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Dilemma - Mixing mastering results of EQ?


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Sorry guys but this is going to be an opinionated rant between everyone who wants to join in. If we currently have Sonic perfection what is its future?

 

What I'm trying to say is that in terms of recording quality, audio recording has already reached its pinnacle in terms of quality. This idea is based upon the amount of perceivable different between quality levels currently achievable. As what I'm referring too is digital mediums it could be said that I'm completely disregarding analogue mediums such as tape. But as i'm basing this idea upon the fact that tape colour's sound and the digital medium cannot add colour, the most accurate reproduction of a recorded sound must be that of digital.

 

The point i am trying to get too is that if we have reached a point where we can record over four times higher than we can perceive what would be the point of recording over 96khz. Now im going to get some replys refering to Nyquists theorem. I understand what happens in a ADC DAC and the fact information is lost but the point i am trying to raise is that we have reached a pinnacle in recording mediums. In this day of age perfect mix's are now being achieved, i say this in a reflection to popular music album sales and their ability to resell to new generations over prolonged periods of time. Please don't take these opinions as fact i do not mean to offend or generalize the entire human race. Music does follow trends and as such their will never be anything close to a perfect music piece.

 

But in terms of audio technologies evolution over the last 60 years it has reached a perfection. What im really wondering is what is recording/masterings future is? mastering cannot really improve because its already at a standard i would call perfect in its processes related to the digital medium and the same in recording. I am not refering to improving the medium consumers buy such as DVD CD ect. Im refering to the digital audio format .wav or any other digital format that is loss-less and has high resolution. So as i know we could all start buying and selling 96khz 24bit mix's as as-posed to red book CD quality but what i am getting too is their isn't anything more to achieve.

 

What will mix's and masters sound like in 50 year's time and will they detract from reaching the perfect sonic master matching the curves of our ears .... or carry on as is?

 

Mybe this is unnecessary but its scary to think their wont be any more major changes in audio format's or processes.

 

Hope this was a Good read and i hope everyone can leave their own mark on this topic. Many thanks WeeMan

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yes, very interesting thoughts. And I agree with all of it. Do we REALLY NEED 128bit/192k when dynamics and EQ are being crushed into a size fitting EASILY into 16/44.1? I've pondered this question about peaking on other fronts too: Motorcycle speed, computers, TVs... I think TVs are a good example. First they showed a picture, and it was good. Then suddenly 50 years later, they reinvented it and now it is perfect [well almost] but NOW there are 300 varieties of that perfection instead of just 4.

 

I see audio the same way, now that it has advanced to perfection [for the most part] there is lots of lateral room to grow and/or regress. Maybe the whole quality and dynamics thing will come back now that DVD audio boasts higher rates. Maybe everyone will get tired of overproduced, completely compressed sound and start reaching for a more simplistical 3 and 4 piece live band jam sound. Maybe there will be more R&D in psycho-acoustics where the sound seems to travel up and down or way behind you. I'm on the fence right now about releasing TWO sets of everything: one mix commercially crunched, and one mix left at full dynamic range boasting a marker claiming "Studio Dynamic Range". Heck, I still might.

But things go in cycles in life, and around and around they go. Like clothing styles and haircuts. There will probably be a big surge of acoustical stuff as rap is finally dieing off, they maybe back to rock, then some punk/disco dance thing, then techno again, and back to gummy bear pop.

 

Personally, I am combating the perfection bordem by inventing fresh ways of doing things, and trying more different directions in song writing and production to please myself. And it is a lot of fun!

 

The funny thing about perfect digital, at least to me, is that NOW we got it SO PERFECTLY CLEAR, we have work on purpose to gum it up to make it sound interesting again: record to tape first, distorters and saturator plugins, use tube pre-amps... here we worked so hard to get a clean signal down and now the only thing we want to do it smudge it up a lot. :) Go figure.

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Great thread idea!

 

I agree with what WWWJD says above, we got it all clear and now we want to mess it up again. I always feel that there's a grittiness I hear in the room when playing and we seldom manage to get it to digital, does happen occasionally but for the most part I'd 'ideally' still like to use analogue as part of the process, as I'll never escape the fact that my favourite records were made on analogue equipment.

