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#1
I was reading an interview with the great producer/engineer Bob Clearmountain. I love this quote and agree with all of it. Thought I'd share it.

“All this gear we have today certainly doesn't make the music any better. It doesn't make the records better; it's just that the process of making them becomes easier. And that brings up the situation where you've now got a lot of people out there making records, just because they can, and I think that has hurt the business a lot. Years ago, records were made by musicians, and singers who could sing and producers who knew how to produce records. Nowadays pretty much anybody can throw together something in their front room using a bunch of loops from other people's records - records made by people who actually did know what they were doing - and it'll sound kinda like a record. I take big issue with this. Whatever happened to records made by real recording artists? People with talent that actually have something to say? Before I got into this business, when I was listening to records there would always be certain ones that just sounded like people were having a great time in the studio. It just sounded like something was really happening when this went down, and it really made you want to be there. It was so exciting you could feel it coming out of the speakers. And that's the reason I got into the business. I wanted to be there when that was happening. But now you get some guy taking loops off a CD and taking samples off this and that and sitting there with a keyboard and a programmer. Where is the excitement in that? They might have this great groove that you can dance too, but there will never be the same kind of feeling in that record. Go and listen to pretty much any Motown record, listen to The Beatles, listen to The Stones, and you can feel the session. We need to get back to that, where it's not just a product that's all about making money."
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#2
Music today is better than ever and the Beatles and Stones had some garbage records.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#3
Quote by theogonia777
Music today is better than ever and the Beatles and Stones had some garbage records.


Is today's music that underground death metal shit I was missing out on?
#4
Quote by supertom1
Is today's music that underground death metal shit I was missing out on?


Probably.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#5
Sound quality's better, but nobody plays with dynamics anymore so its 50/50.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#6
Quote by Jet Penguin
Sound quality's better, but nobody plays with dynamics anymore so its 50/50.


Dynamics are kind of annoying sometimes, especially when you are a DJ.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#7
Quote by Jet Penguin
Sound quality's better, but nobody plays with dynamics anymore so its 50/50.


Ya'll cats shoulda listened to Barry Harris and this shit wouldn't had happened.
#9
This is just a classic "old guy complains things aren't what they used to be get off my lawn etc etc etc."

He raises no points that are good. Recorded music sounds better now than ever. End of story.

Also after actually reading the quote I realize now that he's not talking about recording quality he's lamenting the rise of diy and electronic music which is extra stupid.
#10
to me, it honestly just sounds like he's oversimplifying things because he'd like to cling to the misconception that "they don't make 'em like they used to" magically means new music equates to bad music. accessibility goes both ways. sure we've got lots of tools for shitty artists to make shitty records, but we also have those same tools available for people who genuinely want to learn and otherwise may not have had the resources to get practice and exposure. i don't know where he'd get the impression that music today is limited to "some guy taking loops off a cd", since again many of the people who have these tools available and the desire to learn are the ones immersing themselves in synthesis and production techniques to make better music. if he's distilling entire eras of music down to "EVERY RECORD BACK THEN WAS MADE DURING MAGICAL STUDIO SESSIONS BY INCREDIBLE MUSICIANS, WHEREAS EVERYTHING TODAY IS MADE BY SOME GUY GLUING LOOPS AND SAMPLES TOGETHER", there's really no chance for a cogent argument

i can't believe he'd actually be under the impression that everyone making music back then was really talented, too, but as with his entire argument, it falls under generational differences and what was considered the standard for professional musicians of that time. if i wanted to hear a neil young solo, i could treat myself to the same sounds by staking out the local music shop and watching children attempt to learn the guitar.

finally there's the consideration that anyone who says "there will never be the same kind of feeling in that record" has kicked their own argument in the nuts right from the start
Last edited by :-D at Jun 24, 2015,
#11
Maybe too polished sounds are not the best, and that's why the recordings lack the "feeling". It may also do with the fact that people used to pretty much record live and used fewer overdubs. Today it's common to use click track and record the song in parts. That may also contribute to the "lack of feeling", and also the fact that there's less dynamics in music and everything sounds loud and full. Sound quality is of course better, but are too polished sounds necessarily a good thing, I don't know.

