A Question

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by vagelis, Oct 29, 2003.

  1. vagelis

    vagelis Guest

    I got some Cds new and old and I cannot believe sometimes in my ears whith the things I can hear.
    I'm talking for Cds like: Evanescence, Anastacia, Chilly Peppers and many other Metal/Harcore Produktions.
    No dynamic (the wave looks like a block) and the music distorts. In the beginning I thought that my monitors are dead or something.
    I looked in the booklet and I saw the names of wellknown persons who did the mastering.

    Here is the question:

    Are those people deaf? Do they give a $*^t how it sounds? Do they turn the Comps and Limiters till 1000 cause loud = good? Is this the new art of mastering?

  2. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Loudness wars debate... again. :d:

    Long story short: - Record company executives want to appeal to the masses. And the ME's *do* know which side their bread is buttered on.
  3. vagelis

    vagelis Guest

    Sorry but for these results I don't have to send my produktion to a mastering studio.
    I mean, I buy expensive Mics, I try to record the stuff with the best sound I can, I spend days and nights to make a good mix and after I destroy everything.
    I know that the Record Companies like that but what's up with the mastering engineers?
    I make this Job because I love it and if a Company tells me make the $*^t as loud as possible without to care how it sounds, then I say **** you.
    You know what I mean?
  4. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Aug 12, 2003
    I agree with Vagelis!

    But i think it's in the nature of record companies to think like that.

    Even the most used mastering enginner here in Denmark make comments like "I could make this louder, but the level has to fit your other songs"

    I belive this is a result of bad monitoring.
    And bad monitoring is the result of where the musik buisness is today after the sonic mistakes of the 70th, 80th, 90th and still exist in some mastering facilities today as you have experienced Vagelis :(

    Best Regards
  5. vagelis

    vagelis Guest

    I hear you Henrik.

    I don't think that it's got to do with bad monitoring. In the most Mastering Studios they got good Monitors and the good Rooms. If you know how your Monitors sounds it's shouldn't be a problem.
    If an engineer, recording/mastering is not able to hear that his Produktion is distorting then.......I really don't know what to say. I still cannot understand why Mastering=Loud? There are 1000 other things to change and to make better.
    And don't forget I'm talking of "high End" produktions. Check the Chilli Peppers album "Californication" song "other side".
  6. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Aug 12, 2003
    I agree that they must have bad really bad ears to do so, but i don't agree with the "In the most Mastering Studios they got good Monitors".
    Simply because that's not the case :)

    Yes I have the album, it's a sonic mistake :)
  7. vagelis

    vagelis Guest

    But there is also albums that's not distorting but have a litle too much compression(but still the comp-attack), or sound as mono and thin like the newest Michael Jackson album.

    That is a case of bad monitoring and incorrect amps.

    Regards :) [/QB][/QUOTE]

    You are right for sure.
    I just wonder why they don't hear that? When I can hear such kind of things with my "small" Genelecs?
    I really start to believe that, masterin in a wellknown studio is a kind of image. I don't have another explanation about that.
  8. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    just north of NYC
    Home Page:
    I do not believe that it has anything to do with bad monitoring & amps. Along with Vagelis, I think it Is a result of conscious decisions on the part of the M.E. in combination with the Artist (who is deathly afraid of being any less loud than the loudest product out there) and the record company (who are also caught up in the loudness wars).

    All thse projects, and the ones you mention are big ones, have been auditioned, both by the artist & the record company many times & revised as necessary to their taste. These are not slip-ups. Perhaps they are creative decisions taken by the band in order to get a certain effect.

    I don't think there is a mastering engineer who would turn down a job because the client wants the program to be very loud. If the RHCP's walked into your studio & said:"please master our recording, but you must make it loud as all heck", would you turn down the job? I do not think this makes you a bad person. You can reccommend & demonstrate, but in the end they pay the bills. Let's not be falsely innocent here. Again.

    Has anyone on the forum ever tried to contact the Red Hot Chili Peppers or any of the usual suspects to find out what they were thinking first-hand? I do not have the "in", but perhaps someone does....
  9. siolle

    siolle Guest

    I agree with Don, many people think it will sound louder on radio or sell better. But...there ius still an analog part in most systems, nomally designed with a unity gain-type and a +headroom for peaks. If you feed it with a avarage programlevel wich is 8-10 dB higher than it was designed for...it will run quite hot....
    Also...the people at TC-Electronics has a couple of white papers called +0dBfs, how overload builds up in the digital domain causing servere peaks and distortion during playback on consumer CD-players.

  10. vagelis

    vagelis Guest

    Hi Don,
    Well don't get me wrong. I didn't mean that the Mastering engineers are Idiots. No!
    You know I don't work with millionseller acts or something. That's why if a Band would ask me to make the songs as loud as possible, without to care of any distortions etc, I would say: Guys, there is the door, don't waste my time.
    For me every Produktion is my promotion. The people who realize the mistakes or my future clients, don't care why and how. They listen and the say: Don't go there.
    That's just my way of thinking.
    I built up for the future and not only for today.
    Greets - Vagelis ;)
  11. vagelis

    vagelis Guest

    I hear you!

