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  • What is a "great recording/production"?

    I'm not confused or unsure regarding so-called great recording because I strongly believe "great recording" is highly subjective and it's only justifiable to the person listening to the recordings.

    When you listen to songs recorded today, there is a huge difference regarding sound quality, recording strategy and performance from what was recorded years ago. Most hit songs today are made with only "finger tips."

    So when is a recording a great recording, just an FYI, just because a record didn't make number one, that doesn't mean it's not a great "recording."
    But I like to get your views on what is a great sound, recording or production.

    Lets look at it from the ears of the everyday music listeners who knows nothing about compression or that the musicians used a 1 million dollar SSL console.

    What constitute a great recording/production?
    Your album was mixed by Bruce Swedien, produced by Baby Face, David Foster, Walter Afanasieff and Jammy Jam/Terry Louis.
    My album was mixed by Dr. Basement "nobody" Spider, produced by DJ. Milk Shake.

    But my album sold 5 million copies, yours sold 4 hundred thousand.
    So who has a better recording/production?

    Your views, please.

    AI
    If you stand for nothing your life becomes meaningless. The world and everything you have today exist because people before you stood up, worked hard and died to provide us all the opportunity. Get involved!

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  • #2
    Lets look at it from the ears of the everyday music listeners who knows nothing about compression or that the musicians used a 1 million dollar SSL console.

    What constitute a great recording/production?


    From that perspective, the big question is "can you hum along with the melody?"
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    • #3
      A good majority of Pop music today are simply demo's that get released to the public. There is a big absence of microphones and real spaces to record in.

      There are "Engineers" who are "Engineers" .... then there are
      "Musicians" who try to engineer the best they can, usually relying on templates and snapshots and have never tweeked a single parameter inside of the box.

      Music sounds small because of this. Put on Rush "Moving Pictures" or Michael Jackson "Bad" or "Dangerous", Yes "Big Generator," put on a Doobie Brothers record etc. Bigger sounding because of more microphones in the hands of engineers who know how to use them.

      There's a lot of talk in Nashville lately of the new trend to be getting back to using real studios once again???

      I sure LOve music though, ain't nothing else like it.

      Russ
      Nashville
      "In Order To Predict The Future .... Create It"

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      • #4
        Having something of worth to record.

        Without that, you only have a recording. With it... you have greatness bottled and ready to be enjoyed anytime by music lovers.

        Great binding doesn't make great books.

        Great recordings are made way before a mic is even opened up and tape/disc rolls. Months and sometimes even years before.
        __________
        Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
        Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
        Jesus

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        • #5
          Now that you've got something GREAT to record...

          Dark Side of the Moon
          Marvin's Ain't that Peculiar
          Respect Yourself by the Staples
          Memphis by Chuck Berry
          I Want to Hold Your Hand
          Bridge Over Troubled Water

          These were all recordings that brought light to the inherent greatness of the work itself. The music. The beautiful engineering on each of the above records didn't make them great. They added depth and clarity or size and girth or grease or shine or grit... they added "rightness". But they weren't the greatness itself. They sure as hell didn't f%^& up the greatness either. They brought it to light.

          Great recordings contain great music and they highlight that in a beautiful way.
          __________
          Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
          Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
          Jesus

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          • #6
            To me, it's quite simple-

            A great recording is a transcending experience, PERIOD.

            It's more than that bigger than life sound of Big Generator, Moving Pictures, etc...although I'm a HUGE fan of those recordings.
            It's more than a songwriter with something to say.
            It's when the theme, the performance(s) & the details of the production come together like magic to capture that moment in time...and capture it in a way that simply enraptures the listener.

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            • #7
              My ideas of a great production/recording?

