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Quote:
Originally posted by SolipsismX:
I don't see the relevance of these ongoing tired complaints to the question asked about what the actual technical reason is for the difference in why Marilyn Manson's CDs sound different over the course of a couple years.
Does anyone actually know the actual answer without guessing, or is it just an excuse to beef about all the usual beefs


To be fair, I think you are right that some people here are straying from the topic posted, but I guess I can understand it when it does tie into the issues they are discussing. If it matters, I started this thread because I really wanted to know the answer, not a reason to complain about crappy music.
I looked these up on Artist Direct, and also downloaded a few songs.

Holywood was produced by D.Sardy, and engineered by Paul Northfield and Greg Fidelman.

Golden Age of Grotesque was produced by Marilyn Manson himself, and engineered by Ben Grosse.

I know what you mean about "that sound". Unfortunately, I don't know what specificly makes it sound that way. Both albums have editing on them, drum programming, etc., but whether it's truly in the actual sounds they use, the Pod, or specific samples for the drums, or whatever, or a specific compressor, or compression technique, or whether it's all in what the mastering engineer is doing in the end, I don't know. Whether Marilyn Manson or the producers and engineers had any control over this change in sound, or it was the label running off with it, and changing everything I don't know.

The producers and engineers have quite a varied list of credits, but I'm sure they don't know what they're doing ;\) . They could certainly shed some light on the subject, but they probably don't hang out here.

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That's the problem whan an artists thinks they can do the job of the Engineer, and Vice Versa.


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Uh Oh. I am deeply indebted to SolipsismX and to so many who posted. I was sleeping so soundly. You woke me up. on a magically snowy night here in a serene hamlet known as Dresher, PA.

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Quote:
Originally posted by 3D Audio:
Quote:
Originally posted by henryrobinett:
I, for one, don't want to see yesterday's music happen all over again. I thought music was about progression. In my case it MAY be an inter-generational thing, but I'm not so sure -- at least not in part. I was always anxious to hear the next NEW thing. But SOUND was just a small part of what interested me.
I'm not sure I understand where you're coming from.

Did you ever hear "Switched on Bach" by (at that time) Walter Carlos? Would you consider that progression or just a rehashing of yesterday's music? I thought it was very unique and progressive, unlike anything before it. A unique interpretation of musical ideas that were centuries old, but fresh and new.

How about Isao Tomita's versions of Debussy? Have you ever heard those? What would you consider them?
Yes, I heard both those things. They were cool. Although I'm not real fan of either one. In other words I wasn't inspired enough to purchase them. Re-interpretation of great work is fine. To me, basically they were exercises in finding older voices with the new technology.

I'm inspired by the new and the fresh, especially when it comes to new composers and players. I see a progression going from Palistrina to Bach to Hayden/Handel to Mozart to Beethoven ->Shubert, Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Brahms, Debussy, Scriabin, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Bartok, Hindemith, Prokoviev, Penderecki, Carter and then it gets even more confused and trashed -- Babbitt, Stockhausen, the minimalists - Glass, Harrison and Reich.

In jazz: Scott Joplin, various blues, Jellyroll, Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, Count Basie, Chu Berry, Lester Young, Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker, Dizzy, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, John Coltrane after which it gets a little convoluted.

R&B & R&R someone else can do this better than me: (various blues delta, etc.)Inkspots, Little Richard, Holly, Elvis, Beach Boys, Beatles, Dylan, Berry Gordy and Motown, Stones, S, Wonder, ELP, Yes then retraction/revolt - Ramones, Sex Pistols - concurrently Elton John , etc.

But then after awhile things come a cropper. The revolt that saw to the Sex Pistols took hold again with Rap. The form and harmony that took years to hone and develop went out the window. Minimalist approaches.

Sorry for the length, but in a nutshell this is what I mean. At one point there's a progression in music. Techniques become known and absorbed, then extrapolated, varied, added, reduced, expanded. But musically educated musicians are all but a thing of the past. So much so that now engineers are sculpting the music more, in amny cases, than musicians themselves.