But yeah, I agree with the guys here. It seems like he's just some old guy that complains about things that are not like they used to be. I think it's just a good thing that recording music has become easier and cheaper.
Quote by AlanHB
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#12
Sound quality is better for sure, i would have loved to have the quality of todays music on some of my older records (Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian records etc). That's all i have to say regarding the subject, rest of the discussions here come down to preference and apples and oranges.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#13
Nostalgia goggles. He only thinks everyone was talented back then because we aren't still listening to the crap (90% of everything is crap) from then; it didn't stand the test of time.

My only gripe with some modern recording (I'm looking at you heavy metal) is that everything is compressed to hell and there's no dynamics. When your FFF and your PPP are the same volume, you have an issue.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#14
Quote by Jet Penguin

My only gripe with some modern recording (I'm looking at you heavy metal) is that everything is compressed to hell and there's no dynamics. When your FFF and your PPP are the same volume, you have an issue.


Agreed. One of the reasons i haven't been checking as much coming out of the metal scene lately is because i can't stand some of the mixes they use. I might still enjoy the songs but some producers (*cough*Rick Rubin*cough*) have a way of ruining records.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#15
^Ugh, Rick Rubin is the reason I don't listen to De-Loused anywhere as often as I'd like.

But seriously, the days where a rock group with an average producer could put dynamism like this on record are a relic of a bygone age.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In2fRySroH8

If have that on CD and that track on through good speakers...whew. The crescendo in the bass is insane.

Now it's just all compressed forever. Sigh.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#16
In my day...BLAH BLAH BLAH.

What the hell is up with old guys? Do they constantly forget to take off their nostalgia glasses, put in their hearing aids, etc.? Seriously, man.
#17
Quote by Jet Penguin
^Ugh, Rick Rubin is the reason I don't listen to De-Loused anywhere as often as I'd like.

But seriously, the days where a rock group with an average producer could put dynamism like this on record are a relic of a bygone age.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In2fRySroH8

If have that on CD and that track on through good speakers...whew. The crescendo in the bass is insane.

Now it's just all compressed forever. Sigh.



One of the most fun bass tunes ever
#18
I certainly agree about the number of people that can make music, and the fact that has the effect of a huge quantity of poor music exists, and all these people that think music is luck, and su all they need is exposure, so they're going around telling everyone, "listen to me, listen to me!".

I personally hate that, and I find it dilutes the good stuff, and makes it harder to find.

But the new technology has also enabled some creative artists to make music in a different way, with very awesome tools, and create sort of sonic sculptures, that was never possible before.

They are different things. But I agree that production is more of a slow thing, it is not a live and vibrant magical thing, really. It is a slow and deliberate construction. But the end result is still cool. It's just cool in a different way.

Anybody who thinks people like the Beatles or other great bands from the past aren't any good, are people that have no idea what they're talking about.

Great musical talent manifests itself differently, there are different ways to be great musically, and times change, and technology changes but that doesn't make people from the past less great.

I personally really like the dynamic of real instruments. I like that it is not something anyone can do easily. There is no snap to grid, no quantize, no pitch shift, no time stretch. If you want to play it, you need to move your body perfectly in time. Literally anybody could make music on a computer. But that doesn't mean that literally anybody could make GOOD music on a computer. It just means there's a lot of poor music out there now.

There is also something really cool with the freedom one has when they are in control of an instrument. With an instrument you have full control of dynamics, and vibrato, subtle things like bends, and not so subtle things like choosing any pitch to be played at any time.

This is a freedom that doesn't exist on the computer. On the computer a lot of things can take some time to program. It is a refined thing, it is more planned and precise. But real instruments have direct access to any whim and desire the musician has. It is more organic that way, there is more magic there. I can do something subtle which affects you to do something subtle, and we could breakout into a jam or something. It is so powerful.

