What I hear, am I wrong?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by realdynamix, Dec 24, 2003.

  1. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) This is sort of a hearing check for me, having gone over the hill and all, but, tell me if I am way out with these thoughts.

    On a well mixed and mastered collection of work, I hear...

    Sound that comes from behind and through my monitors as if they were not there at all.

    Space and air in and around each instrument, or group of instruments, including the space and placement of a singer, solo instrument, or choir.

    Natural sounds that enhance the image, like fingernails on a piano, an occasional squeak of a guitar string, or a tiny lip smack on an intimate vocal track. Even small amounts of snare rattle, and the riser on which the drums may sit, kind of a woody sound.

    Bass that is smooth in all it's ranges from metallic to deep and soft, do I hear fingers at times?

    The chiming of harmonics, in fret bells, intended or not, cymbals, and other rich harmonic instruments. Resin on bowed instruments, breath along with wind instruments.

    Finally, the transition from song to song with the same dynamic, and well thought out quality, that keeps you interested and excited.

    That's what I hear, are my ears going?

    Happy Holidays,

    :c:

    --Rick
     
  2. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Rick,

    You are all too sane!
    By the way, where did you experience this sonic treat?

    Happiest of holidays
    Don
     
  3. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    No, you are not wrong. The detail that you are talking about is the goal. using compressors and eq's, you are able to bring the ambience or space closer to the sound source. You can balance tones, harden or soften them. The fun part for me is taking a mixed track and bringing the intimate elements forward so you can get to know it. The microphone used to record a source is also picking up the room that it's in. For acoustic mixes, parallel compression works great. It allows you to bring the ambient elements forward while retaining all of the transients of the source. The best part of the day comes when the artist sits down and listens and says "holy cow, it's like i'm there and hearing it for the first time". I personally like to hear all the other stuff in the room like a squeaky chair the singer is sitting on, the drummer humming along, the percusionist setting a bell on the table. It feels more human.
     
  4. nugget

    nugget Guest

    You must be listening to Pink Floyd or something. :(
     
  5. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    At the place I interned for Mastering they called what you are listening to "ear candy" and I think it is an apt description.

    It appears that you are mastering very well.

    What is your monitoring setup and what do you use for your mastering equipment?
     
  6. MisterBlue

    MisterBlue Member

    Rick (and all others, of course),

    can you name a few albums where you think this "Audio Nirvana" (no pun intended) was close to being achieved ?

    It certainly sounds like the set of goals that every mastering engineer should have. How close do they get in reality?

    Thanks and Merry Xmas to all that are celebrating this holiday!

    MisterBlue.
     
  7. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Mr. Blue,

    2 recently released live recordings from days gone by that really bring me into the room are:
    1) The new 2 disc Muddy Waters Live on Sony Lgacy
    2) The new 2 disc Bob Marley & The Wailers live at the Roxy on Island

    Also try Randy Newman's "Songbook" on Nonesuch.

    The Bob Dylan SACD releases (especially "Blood On The Tracks" LP & "Mr Tambourine Man" trk.) sound great.

    Another "Ear Candy" selection is the SACD of Steely Dan's "Gaucho" & the new Peter Gabriel album also on SACD.

    Happy listening!
     
  8. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    I just have to chime in on this one.

    Yeah Rick, it's like magic!

    I think it helps the mastering engineer when everything from the tracking to the mix is also stellar.

    I know it's only my imagination (or is it?), but in BABA O"REILLY on the Who's "Who's Next?" it seems like there is vertical spacing as well as horizontal spacing. Roger's voice seems to come from dead center. The synth seems to occupy the space under his voice but not the "bottom" which is occupied by the bass and (mono) drums. The crash cymbal overdub seems to be over Rogers head, the piano above his left shoulder, etc. Every part seems to be floating in its own space.

    Does anyone else hear it this way, or am I just having a 70's flashback?

    :p:
     
  9. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) No, not flashback, I don't think my friends at the time could point that out. It's why you are doing what it is you do, and they are doctors and lawyers, LOL!

    I love hovering cymbals that seem to fly like a UFO. This kind of detail is captured by the engineer deliberately, though sometimes coincidental, preserved and enhanced in quality mastering.

    You can have a fine sonic balance and representation, but the extra time an engineer takes to build in these subtle touches, and the added magic of critical mastering creates a sonic work of art and enjoyable listening experience.

    I am putting together a small list of references that seem to "get my feet back on the ground" when I feel like I am loosing my intent, some Don has already mentioned.

    I may be partial to some performers, however, I am not limited at all in my music reference selection. From Chamber to grunge to hiphop, I am not bound.

    I started this thread, because I really wanted to know if I could still hear what I needed to hear. I know where my notches are, I have been exposed enough over the years :D .

    It's break time, time to be esoteric, we can get back to the grind in 04.
    :c:

    --Rick
     
  10. macmod

    macmod Guest

    And the 'sequence part'...how the hell did they do that...when there were no sequencers...?

    cheers,
    Bob (Macmod)


    quote:
    I know it's only my imagination (or is it?), but in BABA O"REILLY on the Who's "Who's Next?" it seems like there is vertical spacing as well as horizontal spacing. Roger's voice seems to come from dead center. The synth seems to occupy the space under his voice but not the "bottom" which is occupied by the bass and (mono) drums. The crash cymbal overdub seems to be over Rogers head, the piano above his left shoulder, etc. Every part seems to be floating in its own space.

