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Posts posted by Folder

  1. Well Nickelback have been a running joke for quite some time now. They obviously have a lot of fans because they have sold millions of albums. But for many people they were the epitimy of bland, corporate, cheesy, overproduced, soulless, rock music that came out of the late nineties. And they were one of the worst offenders of the loudness wars.


    I think the main criticism was that they were light weights trying to cash in on the grunge sound. It's not necessarily their fault that they got singled out because there were dozens of other artificial grunge bands just like them (like Creed for example) but they became the poster boys for what some people considered to be selling out. But you know I think some of their fans can understand the criticism and even laugh along with the joke.


    It's kind of like high school. Some bands are cool and some bands are uncool and Nickelback were definitely uncool if you know what I mean. But hey if you like their music (I don't particularly like it myself) then what does it matter? I've liked a lot of uncool music all my life.

  2. Every once in a while I will hear a song that I haven't heard in a really long time and it will take me back to a place in time from my youth. Usually they are songs from when I was about junior high school age. The time when I was just beginning to really get into music.


    I heard this one yesterday and when it came on the radio I had the feeling of standing in the school lunch line and could almost smell the ravioli they used to serve.


    I really liked this song back then but had no idea who sang it or anything about it.

    Until yesterday I had actually forgotten it existed.






    I wrote an article for the last newsletter called Craig's List: 5 Toxic Hazards of Holiday Music and included Paul McCartney ("Wonderful Christmastime"),



    When that song came I out I would have never imagined it would still be played on the radio almost forty years later.


    Not that I dislike it or anything but it always sounded like a B-side throw away novelty song to me. Paul got a new synthesizer and an echo box and started playing around with the sounds and said this is neat and it's almost Christmas so maybe I should write a Christmas song.


    Since then it has become a Christmas standard and has had dozens of remakes.


  4. Rupert Holmes the "Pina Colada Song" was hated by a lot of people when it first came out but it was his next single "Him' that was the first song I really remember thinking was just a bad song. Listening to it today for the first time in over thirty years I don't think it's nearly as bad as I remember it. It's actually kind of catchy and has good beat but at the time I thought it was god awful.




    The next song I remember thinking was a really bad song was "Talk Dirty to Me" by Poison. I don't remember anybody liking that song actually and it became kind of a running joke at the place I was working at the time. I still hear it on "80s at 8" occasionally but unlike "Him" it just keeps get worse and worse every time I hear it. Everything about it is just plain wrong. Just awful. But it has fifteen million plays on YouTube !




    Another song that I think is just plain terrible is "If You're Not The One" by Daniel Bedingfield. For me it just seems amateurish and awkward. No real hook and clumsy lyrics that don't seem to flow very smoothly. Since this song came out almost fifteen years ago I've heard countless songs like it though. Lots of songs on the radio today have weak melodies and no real hooks. Just a lot of vocal meanderings over backing tracks and beats.


  5. A good bass part can make a mediocre song great but a bad bass part can make a great song mediocre.


    I listen to a lot of "70s at 7" on XM radio and it has occurred to me that one of the things that attracts me to that music is all the great bass players on those records. Even the top 40 pop hits of the seventies had a lot of great bass lines in them. A lot of melodic grooves from that era and it seems the players back then were much more musical in that they locked in with the drums so well and they creatively composed their parts. Both up tempo and slower ballad type songs had parts that you could hum. They also had great punchy warm tones that really cut though the mix and you could hear all the notes they were playing.


    When I switch to "80s at 8" and beyond I hear a lot of that basic 1/8 note root note stuff and some slapping but the melodies and the grooves are not as distinctive. Many of the bass parts are further back in the mix and there's a lot of keyboard sequenced bass lines from that era. Some of the songs sound like the bass lines were just an after thought. Starting with disco and then punk and metal the bass lines seemed to become much more basic. "Just get some guy to play those driving 1/8 notes and we're done."


    I don't think guitar players necessarily make good bass players even though a lot of bass players start out playing guitar. It's just a different mindset.