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And that's because the musicians with any sense know that pop music is a financial dead end for 99.99% of them. They're probably playing the lottery for better odds, playing weddings for better pay, or playing with themselves just to pass the time.


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If I had a buck for every band that tells me this
..... "Hey Man all I want is it to sound as loud as my Pearl Jam CD."
What do you tell someone that is paying lots of money to record?

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I think the level of musicianship available is way beyond what I remember in the sixties and early seventies.

It just isn't getting promoted. The strangle hold for labels and the broadcast industry to look for last week's reduces the range of music that gets broadcast to recordings that seem to sound all the same. It seems that even 'alternative' radio is just a variation of the same 4 songs. Same with R&B and Rap. The industry has music in stylistic straightjackets. If I want variety in a playlist I get more from an oldies station and that's perverted.

Yet I go to the local dives and I hear accomplished young musicians playing jazz and performing original pop music that is much better than the bulk of what's on the radio.

There's no lack of musicianship. I think there's a plenitude of musicianship, there's just a homogenization of mediocre music that is being promoted. There's a stranglehold on radio preventing exposure to what's really good.

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Quote:
Originally posted by henryrobinett:
[QUOTE]But musically educated musicians are all but a thing of the past. So much so that now engineers are sculpting the music more, in amny cases, than musicians themselves.
Funny. I think there are now more musicians posing as engineers than ever before in history. Do you think that is helping or hurting the industry and the sound?


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There' so many great thoughts being thrown around in this thread !! Here's some comments:

I had the privilege of working with Bruce Swedien for about 3 years. I can't get over how much I learned in that time - incredible mic technique, mixing, monitoring, attention to detail and passion for music. I think the last two were probably the most important things Bruce showed me and the two things I see missing most in music today both from artists and producer/engineers. Bruce is meticulous but still manages to maintain vibe; in other words every detail is taken care of but things never sound sterile. He's always up on the latest technology but never forgets the past. He never hesitates to show you his techniques, and will talk to anyone willing to listen about the great records he's worked on.

As for the homogenization of music I think that partly has to do with the tools as well as the people. I use Pro Tools and Logic as much as the next person, but there's no question in my mind that all of us using the same plug-in's and softsynths is making everything sound like one big video game. I'm actually moving backwards now, buying back all my old synths, tracking them again either to tape or just running through great mic pre's and outboard compressors just to find some unique character. I've even been doing that with my softsynths. I think if you dig deeper in to the making of the Marilyn Manson records mentioned in the posts above you'll find some truth to this.

I wasn't around in the sixties so I can't comment on the level of musicianship but I can tell you that there's a whole bunch of big selling records being sold made by people who are just drum programmers. Now I'm not condoning or condemning this trend but I get called in quite a bit to clean up the mess. Unfinished vocals, lyrics, arrangements. It's really scary. Unfortunately, once a "producer" has a hit they can do no wrong for a couple years. A&R people stop listening and just accept that everything they turn in is a hit. Now combine that with the homogenization of the sound of records (plug-in's, the same 5 production teams making all the big records, the same 10 mixer dudes) and it's no wonder that the public views music as cheap and disposable. Add to that shows like Pop Star and American Idol and the public looks at the music industry as a joke. We have to make music that is valuable. I see posts all the time like "that producer's music sounds like crap but he makes tons of money so why should I care what I record on, as long as my mix is hot". You have to care, as an engineer, musician and producer it's your gig to care. If you're not striving to be as good as Bruce or Elliot Scheiner, or GM then don't bother. Most A&R people are scared and clueless, like sheep, they're waiting to be led. It really is up to us to affect change, so stop placing blame and go make music.

Rob


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Quote:
Originally posted by robmix:
It really is up to us to affect change, so stop placing blame and go make music.

Rob
I'll 2nd that.
Now, if we can only get the A&R idiots to understand that not ALL vocals need tto be tuned to perfect pitch, or all drumtracks edited to be perfectly quantized, this industry might turn around.


