Go Back   UG Community @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com > Music > Musician Talk
User Name  
Password
Search:

Reply
Old 05-28-2014, 07:21 PM   #1
Victorgeiger
Registered User
 
Victorgeiger's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
The pursuit for less noisy "heavy" music

When I got into music I knew literally nothing about recording, as far as I knew it was recorded on tape with a microphone like I used to do on my portable casset.

As I started listening to more and more music especially metal music I discovered that there was a huge variation of tone in these recordings.

The distortion guitars of different bands would sometimes sound thicker, heavier, muddier, sharper or more noisy and this interested me.

Most pop music sounds "good" meaning that there is nothing in the record that stands out as sounding bad or wrong but in metal music this rule doesn't really apply. Some of the most famous bands have disregarded high quality recordings, noiseless songs and being musically correct yet they still became famous.

That being said I understand that there is a place in this world for all types of music but recently I have only been able to enjoy music that has been recorded like it is a pop song. The best bands I can give as examples are Asking Alexandria, I See Stars, Falling in Reverse and Issues.

Most of these bands have recorded with a producer named Joey Sturgis. Sturgis seams to be able to put out that sonically perfect guitar tone that I crave.

Many will say the music is over produced but I say that it just sounds good.

Think about it, you are listening to music made by a guy who has spent his whole life learning how the human ear hears music and manipulating recordings so that our ears recognise it as sounding "correct"

If the band just recorded their instruments straight into the computer and mixed it down I know for a fact it will be horrible and I wont be able to listen to it.

Because sturgis puts hours into getting the bass, mids and treble of all the instruments just perfect as well as adding effects to enhance the performance it sounds really good and this gets me into the music and it gets me going emotionally.

I wanted to find out what you all think. How do you like the music you listen to or what do you think about how much producers actually do to the music before release. Do you think music is being ruined by computers? Do you even care how good a recording is?
__________________

News, reviews, guitar lessons and

Victorgeiger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 08:46 PM   #2
soundgarden6742
Registered User
 
soundgarden6742's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
I'd like specific examples of these bands who "disregarded high quality recordings... and being musically correct"

And why do you have such a hard on for Joey Sturgis? Dude didn't just figure out a formula that makes things sound correct.

"If the band just recorded their instruments straight into the computer and mixed it down I know for a fact it will be horrible and I wont be able to listen to it."
Why?
soundgarden6742 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2014, 12:31 AM   #3
crazysam23_Atax
Burning away
 
crazysam23_Atax's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cal-eye-forn-ia
Quote:
Originally Posted by Victorgeiger
If the band just recorded their instruments straight into the computer and mixed it down I know for a fact it will be horrible and I wont be able to listen to it.

Huh, I guess you must hate all recordings from the last 15 years...
__________________
Tunes?

Bandcamp

Now working on my upcoming EP "Discarnate". See the expected track list on my bandcamp.



Terry Prachett is funnier than you! Discworld
crazysam23_Atax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2014, 02:51 AM   #4
jhalterman
Master Baiter
 
jhalterman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Illinois
I don't understand. At all.

Why would you try to clean up a track... that's a heavily distorted guitar? It's distorted. The point is heavy and loud at the expense of sounding neat (which is also an attribute). If a band member can't get a good sound without having to rely on mastering/editing, then they should figure that out before playing.

There is such thing as 'too clean', in my opinion. It's synonymous with "artificial", "squeaky clean", "overproduced", etc. This might be nice to listen to, but why take out the little things that make a song what it is? The sound of your hand sliding back up the neck of the guitar, the sound of a vocalist breathing in; they're part of the music.

Will I complain about a band being too clean? No, not unless it's noticeable and doesn't sound or feel natural. At the same time, I'd much rather a band rely less on computers and more on talent and having a good ear.
__________________
Heisenberg might have been here

I wouldn't be caught dead with a necrophiliac

I don't clean my room because I'm saving entropy the effort


Drugs may lead to nowhere, but at least it's the scenic route
jhalterman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2014, 05:46 AM   #5
flaaash
Registered User
 
flaaash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Actually over the last few years (I don't know what's gotten into me) I seem to have largely forsaken my grunge / rock roots and drifted towards more mellow, softer and crisp music. I'm still a huge Nirvana fan, however I'm getting more and more interested in bands with a more smooth sound and who take advantage of the studio world.

It's not that I like the manufactured sound of manufactured bands or artists, that's a whole different thing.
flaaash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2014, 05:52 AM   #6
MaggaraMarine
Slapping the bass.
 