 

As far as mastering goes I'm sure they'll be trends like always, as a hit record is made with one (not necessarily 'new') technique the market will chase it until it runs out of steam and then move on to the next thing. I can;t be bothered with having loads of formats though, all this SACD and stuff, it kind of annoys me.

 

Not as much as the idea of Blu Ray annoys me though. We already got DVDs, I am still loving the quality of them, can I really see any better definition, and even if I could, does it matter? I wore out my video of Taxi Driver near enough, it was smudgy as hell by the time I threw it out, but the film still moved me every time. And is the film any better now I have it on DVD? I've not loved a DVD like I did my videos from when I was a teenager with lots of time to watch movies. Ultimately the quality doesn't even matter that much, we all listen to bootlegs of our very favourite bands recorded with varying quality from dictaphones to soundboard mixes. What annoys me most is the bringing out of new formats just because they can, because the market dictates they are needed to get us to reinvest in our own possessions like replacing vinyl with CDs.

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hey I saw a bunch of endcap shelf space filled with large Vinyl records at Best Buy last weekend.

 

I'm a Blu-Ray adopter, but still enjoy DVDs just as much. Bluray content is astounding with an HDTV, but, correct, it does not change the movie from being good or bad. :) That's what I see in Audio also: GREAT MUSIC transends the format AND OR quality of recording. but good quality helps ;)

 

UNFORTUNELY, it seems that multi formats is the wave now and the future. remember you can always convert over your 16/44 stuff up to SACD or whatever and 99% of the world will never hear the difference, or care. :)

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I came to this conclusion when considering the future of music and how music has progessed through the development of technology. Now we dont need its development where the f*ck are we going? lol TIME TO REINVEST THE NORM. The major problem is masters make current audio formats sound perfect to the natural way our ears precieve frequencies so how can we make something new by making something considerably unlistenable and have less translation? RANT RANT RANT good posts!

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The major problem is masters make current audio formats sound perfect to the natural way our ears precieve frequencies so how can we make something new by making something considerably unlistenable and have less translation?

 

 

Do you mean is there a line we draw between mastering to make it sound good on everything at the loss of fidelity, or mastering to make it sound great only on great equipment? Expand on your last line there a little bit more

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What i ment is the mastering curve we commonly see is usually made for 2 reasons. It matchs up to how our ears want to recieve defferent frequencies at different volumes because a boost over these points would appear harsh. I wonder if in many years mastering will detract from the peak or optimum curve we want to recieve to be considered new or esxciting. Its also made for translation between different systems. Atleast i think the one about the curve is right?

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Personally, I think the curves for compression and EQ in mastering are wide open. But certain segments, like POP and rock, push the crunch for reasons of IMPACT and PUNCH. There is still a lot of other music out there that sells well and is not on that curve. Country and classical for example. But is someone came out with a GREAT SONG that was not crunched, but more old school open, people would enjoy it even more seeing as it is a good song AND sounds more breathable. Then there might be a rush to jump on that bandwagon. My opinions and thoughts only, of course

 

Another thought, I don't think the curve matches our ears so much as it pushes the limits of tolerance of our listening... and it is right on the edge of that. But maybe it does, I don't know

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Boy...

 

Your original post makes a lot of very broad statements with regards to things like "perfection" or things being at their "pinnacle".

 

Where does good taste come in?

 

So in your estimation, we are at a tech pinnacle. I disagree, but for arguments sake, let's say that is fact. Doesn't the use of that technology still vary greatly per each user? You seem to be forgetting the artist when discussing the quality of oil paints today.

 

The real battlefield is in taste and artist vision.

 

Society will always play a balancing act between the new and sensational vs. the classically tasteful. Will a natural mastering job sell as many records as one crushed dynamically and filled to the brim with regards to frequency spectrum? Probably not. It is pretty exciting to hear some of the slammed mixes if you're not really paying attention.

 

But what's going to last? And is it really a concern anymore? It's a tightrope we all walk now-a-days.