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Quote:
Originally posted by robmix:
It really is up to us to affect change, so stop placing blame and go make music.

Rob[/QB]
There you go.

Rob, I believe that every time someone shouts "I hate autotune", or "don't line up drums to a grid", or "why do they squash the life out of it", or "the labels and the A&R and today's musicians and the mainstream tards have their heads up their ass", etc., etc., etc., I nominate you to come in with this quote.

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quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by robmix:
It really is up to us to affect change, so stop placing blame and go make music.
Rob
------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm not really so sure that the crucial item is to be found in the sound dept. anymore. From what I understand from the sources at my disposal, we're now in a phase that's very big on visuals (this excludes "sound" as a main motivator) and short on concepts (this takes "print" off the list of "visual" stimuli). What's more, the emphasis is on the "totality" of the experience - for in., experiencing sound at bone-crushing levels while tripping out of your skull while feeling part of a crowd of people.

When it comes to the sound level that's present in our environment, I don't think that the problem is how noisy appliances are, but how much importance we attribute to "silence". Without quiet, I cannot read, write or concentrate on the task at hand. If there's no silence, I cannot really do justice to a CD I have to review. But this appears not to be important for most people who live in environments that are increasingly noisy by their own design/choosing. I've done the experiment of taking some of my favourite CDs into a public place I go to, and they are immediately swallowed by the ambience (too much dinamic range, too complex, too many chords). Try a Top 40 title and it shines.

Re: playing ability. The average player now could play circles around all but the best of the 60s. (Personality is another matter.) But is this really important to listeners? I think the Robert L. Doerschuck-penned Keyboard cover story called Jurassic Rock applies here.

Re: Bruce Botnick. I'd really appreciate to receive any tips about how to have access to the Sound On Sound interview, since this magazine in not on sale in Italy.

Thanks for reading me.

Beppe Colli


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((posted 12-06-2003 12:10 PM                   
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Squashed masters do seem to define this era's sound. However synthesizers (especially DX7 patches) and gated reverb on drums seemed to define the pop sound of the 80's didn't it? Did everyone blame Yamaha for it? No, it's just audio fashion.))

I think the 80's sound was much generally more horrendous in terms of pop music production than what we hear nowadays.

Some rap productions on mainstream radio / TV are even downright experimental / wildly bizarre when you think about it. Especially Neptunes prods.
Think of the Britney tune, I forget the name, produced by Neptunes..rather out there & funky.
But that's beside the point..

Which is:

The fact must be faced that the classic 50's / 60's sound of great musicians in a great room with a genius engineer, arranger, talented singer etc - glorious as it was, is long gone.

But at least we have those old recordings / LPS to check out as a reference.

Things change evolve or devolve as the case may be.

Sure a lot of pop music sounds repulsive technically, sterile squashed flat - at the same time I think we live in a great time as far as tools are concerned - think gear - we can choose from a wide selection which are mostly highly affordable as compared to yesteryear.

I think there is still music being recorded & mixed today which souds very good - technically. Much more clear & defined than the old stuff. Just a random example - heard a CD playing at a local bar/cafe a few weeks ago & went and asked what it was cuz the music, performances and recording sounded very good - it was Elliot Smith's Xo (Sp? ) album.

Just listening to PET SOUNDS on the stereo right now.
It is a genius pop album.

No Major label could release something sounding like this nowadays because the sound would be too murky to compete.

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Robmix wrote:
Quote:

Most A&R people are scared and clueless, like sheep, they're waiting to be led. It really is up to us to affect change, so stop placing blame and go make music.
A second ditto to that. If you've really got faith in a project set up an independent label and promote it yourself (that's how Jill Scott got her break isn't it? CDs out of the back of a car?).

I know it's easier said than done, rent to pay and all that, but the only way to get back to the forward-thinking days of yesteryear (if that isn't an oxymoron I don't know what is) might well be to get power back in the hands of independents...

Beppe, after about 3 months SOS magazine put their back issues online at their website (there's a good one online at SOS from GM, berating pancake compression, from '98). If you can't wait that long you'll have to call them and get a subscription, I'd scan it for you but with me being a flat-earther I don't have a scanner.

