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Who decides what a recording is supposed to sound like?

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Anonymous
July 23, 2004 11:08:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

From a well known thread, author's names not important:

>>> Steely Dan's records are consistantly mediocre IMO sonically. Too
>>> bad because I love the music. Doesn't prove or disprove the validity
>>> of
>> Fagen's
>>> and Becker's opinions.
>>
>> <shrug> Steely Dan's records are mediocre sonically?
>
> Yes.
>
> Well, I suppose
>> if one waits long enough, one will encounter *every* opinion.
>
> I suppose. It doesn't matter to me if other people agree with me or
> not. Hey
> I'd like for their albums to sound as good as they are saupposed to
> sound. They
> just don't, At least not to me.


"Supposed to sound". Who decides this, then?

For me it is obvious that the artist and their engineers and producers
decides what the music is supposed to sound like in our homes, and I,
the consumer, should just try to mimic that. This is done by using a
totally transparent set of media and electronics and use speakers and
rooms similar to the monitoring situation. No?

The CD could (and most often do) transport all the bits unaltered to
my home, and modern CD players creates an analog signal that is a
*very good* replica of the analog signal as it was fed by the
Becker/Fagen/Katz/Nichols desk to thier monitors! What more can we do,
than take this "apporoved" signal and feed to our amps and speakers?

If I don't like this replica I disagree with said gentlemen, which is
of course fine, but this is not an audio discussion, per se.

Per.
Anonymous
July 24, 2004 2:56:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

From: Per Stromgren per.stromgren@telia.com
>Date: 7/23/2004 12:08 PM Pacific Standard Time
>Message-id: <cdrnmt08g@news1.newsguy.com>
>
> From a well known thread, author's names not important:
>
>>>> Steely Dan's records are consistantly mediocre IMO sonically. Too
>>>> bad because I love the music. Doesn't prove or disprove the validity
>>>> of
>>> Fagen's
>>>> and Becker's opinions.
>>>
>>> <shrug> Steely Dan's records are mediocre sonically?
>>
>> Yes.
>>
>> Well, I suppose
>>> if one waits long enough, one will encounter *every* opinion.
>>
>> I suppose. It doesn't matter to me if other people agree with me or
>> not. Hey
>> I'd like for their albums to sound as good as they are saupposed to
>> sound. They
>> just don't, At least not to me.
>
>
>"Supposed to sound". Who decides this, then?

I was refering to common opinion. Steely Dan does have a reputation for
excellent production. I think their production is very slick and sophisticated
as far as their arrangements and mixes are concered. I just don't think the
recordings sound all that good.
>
>For me it is obvious that the artist and their engineers and producers
>decides what the music is supposed to sound like in our homes, and I,
>the consumer, should just try to mimic that. This is done by using a
>totally transparent set of media and electronics and use speakers and
>rooms similar to the monitoring situation. No?
>
>The CD could (and most often do) transport all the bits unaltered to
>my home, and modern CD players creates an analog signal that is a
>*very good* replica of the analog signal as it was fed by the
>Becker/Fagen/Katz/Nichols desk to thier monitors! What more can we do,
>than take this "apporoved" signal and feed to our amps and speakers?
>
>If I don't like this replica I disagree with said gentlemen, which is
>of course fine, but this is not an audio discussion, per se.
>
>Per.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
Anonymous
July 24, 2004 6:46:56 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 7/23/04 3:08 PM, in article cdrnmt08g@news1.newsguy.com, "Per Stromgren"
<per.stromgren@telia.com> wrote:

> From a well known thread, author's names not important:
>
>>>> Steely Dan's records are consistantly mediocre IMO sonically. Too
>>>> bad because I love the music. Doesn't prove or disprove the validity
>>>> of
>>> Fagen's
>>>> and Becker's opinions.
>>>
>>> <shrug> Steely Dan's records are mediocre sonically?
>>
>> Yes.
>>
>> Well, I suppose
>>> if one waits long enough, one will encounter *every* opinion.
>>
>> I suppose. It doesn't matter to me if other people agree with me or
>> not. Hey
>> I'd like for their albums to sound as good as they are saupposed to
>> sound. They
>> just don't, At least not to me.
>
>
> "Supposed to sound". Who decides this, then?

The sound engineer, the producer and the artist -- and *where* it is
supposed to sound good as well - in a full sized stereo system, on a pair of
cheap headphones in a portable player, or ripped to mp3...

All dtermine the amount of compression and type of equalization.

