Old 10-30-2013, 11:27 AM   #2361
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very good tips until now
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:30 PM   #2362
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very good tips until now
What is the problem with the tips?
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:58 AM   #2363
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This man yep has his head screwed on. Yes, it’s now possible to download software in an afternoon that does - arguably – what a large studio full of hardware used to do. And yes a lot of it won’t cost you a penny. But the point is that none of it will make you more creative and none of it will rescue a dull song. A talented musician gets great results out of the shabbiest, crappiest tools. - Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t try to get a neat setup technically, but I suspect that in our post-analogue world we focus on the gear (software/hardware) much more than on the point of the thing (i.e. the song).
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Old 11-08-2013, 08:58 AM   #2364
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A talented musician gets great results out of the shabbiest, crappiest tools.
This argument is overused to say the least, and I'm certainly guilty of doing that myself. However, truth to be said, many very talented musicians, sound techs and producers hire additional equipment (in most cases together with the peeps to handle them) because a certain effect or sound could not be achieved with the tools at hand. Yes, a talented musician can make music on a crappy instrument... but it will still sound like a crappy instrument no matter how talented the musician playing it

As the saying goes: you can't polish a turd.... and that goes for equipment as well
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:11 PM   #2365
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This argument is overused to say the least, and I'm certainly guilty of doing that myself. However, truth to be said, many very talented musicians, sound techs and producers hire additional equipment (in most cases together with the peeps to handle them) because a certain effect or sound could not be achieved with the tools at hand. Yes, a talented musician can make music on a crappy instrument... but it will still sound like a crappy instrument no matter how talented the musician playing it

As the saying goes: you can't polish a turd.... and that goes for equipment as well
Ain't that the truth.

But you can make it louder, brighter, and wider...and eventually admit that it's only really louder, brighter, and wider - not better where it counts, in fundamental qualities of such things as timbre, harmonics, and response. Borrowing words from Bill Hicks, "Look at my louder/brighter/wider sound. This has to be real."
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:22 PM   #2366
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As the saying goes: you can't polish a turd.... and that goes for equipment as well
Yep, it's nice to have turds and diamonds. A great movie on a 1" video screen doesn't degrade the story one bit. But that movie presented in a nice dark room on a 120" hi def wide screen can be mind blowing in comparison. The story isn't different, but how the story is experienced is. Both have their value, one is not the other and whether the story/song itself is great or not is irrelevant when thinking of equipment if you think about it.

The story should be good whether it is going to be recorded or not.
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Old 12-20-2013, 09:22 PM   #2367
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Default Thanks Smurf

Just wanted to say thanks to Yep for everything, and thanks to Smurf for his sublime PDF on this thread (moreover, thanks for making it available to the rest of us). I have a very large collection of both tangible and electronic literature concerning the recording arts and sciences and I can now consider it complete thanks to the newest legends of the pro audio universe Yep and Smurf!!!
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Old 12-28-2013, 05:29 PM   #2368
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Your Very Welcome PoorPluto, glad the PDF's helped out some!
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:03 AM   #2369
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Just wanted to give another thanks to Yep for all his informative posts. From his tips I've gotten better and better at making my music. Here's my latest album that I just released the other day, recorded in my little bedroom studio. I'm really proud of this mix (although it is a bit loud, whoops). Note: it's melodic death metal

devourerinthemist.bandcamp.com

and a song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reB_1gK5KrY



Now I just need to master how to mic a celestion V30 in an isolation cab... boxy midrange city!
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:06 AM   #2370
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Default Happy New Year ~ !

I've been reading this post for a while and even though I started amateur recording back in the '70's (Tascam 1/4" 4 track, then 80-8, etc.) this info is an excellent resource for recordists, enthusiasts, musicians and want-to-bes.

Big thanks to Yep, Smurf and everyone else who has chimed in with tips and advice. This is The Community aspect that makes Reaper, this Forum and the internet in general such wonderful tools for everyone. Muchas Gracias~!
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Old 01-25-2014, 11:50 AM   #2371
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Default ask yourself: what's important (to me)?

Indeed, Yep has posted many many many useful tips here. Many many kudos for those! I haven't posted here before, but somebody mentioned turd polishing so I had to chime in.

You can definitely polish a turd. If you spend enough effort and/or $$ on it, you can get quite an astoundingly polished turd. Sometimes I weep over the exquisite care that has been taken to make some of the turds I won't mention here, because I don't want to start a flame war in this quite useful thread. (hm, that might actually be an interesting separate thread if people could avoid devolving into flaming). Now that that's out of the way..

I apologize if this has specifically been mentioned in this thread already, but hey, it's a giant thread.