MaggaraMarine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Finland
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhalterman
I don't understand. At all.

Why would you try to clean up a track... that's a heavily distorted guitar? It's distorted. The point is heavy and loud at the expense of sounding neat (which is also an attribute). If a band member can't get a good sound without having to rely on mastering/editing, then they should figure that out before playing.

There is such thing as 'too clean', in my opinion. It's synonymous with "artificial", "squeaky clean", "overproduced", etc. This might be nice to listen to, but why take out the little things that make a song what it is? The sound of your hand sliding back up the neck of the guitar, the sound of a vocalist breathing in; they're part of the music.

Will I complain about a band being too clean? No, not unless it's noticeable and doesn't sound or feel natural. At the same time, I'd much rather a band rely less on computers and more on talent and having a good ear.

I agree with this.

Some people prefer the sound of a vinyl record to the sound of a CD. I mean, you could say that CD sounds objectively "better" - it's clearer and doesn't have scratching noises and all that. But sometimes being clean and clear doesn't mean better. It depends on the music. For example if you recorded a punk song that was really produced and everything sounded perfect and clean, it wouldn't sound like punk any more. It would lose something. Punk is all about raw sound.

It just doesn't work for all songs. You need to make the sounds to match the songs. Yes, "overproduced sound" fits some songs. But some songs need a really raw sound. And it doesn't always sound good if you can hear every note and sound 100% clearly.

Also, about the computer thing. Have you ever heard of softwares like Cubase? People record with them all the time (they do cost but going to the studio costs a lot more). Everybody can record with decend sound quality at home. You can even find good sounding amp simulators for free in the internet. And if you want even better quality, it doesn't really cost that much.

__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Charvel So Cal
Ibanez Blazer
Digitech RP355
MXR Micro Chorus
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Hartke HyDrive 210c
MaggaraMarine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2014, 06:41 AM   #7
Jehannum
Registered Abuser
 
Jehannum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Birmingham, England
Quote:
Originally Posted by Victorgeiger
That being said I understand that there is a place in this world for all types of music but recently I have only been able to enjoy music that has been recorded like it is a pop song. The best bands I can give as examples are Asking Alexandria, I See Stars, Falling in Reverse and Issues.


That's fine, but it could be just a phase you're going through. Who's to say you won't get into more low-tech sounds later?

I've been failing miserably in getting into any new music at all; pop, metal, whatever. I'm sure part of it is the over-produced, shiny plastic sound that's so at odds to what I grew up with in the 80s (and the loudness war - but that's a different thread).

Take Kate Nash: Loved the video for Caroline's A Victim before she got a deal. Loved her live show. Hated the production on Made Of Bricks ... it just wasn't the same sound. Far too many layers, too many jangling high sounds, smoothness from compression. No vibe or energy.

In my opinion, this is how it should be: the band gets the very best sound they can, with everyone happy about their individual sound and the whole. Then, as accurately as possible, that same sound is recorded. It's an over-simplification, but a simple goal is a good thing to have in mind in pretty much any task you do or you risk losing the way.
Jehannum is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2014, 07:37 AM   #8
gtc83
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
It's a matter of taste I suppose, but personally I think all these amateur "raw" sounding recordings would be a whole lot better if they had the money to hire a professional producer to EQ everything perfectly and work all their other forms of magic with it. They can be quite subtle while retaining a raw sound if that's what you're after.
gtc83 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2014, 11:43 AM   #9
crazysam23_Atax
Burning away
 
crazysam23_Atax's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cal-eye-forn-ia
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jehannum
(and the loudness war - but that's a different thread).

Since you brought this up, read this article.

http://stereos.about.com/b/2014/02/...oudness-war.htm

Edit:
Yes, you need to read it again. Note the part about how it implies that the study is just a beginning. And until you can bring up actual scientific evidence to support your side, quit talking like you have proof of it "being an issue".
__________________
Tunes?

Bandcamp

Now working on my upcoming EP "Discarnate". See the expected track list on my bandcamp.



Terry Prachett is funnier than you! Discworld

Last edited by crazysam23_Atax : 05-29-2014 at 11:57 AM.
crazysam23_Atax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 07:11 AM   #10
Victorgeiger
Registered User
 
Victorgeiger's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundgarden6742
I'd like specific examples of these bands who "disregarded high quality recordings... and being musically correct"

And why do you have such a hard on for Joey Sturgis? Dude didn't just figure out a formula that makes things sound correct.

"If the band just recorded their instruments straight into the computer and mixed it down I know for a fact it will be horrible and I wont be able to listen to it."
Why?


