffRVn-tg@rogers.com...
> C.J.Patten wrote:
> *snip*
>> It's not the tool, it's how you swing it. ;) 
>>
>> Now I'm on a mission to *be able to* listen to that recording and say,
>> "oh, you did that with a web cam mic... nice job." ;) 
>>
>> C.
>
> Word up brotha. It's all about how ya swing it. A good carpenter will
> never blame his tools.
>
> MOTU stands for Mark of the Unicorn. Their website can be found at
> www.motu.com They make recording interfaces (hardware that converts analog
> audio signals into digital signals. There are varying degrees of
> "convertors" and they are commony fought over on this newsgroup)
>
> RODE is an australian microphone manufacturer that makes mid to upper-mid
> level microphones. I like them a lot. They're at http://www.rode.com.au/
>
> hope that helps,
>
> Roach
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 10:48:38 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

And using an SM57 through a Hardy will make you sit up and notice. The heck
with what a really good mic pre does with a really good mic. The test is
how well a really good mic pre does with a so-so mic.

--


Roger W. Norman
SirMusic Studio
http://blogs.salon.com/0004478/
"Jay Kadis" <jay@ccrma.stanford.edu> wrote in message
news:jay-09BF62.09265217052005@news.stanford.edu...
> In article <1gwp5y4.1p9twoocrldl1N%walkinay@thegrid.net>,
> walkinay@thegrid.net (hank alrich) wrote:
>
> > Julian wrote:
> >
> > > What is good enough for PA is not good enough for recording.
> >
> > Not necessairly a defualt rule to go by. Plug a 57 or 58 into Great
> > River and notice how useful the mic could become, even in the studio.
> >
> > --
> > ha
>
>
> One of the best-sounding piano recordings I've heard from my students was
done
> with 2 SM-57s. I had to double check to be sure he really used 57s. He
used
> the Biamp Legend console preamps.
>
> -Jay
> --
> x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ------x
> x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
> x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
> x---------- http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jay/ ------------x
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 6:49:47 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Tue, 17 May 2005 16:20:26 -0400, C.J.Patten
<cjpatten@KNOWSPAMrogers.com> wrote:

> Been following this discussion with fascination - not an "audio guy" but
> want to learn to better my video work.
>
> I had to chuckle at this post because it introduced so many terms I'm not
> familiar with - "TLA's" (three letter acronyms) and FLAs (four letter
> acronyms)
>
> What on earth is a "RODE" or "MOTU?" LOL! (I'll Google it while I'm at
> it)
>

Since you are in the UK I would suggest taking a look at
http://www.soundonsound.com where you find a great deal of useful
information about recording.

Cheers.

James.
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 7:54:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I'm in Canada actually. ;) 

But I will check the link out!

C.


"James Perrett" <James.Perrett@noc.soton.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:o psqy4o9ondjgvgv@news.nerc.ac.uk...
> On Tue, 17 May 2005 16:20:26 -0400, C.J.Patten
> <cjpatten@KNOWSPAMrogers.com> wrote:
>
>> Been following this discussion with fascination - not an "audio guy" but
>> want to learn to better my video work.
>>
>> I had to chuckle at this post because it introduced so many terms I'm not
>> familiar with - "TLA's" (three letter acronyms) and FLAs (four letter
>> acronyms)
>>
>> What on earth is a "RODE" or "MOTU?" LOL! (I'll Google it while I'm at
>> it)
>>
>
> Since you are in the UK I would suggest taking a look at
> http://www.soundonsound.com where you find a great deal of useful
> information about recording.
>
> Cheers.
>
> James.
!