    Does anyone else hear it this way, or am I just having a 70's flashback?


    --------------------
    Peace to all,

    Uncle Bob
     
  11. This is an interesting thread to me. I would like to understand some of the tips and tricks mentioned in this thread so that I can ask to have my band's EP mixed and mastered for a very big sound (separation), which sounds like it has to do with th eway the instruments are separated in the mix?. I I am no engineer, but if you guys could elaborate on some of the stuff you've mentioned in here, then I could go to the Mix engineer and Mastering engineer and be able to more technically describe what im after, which is a nice big sound (kinda like nirvana's nevermind album)

    Sonically, how are overheads set to sound like they're coming from directly above. WE've always just panned the overheads left and right.

    How does teh kick sit below the singer, but not on the bottom with the bass...and how is the bass set on the bottom (is that a term referring to the frequency where as below is referring to spacr?).

    I get that some of this must be in which frequency ranges the instruments occupy, panning, and whether something is forward or set back in the mix is a reverb issue (i think?). Is the separation more achieved during mixing, mastering, or both?

    Any help is much appreciated.

    Chris
     
  12. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Hey UncleBob 58............ I know just what you're talking about with Baba O'Reilly. I've been trying to crack the nut on that one for years, and find out what they did to get that sound. IMHO, "Who's Next" is among the finest of any rock record ever made. (Is it Glynn Johns on that one?)

    I'm sure everyone knows that CBS has somehow managed to buy the rights to three Who tunes for the CSI Series (not gonna get into the right or wrong of it, it just IS, for now.) Not only do I like the shows, but it's a treat getting to hear even a little snippet of those three great Who tunes whenever the "Slingshot" scene opens each episode. Regardless of which show it is, (LV, MA, NY) the lead CSI Guy always says something snappy about the corpse in front of them and POW! (cue the Who.)

    Not only that, but the shows are all done in HD with 5.1 surround, and I"m lucky enough to get that feed on my Comcast cable system. (Some of the rare stuff that actually works the way they say it does!)

    Just last week, I was marvelling at that particular phenomenom you mention in Baba O'Reilly; it seems even more pronounced in the 5.1 version they made for CSI NY. (I confess I do like to crank up these shows in 5.1; they really do sound great at movie theater levels. Hehe)

    It was stunning; hearing even just the 30-45 second teaser version they use in the TV show opening. I said to myself: Sheeesh........there it IS again, and whoever did the transfer to make the TV show didn't kill the best part of the sound..the 3-D effect of it all. Entwistle's bass damn near quivers in intensity, as do all the rest of the parts of the thing in the shortened version. For some reason, "Baba" seems more open and better suited to the 5.1 environment than "Who Are You" and "Won't Get Fooled Again." To me, they're really good stereo tracks; full and solid, but "Baba" is all around the soundfield, in stereo or 5.1.

    I do want to thank you for pointing this out, because here I was, thinking I was the ONLY crazy fool to hear and appreciate that, esp after hearing this album (and CD) since the day it came out, and STILL never growing tired of it. :cool:

    There's a great DVD out there, on the making of WHO's Next, in which they bring up the tracks one at a time while talking about the "making of" (which is really quite amazing) but it's not going to tell you HOW they did it. I think this one's an example of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

    I can't recall who mastered the original version of it, but I know that there was a LOT of subsequent remastering done for CD from the original analog stuff about 5 (or 6? 7?) years ago, done with a SADie system; been a while since I read the credits, but I think it was Townsend and his brother (Simon?), and perhaps Entwistle involved in it as well. That "3D" stuff seemed to be in the early vinyl versions (at least I THINK so - that was a long time ago!), and it was more pronounced in the CD re-releases.

    In some ways, it's like one of those CSI mysteries, but I enjoy letting it go unsolved. It's one of those things in life we may never know the answer to, and that's fine with me in this case.
     
  13. dwoz

    dwoz Guest

    Sequencers on Baba Oreilly...yes, they did exist then. Not cheap. I believe the story was that Pete had a 16 note sequencer (this is first-hand info from The Who's FOH engineer).


    As far as the "exquisite detail" commentary...I have found that monitors that have very good Impulse Response...i.e. the coherence of the waveform in the time domain is good...tend to let the highly-articulated sense of soundstage occur.

    This is generally due to the physical alignment of the drivers, as well as crossover design. In my highly useless opinion, most of the high-0rder crossovers today really mess with the phase...I've ALWAYS felt that low-order crossovers sound better.

    ...and I have always felt that the little "human sounds"...the finger squeak, the breath, etc. should stay in, where they don't distract. Stand rattles, fret buzzes, and microphone bumps, I don't.

    dwoz
     
  14. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    ^^^ That's what's nice about transient-perfect crossovers. The phase mis-alignment can actually cause the peaker's net directivity to tilt vertically through the crossover range. A 1st order (6 dB/octave) is inherently transient perfect, but then you have to use drivers that can maintain linearity over a very wide spectrum - not an easy task. The best I have heard lately are the extremely high order DSP-based active crossovers - keeps the drivers working over narrower bandwidths, greatly reducing distortion.
     
  15. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    (y)
     

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