    I had 2 guys from TC here. The reason was that......Finalizer distorts! In the beginning they didn't even hear that. Until they said ok we take your box to Denmark and we check it out. I got tha box 1 month later and the answer was: You may be have phase problems on the guitar tracks and that's why you got this distortion problems.
    Aha!...Hm......Aehm....What?? :d:
    Such an answer from TC? Thanx alot! :s:
  12. siolle

    siolle Guest

    Well I can agree that I wouldn´t accept that as a serious answer... on the other hand I think it´s in the same category as saying that the problem is bad monitors in mastering.
    So wther you like TC or not...the topic is interesting.
    ...as the say...worth reading...

  13. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Aug 12, 2003
    You're a cool guy Vagelis! :D
    That was also the answer i got from a well known mastering engineer here in Denmark when i noticed small transistor errore(grain) in the compression. he he :D

    Well you're all right the engineers can probably hear something.
    But I think if they had a better system they would realize that it was pure $*^t they was doing!
    With better systems you realize that some degrading options like severe compression just isn't posible unless you master it only visual in your DAW without your amp/speakers turned on.

    Don, If one asked me to make it louder than anything I would invite the person or company to a session and teach the person(s) about music and audio.

  14. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Aug 12, 2003
    I think that soon there wil be a revolution in the recording/mastering buisness.

    It has been known to real music lovers for years that the way the music buisness was going was the wrong way.
    Music albums have been degrading in sound quality ever since the transistor started to "distort" the marked.

    Some people(very few for now) in the buisness has started looking back to were it went wrong and then start from there to follow the right path.

    I think this will follow on to rest of the buisness and some of the firms that have a name today in audio-gear will probably have to gear down or perhabs shut down their buisness when peoble realize the difference.

    -Henrik Ammitsboel
  15. vagelis

    vagelis Guest

    Hey Henrik thanks! You're cool too! :D
    Ok a very expensive ear training but it works! :cool:

    Cheers - Vagelis
  16. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    The answer is quite simple and has been posted before. The loader the volume of the music is, the farther a radio station can broadcast it. It's something like: amplitude X power = distance. So radio stations would use limiters and compressors to boost the volume on their output. The more they pushed the volume, the more it screwed up the sound. You simply can't apply one limiter setting to every song and expect it to sound good. The record companies obviously want their product to sound good on the radio or the record sales will suffer. So they instruct the mastering engineers to make it as loud as possible without totally destroying it. If the CD is loud enough it will pass through the radio stations limiters untouched. So the $*^t quality you here is the mastering engineers compromise between the killer mix you made and the total disaster the RS would have made of it. Unfortunately this trend is not likely to change until the radio stations all go with digital satellite transmission.
  17. Mundox

    Mundox Guest

    My Californication CD clips all the way, but I don't think it is the mastering .I think it is how they manufactured it, there are some faulty CDs out there.
  18. siolle

    siolle Guest

    A radiotransmitter is, by regulations, limited to allow 75kHz of swing in modulation. Now most stationes will reach thath on soft sections using mild limiting, The louder the music gets the more limiting will be needed. So a hot record will not pass your Orban five band limiter without limiting, it will typically drive the system into heavy limiting.
    All digital broadcast will of course help, but still levelling will be needed as different loudness on CD´s still exist. So it might be that something else is pushing the levels up.....i might be that listening in Walkman´s has become the new reference.
  19. vagelis

    vagelis Guest

    Wrong! :D
  20. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    just north of NYC
    Home Page:
    I think it is entirely possible to get a nice, loud, competitive level on a CD without going into distortion.

    If a big time CD is released with loudness derived distortion, then I must believe that a specific decision has been made for effect. Perhaps it is the style of the specific music that "requires" extreme loudness to make a point. I work on "Industrial" style dance music that is intentionally rediculously loud. It is pushed hard on purpose.

    Current bluegrass, jazz & classical recordings are not pushed that hard. They can sound very good. Archival rock reissues such as "Pet Sounds", the Rolling Stones & Bob Dylan SACD dual layer CDs and many others are not pushed as hard as RCHP, and not by accident. These are at a loud, but comfortable, level.

    I do not think we should lash out or wonder "what happened" to the various engineers who worked on the REALLY LOUD projects. Let's give the engineers the benefit of the doubt: I'd like to think they said at some point "this is really loud & distorts" and were told "that's the way we want it". I am beginning to think they are that loud to make an artistic point.

    It sure got your attention, didn't it?

    Mastering is a series of artistic decisions taken by the Artist, Engineers, Record Label & others. If any are done in error, then a release will be recalled & revised & remanufactured. It has happened to me. I must assume (a mistake, I know) that they like the CD that way.

    Not all new CDs are obnoxiously loud are they?
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