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don't the "Classics" subsist on very basic instrumentation and production? I think that is part of what makes them classics - surviving into the future.

 

I agree with weeman that we have peaked technically. If I record through a $3000 mic and clear signal path into 24bit/96k or use one of those funky 1-bit recorders or [insert other high res equipment here] it will sound perfect, even over repeated playings. I would challenge ANYONE to make a "BETTER" recording. Other great gear sounds DIFFERENT, not better or worse, but just different. No longer is there the best, that is reached. Now it is: "What ya gonna do with it?"

 

there are still only a set number of notes, set number of colors, what are we gonna do with them?

 

weeman, are we off track yet? :D

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it will sound perfect, even over repeated playings. I would challenge ANYONE to make a "BETTER" recording. Other great gear sounds DIFFERENT, not better or worse, but just different. No longer is there the best, that is reached. Now it is: "What ya gonna do with it?"


there are still only a set number of notes, set number of colors, what are we gonna do with them?


weeman, are we off track yet?
:D

 

Well... that's like saying, "We have reached the pinnacle of transportation. All we need to do is feed our horses, keep them watered and happy. Long gone are those crazy hikes on foot up the mountain for water. We just jump on Silver's back and away, hi-oh!!"

 

Recorded music and music in the flesh. They sound different. You believe we have reached the end of the road? Tell that to someone who designs microphones. Or an A to D expert.

 

I thought the CD was the perfect medium. Remember that?

 

I'm not saying we make excuses for our recordings because they aren't "perfect" yet. I'm saying the whole premise of "prefect" is way flawed. Way. The thing that we have control over, day to day, you and me, is the way we exert our control on the technology at hand. The ever moving status of technology.

 

It will change. Again. But what's messing with us is our perception of audience expectations. They want it to sound like that cause that's what everything else sounds like. I better make mine sound like that too.

 

That's the real issue.

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So people here truly think that we have reached the pinnacle of recorded sound quality? I'm a relatively young man, and do you realize how many times I've already heard that? If we've reached the pinnacle, then why do things keep improving?

 

My viewpoint is just the opposite in terms of digital recordings. I believe that we are in its infancy, and that it is going to continually improve from here.

 

Note that I'm talking about recording technology, not the mooks using it.

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By the way, I'm fascinated with this perspective.

 

Technology keeps getting better and faster, often exponentially.

 

So why would recording technology suddenly, inexplicably, run counter this and have reached a peak right at this instant? Are there to be no more improvements?

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what more improvement can there be, in the quality side, having reached a point where sonically, 24/96 covers all human hearing and real world dynamics? we can go 1 bit or million bit, but that won't change the fact that we cant hear past 20k

 

I watch this peaking trend in motorcycles too: there is a place where horsepower and traction trade off. they make them lighter and faster with more power, but then the weight is lost and traction is less making that extra power almost useless and non-existant.

 

I don't buy the transportation anology but I do understand it. What about this one: A piano has 88 keys and only 3 strings each note, we could improve upon that couldn't we? Maybe double the keys and strings and use new titaniuma nd kevlar and computer aided to make the piano sound more perfect, right? Or KEY door locks - can we improve them? Just needs a key and a few other moving parts... or THE WHEEL... have we really done anything more than the caveman wheel? Oh it's lighter and lasts longer, but it is still just a round thing that lets something else move. We have branched off by doing things lots of different ways, lots of flavors, but the original point is still the same.

 

In audio we can do all kinds of crazy stuff. But there is not much point is recording audio above 30k or below 5hz. But we have advanced because TAPE used to record good range, but it didn't last. NOWdays it can last.

 

so, what do we have coming up to improve our recording, mixing and mastering mechanisms, other than more flavors of the same things we have now?

