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Old 01-21-2013, 09:33 PM   #1
kyle62
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Thumbs up Outstanding production - what albums do you think deserve recognition?

So, here's a thread where we can discuss the stuff we think is exceptionally well recorded and produced.


This isn't a show and tell of 'bands you like', it's all about the production. A lot of the time this might end up being your favourite artists anyway, but try and keep it to the stuff you think is a great example of recording, mixing and mastering.


If you want to go into detail about why you like it, please do; it's much more interesting than just a bunch of youtube clips.


Go mad with the genres and styles, anything goes as long as it sounds great





I'll get the ball rolling with a few picks of my own:


Joe Satriani - Joe Satriani (1995)



Really natural and organic sounding, like you're just sitting in a room with a bunch of talented musicians. The drum sound is tighter than a nun's ****, and the guitars are fat and warm without resorting to loads of 'big stereo' phase trickery. You can pick out every single instrument clearly.




Morphine - The Night (2000)



A great example of setting mood and feel through mixing. Gives you a huge sense of acoustic space even though there's no audible reverb. It's like the difference between a photo and a window, there's this sense you're actually looking in at the music rather than a flat, 2d representation.




The Mars Volta - De-loused In The Comatorium (2003)



Manages to sound absolutely huge without ever losing a sense of dynamics or clarity, even when there's a ton of crazy stuff going on. Incisive and biting while still having a ton of vintage-tinged fatness in the lower-mids. Hard to believe this was mastered by the same guy who made a total mess of Californication.




Wes Montgomery - Smokin' At The Half-Note (1965)



Technically a live album, although some of it was re-recorded in a studio afterwards. Again, like many great jazz albums, you feel as though you're just sitting in a club listening to them play around you. Everything has its own space, and there's only the most basic production going on - what you're hearing is the sound of great instruments through great mics, through a great console, wielded by great players.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:49 PM   #2
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My personal benchmark:

Def Leppard's Hysteria album. 1987.

Mutt Lange at his finest. He brings the rock, but the production has so many little details, while he manages to keep everything in its own space. It sounds panoramic more than it sounds huge. A great example of that clinical, perfect style of production, while still managing to have some vitality to it.

Though this was the age of the beginning of digital recording, and everyone believes this was a digital album, it was actually analog.





A more recent contender would be the original American Hi-Fi album. Holy mother, Bob Rock gets a massive sound - especially in the guitars. Unlike the Mutt production of Def Leppard, this is a completely no-sh!t approach to recording a rock band. Still nice and polished and shiny, but just straight up and in your face, as if they just rocked it live.



My favourite newer production is the Skrillex mix of Korn's Narcissistic Cannibal. Really hi-tech again, but sounds bloody huge. I really think it represents mastery of blending electronica and metal. The electronic aspects add to the aggression rather than watering it down and making it all dancey.



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Old 01-21-2013, 09:56 PM   #3
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Opeth's "Heritage". This album, to me, is really great sounding. They didn't overdo it with the maximizing on this, which is wonderful. Despite that, it still sounds contemporary and not dated.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:07 PM   #4
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Soilwork's had amazing production for a long time. My pick goes to Natural Born Chaos. Huge guitar tone, plenty of bass presence (which really shows in the bridge of the title track), clear vocals (even when the cleans are doubled with harshes), and every drum hit cuts right through the mix.

I keep plugging Moonsorrow, so why stop now? Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa is how to mix epic folk metal. The guitars don't stick out, but form part of a giant, engulfing, bassy mass of sound. There are keyboards, but they're mostly used for atmosphere, even the melodic parts. It's basically a black metal film score.

(I would have picked "Huuto" instead, but the only uploads were one in a quality that doen't do the intro justice, and one with some douchelord called "Wontolla" playing over it.)
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:14 PM   #5
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For me, the album/production I've been using as a reference for most metal has been Unearth's 'The March' for at least a year and a half now. For a modern metal mix, I think it's nearly perfect - guitars sound great, lead guitar sounds epic, the drums are all clear and sound full, the bass is heavy and combines perfectly with the guitars and kick... and the vocals cut through like a knife. Literally the only complaint I have, is that whoever let the snare clip at the start of Crowkiller and We Are Not Anonymous, which sounds like a compressor not kicking in quick enough at the start of those two songs.

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Old 01-21-2013, 10:22 PM   #6
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Mutt Lange. One of my personal favorite producers of all time. Great tones, GREAT production (the birth of the commercial hooky rock song) and great mix all throughout this album, if you don't know Mutt Lange check him out. He's kind of a big deal (Back in Black, 3 Def Leppard Albums, Shania Twain, Maroon 5, you name it he's done it)


Disciple. I forget who produced this album, but the drum tones and guitar tones are some of my favorite ever in this genre. It is the definition of HUGE in my opinion


EDIT Axemancrhis thanks for pointing everything out already on Mutt!

also, one of my recent favorites:

Aaron Sprinkle: His attention to detail MAKES songs, its the little things he loves tambourine for some reason, but whatever. He has credit on a lot of albums, but my personal favorite is I Am Empire's "Kings" a great example of his attention to detail for a band and just making good hard rock. He balances the 80s flamboyance with modern production so well. The guitar tones are IMPRESSIVE and the Drums are great also!



DoubleEDIT: Axemanchris: nice call on "women" not many people catch that song, but it is beautifully produced!
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:25 PM   #7
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I actually really enjoyed the production on Whitechapel's new album, the songwriting is alright, nothing too special (as in most deathcore sort of music, they seem to eat, drink and breathe cliches) but it's just so heavy and atmospheric.
EDIT: Can't believe no-one's posted any Devin Townsend yet, the man is a production god. So many layers.