Well pretty much the whole punk and metal genre is spotted with bands like this, I guess system of a down is a good example. There recordings sound meh at best but the music is freakin awesome. I personally would just enjoy the music more if things sounded more produced. fat hard snare hits, thumping kick drum, bass drops, chest shaking guitar.

But for SOAD, their album sounds pretty much like their live show, which is fine I guess but I believe a record should be the ultimate perfect version of the song because that is what people are going to listen to over and over again.

It's not that I am obsessed with Sturgis, He is just a really good example because I enjoy many of the bands he produces and he is very good at what he does. Some other producers have also really impressed me with their work but I don't know the names.

I have recorded myself for a couple years now and have always had a goal of producing a song that sounds like it comes out of a pro studio. Believe me when I say that learning how to do this is no easy task. It takes years of practice, studying, trial and error and I am still always learning more. Not to mention that you do require at least some decent equipment to record with as well.

My obsession with over-produced music is certainly making it more challenging but it also feel awesome to create a piece that may not sound very natural but certainly does sound helluva epic.
__________________

News, reviews, guitar lessons and

Victorgeiger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 07:33 AM   #11
Victorgeiger
Registered User
 
Victorgeiger's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jehannum
That's fine, but it could be just a phase you're going through. Who's to say you won't get into more low-tech sounds later?

I've been failing miserably in getting into any new music at all; pop, metal, whatever. I'm sure part of it is the over-produced, shiny plastic sound that's so at odds to what I grew up with in the 80s (and the loudness war - but that's a different thread).

In my opinion, this is how it should be: the band gets the very best sound they can, with everyone happy about their individual sound and the whole. Then, as accurately as possible, that same sound is recorded. It's an over-simplification, but a simple goal is a good thing to have in mind in pretty much any task you do or you risk losing the way.


I like what you said. Yes it would be ideal if the band does this and in most cases it is the right way to go about it but in some genres (post-hardcore/metalcore) the fact is that these bands sound pretty horrible, literally horrible. But they can compose good songs and good guitar riffs and the vocalist/screamer knows what he is doing for the most part, drummer is insignificant because his shit just get quantized and/or patched anyway.

It is up to a good producer to bring it all together. The producer adds the synths, the sparkles, the bass hits, the delay, the echo, the reverb, the pre-verb and many other little things that the band probably doesn't even have a clue about. I'm generalizing of coarse some of these bands do there own producing.

For the most part if I just miced up 2 guitars, the bass and stereo drums and vocals of one of these bands. Recorded it clean. added some eq and mixed it down to .mp3 it would sound crappy. The song would loss much of it's emotion and energy, it would also sound very different to the over-produced record. What I am saying is that the producer has become a member of the band, he didn't just record the band. He added something that wasn't there before that improves the overall performance.

The computer in a sense is becoming another instrument in the band. I have embraced it and rather enjoy it but similarly to a guitarist that ruins a song with overcomplicated 2 minute long jazz odysseys a producer can also ruin a song with over glitching or stuttering and other strange effects
__________________

News, reviews, guitar lessons and

Victorgeiger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 07:44 AM   #12
flaaash
Registered User
 
flaaash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
I dig how Strve Albini produces records
flaaash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 11:19 AM   #13
TV-Casualty
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
I had to listen to an Asking Alexandria track to understand what you're talking about, and I agree with you. The production sounds great. Very clean and crisp sounds. There's lots of space in the mix when the arrangement is sparse, which is kind of going against the grain in the world of extreme metal where the wall of sound rules. Then the arrangement gets denser the holes get filled up with synthesizers and things, cool.

I listened to 'Photograph' by Nickelback a couple days ago because someone mentioned something about the production, and I felt similarly about that track. Say what you will about the music itself, but it sounds great. Everything has it's own sonic space, tracks are well recorded, mix is great, etc. No rough edges. There's something really inspirational about hearing a production that clean.

At the end of the day though, it's all about the vibe that those in charge are after. I appreciate the sound of heavily produced pop music as well as the gritty, dirty, garage punk rock approach. Both (and everything in between) have their place.

As for computers ruining music, that's another can of worms. Music is easier than ever to produce now. Anyone with a computer and some basic software can make a track. In a way this is very cool and exciting, in another it's just flooding the internet airwaves with more and more crap that nobody wants to listen to.

For those who are serious about recording though, computers and technology are a huge blessing. It's possible to work, study, and learn at your own pace with the help of the internet. It's all right there for the taking.
__________________
My solo progressive rock project, Esosome:
https://esosome.bandcamp.com
TV-Casualty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 01:10 PM   #14
Of_Wolves
Silver Satellite Eyes
 
Of_Wolves's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: England!
I understand what you're saying, TS.