Regards,
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ryonik:


The fact must be faced that the classic 50's / 60's sound of great musicians in a great room with a genius engineer, arranger, talented singer etc - glorious as it was, is long gone.

But at least we have those old recordings / LPS to check out as a reference.

And that's where I disagree. Sure for the most part kids aren't digging those types of recordings, it's definitely a programmed world right now. But whose fault is that - the current crop of "hit" producers. But that doesn't mean we all have to conform. On the last Christina Aguilera record I got to produce a couple songs and I only used live musicians. The basics were all tracked with everyone together. Even the synths I used were not sequenced. I don't always have the choice, but when I do I always choose live players over in a room. And, to bring the thread back to where it started, I believe this what Trent Reznor may be feeling this too as he works on his new record. The vibe of early NIN stuff is pretty easy to capture with todays tools (Reason, softsynths, etc. ) though it will never have the depth of those early recordings.

Rob


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Sign,

Regarding Toerag studios, I haven't recorded there so can't tell you much. I'm told that Liam (chief AE, owner) is a "hands-on" type engineer who doesn't get too carried away in theory. He wears a white coat (circa 1950s Abbey Rd) and gets results clients like. 1" 8-track I believe. Apparently the Calrec console gets more use than the EMI Redd. Beyond that I don't know a lot, this info is secondhand from friends that have worked there.

Oh yeah, I was driving the other night and the radio jock played 3 songs in a row recorded at Toerag. Must say it was intriguing to hear; you could tell the tunes were modern in their arrangement / lyrical style, but the sonics were pure "Sgt Pepper", Toerag certainly fills a unique niche that's all I can comment, good luck to them.

Cheers,
Justin

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Robmix wrote:
Quote:

Even the synths I used were not sequenced.
And why not? If it sounds right, it is right, you don't need a grid on a CRT to tell you that.



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Quote:
Originally posted by SolipsismX:
I was reading a little tidbit from trent reznor who said he is tired of the perfect sound that is happening now
All this thread is false and nonsense.
Today there is NO perfect sound around.
The squashed, no dynamic, shrill sound is not due to DAWs (apart Pro Tools and some other which actually destroy the sound) but to FALSE sound engineers who prefere a 3d button than a nice sound.


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I looked these up on Artist Direct, and also downloaded a few songs.
Holywood was produced by D.Sardy, and engineered by Paul Northfield and Greg Fidelman.
Golden Age of Grotesque was produced by Marilyn Manson himself, and engineered by Ben Grosse.
I know what you mean about "that sound". Unfortunately, I don't know what specificly makes it sound that way. Both albums have editing on them, drum programming, etc., but whether it's truly in the actual sounds they use, the Pod, or specific samples for the drums, or whatever, or a specific compressor, or compression technique, or whether it's all in what the mastering engineer is doing in the end, I don't know. Whether Marilyn Manson or the producers and engineers had any control over this change in sound, or it was the label running off with it, and changing everything I don't know.
The producers and engineers have quite a varied list of credits, but I'm sure they don't know what they're doing . They could certainly shed some light on the subject, but they probably don't hang out here.


I'm quite pleased that you took the time to actually download some of the songs to try and answer my questions. I'm also in greater relief that you can actually hear "that sound" because a lot of casual music listeners can't hear it, and you can see what happened in this thread when I asked more experienced people \:\) . I used Marilyn Manson as an example because I happened to be more familiar with it than a lot of other metal acts (and most of the bands guilty of the sound I'm referring to haven't been around that long), but it's happening to almost every act out there. What's funny is that each genre of pop/rock music has it's own version of the sound.

I was wondering if there were any engineers on this forum who did this kind of work, but I can't seem to find any. Anybody want to step up to the plate? \:D

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Quote:
Originally posted by 3D Audio:
Funny. I think there are now more musicians posing as engineers than ever before in history. Do you think that is helping or hurting the industry and the sound?
I agree. I think that's probably hurting the sound as well. That's a product of, in my case especially, being told what to do by a record company, producer. The independent sense of being able to now do "what the F I want and the way I want to" was exhilarating.