 

Who knows. How about mood, emotion and brain altering music sonically connected to your brain? Maybe a wired implant that lets us reach beyond our current physical sound world. What about finger motion sensed mixable songs... play your iPod, wave your thumb to hear more background singers

 

in the end we are still dealing with the limited max we have achieved sonically: 20-20k 120 db dynamic range. Just some more thoughts around this topic :)

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Who knows. How about mood, emotion and brain altering music sonically connected to your brain? Maybe a wired implant that lets us reach beyond our current physical sound world. What about finger motion sensed mixable songs... play your iPod, wave your thumb to hear more background singers

 

 

...

 

 

 

 

 

 

*files patent*

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in the end we are still dealing with the limited max we have achieved sonically: 20-20k 120 db dynamic range. Just some more thoughts around this topic
:)

 

And you feel that those specs are the only things that get us closer to a real, live experience? This is where the logic fails for me. 120dB range and 20 to 20. Done.

 

There are so many differences between a mic and those fleshy things on the side of your head. And what about the way we boost that signal to a decent level? Any chance for improvement? Subjective improvement?

 

What we have is truly amazing. But... do you think there are no chances of someone completely rethinking the capture portion? The conversion of acoustic wave to electrical impulses? The mic part, I mean? Then the conversion to 0s and 1s...

 

It's just the beginning, as Ken so wisely put it.

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what more improvement can there be, in the quality side, having reached a point where sonically, 24/96 covers all human hearing and real world dynamics? we can go 1 bit or million bit, but that won't change the fact that we cant hear past 20k

 

 

That's all to be considered for recording technology? Bits, dynamics, frequency range?

 

Okay, if this is the best we can do, the Ultimate, Perfection, try this:

 

-record a band. Any band. Now play it back and see if anyone thinks there's a real band in the room. Didn't think so.

 

-now try this with a big band and do the same thing. Anyone fooled? Less so, you say? Hmmmm...

 

-now try recording a full symphony orchestra. Play it back and see if anyone thinks there's a symphony orchestra in the room. Even less fooled...hmmmm...

 

-now try recording an earthquake. Doesn't sound the same, you say, even without the shaking? Why won't it play back correctly? {censored} that...why won't it even *record* properly?

 

Tell you what. Since you insist that we have reached The Pinnacle of recording technology, The Ultimate, Perfection....I'll make a bet with you. If in, oh, say, 25 years, if there's no improvement in recording technology, I will pay you US$20,000. If, on the other hand, there's improvement in recording technology, you owe me US$20,000.

 

Screw that. You seem really confident about this. I'm thinking I can bilk you out of more. Let's call it an even US$100,000. Whaddaya say?

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Right. Please dont argue this is more of a rant not an agressive stand point based topic. What were saying is 24bit 96khz is all thats required for the ear to precieve a full accurate detailed picture of a sound or a piece of music displaying the entire frequency range our ears can precieve. If anyone disagree with this fact its probably because their using Gear X with Gear X followed by X into X monitors that no one can afford. If i had to make a prediction of the future it would be that DVD audio will take over CD and will only happen when high grade audio equipment is considered cheap and every tom dick and harry can mix and master a master piece in their kitchen whilst cooking dinner. The other thing i can see happening is a new audio format being release that will be entirely loss-less without sample drop outs on a ADC or DAC. As for will technology progress.... probably not in terms of audiable comparison, we can go upto 192khz now and do all the sh*t in between now!. What im saying is that even if protools 8 records at sample rate of 320khz no one is ever going to ever tell the difference between that and 96khz, id even go as far to say a mix at 192khz now would probably sound exactly the same bounced to 96khz aswell. One thing is true, as technology progresses more idiots are going to be able to create music and at a higher degree of quality without all the knowledge we spend years learning. Dismal very Dismal more rant rant. I dont claim any of this to be fact just an opinion.

What will probably happen from a tech sales point is a hybrid product that records analgoue and digital at the same time probably with blend features and has the same sort of usability as a protools venue system haha!

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Maybe a wired implant that lets us reach beyond our current physical sound world.

 

 

This is the obvious next huge step, probably not all that far away either.

 

And then at some point, the converse will occur and "musicians" will create "music" (it will be much more than that) directly from their mind(s).

 

Just as the fingers and vocal cords limit the ability to create music, so do the ears limit and define what "music" can be.

 

Terry D.

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