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Recordings old and new

By Oz_Media ·
Being in a business with extremely high end audio products, I have noticed that there are few to no recent recordings that actually display high resolution, soundstaging, transparency etc.

While it appears that music quality is of the utmost these days, nothing is cleaner than digital they say, I have actually not seen a quality recording for ages.

In the old vinyl days, Chesky recordings were the tops. Nobody had ever recreated audio the way he and his team did. His high resolution recordings, 96kHz/24bit, have yet to be topped....that I have heard.

Have people just simply forgotten about real audio due to the low grade trollop we are force fed these days, or do people actually feel that today's recordings offer a high enough standard to show off your system?

Is it perhaps that our ears are being desensitized and having lower expectations?

Are big box stores, blowing out Mexican made Polk speakers, now considered quality audio retailers?

Do people who buy a $4000.00 plasma TV and then spend $200.00 on "surround sound in a box" actually feel they are getting their money's worth?

Maybe the younger generation has never heard quality audio and they feel that what is around now is suitable?

Why, with all of the technological advancements around today, is it harder to find an audiophile quality recording amongst the trash?

To this day, the best recordings I've heard include just about anything by Telarc, Chesky recordings (circa 1985)and the old B7W audiophile tracks (they did two pretty good jazz disks) and of course, Dire Straights Bros. In Arms, which is still one of my favorite demo disks, and one of the most dynamic too.

Perhaps THAT is the issue, most high res recordings are of Jazz or soloists singing acappella, not exactly the fodder of today's mainstream. Then again, most of you know I am into heavy metal and have managed some pretty hard core bands, but I still appreciate quality audio when I am looking to have my ears sweetened.

Does anyone here know of high quality recordings anymroe, or is it a lost art even in a far more advanced audio world.

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LOL

by Oz_Media In reply to Mixing it up is the way t ...

Peasant ears, nice analogy! Kinda like that old phrase, you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Keeping THAT in mind, it depends if your speakers are a sows ear, no offense intended of course.

Actually, by adjusting equalization, that is colouration to compensate for your drivers lack of ablity.

The other consideration is placement. Placement with many speakers is 100% of the sound. Take Bose, for example, while an OKAY speaker system they require a heap of tweaking to get set up just right and in most cases will never perform to the standards of the soundroom you buy them in. I've seen Bose vendors that have had very expensive soundrooms especially built for Bose. Get them home and it's a different story.

It's so hard to put into a single post, you should do some web research into placement. To get it just right, people go to extreme, costly lengths. Beginning with a simple step of 'walking the room', where you have someone walk around teh room reading a book outloud. By listening to where the persons voice fades in and out, you can determine a pretty good listening position, right up to using high end test mics and sin waves.

Here's a good place to start:
http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/speakerplacement.html

To answer your question more directly, you can colour a speaker to make it sound pleasing to your ears, after all that's all that REALLY matters, no matter how cheap or high end they are. It's all up to the listener, if you can enjoy a pair of $200.00 speakers, that's what really matters.

Myself, I don't want to be able to point out a speaker when I have my eyes closed. I want the image to be detailed and the soundstage to be immense.

I was listening to a Chesky pieve on a set of RBH Signature Series speakers, the concet was to have the saxaphone sound as if it was 10' from the mike (which it ws when recorded) the vocals to be front and center and the stand up bass a few feet to the right of the off center drums.

Listening to teh piece with eyes closed, you can literally picture the placementon the stage with no effort at all, just as if you were watching it live. I couldn't determine exactly where the speakers were because the sound was outside of the cabinets, if you can picture qhat I mean.

Anyway, I could go on all day about this stuff but don't want to bore you. Feel free to post back, but I have a really bad habit of droning on and losing focus of the subject so I'll sit down for a bit now. :)

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Sad, isn't it?

by Oz_Media In reply to In the world of earbuds a ...

Seriously, JD, I've often spouted about how the industry has complete control over what most kids like and buy. They own the radio stations, the music stores, the television/advertising networks, artists, etc. So they force feed mainstream spew until it brainwashes people. New bands have little chance in North America because of the absolute control of the industry and marketing avenues. You can become famous, but not on your own.

In Europe it's SIMILAR but there is still a great freedom to choose your sound, even though there is a massive pop culture also.

As a result, low quality recordings of low quality music on low quality media take over. It's like when K-Tel and all the others started putting out cheap vinyl. You'd buy brandnew records with massive warps that only lasted three months of hard play, and even then the original recordings were chopped and resampled to fit 50 hits on one album.

Sigh, sorry, don't mean to rant and ramble but it's just so frustrating to see such an important medium, for all cultures, being trampled into the dust.

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At least they took a break from

by jdclyde In reply to Sad, isn't it?

the spew of boybands.

Now if only they would get rid of the Britney's and other no-talent "performers", including the rap/gangsta-rap movement.

People used to get famous for doing something special.

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Tides

by Oz_Media In reply to At least they took a brea ...

I agree, and I think we are starting to see a turn. The kiddies that swooned over boy bands (when they were still boys) seem to be getting a bit older and throwing out the boy band thing. I see more and more pop/rock takign the limelight now, just like when angst ridden teens started moving toward Sound Garden after Nirvana was done.

Once again though, Sound Garden, Nickleback etc. are all just industry sheep.