I think it's a shame. Most musicians and people in general, have no idea what an engineer does. How far those great ears, experience and knowledge goes in shaping their sound and making them a success.

Now the guitar player can make his guitar as loud as he wants. Now he realizes, eventually, how shitty it sounds to have his instrument louder than everyone elses.


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Quote:
Originally posted by EXAGON:
All this thread is false and nonsense.
No, this thread is one of the best in a long time. Please don't interfere and go away.


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Quote:
Originally posted by Thermionic:
Sign,

Regarding Toerag studios, I haven't recorded there so can't tell you much. I'm told that Liam (chief AE, owner) is a "hands-on" type engineer who doesn't get too carried away in theory. He wears a white coat (circa 1950s Abbey Rd) and gets results clients like. 1" 8-track I believe. Apparently the Calrec console gets more use than the EMI Redd. Beyond that I don't know a lot, this info is secondhand from friends that have worked there.

Oh yeah, I was driving the other night and the radio jock played 3 songs in a row recorded at Toerag. Must say it was intriguing to hear; you could tell the tunes were modern in their arrangement / lyrical style, but the sonics were pure "Sgt Pepper", Toerag certainly fills a unique niche that's all I can comment, good luck to them.

Cheers,
Justin
Justin, I've seen the website. There must be something special. Anybody can buy an old board and an 8 track.

There is another guy with kind of the same studio in France I believe.

Thank you.


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You'd never get Pet Sounds with a musician engineering IMO.

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Quote:
Originally posted by shikawkee:
You'd never get Pet Sounds with a musician engineering IMO.
OK. I'm not disagreeing but I'm DEFINITELY not agreeing with this statement. It's way to much of a generality to be universally true. But, curiously, what characteristics of a musician preclude him from being able to do this?


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Pro Tools has nothing to do with 99 % of bad sounding music, because no serious engineer would mix with it.
The crap of today's music is due to FALSE engineers, and FALSE artists, IDIOT producers, and BLIND labels.


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Quote:
Originally posted by Ryonik:
((posted 12-06-2003 12:10 PM                   

I think the 80's sound was much generally more horrendous in terms of pop music production than what we hear nowadays.
Sorry. Gotta disagree there. There was alot of really cool stuff going on. Even LAurie Anderson had a hit with "oh superman". That would never happen today with the generic formula's and tightly controlled radioplay.


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Quote:
Originally posted by Henchman:
Quote:
Originally posted by Ryonik:
((posted 12-06-2003 12:10 PM                   

I think the 80's sound was much generally more horrendous in terms of pop music production than what we hear nowadays.
Sorry. Gotta disagree there. There was alot of really cool stuff going on. Even LAurie Anderson had a hit with "oh superman". That would never happen today with the generic formula's and tightly controlled radioplay.
Can anyone imagine an A+R dept in a modern major releasing "Oh Superman"? There would be some furrowed brows at that boardroom meeting I reckon...

The '80s wasn't all bad. Off top of head I could suggest Peter Gabriel or Arif Mardin for production examples.

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Hi......I'm not home right now.........but if you wanna leave a message........start talking at the sound of the tone.

Yep, Laurie Anderson, I must have that single somewhere. Was really great.


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I'd like to thank Thermionic/Justin for the feedback on the SOS topic, and for his suggestion about the GM interview. The man is in a class by himself... listen to this:

"I would advise young engineers that the first thing you have to forget about in making serious records is the sales. My vocation is making artful records and hoping that they'll sell, while some producers strive to sell records and hope that people will think that they're art."

Best

Beppe


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Quote:
Originally posted by Beppe Colli:

"I would advise young engineers that the first thing you have to forget about in making serious records is the sales. My vocation is making artful records and hoping that they'll sell, while some producers strive to sell records and hope that people will think that they're art."


Can't sum it up much better than that.

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