But I do find most pop producers take things way, way too far. The biggest offence for me is the over use of compression. It might just be me, having been trained to have a good ear for this kind of thing, but I find the typically high level of compression on these tracks to sound just awful. It's grating and clipped, like everyone's singing through five layers of sponge or something.

There's a difference between this kind of production, and good production. But I totally understand what they're trying to do. I've observed something in recent years. Here's a quick example:

You're in your car on a motorway. Lots of noise. You have two CDs to listen to. One is an alt rock affair with a producer who's looking to keep the music real. The second is a compilation album along the lines of the Now albums. It's very likely that you'll be able to hear every single part of the pop compilation album. The rock CD however, some part will get lost against the background noice of the road, you'll have to turn it up, or fiddle with the EQ (if your car stereo can do that), or something... if you care as much as I do.

This tells me something. Quite simply, pop music is mixed and mastered to be heard clearly and perfectly over standard quality radios. When do most of us hear that kind of music? In the car on the way to work, I'd hazard a guess.

In any other situation though, pop production sounds beyond fake to me. Car? Fine. Living room? Meh. Club? Sure, why not.

Now I think what you're talking about TS is the kind of producer who's learned they acoustic theory, knows where to put each instrument, how far forward or back in the mix they need to be to give that prized 3D effect and so on. Rather than the average pop producer...

I'm all for the producer being part of a record artistically. I think bands who ignore this possibility really are missing a trick. I just don't like producers who over quantize and and over compress and over... you get the idea.

Ideally though the band should know their sound (including reverb, chorus, etc.) before they head in to the studio. Engineers and producers can't work with a group who haven't a clue. It gets really quite difficult.

Last edited by Of_Wolves : 05-30-2014 at 01:14 PM.
Of_Wolves is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 01:28 PM   #15
crazysam23_Atax
Burning away
 
crazysam23_Atax's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cal-eye-forn-ia
Quote:
Originally Posted by Of_Wolves
Now I think what you're talking about TS is the kind of producer who's learned they acoustic theory, knows where to put each instrument, how far forward or back in the mix they need to be to give that prized 3D effect and so on. Rather than the average pop producer...

In all fairness, any pop producer worth their salt knows acoustic theory & everything else. It's just that pop music is 1) mixed in a different way than (using your example) an alt rock track AND 2) pop music tends to be focused mainly on the vocals and creating a good "dance"-like beat. So, basically, they mix and master so that the forefront of the recording is vocals and beat. Which is fine for clubs and top40 radio. Not so much for other situations.

Quote:
I'm all for the producer being part of a record artistically. I think bands who ignore this possibility really are missing a trick. I just don't like producers who over quantize and and over compress and over... you get the idea.

I agree with you on this.

A good example is Metallica's "Death Magnetic". (This is one of those CDs that made the ignorant scream about loudness wars, btw. That's all bunk.) The entire problem with this CD, in terms of sound...was too much compression. They put enough compression on it to fit a top40 rock station song. Now, while that's ok for top40 rock stations, it annoys the guy who bought the album for listening at home or on his portable music player. Too much compression is not something you can EQ or get better headphones or whatever...it's going to sound bad no matter what the listener does.

Quote:
Ideally though the band should know their sound (including reverb, chorus, etc.) before they head in to the studio. Engineers and producers can't work with a group who haven't a clue. It gets really quite difficult.

Yeah, I've a feeling that a lot of bands just walk into the studio with a vague idea. And then the producers and engineers just go with a basic pop approach, because they weren't given anything more specific.
__________________
Tunes?

Bandcamp

Now working on my upcoming EP "Discarnate". See the expected track list on my bandcamp.



Terry Prachett is funnier than you! Discworld
crazysam23_Atax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 06:54 PM   #16
Of_Wolves
Silver Satellite Eyes
 
Of_Wolves's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: England!
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazysam23_Atax
Yeah, I've a feeling that a lot of bands just walk into the studio with a vague idea. And then the producers and engineers just go with a basic pop approach, because they weren't given anything more specific.


I did some work experience once and saw it happen first hand.

Though, for the band in question, at least they brought the poor guy a couple of CDs of how they wanted their tracks mastered (Hell is For Heroes, if you're interested). He had something to go off, but you should have seen the eye rolling.