That's why I much prefer guitar over a computer. On a computer I spend too much time shaping a sound, using compressors, EQs, envelopes, looking through libraries, tweaking sounds, messing with reverb, EQing reverb etcetera. If I want violins to slowing blend in and swell in a particular way, I have to go in and draw all of that. If It was a real instrument I was playing, I would think and feel exactly how I want the swell to be, and it would be exactly that, with such perfect control, that doesn't need to be snapped to grid, or carefully drawn out.

Just straight feel to execution. I love that. There is something so great about music like that. There is something cool, to me, about just taking my piece of wood with strings attached, and making music with it. Such a simple device. Right? It's just a piece of wood with 6 strings on it. And yet it is not simple to use. Not simple to make great music with it. It's actually not easy to make music point blank. I love that.

On a computer, you could watch one YouTube video and in a couple hours, of mixing shit together you could have a tune. There are happy accident plugins to help you out also.

But productions are cool also, they are cool in their own right, in a different way, and the guys that make great productions are greatly talented as well.

Anyone that says though, that the great musicians of the past made poor music, have no idea what they're talking about. I mean, it's really childish and near sighted, imo. You know, there is the opposite camp as well, that says that new music is easy because it is simple, if you analyze it theoretically, most of the time, and because they think computers do everything for you.

But the reality is, that the great musicians and producers will generally rise to the top. There is competition in all things and people figure out how to get the best out of their tools. There is talent in both aspects.

But there is a magic you can get out of real instruments, that you can't get from a sterile computer creation. Just like there is a level of precision, and deliberate, and planned craftsmanship that you can get out of production, that you could never get in a live instrument situation.

They are different things, each with pluses and minuses. And each with extreme talents that others looked up to and admired, as they accomplished where others could not. They did things others couldn't do. Whether it is Jimi Hendrix and his solos and use of distortion, or the Beatles with their songwriting, or John Williams with his scores, or Max Martin, or deadmou5 or Aphex twin with their productions.

And in the future there will be new ways to make music, and a new generation scoffing at the fogies that stand by what is modern today.
#19
Quote by theogonia777
Dynamics are kind of annoying sometimes, especially when you are a DJ.


Dynamics are one of the most important elements in music. DJs arent exactly real musicians anyway.
radiantmoon is the toughest person I know. He inflects a sense of impending doom upon any who look upon his stone-chiseled face. The children run out of fear, while the men run for they know that the stories are true.
#20
Quote by theogonia777
Music today is better than ever and the Beatles and Stones had some garbage records.


Music is better today according to who?
radiantmoon is the toughest person I know. He inflects a sense of impending doom upon any who look upon his stone-chiseled face. The children run out of fear, while the men run for they know that the stories are true.
#22
Quote by radiantmoon
Dynamics are one of the most important elements in music. DJs arent exactly real musicians anyway.


I'm guessing that you don't actually know anything about DJing. If DJs aren't musicians, neither are conductors. Since that's basically what DJing is, albeit with turntables instead of an orchestra. What, do you think DJs just open up iTunes and hit play?

Quote by radiantmoon
Music is better today according to who?


Everyone that isn't a nostalgic, sentimental oldie or teenager that thinks they were born in the wrong era.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Last edited by theogonia777 at Jun 24, 2015,
#23
Quote by radiantmoon
DJs arent exactly real musicians anyway.

hey man great opinion

careful though, if that fedora tips any more sharply it's bound to fall right off
#24
There are still great musicians writing and recording epic music today. The problem is that there are thousands of no-talents recording tepid music that no one wants to hear cluttering up all the sonic space. The signal to noise ratio in recorded music is at an all time low because there are no barriers to entry. No dues to be paid. No one needs to captivate an audience anymore. All you need is $10k and some half-ass songs and you too can record a CD that no one will listen to. Eeesh!

Give me some theme, some melody, and someone who can sing without Autotune please. If they can captivate a live audience, their recorded music will probably sell.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#25
Quote by theogonia777
I'm guessing that you don't actually know anything about DJing. If DJs aren't musicians, neither are conductors. Since that's basically what DJing is, albeit with turntables instead of an orchestra. What, do you think DJs just open up iTunes and hit play?


Everyone that isn't a nostalgic, sentimental oldie or teenager that thinks they were born in the wrong era.