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Old 01-21-2013, 10:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Toasted_Waffelz
EDIT: Can't believe no-one's posted any Devin Townsend yet, the man is a production god. So many layers.

Totally. If you try to go for Devin Townsend's sound, but you're not Devin Townsend, this is what happens:

As much as I loved Time I, it doesn't sound like Jari spent eight years on mixing.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:57 PM   #9
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I feel like Time I has a very different feel from Devin's stuff. It's SUPPOSED to be very primarily orchestral - like the guitars are part of an orchestra as opposed to there being symphonic elements behind the guitars/bass/drums.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:45 PM   #10
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I don't know if lack of production necessarily fits in here and I don't mean bring this thread down and be all generic and whatnot, but I can't decide, from a "production" point of view, which Metallica album I think is best.

"Master Of Puppets" was very tight sounding, much more so than the first two albums, but I had an issue with the bass on that album not being as pronounced as I had hoped. Honestly, if it weren't for that issue, I might just say "Master Of Puppets" and be done with it. Nevertheless, still very robust, full, and "big" sounding given they're just a regular band (drummer, bassist, couple of guitarists, and vocals).

"Ride The Lightning," on the other hand, was in between "Kill 'Em All" and "Master Of Puppets" in terms of both release date and production value. More refined than "Kill 'Em All," but not overly so. "Kill 'Em All" was very punk, out there, in-your-face, and (obviously) lacked high-end production value. "Ride The Lightning," though, felt like what Metallica was 'supposed' to sound like. Very hard to explain, but I believed that to be their staple sound. Others would argue that "Master Of Puppets" was the 'ideal' Metallica sound, but I digress. Overall, the production seemed to almost flawlessly match the type of music being produced. It was raw, but not as raw as the previous album. It was also tighter, but not to the extend that "Master Of Puppets" seemed to be.

I was originally going to mention E.L.O.'s "Out Of The Blue," but I could barely find the words for Metallica let alone a musical giant like the Electric Light Orchestra
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneblackened
I feel like Time I has a very different feel from Devin's stuff. It's SUPPOSED to be very primarily orchestral - like the guitars are part of an orchestra as opposed to there being symphonic elements behind the guitars/bass/drums.

I guess we disagree. To me, it feels more like it was arranged for the band, instead of the orchestra, and the orchestra hits drown out the percussion (all across the spectrum, too) and undermine the beat.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:11 PM   #12
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I still can't get over this guitar tone. The entire album has pretty much the PERFECT Metal guitar tone in my eyes.



I've never heard anyone get close to this tone on a modern metal album.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneblackened
Opeth's "Heritage". This album, to me, is really great sounding. They didn't overdo it with the maximizing on this, which is wonderful. Despite that, it still sounds contemporary and not dated.


imo, it doesn't sound contemporary at all - and that's one of the things that makes it so brilliant

A few favorites of the top of my head:
Katatonia - Night is the New Day
Gojira - L'enfant Sauvage
The Dear Hunter - The Color Spectrum
Devin - Ki
Opeth - Blackwater Park
Tool - Lateralus
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:25 PM   #14
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Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral

It's a flawed sounding album, but probably my favorite of all time in terms of production. It just captures everything well.

There is a band I think called "Theory Of A Dead Man" or something like that...I thought production, mixing, mastering sounded excellent, but not my favorite type of music.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:01 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jhalterman
"Ride The Lightning," though, felt like what Metallica was 'supposed' to sound like.


Amen, brother.

No votes for Bob Rock's masterpiece "St. Anger?"

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:08 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by FireHawk
There is a band I think called "Theory Of A Dead Man" or something like that...I thought production, mixing, mastering sounded excellent, but not my favorite type of music.


See, that's the thing with those pop bands - whether it be Theory of a Dead Man, Nickelback, Katy Perry, One Direction, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga or whoever (Mutt Lange produced huge hits by three of those artists right there!), is that they sound f**ing brilliant. The genre demands it. It's just a shame that the music is often pretty pallid.

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:11 PM   #17
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No votes for Bob Rock's masterpiece "St. Anger?"



I commend him from achieving to sound so inconsistently bad. I mean, if I intentionally tried to reproduce the level of godless hilarity that production conveys I would still have some unconscious safeguards granting my failure.


Now that I think of it, it is the clown car of productions. Bob Rock is a comedy genius.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:17 PM   #18
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^ You win. Comedy genius. That's it.

I heard an interview and he was saying something to the effect of "everything is just so overproduced these days... we wanted to avoid being too perfect." Well, yeah. You certainly made sure of that.

It's completely unfathomable that a guy who could probably wear a spaceman helmet and still mix a better record than I ever could would release something to the public that is of a quality that I could improve on with a soundblaster card, an SM57 and a Phonic mixer.

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:23 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by axemanchris
See, that's the thing with those pop bands - whether it be Theory of a Dead Man, Nickelback, Katy Perry, One Direction, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga or whoever (Mutt Lange produced huge hits by three of those artists right there!), is that they sound f**ing brilliant. The genre demands it. It's just a shame that the music is often pretty pallid.

CT



Agreed on all points, I love Mutt. SO friggin good, I also think Mike Shipley is a great engineer/producer that isn't credited often enough, he helped with a TON of Mutt's 80s stuff
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:43 PM   #20
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^Yes!

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