I think music will eventually win, it seems that the old rock and blues always creeps back in regardless of the industry.

I am just disappointed that the quality of recording has slid so much, you simply can't buy quality audio recordings these days. It's all overcompressed shite now, to make it sound bigger then the weak BS they recorded in the studio. Bands don't have full guitar sounds anymore, vocals are thin, at most a bit growly from some kid about to lose his voice in 3 months of touring.

As one of my past acts always said, "weak", when listening to new music, "just weak". Who wants that?

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Throw enough reverb on

by jdclyde In reply to Tides

and anyone can be made into a star, for a while. X-(

Nickleback has taken the route of Bon Jovi and Ratt. Make one song that is a "hit" and then repackage it over and over and over and .....

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I must disagree

by Oz_Media In reply to Throw enough reverb on

First off, when Bon Jovi ws a big deal in teh 80's I HATED his BS.

Now that they have proven themselves by lastign the decades, and not wihtout the amazing support of Richie Sambora (what a talent!) I see them as proven and established.

Nickleback was a punk band when they recorded at our local studio. They sold out and yes fit the mold with a thousand songs that soud the same.

Now lets be fair though, TALENT is a different story. It's not bands that sound teh same that are a problem, it's bands that change to fit a mainstream mold that's the problem. Once there, they are dine for because the mold changes faster than they can tour.

TO illustrate my point: AC/DC

A reporter once asked, "hwy why did you guys write 10 albums that all sound the same?"

Angus Young replied " We didn't, we wrote 11 albums that all sound the same, because THAT'S WHO WE ARE!! Who were we SUPPOSED to sound like?"

As for Ratt, a band I managed was SUPPOSED to open for them at a local Vancouver club. After sound check, Ratt decided to open and let their warm up headline instead. They are deadsky! Round and Round, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz?!?!?


On another note: OZZY is back in October to start a 40 show tour with RobZombie!!! Got my pases in the mail this morning, gonna be a blast![/b[

A

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Oz, the music industry sold us on CD's

by DadsPad In reply to Tides

They said now you would have the high quality sound without the hassle of vinyl records. The world did not look back.

Now the new generation is not the high quality sound enthusiast we were. They use a laptop, hook up a good set of pc speakers (using the standard on board outputs) and all their music is loaded on the laptop. This is what they listen to.

There will always be a group of sound enthusiats, but they are much smaller group than it used to be. The music industy used to make high(er) quality CDs for Symphony and jazz because they were very influencial groups of buyers. Now look at where the main sales of CDs are at and look where Symphony and jazz sales are. The music industy goes where the money is.

Remember, the original recording masters made should be high quality stuff. It is the manufacuturers that put less quality in the CD from what was available. Again, money!!

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It was Brothers in Arms, Oz' favorite....

by JamesRL In reply to Oz, the music industry so ...

....That convinced me to go CD. I hear it on a very good system and was blown away.

I've done classical recording (DAT Tape to computer for mixing) using the 2 directional mic method - trying to similar what the sound is like from the best seat in the house. I know they don't take the care with the commerical stuff and its a shame.

James

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The music industy goes where the money is.

by Oz_Media In reply to Oz, the music industry so ...

The music industry doesn't follow anything, it leads and completely controls what kids listen to, what kids buy and what kids follow.

Just look at Enrique Iglasias, if it weren't for market saturation do you think he would have caused such a teen frenzy? Not bloody likely! But kids were force fed Enrique and he became a teen mainstream for a while.

As for CD quality, tha manufacturers are the recording industry giants they own the whole lot, lock stock and barrel and there' sno escape for North American artists or listeners.

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Is it really lost?

by drowningnotwaving In reply to Recordings old and new

Advanced audio was ever only the addiction of a certain type of person.

I have an uncle who spent a gazillion on very high quality audio gear, but lived 50 yards from the railway line !!! Funnier still, he installed a truck load of sound-proofing in the walls and the ceilings, only to suffer when the tunnel for the Eastern Suburbs railway was built underneath his home (Redfern, for the Sydney folks). That was back in the 70s. He has lived with the rumble of underground railway ever since!

But seriously, audio quality on average has increased significantly. Compare the overall quality of spending, say, $2,000 on a good audio system now versus 20 years ago.

Even relating to band gear. Look at the cost of something equivalent to a Mesa Boogie. Years ago expensive - particularly for desperado musos. Now, equivalent quality is positively affordable. But if I want, I can still spend $10,000 on an amp head and speakers. I doubt that the punter in the third row knows the difference.

Since most of us have lost major proportions of our hearing by the time we're 20 thru 25, it is only a very few people that can actually distinguish the difference between a good $1,000 set of speakers and a great $10,000 set. In fact, put good EQ behind them and use good quality cables and most people would be hard pressed to tell any difference whatsoever.

If you can, by the way, good luck to you. :)

There are still heaps of boutique manufacturers around happy to take your personal gazillions!! Just don't move into a house underneath a major flight-path.

(Having also played (and still playing) in bands for years, though, Oz, I would bet internet money that you have suffered at least average, if not more, hearing degradation at the mid- to high- spectrum. Ever once had the 'buzz' the next day? Most likely many, many times; particularly if you've been in the rehearsal studios. At least at a gig the sound can go away a bit).

Now tell me you played drums for years but your ears are fine !!! :)

edited: oops - meant expensive.

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