Music doesn't just become terrible because the date on the calender changes. Do you only enjoy music that was made in 2015? Only trend hoppers change their taste in music to follow the crowd. Good music is whatever moves you emotionally, when it was recorded is completely irrelevant. Who made you the judge in what qualifies as good music?
radiantmoon is the toughest person I know. He inflects a sense of impending doom upon any who look upon his stone-chiseled face. The children run out of fear, while the men run for they know that the stories are true.
#26
Quote by radiantmoon
Who made you the judge in what qualifies as good music?


Zach.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#27
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
whom


So you think that people who think new music sucks are old fogeys while arguing in favour of a word in English which some experts argue is an anachronism?

Regarding the original question, I'm not sure. I don't want standards to drop, but at the same time democratisation of anything is normally a good thing so it's not a closed shop.

if by whiskey...
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#28
Quote by Cajundaddy
There are still great musicians writing and recording epic music today. The problem is that there are thousands of no-talents recording tepid music that no one wants to hear cluttering up all the sonic space. The signal to noise ratio in recorded music is at an all time low because there are no barriers to entry. No dues to be paid. No one needs to captivate an audience anymore. All you need is $10k and some half-ass songs and you too can record a CD that no one will listen to. Eeesh!

as i mentioned though, there's another side to that coin: because tools and educational resources are so freely accessible, we now have plenty of capable musicians willing to put in effort to learn who otherwise may not have had the chance. to me, that's worth (at least to some degree) the immense amount of terrible releases.

i also would still say that in order to be successful, there are dues to be paid. there are none for simply releasing an album, sure, but basically all of those bad releases go completely ignored. no dues paid but no success, and maybe the artist felt good about accomplishing something and putting out an album, so who really cares in the end? sure it clutters up the landscape a bit, but i think people are placing way too much emphasis on this specific part of the modern industry
#30
Quote by Dave_Mc
So you think that people who think new music sucks are old fogeys while arguing in favour of a word in English which some experts argue is an anachronism?


I gave him the authority to judge grammar.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#31
It's a tough topic and my thoughts are split.

  • Grandpa's excuse for not making it: We were talented enough but never got our big break and never got signed so we never made a record and never got heard by a big enough audience (Their problem: how do I get the record companies to listen to US over everyone else)
  • Grandson's excuse for not making it: We are talented enough but it's so easy to make good sounding records that everyone is doing it and with so much crap out there no one sifts through the sand to find the diamond that we are: (Today's problem: How do we get the world to listen to US over everyone else)
  • My thoughts: if you make dynamite music, it will explode
  • On the other hand some artists are before their time and despite great talent genuinely don't get heard
  • The overlooked talent of grandpa's day will never have the chance for redemption because they never got their record made
  • The low barriers into recording today means the overlooked talent today might get noticed in 20 years
  • on the other hand because it never goes away and is always out there then in 20 years the ocean that so many are complaining about today will only get bigger!!


So I really don't know. I haven't really thought it through in a lot of detail. My initial opinion after reading the part of the interview in the opening post: the guy is just moaning that his expertise is not in as high a demand or as highly specialized as it once was... They took our jobs!!!

Cajundaddy - $10k to make a CD????? The minimum is the cost of a computer. Unless you can use someone else's then it's $0.

If you are an instrumentalist or singer then you need a mic and an interface so the cost of a computer plus an interface and a mic...call it $1200. DAWs can be had free. If you pay for a good one then a few hundred more than that. $2k and you're well in business.

And who buys CDs anyway. The internet allows you to get your songs out there to a worldwide audience and even sell them without every making a CD.
Si
#32
Quote by 20Tigers


And who buys CDs anyway. The internet allows you to get your songs out there to a worldwide audience and even sell them without every making a CD.


I buy them.

As for on topic, modern rock sucks ballz. Most of the bands (queens of the stone age is an example) mostly just whack straight eight/sixteenth chords. No rhythmic variation.
#34
$10k is definitely way high even if you are getting something done professionally. Since I'm an hour and change from NYC, there are like... a lot of studios within a two hour distance that have recorded gold and platinum records, and a number of them are 50-100 an hour. So at 100 an hour, you would have to spend 100 hours in the studio to hit 10k. And that means that you're spending like 10 hours per track, which is indicative that you probably are wasting time writing/producing in the studio or are unable to record the parts in a reasonable amount of time.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#35
+1000 to 20T.

