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Norah Jones - Vocal distortion?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by Rowan, Feb 7, 2003.

  1. Rowan

    Rowan Active Member

    I began by posting this on Stephen Pauls forum, but as it seem to be heading in this direction I thought I'd garnish some comments...

    (Dead Link Removed)

    Although I have noticed distortion in the low end as well...?
     
  2. rjaps1101

    rjaps1101 Guest

    On the contrary I consider this to be one of the finer modern recordings I have heard. Yes, I hear the mic pres and the comps...hmmm that's warmth junior. Remember, this was done for Blue Note and was intened as a jazz record, not pop. It was recorded at Sear in Manhattan that has some of ^#$%ing best pre's and mics (in addition to the 1896 Grand Piano) in the world. I even emailed Walter Sear to compliment him on the sound (and he duly replied even tho I am a nobody). Yahoo, a cd out now that doesn't sound squashed to ^#$% like "Pink" or "Creed". 2K isn't tearing my eardrums out and the musicians can actually play. I would loved to have heard the raw mixes before they bumped it up. I could give a rats ass about grammy's and awards but it is nice to see a talent instead of a look up for one for a change. I rock my son to sleep nearly every afternoon and he is out by "Cold Cold Heart"

    R
     
  3. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    I revisited the tune multiple times on multiple systems and my first response still holds true (in my mind and experience anyway)

    I from time to time receive tracks that has this "distortion" on the vox and analyzing the waves, here is what happened. I actually took a snip of it and repaired most of the sound you are hearing.

    Clash of the compressors.

    The vaccum tube compresors that were used in the preproduction stage had different phase charicteristics than the ones used in the mastering stage. Why the mastering engineer did not hear this (or see it in the waveform analysis) is beyond me.

    Here is what is happening. The first series of compressors shift the phase slightly as does the EQ in the 2.3 to 7.5khZ range. As frequency rises, the phase is retarded. Lets call this:

    Phase shift ratio.

    Say pre production (aka recording and mixing phase) and associated equipment (for sake of reference values to have something tangeable to refer to) has a shift from -20 degrees to -45 degrees from the 2K to 7K just as an example, and mastering compression has a shift from -12 degrees to -55 degrees. When you stack the recording chain phase shifts with mastering chain phase shifts it is paramount (especially in live acoustic recording) to not disturb this ratio. It is better to use NO COMPRESSION, and NO EQ in mastering, rather simply do your editing, some minor MANUAL wave shaping in some subframes (res 1/1000th of a frame) and simply clean up anything that needs cleaning up.

    I hear what you are saying, I hear what you are hearing and I clearly see it on the wave analyzer. Their is a fighting of the wave shape in the vocal that is not there in the first .001 to .003 of a second and then around .007 to 0011 it happens.

    As I said before, THIS IS A MASTERING ISSUE!

    Not only could this have been avoided but it added to the wave degradeation of the vocal track, its relationship to the bass and I hear it on the brushes as well.

    This is one of the cases where if mastering was to be employied, the recording and mix should have been done level and no compression and let the mastering engineer do their thing. Since the mastering engineer elected to do some tweaking (even however gental) each pass would cause this to add up to audible proportions.

    Is it a good sounding recording? Overall, yes. Could it have been better? Yes, it could. I question the level of interaction, notes and care that went on in this production between the recording/mix stage (2 mix transfer) and the mastering. Someone was not paying as close attention to minor details as they could have.

    In the SP thread, I was pretty sure that this was the deal..in careful and painstaking analysis, now I know this was the deal. The thumbprint of this appears everytime She sings and it interferes with the rest of the track.

    Sorry, but I hear problems on Diana Krall as well and I know it could have been better.

    The more pure and organic the attempt of recording is, the more ANY mistakes will shine in your face. Someone took something for granted that should not have been.

    Standards are getting too lax for me when it comes to this art. Am I an asshole about this? If I feel I can do it better at my facility and never got the chance, yes, I can be a rough guy in the attitude department but at least I took the time to reach a conclusion that makes perfect sense of what we are hearing and why.

    I would love to get my hands on a one off right from the console. Then I could show you what I mean.

    At this point, repairing this form of damage is over 100 edits per second and not worth it..not to me anyway.
     
  4. Rowan

    Rowan Active Member

    To my ears the first two tracks are the most noticeable with 'Don't Know Why' being the most obvious. In fact if you listen to the opening line...

    "I waited 'til I saw the sun"...

    Have a close listen to the first part of the 'wai' in "waited". There is definate grating distortion here... like a pre clipping.

    Warmth it certainly ain't! ;)

    The bass on this track also seems kind of fuzzy.
    It's nowhere as bad further into the album.

    Maybe I'm just being too pendantic.

    One of my favorite vocal recordings is Nick Caves' album 'The Boatman's Call'.

    If you want to hear clear warm round richness without a hyped high end have a listen! :tu:
     

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