              • supreme attention to detail
              • a kind of "invisibility of hand" that lets the performances shine through
              • A kind of "seamlessness" of performance/instrumentation/dynamics/tempo, etc. so the record is one seamless "Gesamtkunstwerk", as the Germans say...[Stan Applebaum, Richard Carpenter and Burt Bacharach were the masters of this kind of seamlessness in a pop record]
              • A real ear for what genuine emotional excitement is, and conversely, a hairtrigger sense of what "listener boredom" is (and how to immediately steer away from it the instant it might creep in)
              • A childish-- or rather, childlike--- ability to take primitive, primal fun in rhythm and melody.
              • SUBLIMINALS!! This is big in my book. I don't mean embedded commands ... rather I mean the ability to "ghost" various sonorities in the mix such that they are "felt" not "heard".
              • Melodic counterpoint--- even simple snippets of it--- is a big, big plus in my book--- regardless of the musical genre. [Let's face it: George Martin MADE The Beatles, I don't care what anyone says...]
              • A great producer/engineer team understands that, with EQ, any instrument/voice can be tweaked to show off whatever band of frequencies they desire... sound is putty in their hands...
              • Since the advent of stereo, your best producers also are great VISUALIZERS, and can actually arrange sound in ways which suggest location and motion in a visual field. A great producer can think in 2D and 3D.... along the X,Y and Z of the stereo image.
              • A great producer can envision a future for an act's song.... He can think of a hip/novel/chic/stylish way to present what the artist is trying to say... [The Beatles' song "Taxman" is just an interesting little rock song... But Geoff Emerick and George Martin gave it that weird, flat, metallic, gated sound that is forever embedded in our memory...]
              • A great producer/engineer team simply cannot know ENOUGH musical theory... [This was one of the great pluses of the Berklee School system: nobody, no matter how "techie", opts out of musical theory study...]
              • Psssst.... A great producer thinks not in terms of individual instruments.... but in "choirs", ie., groups of instruments or groups of voices.... and the overall feeling each choir is contributing to the mix... This was Phil Spector's and Nelson Riddle's genius...
              • Lastly... an incomparable gift? A producer understands human brainwave frequencies, measured in Hertz, or beats-per-second: Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta.
              Every paint-stroke takes you farther and farther away from your initial concept. And you have to be thankful for that. Wayne Thiebaud


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              • #8
                I'm not confused or unsure regarding so-called great recording because I strongly believe "great recording" is highly subjective and it's only justifiable to the person listening to the recordings.


                ...and that should about wrap it up

                To me, the production should accent the act much in the same way clothes can make the person wearing it look better or worse....The trick is to find "the little black dress" that makes every chick loook hawt!

                (This is mostly from the 90s, as I hardly engineer/produce for other people anymore)
                What I may overproduce for one act I may leave raw for another...it depends, really......Choice of microphones, specs, and placement are never 'the textbook science' for me but rather what works well for what artist/musicians.............
                "Many (bands)have retooled with that marketing concept in mind without understanding that the party experience is supposed to be for the audience and NOT themselves" - wheresgrant3

                Still HCBF's reigning "Sexiest Forumite"....Dont hate me because Im beautiful

                DRF On MySpace

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                • #9
                  Here's my 2 cents:

                  If you can stand to listen to it 2 years later, it's good.

                  If you seek it out to listen to it 10 year later, it's great.

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                  • #10
                    Here's my 2 cents:

                    If you can stand to listen to it 2 years later, it's good.

                    If you seek it out to listen to it 10 year later, it's great.


                    To me, that's more of a definition of great music, not necessarily a great recording.

                    I suppose it all depends. "Exile On Main Street" doesn't sound all that great technically, but obviously, it withstands the test of time overall. I mean, those are great songs, and on one level, the recording is great because it captures the debauchery and vibe...but on a purely technical level, it's not really all that great sounding. Obviously, I don't care...I like those songs, but you know what I'm trying to say...
                    Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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                    • #11
                      If we're just talking about recordings...

                      Capturing the tone and vibe of the musicians, evoking a specific sense or world, enhancing the emotional and artistic statement of a song in the greatest possible manner, and understanding how to capture greatness.

                      Obviously, as others have pointed out, if you don't have much to start with, the chances of a great recording become minimal...
                      Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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                      • #12
                        Four Seasons
                        http://www.ameranouche.com/
                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thl46...eature=related

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                        • #13
                          In my experience: alcohol.

                          The more I drink, the better my production sounds.
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                          • #14
                            In my experience: alcohol.

                            The more I drink, the better my production sounds.


                            Now, if only we could get *everyone* drunk, your stuff would rule the world!!
                            Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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                            • #15
                              To me, that's more of a definition of great music, not necessarily a great recording.


                              +1
                              "Many (bands)have retooled with that marketing concept in mind without understanding that the party experience is supposed to be for the audience and NOT themselves" - wheresgrant3

                              Still HCBF's reigning "Sexiest Forumite"....Dont hate me because Im beautiful

                              DRF On MySpace

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