If everyone worked on their craft, remembered to have an open mind when listening, or actually enjoyed more music even HALF as much as they pissed and moaned about other people's art and shot them down for having anything that even resembled an independent opinion, the world would be a better place, mostly because this thread wouldn't exist.

Keep working on your craft, make the noises you love, and grow up. You have literally zero authority on whether or not someone's art or preferred art is good or not. Only whether or not you like it. And no, they aren't the same thing.

^And I'm actually going to agree with our sarcastic bluegrass apologist for once and say that if your recording time for an album is above the length of the album, you're doing it wrong. Do the arrangements and learn how to play the music before you go in and waste everyone's time.

Or don't, and keep complaining about how electronic music is ruining everything and hold on to your faux-nostalgia for an not only era most of us weren't even part of, but an inefficient era for music making at that.

/rantover, but we get these verbal back and forth's every day and it's so pointless.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#36
Well to be fair if you are using a pro studio to make a song then yes $100 per hour for the studio time is probably about right.

If you're going that route though then $10k is a pretty low budget.

The thing with the DIY job in your front living room is that you can do it all yourself because you can do it at your own pace, you can learn and tweak and fiddle with the equipment and effects for months on end trying to get it sounding right. And apart from the upfront cost of the equipment the ongoing cost is only time.

You can't be doing that in a pro studio. So you need someone that knows what they are doing and can do in an hour what might take you a week.

You don't want all the potential benefit of a pro studio to go to waste either, so you don't want an amateur behind the desk. So that's another $100+ per hour for a pro sound engineer. And you'll need to sit down with them beforehand and brief them on what you want.

They will need to prep the studio and set everything up beforehand and even if you're not in the studio for that you still have to pay for the studio's time and the engineers time.

You might have enough spark and strong enough communication skills to self produce, but that requires hours of studio time with the engineer after the recording is done, editing, mixing, tweaking, and adding effects, mixing some more.

Mastering is a cost on top of that again.

So it's not like a 10k budget would be from 100 hours of playing music in a $100 per hour studio that will bring your cost up to $10k. It might be 10 hours of recorded playing plus 30 hours of planning, set up, tracking, editing, mixing, post production, and mastering that will take you up to $10k.

You still don't have a CD either, so you have to pay for them to get pressed.

It is possible however, to make a pro sounding record on your computer at home with a minimum of basic gear. The big difference is the cost of time. At home you can take more time to get up to scratch on how to get the best sound out of the gear you have.

And the outlay for the recording gear can be used over and over again to make more and more recordings. The more time you spend doing it the better and more efficient you'll get producing better recordings in a shorter time.


The cost structures are very different.
Si
#37
I would like to thank 20T for including the rational part that DIY-Jet omitted from his fiery ramble.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#38
lol - I posted that before I saw your post. Your sentiment is definitely in the right place. But it's just not realistic.

For reference here are some well known pro albums that are regarded as having been recorded very quickly:
  • The Doors debut album took six days to record.
  • Led Zeppelin I took around 30 hours.
  • The Beatles took 13 hours for their debut album.
  • The Velvet Underground recorded one of their albums in two days.
  • Black Sabbath recorded their debut album in a day and mixed it the next day.


Note that many of these are debut albums. The bands are recording songs that they have spent probably the last year or more playing together live four, five, or even eight days a week. They are well rehearsed when they went in.

So you are definitely right that if you want to record something great in a short amount of time then you need to be very well prepared, have your arrangements settled, and be well rehearsed.
Si
#39
I suppose, the jazz guy in my believes everyone should be able to pull a Miles Davis and cut 4 LP's in one day.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#40
^Did he really?

Damn!!!

EDIT (I read he did four lps in one year but it was all done in just two sessions) but even that is pretty damned impressive.

But then that's Miles Davis. For us mere mortals...
Si
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