I often ask myself when I create musics from scratch to consider my options. They =

- time
- money
- giving a crap about specific thing that costs either time or money

How much do I want to utilize any of those things to get my end result?

I'm certainly not a lo-fi guy, but these days if you are deliberate and study and do a lot of listening and paying attention to what the folks in-the-know tell you about sound design, you can record a lot of stuff in your home that sounds pretty darn good. Sure, it won't be like having a pro engineering team record you in some world class studio, but it still might be plenty good enough for your personal needs if you are so inclined and want to take the time. Obviously, some things are way easier than others (like if you need to record a 50 person gamelan ensemble with a choir, that's hard to stuff in your bedroom).
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Old 03-15-2014, 11:57 PM   #2372
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This thread needs a bump
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Old 04-15-2014, 08:37 AM   #2373
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This thread needs a bump
1980s stockbroker in the nightclub bathroom through a rolled up $100 bill bump.
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:31 PM   #2374
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One of the most important things any studio should have is an ingenious device known as a pad of paper.

{content snipped}

Anything that distracts your time or attention should be written down. Don't try to solve it right now, instead set it down as a problem to look into in the future.
I am only this far reading this thread but so far I am loving it. Many thanks to you for taking the time to point folks in a good direction.
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Old 04-15-2014, 06:36 PM   #2375
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Default Creating great mixes out of....

So I've been pouring through this giant thread-still haven't gotten through it all and just wanted to say Thank you. Much to think about. I also wanted to add a side note related to Bitterkitten's post about recording a great mix out of your bedroom. I would strongly urge anyone who wants to "hear" what someone can do with a mix out of a bedroom to check out Porcupine Tree. regardless of whether or not you like the music, listen to the mixes objectively. They are pristine, full, balanced and overall done well. Or well done? It's an inspirational story about Steve Wilson, how he started and how he does it all. I don't normally throw this kind of stuff out there but I thought it was a perfect fit to this thread and shows what can be done with very little. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun1...cupinetree.htm
One of the first points of the article is understanding what you're hearing. I find that to be my biggest challenge. It's always been a challenge, even when I was recording in bands in a large studio. It's the ultimate question of what is reality when listening to this mix? In my car, on this device, on this stereo or your monitors. Probably another thread but I thought I'd throw that in.
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:11 AM   #2376
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Lots of questions about mixing, clarity, and technique lately, so this thread needs a bump
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:25 PM   #2377
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Just reached the end of this thread - what a trip!

As with many of these things, it popped into my awareness at just as I was ready for it, as I began writing, recording and mixing my own music. I've had to learn much from scratch, and the advice from Yep and others has been invaluable. There have been many instances of quality improvements, and I'd like to summarise a couple.

I composed the music initially in Reaper with instruments from a sample library, then when the melodies, arrangement and form got to a certain point, replaced some of these sampled instruments with real ones. My thinking was that real instruments would add an extra dimension, but in reality, they sounded like ass compared with the samples, and disjointed alongside them. With the help of this thread, I managed to eventually make them "at one" with the samples, to the point where it is often non-trivial to pinpoint which is which, especially to the casual listener.

Another was mixing, for many years I have tried to mix and the results were never satisfactory. But after working through the advice earlier in this thread, particularly with reference to the high pass & low pass, and reduction of ugly mid range sounds and masking effects, all of a sudden the mix came to life, and I could hear the music as it was in my head. What a moment that was!

So thanks to Yep for starting this thread, believe me when I say it has been life changing, and has helped realise a dream.

Onwards!
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:08 PM   #2378
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Mind boggling matter. Very well done. Special thanks for the gremlin stuff.. and Smurf for keeping up with yep
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:41 PM   #2379
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I haven't gone through every post, but so far I haven't seen one reply regarding that a room plays a big role in recording the great sounds. I am by no means saying that you can't get a good vocal in a bedroom, bathroom or other regular room, but I can say a room really makes a difference even when you close mic an instrument. A snare drum will sound different between a bedroom and a studio with wood on the floor and I mean close mic.
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Old 09-03-2014, 01:00 PM   #2380
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I haven't gone through every post, but so far I haven't seen one reply regarding that a room plays a big role in recording the great sounds. I am by no means saying that you can't get a good vocal in a bedroom, bathroom or other regular room, but I can say a room really makes a difference even when you close mic an instrument. A snare drum will sound different between a bedroom and a studio with wood on the floor and I mean close mic.
Yes, the room matters. From what I understand of history, part of the idea of close micing, was to help elimnate some of the room's influence and allow more control over the individual instrument later on in the production process. But the room always matters.