  6. DSD technology came out in 1999. Super Audio CDs or "SACDs" were the format that used DSD. For a time back in the early to mid 2000s they sold SACDs at record stores. I remember seeing them at Barnes and Noble and Borders Books and other places that sold CDs. Many of them had a 16bit/ 44.1khz pcm layer on them so they could be played on CD players as well. I think Bob Dylan's entire catalog at one time was only available on SACD. The plan for Sony Music was to eventually move away from CDs and release everything on backward compatible SACDs.


    Not sure why that never worked out. The first SACD player cost five thousand dollars. They eventually fell to about fifteen hundred dollars so most people couldn't afford the players. Also there was a format war with DVD-Audio at the time but I think those pretty much disappeared as well.


    I got a cheap DVD player a couple of years ago and I noticed that it plays SACDs. I don't have any SACDs and I'm not sure they are even sold anymore.



  7. I've lived a few places over the years that had cable. My girlfriend and I rented an apartment about 35 years ago when I was in college that had cable. Apparently the previous tenant had it but never had it turned off so we watched it for free. There wasn't much on in those days but we did have HBO. I've never really been a big TV watcher and have never been much of a homebody so I guess I never could justify the cost. But I have seen a good bit of cable over the years at friends and families houses.


    I have an old CRT TV that's been sitting in the closest for about three years now. I lost the remote and got tired of getting up to change the stations.. Recently I found the remote but haven't bothered to get it out of the closet because I don't really have much time for TV or the desire to watch it.


    I would rather just go on the internet instead.

  8. One of the complaints when drum machines first came out was that it was hard to program a convincing hi-hat pattern. Some people would actually program the kick and snare parts and then get a real drummer to play the hi-hat parts.


    A lot of the "groove" or "feel" in any given drum part usually comes from the hi-hats and being able to play them well is a mark of a good drummer.


    I've heard this song dozens of times on the radio and every time I hear it I'm drawn to the hi-hats. I just can't hear any type of coherent pattern. There are sections where it almost seems as if they were programed with a random numeral generator.


    So what's up with the hi-hats on this song?.



  9. I saw the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony last September. Jane had injured her back and was taking steroids but everybody knew she would be back this year because she wanted to break the world record.


    And she did it !


    Wow what a story.

    • Like 2
  10. I haven't noticed any reduction in high frequencies but I hear a lot less of that "digital" brittleness in today's' recordings.

    Digital converter technology has improved greatly since the early days and I think that has a lot to do with why today's recordings sound less harsh.


    I have a hypothesis that there are certain frequency ranges that are more pleasing to the human ear than others. Human ears are attuned to the frequency range of human speech and I think low-mid range frequencies are pleasing to most people. It just so happens that analog tape can produce a pleasing frequency range or "bump". To much high end and to a lesser extent to much low end can sound fatiguing after a while.


    I hear you. But the magazines themselves - haven't you found that, of the ones that still exist, that they are 10% content and 90% ads? Are you finding really in-depth articles? I was a long-time subscriber to Electronic Musician and Keyboard magazine, but they shrank and shrank in total pages, and what was left became mostly ads. Reviews that used to take 3-6 full pages reduced to 1/4 pages. All the in-depth content disappeared, and the prices continued to increase and it seemed all targeted to newbie-level readership - so I bailed on all the print resources.




    Well those are mostly the American mags that have shrunk like that. And yeah I can usually flip through one of 'em in about two minutes and be done with it. Premium Guitar is about the only American mag that I read regularly but I still read all the British music mags .


    The best overall recording magazine by far is Sound on Sound. It has lots of in depth articles and tutorials. Great in-depth reviews and my favorite which is the "Classic Tracks" articles where they interview producers and engineers about how they made certain classic records. The "Classic Tracks" articles are worth the purchase price alone most of the time. and I still have stacks of them that I can reference. Our very own Craig Anderton has written lots of great tutorials in Sound on Sound.


    I also like "Q", and "Mojo" and "Classic Rock" and "Prog" magazine.


    British magazines are like what we in America call "books". It's incredible the amount of information that each issue can have. They have things that you will never see on the internet and they are big and thick with lots of glossy photos. And lots of times they come with a CD. The only American mag that comes close to a British mag would be Premium Guitar.