The lesson to be learned here is: Please, please, please, please have some idea of what your "sound" is before you get in the studio. It helps. It really, really helps. I'm not saying you need to forsake your "pure sound", and go all pedal mad, but at least figure out something about the tone you're shooting for.
Of_Wolves is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2014, 12:10 PM   #17
Victorgeiger
Registered User
 
Victorgeiger's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by TV-Casualty
I had to listen to an Asking Alexandria track to understand what you're talking about, and I agree with you. The production sounds great. Very clean and crisp sounds. There's lots of space in the mix when the arrangement is sparse, which is kind of going against the grain in the world of extreme metal where the wall of sound rules. Then the arrangement gets denser the holes get filled up with synthesizers and things, cool.

I listened to 'Photograph' by Nickelback a couple days ago because someone mentioned something about the production, and I felt similarly about that track. Say what you will about the music itself, but it sounds great. Everything has it's own sonic space, tracks are well recorded, mix is great, etc. No rough edges. There's something really inspirational about hearing a production that clean.

At the end of the day though, it's all about the vibe that those in charge are after. I appreciate the sound of heavily produced pop music as well as the gritty, dirty, garage punk rock approach. Both (and everything in between) have their place.

As for computers ruining music, that's another can of worms. Music is easier than ever to produce now. Anyone with a computer and some basic software can make a track. In a way this is very cool and exciting, in another it's just flooding the internet airwaves with more and more crap that nobody wants to listen to.

For those who are serious about recording though, computers and technology are a huge blessing. It's possible to work, study, and learn at your own pace with the help of the internet. It's all right there for the taking.


Thanks for the reply, I took a listen to Nicklebacks Photograph and agree with you there to. It is a really solid mix. Everything is forward in the Mix but everything has it's own space. I even took a listen to one of there newer songs and found that the mix didn't sound as alive and dynamic as photographs. its more a straight rock mix. Which is cool to. It is interesting to see the approaches that different groups and producers take.

I think you guys are so right about banding needing to have an idea of their sound before they come into the studio. I have had the exhausting pleasure of never working with a band that had serious studio experience. Their sounds all consisted only of what was coming out of their amps and they had no idea of any music or audio theory. I am quite sure topics like compression and EQ get quickly lost on them so I would have to build their "sound" for them. Yes it induces some eye rolling but it is also good experience to have.
__________________

News, reviews, guitar lessons and

Victorgeiger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2014, 03:49 PM   #18
Hail
kill both bass players
 
Hail's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Dallas
just listen to periphery and tesseract and the millions of prog metal bands post-mathcore

joey sturgis uses POD farm and i can't stand his nasty guitar tones. at least he's better than michael keene but not by a whole hell of a lot
Hail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2014, 03:49 PM   #19
jhalterman
Master Baiter
 
jhalterman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Illinois
So, if a band sounds the same live as they do on a studio recording, that's attributed more to it being 'under'-produced rather than them having dialed in a really, really good sound?

I don't know. It may seem ignorant of me because I don't know much about producing or live music, but to do something in the studio that you can't in a live setting has always been cause for debate in my head...
__________________
Heisenberg might have been here

I wouldn't be caught dead with a necrophiliac

I don't clean my room because I'm saving entropy the effort


Drugs may lead to nowhere, but at least it's the scenic route
jhalterman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2014, 04:30 AM   #20
Victorgeiger
Registered User
 
Victorgeiger's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhalterman
So, if a band sounds the same live as they do on a studio recording, that's attributed more to it being 'under'-produced rather than them having dialed in a really, really good sound?

I don't know. It may seem ignorant of me because I don't know much about producing or live music, but to do something in the studio that you can't in a live setting has always been cause for debate in my head...


No I wouldn't say that if an album sounds the same as a live show then it is under-produced. To get a studio recording to sound like the live show is a challenge in it's self. But I think whether the band in question does a good live performance or not is something to consider.

The sad truth is that in most cases post and metal bands don't sound that great live. They sound awesome yes, very powerful wall of sound that gets you excited to mosh and break shit. But if you listen carefully you will hear it doesn't sound "good", you wouldn't be able to listen to it in headphones all day.

And that is where the producer comes in again. Audio waves behave differently through different speakers. What sounds good out of a massive Marshall guitar stack might not sound good through a car sound system. The producer need to find the balance where the song sounds good through all speakers and that requires some in depth knowledge about how digital audio, acoustic audio and sound waves work.
__________________

News, reviews, guitar lessons and

Victorgeiger is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:07 AM.

Forum Archives / About / Terms of Use / Advertise / Contact / Ultimate-Guitar.Com © 2014
Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.