In my opinion, overall the song and performance still reign as areas of greatest importance.

I ordered Roxul today. It better matter. LOL
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:17 PM   #2381
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I haven't gone through every post, but so far I haven't seen one reply regarding that a room plays a big role in recording the great sounds. I am by no means saying that you can't get a good vocal in a bedroom, bathroom or other regular room, but I can say a room really makes a difference even when you close mic an instrument. A snare drum will sound different between a bedroom and a studio with wood on the floor and I mean close mic.
Post #9 in this thread directs users to the "Acoustical Science and Philosophy" sticky at the top of this forum, which is a pretty good read. Room acoustics is a topic unto itself, and was (I think rightly) kept separate.

This thread rapidly became impossibly huge, even before it devolved into a kind of sub-forum with a lot of pointless thread-jacking and side-debates. I like to think it had some value in focusing on basic practices and techniques, regardless of gear, budget, facilities, etc. It is not and was never meant to be a comprehensive treatise on record-making or audio-engineering, just some basic help for Joe Blow, home recordist, as described in the first post.

There are a bajillion places on the web and in books where people debate, discuss, and dissect all aspects of sound, music, electronics, acoustics, and gear, at all levels.

When REAPER was relatively new, and had a unique mix of excited users combining newbies using a sub-$100 DAW and old studio hands excited about some of REAPER's unique flexibility and power, it seemed like a good opportunity to bridge some the discussion by starting a thread that focused on platform-neutral, gear-neutral, and budget-neutral techniques for better sound, with a special focus on home recordists who missed out on the kind of "basic training" apprenticeship-type learning that used to be the norm, back when record-making was an expensive and rarified world.

I love hearing that it helped some people, and I had a lot of fun posting in this thread, and learned a lot myself, from the contributions of others. But there is far more about audio that this thread does NOT cover, than what it does. The door is open, for anyone who wants to start the next thread, and share what they have learned...
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:05 PM   #2382
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I loved the EU Wurlitzer reference. There was a great recording studio across the street called Syncro Sound where the Cars recorded. Sadly it's now a shoe store. The quietest one in town tho since they floated the floor due to the subway! Times sure change... Thanks Yep, I wish I'd read this when you guys started it, I learned a lot.
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:34 AM   #2383
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Default Hmmm, EU Wurlitzer

I was enjoying reading the thread and went to the last page to see how the mystery turned out. And saw this reference to Beantown. I wonder if I know the main author of this thread now. Of course my time in Boston was long ago, but I started Radiobeat and produced and recorded some pretty interesting acts, the fuegos, and insteps, loners, the freeze, boys life, people in stores, wild stares, the fu's, proletariat, lots I can't remember. I had no idea what I was doing, as far as recording goes, but I knew some stuff about arrangement and how to sort of straighten out the bottom by simplification. And I could tune a guitar, which immediately elevated me to producer status.....smile
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:47 AM   #2384
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There were a lot of great things happening in the early 80's I'd say in Boston or anywhere else. People got into "creative" businesses because they wanted to, and there was a lot of "seat of the pants" business ownership. I've been mainly on the production side, and there were a lot of freewheeling agencies, and production companies, lots of local advertising. Now with consolidation there isn't and with cheap technology, production's become a commodity.
Someone once said "Music is the original sin, that's why God invented club owners!" Probably true now more than ever because the only thing you own is the performance, since the moment it hits the net it's free. You also get a bunch of clones the minute something becomes successful. Things are franchised.
Not on a hazy nostalgia trip here, but there was a different climate and people took a lot more risks because no one really knew what they were doing. (think of "Mad Men")Having the technology we have with computers is scary. God knows a guy like Yep and the knowledge in this thread wouldn't be available except to a very select few (never freely available). It'll be interesting to see where all this goes!
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Old 09-16-2014, 12:20 PM   #2385
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did anyone ever resolve the original question?
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Old 09-16-2014, 12:49 PM   #2386
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I think the question was answered.

in a nutshell: stay away from the hype that the industry and gearslutz gives you. think for yourself. if it sounds bad, its your fault. do something different (because per definition is an idiot someone who does two times the exactly same thing and expects a different result). if it sounds bad, dont go and buy other gear. that disnt work out the first 10 times, why should it work the 11th time??? thats what a megaidiot would do ... but have a look at gearslutz.

