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What 'MAKES' an album "Sonically Excellent"???


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What is it? What 'MAKES' an album "Sonically Excellent"??? Hi-Fi? Lo-Fi? Digital? Analog? Vintage gear? Cutting edge gear? The music that is going in? The engineering/production? Is it okay to just run direct, or should you really use a great well-placed mic, in the right room, with a great instrument? What about synths? Do new albums sound better than old? Do old sound better than new? Are there ANY rules? Any guidlines? Can Rap or Hip Hop be "sonically Excellent"? Okay, now I've asked. Now YOU answer... :)

Super 8

 

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When you ask a question like this you`ll get no serious answers because it is so subjective. There is no standard. There is no such thing as the perfect sounding album. Steely Dan (Two Against Nature) received loads of honors for the sound of their album (Roger Nichols engineer) but lots of people dislike their sound. The same goes for any artist. Most people will agree that Paul McCarthys bass sound was great in the Beatles but today it is not the ideal bass sound for every genre, neither was it then. What makes albums great is the passion and emotion that is captured on them. The sound is secondary. Ernest
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[quote]Originally posted by ernest828@aol.com: [b]Steely Dan (Two Against Nature) received loads of honors for the sound of their album (Roger Nichols engineer) but lots of people dislike their sound.[/b][/quote]Really? Gosh, I've never met anyone who didn't think Steely Dan records sound absolutely fantastic. Did you mean lots of people don't like their [i]music?[/i] Because that's true; many people don't like the sound of Donald Fagen's voice. But, I thought most folks agreed that Steely Dan albums sound pristinely beautiful. Guess I'm out of touch with popular opinion.
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[quote]Originally posted by dbunster: [b] But, I thought most folks agreed that Steely Dan albums sound pristinely beautiful. Guess I'm out of touch with popular opinion.[/b][/quote]One persons "pristinely beautiful" is another's "stale and lifeless". With 2VN I go back and forth depending on the day.
So Many Drummers. So Little Time...
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[quote]Originally posted by dbunster: [b] [quote]Originally posted by ernest828@aol.com: [b]Steely Dan (Two Against Nature) received loads of honors for the sound of their album (Roger Nichols engineer) but lots of people dislike their sound.[/b][/quote]Really? Gosh, I've never met anyone who didn't think Steely Dan records sound absolutely fantastic. Did you mean lots of people don't like their [i]music?[/i] Because that's true; many people don't like the sound of Donald Fagen's voice. But, I thought most folks agreed that Steely Dan albums sound pristinely beautiful. Guess I'm out of touch with popular opinion.[/b][/quote]I'm definitely one of those who strongly dislike the sound of the last Steely Dan album. I am not talking about the songs here, I am talking about the sonic quality. I find it incredibly sterile, and quite simply, I just don't like the way it sounds. I'm sure it's recorded very well, but it sounds lifeless and antiseptic. Most of my friends strongly dislike Steely Dan's recordings/production/sound quality across the board, especially their most recente stuff, and actually, I am in the minority among my friends because I actually like some of their earlier stuff - "Aja", for example. If I admit this in front of most people I know, I get funny looks or heavy objects thrown at me. Since I don't usually like to slag off a production this badly, I'll tell you what I do like: a lot of Albini productions (Nirvana, Zeni Geva, Low, etc.), Led Zeppelin, Brian Eno, pretty much anything Daniel Lanois does, even some Seal stuff, Lauryn Hill, Cesaria Evora, Djivan Gasparyan, some productions by Bill Laswell (awesome bass sound), and others.
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[quote]Originally posted by Ken/Eleven Shadows: [b]I'm definitely one of those who strongly dislike the sound of the last Steely Dan album. incredibly sterile, lifeless and antiseptic. Most of my friends strongly dislike Steely Dan's recordings/production/sound quality across the board, [/b][/quote]Steely Dan's sound reigned supreme in the '70s when the 'close miced' sounds was 'in'. Since the 90's, everyone want's room ambience. It's all just a trend. The only problem with that is when people who follow the trends dispise the old sound because it's not the new sound. "Two Against Nature" sounds like Fagen's last solo album, "Kamakiriad" to me, tight, dry, & punchy (just like my women...). Maybe Ernest is right about me not getting any serious answers because it's too subjective to be agreed upon. But aren't there things that have stood the test of time? Or is it that their just trendy for the moment? Perhaps a 'classic' is just a trend that is cycling through again. If that is the case, then it isn't really a classic because people won't like it anymore once it's shelf-life has expired.

Super 8

 

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There is a trend all the time and I am hoping that this one will go away... EXTREME COMPRESSION As far as miking is concerned... this depends on the engineer & producer of a project. There will always be ambience and close miked albums and each method works but again... what makes albums classic is the passion and the emotion of the sessions. Successful careers are built on songs and how those songs are expressed, not the way they were recorded so I would love to give you a cut and dry example of what a sonically excellent album sounds like but I can`t. Like we`ve been saying, many people like Steely Dans sound and many don`t. Many love the Nirvana stuff and many don`t. Both are (were) successful bands. Their recording techniques are completely opposite of each other but no one will argue over their success. Its just not about being sonically excellent. Ernest
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There's always questions of using the latest hyped gear, room ambience, or best musicians. THese are all subjective; what doesn't fall into that grey area are the things that can be measured. A sonically excellent album will employ the proper EQ curves so as to give each instrument breathing room. The excellent album will have obvious stereo seperation. It will have been mastered by a skilled technician. YOu may or may not like the timbre of instruments used or the types of delay employed, but if the mix is done correctly, the album will be sonically excellent. Musically excellent, that's another story...
...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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