Old 11-12-2010, 08:39 AM   #1
ChetStrzepa
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Default "Aggressive EQ techniques?"

Recently I subscribed to SOS magazine, and in the Nov issue there's a short mention about Metallica, "And Justice for All", pioneering "aggessive EQ techniques", such as the "smile curve kick"...to improve clarity and separation in the mix.

I was just curious about this...any idea what they meant by "aggressive" EQ techniques? The smile curve kick implies there are some specific techniques.

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Old 11-12-2010, 09:16 AM   #2
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I assume they're just referring to making massive EQ cuts across broad areas.

I love the music on that album, but it sounds like complete shit to me. LOL!
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:03 AM   #3
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I believe Chris_P_C is right about the EQ.

Funny thing is that once Metallica got decent sounding production, their music started to suck. Then mastering, production and music all went down hill.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louie View Post
I believe Chris_P_C is right about the EQ.

Funny thing is that once Metallica got decent sounding production, their music started to suck. Then mastering, production and music all went down hill.
Dude - if Andy Sneap could RE-engineer and RE-master "AJFA" with modern production, guitar / drum / bass tones and mastering - that album would kick so much ass that it almost frightens me to think how heavy sounding it would be.
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Old 11-12-2010, 08:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetStrzepa View Post
Recently I subscribed to SOS magazine, and in the Nov issue there's a short mention about Metallica, "And Justice for All", pioneering "aggessive EQ techniques", such as the "smile curve kick"...to improve clarity and separation in the mix.

I was just curious about this...any idea what they meant by "aggressive" EQ techniques? The smile curve kick implies there are some specific techniques.

Thanks
Chet
"smiley" EQ refers to the "smile" shape of the curve, and means the same thing as "scooped". Both are colloquialisms for EQ that either cuts the mids broadly or boosts the highs and lows, or both. A good example of this practically every car stereo owned by any teenager anywhere. Here's what we're up against:



At this point, I'm guessing, but Metallica's early records, and especially Justice, tend to have a very "scooped" or "smiley" guitar and drum sound. There's not a lot of midrange "fullness" or "bloom", and the low end... well, let's not talk about that.

Note that these "aggressive EQ techniques" employed in "And Justice For All..." are NOT generally regarded as a shining example in the history of record production. In fact, I suspect if you were to make a list of something like "best albums ever to artistically survive being ruined by bad production", that "Justice" would be near the top, at least in the "pre-loudness race" category. They had a new bass player, but seem to have given him the album off in favor of the low-ish "wub-wub" of eight tracks of scooped guitars.

What's ironic is that they had just released "the $5.98 ep", which is possibly their best-sounding record to date, production-wise, and which was a low-budget, low-price thrown-together collection of cover songs recorded in a converted garage while breaking in a their new bass player, whom you could actually hear. The sound is muscular, big, powerful, and alive, in contrast to the dead, thin, over-produced and rather wimpy sound of "Justice".

In defense of "Justice", it is perhaps the peak of Metallica's songwriting and skill before they became HardRockica. It is a bit less wildly imaginative than Ride the Lighting and Master of Puppets, but more polished and sophisticated artistically. Also, it was released on the very tail end of the cassette era, and it's aggressively-scooped sound holds up much better on a cassette walkman than it does on modern systems. FWIW.
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:43 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info as always. In all honesty, I never really even listened to Metallica much since I started to pay attention to how things actually sound. I always liked the record Master of Puppets though, in part for the nostalgia of listening at ear-damaging levels in my friend's car in high school. But I just remember a wall of guitars, drums...not sure if the bass guitar could heard of not. I'm going to have to dig this out and play it in the "studio"...

The article in SOS was "25 Productions that made History". I'm sure the choices are at least somewhat controversial. "Justice" is mentioned as marking a turning point towards improved clarity of mixes in that music genre.
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