so I have read the whole thread and I have read the answer to the original question. and I found the distractors in this thread are prove that YEP is right in every aspect. for example this idiot guitar player, that had tried all the gear available on this planet and sounded still like ass ... well, I am sure, he sucks at playing guitar. simple. stop doing it if it isnt for you ... and no, there is no hidden secret trick only the pros do know about. stupid idiot, because he made the same mistake 5.000+ times and expected another result. and alone this is prove that YEP is right. its not the gear, its what you do with the gear and what you you know about what the gear does and what you do to utilise exactly that for your sound.

if it doesnt sound right, its never the gear. so dont look at the gear or blame it for anything. that is what idiots do.

maybe many many music sounds like ass because there are too many idiots on the road ... what is ok, as long as they leave the ones alone, that want to make music and not masturbate on gear ... and these idiots pay the industry so that they can invent new gear. sometimes there are interesting good things amongst it. sometimes ... most is completely obsolete bullshit, and that is often the priciest.

if you cant make good sounding recordings with gear (including a computer, hardware & software, keyboard and a guitar or two) for under 1000$ you should think of changing your hobby. or do it alone in your cellar. or got to gearslutz. :-)))) or your name is Neil Young or Jack White and you are undercover in this forum. :-))))))

edit: with "you" I dont mean you personally. I mean "you" in the sense of "one should make this or that" ... you know? the english language is sometimes not so exact. so that is in no case my fault. I didnt invent it. :-)
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Old 09-16-2014, 01:43 PM   #2387
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if it doesnt sound right, its never the gear. so dont look at the gear or blame it for anything. that is what idiots do.
It could be the gear, the playing, the music being played, the engineering, etc. Saying that "it's never the gear" is way silly.
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Old 09-16-2014, 03:07 PM   #2388
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I was enjoying reading the thread and went to the last page to see how the mystery turned out. And saw this reference to Beantown. I wonder if I know the main author of this thread now. Of course my time in Boston was long ago, but I started Radiobeat and produced and recorded some pretty interesting acts, the fuegos, and insteps, loners, the freeze, boys life, people in stores, wild stares, the fu's, proletariat, lots I can't remember. I had no idea what I was doing, as far as recording goes, but I knew some stuff about arrangement and how to sort of straighten out the bottom by simplification. And I could tune a guitar, which immediately elevated me to producer status.....smile
Man, I was just listening to The Freeze a couple of days ago. What stuff did you record by them? Love the FU's too.
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Old 10-07-2014, 05:48 AM   #2389
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If you want to make good recordings you can learn from the masters online. A huge influence on my recording process were the articles on the sound on sound website. Specifically the 'Classic Tracks' series in which engineers from the most famous sessions of all time give information on their approach to mixing instruments and getting results. Also this article on producing an awesome covers demo helped me:
http://www.functioncentral.co.uk/blo...g_covers_demo/
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Old 10-22-2014, 04:01 PM   #2390
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Default Thanks Yep!

I've read this entire thread - parts of it multiple times. I just registered today, though, in order to ask a specific question so I thought I'd give a long overdue thanks to Yep.

My recordings have gone from "absolutely terrible" to "pretty bad" . .and it's all thanks to this thread! Seriously - you've helped me a TON . .I just got a looong way to go, lol.

Thanks again!
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Old 10-23-2014, 04:10 AM   #2391
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It could be the gear, the playing, the music being played, the engineering, etc. Saying that "it's never the gear" is way silly.
it is never the gear, mr. wiseass.

regardless the gear, a good song sounds good. so its independent of the gear. myriads of recordings - that sound poor to us at nowadays "standards" - are timeless and still now being recognised as "excellent recordings". yep, wax cylinders can do it well ... if nothing else is around.

to say it could be the gear that makes a recording sound bad is silly bullshit. the gear determines to the sound quality - which is a thing of the times. but it doesnt touch the essence of the recording.

so kepp your silly bold statements to yourself if you dont get what is talked about.

mr. wiseass ... :-(
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:33 AM   #2392
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regardless the gear, a good song sounds good. so its independent of the gear.
... but that doesn't mean it will make a good recording or performance, when done with 'bad' gear.

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myriads of recordings - that sound poor to us at nowadays "standards" - are timeless and still now being recognised as "excellent recordings".
But again, those where not done with 'bad' gear, they where done with gear that was the absolute top of the line 'back then'. There was a time when a four-track tape machine was cutting edge

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to say it could be the gear that makes a recording sound bad is silly bullshit. the gear determines to the sound quality - which is a thing of the times. but it doesnt touch the essence of the recording.
You are wrong. There are microphones that are totally crap and any recording made with them will sound crap, no matter what you throw at it including a top vocalist. There are cheap guitars that are impossible to get a clean tuning on, and they will sound out of tune no matter the greatness of the song. And the recording will sound crap because of it, again no matter how good the song or the performer.

