Client Mandates Use of MP3s for Mastering New CDs

kmetal

Kyle P. Gushue
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Joined
Jul 21, 2009
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
My worst fear is that they wouldn't be able to tell the differnce. Lol. I think a lot of younger people have grown up accustomed to the 'crunch' in MP3 files. Similar to tape saturation or tube distortions of previous generations like mine.

I belive they feel something is missing in files that are too clean or hifi.

I read a recent SOS article and the mixer was doing a comercial pop song and he said he mixes above 0db on his master bus. Intentionally clips it! He said that's what the kids want, and also says your mix still has to be the loudest or you won't get the job.

He knows better than I do in that world.
 

pcrecord

Quality recording seeker !
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Feb 21, 2013
Location
Quebec, Canada
My worst fear is that they wouldn't be able to tell the differnce. Lol. I think a lot of younger people have grown up accustomed to the 'crunch' in MP3 files. Similar to tape saturation or tube distortions of previous generations like mine.

I belive they feel something is missing in files that are too clean or hifi.
That's an aspect I didn't think of.. Nice one K..
 

Sean G

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Joined
Jul 27, 2015
Location
Sydney, Australia
My worst fear is that they wouldn't be able to tell the differnce.
I think thats the norm with a generation that has grown up and been spoon-fed on the Mp3...it has lent itself to a distorted view of audio quality and anything that sounds better probably sounds foreign and therefore "not normal" to their ears.

The cost of accessibility and portability has been quality of audio...there's a price for everything and the trade off while disconcerting to those that know better is completely acceptible to those that grew up on it.

IMO.
 

bouldersound

Real guitars are for old people.
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Jan 23, 2010
Location
Boulder, Colorado
It's like people who think LPs sound good. It's only because people grew up with the sound, they're used to it and they associate it with certain memories and feelings. But by any objective measure properly mastered CDs sounds better. A CD can come much closer to the sound of "being there" than an LP, but if you've never "been there" your frame of reference was the LP, so CDs sounded "sterile". The new frame of reference is the 128kbps MP3 of a mix slammed into 0dBFS. If the audio isn't clipped and doesn't have compression artifacts it doesn't sound right to the modern listener.
 

Kurt Foster

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Jul 2, 2002
Location
77 Sunset Lane.
It's like people who think LPs sound good. It's only because people grew up with the sound, they're used to it and they associate it with certain memories and feelings. But by any objective measure properly mastered CDs sounds better. A CD can come much closer to the sound of "being there" than an LP, but if you've never "been there" your frame of reference was the LP, so CDs sounded "sterile". The new frame of reference is the 128kbps MP3 of a mix slammed into 0dBFS. If the audio isn't clipped and doesn't have compression artifacts it doesn't sound right to the modern listener.

BS. take a 2" tape and play it back through a console. record that to a digital file. the digital file will sound different than the playback. digital sucks.

just because something looks good on paper doesn't mean it will sound musical or even good ........ :sick:

sh*t, , RNP or Mackie pre amps spec out pretty well but they sound like ass.

on the other hand, just try to sell any piece of digital gear from 2000. lol. ADATs? HA. digital door stops. DAT recorders? any 24/48 converters? all worthless now.

an MCI JH 24 in 2000 worth from $5000 to $10,000. then the prices plummeted. but try to buy one now. prices are going up. know why? because a lot of folks out there are finally realizing that digital sucks on so many levels and they are running back to analog. there's loads of guys out there like Chris Mara / SPITZ who are maintaining and nursing older analog machines in to the future. i wouldn't be surprised at all if sometime soon a smart manufacturer begins to make new machines. i don't think the demand for them will wane.
 

bouldersound

Real guitars are for old people.
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Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
Boulder, Colorado
BS. take a 2" tape and play it back through a console. record that to a digital file. the digital file will sound different than the playback. digital sucks.

just because something looks good on paper doesn't mean it will sound musical or even good. $*^t, RNP or Mackie pre amps spec out pretty well but they sound like ass.

Put it on LP and it will suck more, as in it will sound less like the original 2" tape sound than the CD.
 

Kurt Foster

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Joined
Jul 2, 2002
Location
77 Sunset Lane.
imo, nonsense. pure and simple. i rarely disagree with you Boulder but on this i will. i have numerous different versions of Beatle pressings. Parlaphone, Capitol, vinyl and on CDs. the CDs (even the ones George Martin re mastered) sound like ass compared to the Parliphone pressings from the 70's that i own.

any re recording will degrade a mix be it analog or digital. even direct to disk. the goal is to do the least damage. imo, digital does the most, vinyl less so. i'm not the only one who thinks this. i can't help thinking there must be something to it.

as far as the o/p, give them what they want. mp3 crappy for sure but imo, 44.1/24, 48/24, 44.1/16, 48/16 all are compromised as well. the difference is the degree of "sucks". i say go for the money, make the clients happy.

as in all instances, be sure to protect yourself and don't give them complete files until you are paid in full.
 

dvdhawk

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Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Location
Western Pennsylvania, USA
It's all very subjective, it's art.