I picked up a copy of both of "The Bad Plus" 's albums - and the better and
wider your system's dynamic and frequency response the better it sounds. ON
a portable CD player with cheap headphones - you really lose a lot of the
impact.
Related resources
Anonymous
July 24, 2004 8:36:58 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"S888Wheel" <s888wheel@aol.com> wrote in message
news:XIgMc.18423$8_6.6813@attbi_s04...
> From: Per Stromgren per.stromgren@telia.com
> >Date: 7/23/2004 12:08 PM Pacific Standard Time
> >Message-id: <cdrnmt08g@news1.newsguy.com>
> >
> > From a well known thread, author's names not important:
> >
> >>>> Steely Dan's records are consistantly mediocre IMO sonically. Too
> >>>> bad because I love the music. Doesn't prove or disprove the validity
> >>>> of
> >>> Fagen's
> >>>> and Becker's opinions.
> >>>
> >>> <shrug> Steely Dan's records are mediocre sonically?
> >>
> >> Yes.
> >>
> >> Well, I suppose
> >>> if one waits long enough, one will encounter *every* opinion.
> >>
> >> I suppose. It doesn't matter to me if other people agree with me or
> >> not. Hey
> >> I'd like for their albums to sound as good as they are saupposed to
> >> sound. They
> >> just don't, At least not to me.
> >
> >
> >"Supposed to sound". Who decides this, then?
>
> I was refering to common opinion. Steely Dan does have a reputation for
> excellent production. I think their production is very slick and
sophisticated
> as far as their arrangements and mixes are concered. I just don't think
the
> recordings sound all that good.
> >
> >For me it is obvious that the artist and their engineers and producers
> >decides what the music is supposed to sound like in our homes, and I,
> >the consumer, should just try to mimic that. This is done by using a
> >totally transparent set of media and electronics and use speakers and
> >rooms similar to the monitoring situation. No?
> >
> >The CD could (and most often do) transport all the bits unaltered to
> >my home, and modern CD players creates an analog signal that is a
> >*very good* replica of the analog signal as it was fed by the
> >Becker/Fagen/Katz/Nichols desk to thier monitors! What more can we do,
> >than take this "apporoved" signal and feed to our amps and speakers?
> >
> >If I don't like this replica I disagree with said gentlemen, which is
> >of course fine, but this is not an audio discussion, per se.
> >
> >Per.

I've got to agree with "Wheel" here. I've got the SACD version of "Gaucho",
and the DVD-A version of "Everything Must Go". Despite songs with "hooks"
and very clean arrangements, the sound somehow seems very sterile to me.
They are among my least involving samples from both genre's.
July 24, 2004 8:38:09 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Per Stromgren wrote:
> "Supposed to sound". Who decides this, then?
>
> For me it is obvious that the artist and their engineers and producers
> decides what the music is supposed to sound like in our homes, and I,
> the consumer, should just try to mimic that. This is done by using a
> totally transparent set of media and electronics and use speakers and
> rooms similar to the monitoring situation. No?
>
> The CD could (and most often do) transport all the bits unaltered to
> my home, and modern CD players creates an analog signal that is a
> *very good* replica of the analog signal as it was fed by the
> Becker/Fagen/Katz/Nichols desk to thier monitors! What more can we do,
> than take this "apporoved" signal and feed to our amps and speakers?
>
> If I don't like this replica I disagree with said gentlemen, which is
> of course fine, but this is not an audio discussion, per se.
>
> Per.

I have been working in a recording studio. The overall sound starts with
recording the tracks with different instruments. The choice of microphones,
recording chambers and setup of the recording session is usually done by the
recording engineer. The producer has the last word, if something is not
right, it has to be recorded again. Thus the "raw" material is the
foundation for a good sound. The musician contributes by modifying his
instrument sound until the producer and recording engineer are satisfied.
The next step is downmixing to the master. This stage is somewhat critical
and implies the addition of all kinds of effects, EQ, compression etc. Again
the producer gives instructions to the engineer, who operates the desk and
effect units. The musicians usually have already left and maybe the leader
or another skilled guy assists, if the group has certain strict ideas.
The last step is mastering the CD, this is done by the producer in
collaboration with another engineer of the mastering plant, the recording
engineer and musicians are not present.
My experience is the producer is responsible for 80% of how the sound comes
out later. Usually this all is a smooth process if the persons are skilled
and experienced.
Unfortunately not always the tasks are divided, but some musicians also want
to produce and even mix themselves, because they think they know better than
the pros. This is mainly where the bad sound comes in. If David Bowie
records, he wants to decide everything, because he at least co-produced his
records. And so every single record he made is sonically not perfect(IMHO).
On the other hand there are some good musicians/producers like Brian Eno or
Chris Franke(Tangerine Dream). The Jazz guys usually do have trust in the
producers and do not interfere at all, that is why it was always a lot of
fun to work this genre. In that recording studio we did most of the
recordings for the ECM-label from Munich, Germany, which was always a smooth
process. The label was owned by some nice guy Escher, who let my boss (Conny
Plank) completely free hand, I remember Mel Waldron: Morning 10:00 I got
them from the Cologne Airport and by 17:00 in the afternoon and several
reefers later they could take the plane back to NY. The recording lasted
only 1.5h, the rest of the time I was playing chess with Mel. That was 1975.
--
ciao Ban
Bordighera, Italy
Anonymous
July 30, 2004 8:37:08 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"Ban" <bansuri@web.de> wrote in message news:<RfwMc.156706$IQ4.4843@attbi_s02>...

> In that recording studio we did most of the
> recordings for the ECM-label from Munich, Germany, which was always a smooth
> process.

LOL! Was that pun intentional? "the ECM label...a *smooth* process" Hysterical!

> The label was owned by some nice guy Escher,

Eicher, but who's counting?

> who let my boss (Conny
> Plank) completely free hand

Conny Plank (RIP) was a great engineer. He is missed.
!