I'm someone who believes that you can make top recordings in a bedroom studio with cheap or even free equipment. But there is a large difference between cheap/free and bad/crap. So telling someone to get a better this or that is, sometimes, pretty good advice
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:17 AM   #2393
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What is the problem with the tips?
I think what he intended was "so far"

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Old 10-23-2014, 10:20 AM   #2394
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technogremlin: What mics do you reckon the Flying Lizards used? Sounds like Altai to me and their records did well enough.
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:29 AM   #2395
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You guys are conflating Fidelity with Good song again.
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:43 AM   #2396
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Guys - is it not possible that both sides of this argument are equally valid?

It is, indeed, possible to make great recordings on less than state-of-the-art gear.

On the other hand, few of us listen to recordings transfered from wax cylinders for pleasure.... and we tend to prefer guitars to diddley bows.... so, there are limits.

Exactly where those limits lie is entirely a matter of personal taste, and may depend on the context.
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:46 AM   #2397
Lawrence
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My $0.02.

A great song with a great arrangement and performance can survive just about anything but a really terrible audio engineer or broken audio gear... the intent of the song.

Having said that... and this is the part people kinda really don't like to hear... and it always causes out of context arguments... gear can and does help... but it's largely contextual.

It's clearly true that today's budget gear can produce great results in the right or good hands, nobody living in reality disputes that. It's also very clearly true that great gear in those same hands with everything else (talent, performance, skill) being the same, more often produces sonically - better - results.

It's not that budget gear isn't good enough for what most of us do, or to make "records", it most certainly is. It's more the case that people who achieve sonic excellence with budget gear aren't the norm, they are the exception.

Analogy: "The Beatles made a hit on a four track." You hear that all the time. The problem is....

1. You aren't the Beatles... and ...
2. It's not the 60's anymore.

Does anyone really think most bands could make a multi-platinum worldwide hit on a four track deck today, in 2014? Probably not.
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:58 AM   #2398
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
Analogy: "The Beatles made a hit on a four track." You hear that all the time. The problem is....

1. You aren't the Beatles... and ...
2. It's not the 60's anymore.
Excellent point, well made. However....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
Does anyone really think most bands could make a multi-platinum worldwide hit on a four track deck today, in 2014?
No, but most bands couldn't make a multi-platinum worldwide hit if you put them in Abbey Road for a year. Could Linkin Park or U2 pull it off with a four track deck? Undoubtedly.

Edit: It would make a really interesting project to challenge a bunch of them to do it, actually.... not to make a hit, but to make a song, at least, and compare the results. Maybe make a contest of it... which Jack White would probably win, because he enjoys limitations, and understands that ease of use is not always your friend.

Last edited by Fex; 10-23-2014 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:08 PM   #2399
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If you had that kind of industry pop machine behind you and a good audio engineer, you could probably make a "pop hit" with an MAudio USB device and a cheap Chinese mic. That's kinda beside the point though.

Listen to some Quincy Jones jazz records. Nobody - quite literally nobody I'm aware of - is producing that kind of quality with budget gear from Guitar Center. We like to think the difference is - only -- the engineering talent, not really, part of the difference is the gear they use... and part of the difference is the spaces they record in.

We know this because we spend $$$ trying to fake the sound of the great consoles they often use with plugins.

It goes back to the age old question... "How good is good enough?" For something like a Celine Dion record, "good enough" is kinda way, way up there, the threshold, but of course the stakes are much higher when there's a million dollars invested in promotion or whatever.

For us, "good enough" is a lower bar. The trick is to not think they're the same, our "good enough" and the other "good enough", as relates to sound quality.

Put on an old Rick James / Tina Marie record. Now find anything you've done with budget gear and amp sims and all that which is sonically close to that. Tough.

It's probably not a coincidence that the best sounding records more often than not used really good gear, not $25 per channel preamps.

And I'm not making an argument, only stating what seems pretty obvious to me.

But we just take care of what we can actually take care of, technique and musical talent. I can't afford a Neve console or a real plate reverb so that's not gonna happen in my little room.

Honestly guys, why do you think Slate Drums or whatever similar sound way better than anything most of us can do recording drums with our gear? You think they just threw up any old collection of cheap mics and budget preamps to record that?

Last edited by Lawrence; 10-23-2014 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:43 PM   #2400
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Before anyone takes that wrong, all that says is that companies market that stuff to us in a way that implies there is no real difference, but we all know that's not really true.

Either that's not true or every audio engineer turning out exceptional quality music using really great gear doesn't actually need the great gear and they're all just audiophile suckers being taken for a ride.

Both things can't be true.
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