Big picture; let's not ignore the changes in the entire playback system. What has been marketed as "improvements" in audio equipment has stretched the upper and lower frequency response about an octave each way since the heyday of vinyl. A lot of the state of the art speakers of the 70's and barely did 10kHz - 12kHz on the top end.

All I'm saying is, much like the dynamic vs. condenser discussion, there is more presence of detailed audio in modern monitoring systems, especially in the higher frequencies. And above (pick a number)kHz some older recordings may sound dull in the way we perceive them, and sometimes hearing hf detail on a CD shines a bright light on something better left in the shadows. I think the attribute we often describe as "warm", involves a 12dB/oct, or more, slope off the high-end.

That'll be 2¢, please.
 

bouldersound

Real guitars are for old people.
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Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
Boulder, Colorado
It's all very subjective, it's art.

Big picture; let's not ignore the changes in the entire playback system. What has been marketed as "improvements" in audio equipment has stretched the upper and lower frequency response about an octave each way since the heyday of vinyl. A lot of the state of the art speakers of the 70's and barely did 10kHz - 12kHz on the top end.

All I'm saying is, much like the dynamic vs. condenser discussion, there is more presence of detailed audio in modern monitoring systems, especially in the higher frequencies. And above (pick a number)kHz some older recordings may sound dull in the way we perceive them, and sometimes hearing hf detail on a CD shines a bright light on something better left in the shadows. I think the attribute we often describe as "warm", involves a 12dB/oct, or more, slope off the high-end.

That'll be 2¢, please.

Right, more accurate, which the CD is compared to LP, doesn't always sound subjectively better. But if we can quantify what it is that people like about something that's not accurate, like tube saturation, tape saturation or LP distortions, we may be able to replicate that on a more accurate medium.

Kurt, we would probably agree on what Beatles releases sound good or bad. Just because something is on CD doesn't make it sound better than any vinyl version. For example, I thought Beatles 1 was horrible, harsh sounding and pointlessly loud, as if they were trying to prove Beatles music could fit in to some sort of modern standard of harsh and loud. That stuff was recorded with vinyl as the delivery format in mind and it works unbelievable well that way.

In the latter days of LP dominance I was starting to collect British and Japanese virgin vinyl pressings. They were drastically better than the usual record store fare, and don't get me started on those nasty Columbia House pieces of crap. So I found that LPs could sound pretty darn good if done right, but even the virgin vinyl discs started out with audible surface noise and other imperfections.
 

Kurt Foster

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Jul 2, 2002
Location
77 Sunset Lane.
I found that LPs could sound pretty darn good if done right, but even the virgin vinyl discs started out with audible surface noise and other imperfections.
agreed. not only if they are done right but played back right. and then there's the issue of different masters. in many cases multiple masters were cut at the same session and each on was a little different. the article on Chris Mara from SOS that was recently posted in these pages was a real eye opener for me.
 

Sean G

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Joined
Jul 27, 2015
Location
Sydney, Australia
IMO it comes down to the quality of many things...the performance, the engineering and production and also the quality of the mastering / transfer.

I have heard many LP's that sound great...and in Kurts' words I have heard many that "sound like ass"...the same can be said for CD's as well, there are those that truly capture an amazing performance and those that "sound like ass" as well...( I love that saying Kurt...it cracks me up & I think I'm going to adopt it ;))

I'll give you an example...I recently met one of our leading male rock performers here in Australia (I won't mention his name here, but he was front man for one of our most loved rock outfits for close to 30 years and has a credible solo career as well...and to top it off he also fronted one of Australia's top music exports for some time after their lead singer died in unusual circumstances (think beyond excessive...the band name...not his death...well, maybe a little when it came to his death ;)).

After discussing what he has been doing during his recent hiatus he very proudly gave me a copy of his latest CD which he co-produced.
When I got home I listened to it...it is so overly compressed and loud that it would make Andrew Scheps circa Death Magnetic blush...to the point that I cannot listen to it without being overly critical of the production aspects.

Talk about loudness wars...this thing would be leading a death squad on the front line of the battle...:eek:

Actually, I don't think I have listened to it in its entirety...its way too fatiguing to do so...yet I have played live for years and have always prefered my music to be on the hard & heavy side of things.

More than once I have thought if it was pressed to vinyl and given vinyls' limitations how different and dare I say it, in this instance, how much better and more dynamic it would sound.

Now I'm not saying this could not be achieved with CD either...but.


IMHO of course.
 

kmetal

Kyle P. Gushue
Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2009
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
My minor threat (late 80's hardcore/punk) albums sound 'better' than their cd counterparts. The way the guitars and vocals crunch is just more fitting.

I think a high quality tape recording sounds best so far hands down, in general. There's a realism to it. A typical set of decent speakers from the 70's sound better then a typical set of today's. Limited response or not there's a certain intimacy to them, a 'your there' quality.

Now when it comes to pounding tracks at the club modern speakers and digital just do it better. The tightness of the low end. There's also some stuff that just sounds absolutely huge, like tools 10k days, or heaven and hells last cd. The digital precision contributed to this no doubt.

Digital is good at controlled sound, tape is good at the seat of your pants sound.

Just imho.
 
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