    What you're doing reminds me of what magazine skimming used to be like - you go to Barnes & Noble, grab about 10 music-related titles off the rack, sit down with some coffee and start flipping pages 'till something catches your attention. Fun, yes - even if rather shallow, it was valuable, and led to other things. But there was drill-down in the magazines - at least back in the day - long articles, in-depth interviews, tutorials and music lessons and so on. But those days are so long gone I'm over the grieving phase - just looking for new connections now.



    They're not gone for me.


    I just got back from Barnes and Noble.


    Spent about an hour reading a bunch of guitar and recording mags. One of them had a cool article by a guy called Craig Anderton. He talked about how you can run your guitar through softsynths. Something I had not really thought much about until I saw his article.


    I still go there probably about once a month. A lot of info you can find on the internet these days but it's not the same as holding a magazine and turning the pages. I still read the newspaper everyday also.


    As far as Facebook. I use it to see what's going on. Who's playing where type stuff.

  13. Vinyl has gotten a lot more interest than hi-res audio. The big deal in synths is analog. Modular synths with patch cords are back. For some reason I can't fathom, people buy new guitars that are made to look like old guitars. Guitarists still want tubes...


    There has always been an interest in retro; it may be just me, but it seems to be accelerating. I wonder if it's because the world is just getting to darn confusing and disjointed for people, and retro is the technological equivalent of comfort food...


    For me when I think of "retro" (at least in the context of audio) I'm thinking more of a sound than a thing.


    I think what happens is that technology marches forward. Old is replaced with new. Then somebody comes along and says "Hey you know, I think the old was better than the new". Then people try to figure out why they think the old was better than the new.


    In the case of recorded music somewhere back in the mid to late eighties a lot of people started focusing on the equipment being used to record older music because they thought it sounded better than what was being recorded at the time.


    Then "retro" and "vintage" became marketing terms


    Of course the equipment being used does have a lot to do with the sound. Vintage instruments and equipment can certainly have that MOJO. Most of the best guitars I've ever played were over fifty years old. But for me they are just higher quality and sound better I don't care that they are vintage.


    Does a free plug-in with a beat up looking vintage model GUI sound better than an expensive brand name one with a modern space age GUI?


    Not necessarily in my experience but I will admit that when I see the beat up old vintage model GUI I tend to think that it might have a sound I might be interested in because I've heard good vintage gear and I assume that's what they are trying to emulate.

  14. I used to say stuff like that too. Then I had an engineer that I highly respected show me some measurements for some of these wild claims. Turns out they do cause changes. BUT... Do any of those changes affect what you can hear? This one? I'm guessing there isn't a system pure enough that anyone in the world could hear the minute changes in audio by altering the resonate frequency of a knob on a pot. I would also bet that it could be measured however.


    So what does that $700 fuzz pedal with two $1 transistors have that makes it world $700? The answer is "something" and that is proven assuming they have ever made a sale of one. I remember doing some research when GC bought "Brownie" and commissioned Fender to make a limited run replica. Turns out a number of people, even realizing that it was a "copy" and not the real thing still expected that some of Eric Clapton mojo would rub off on them while they played one. Go figure.


    In economics there is something called "The Law of Diminishing Returns".


    If somebody hears "something" in that $700 pedal and they "think" it's worth paying ten times the amount of the $70 pedal then more power to them.

  15. I do believe many musicians who pursue old technology believe it gives them more Mojo. They hear older musicians use that gear on recordings and appreciate what they could do with it. They think using that technology will be like following in the steps of those musicians and get them the to the same musical skill level.



    Well in a lot of cases the gear does have a lot to do with the MOJO. But the production techniques usually are more important to how a recording might sound. The recording equipment being used in the eighties was not that much different than the equipment being used in the seventies.

    But there is a big difference in the sound of the eighties and the sound of the seventies.

  16. The whole tone of the article wasn't that it was a fun project, it was geez, things were really hard back in those days, So I don't think anyone will be sold on a 1980s retro project studio control room from reading this article.



    I think a lot of people tend to think of "retro" as "high quality". I saw that article and it's really hard for me to think of any of that equipment as "retro"


    First of all I'm old enough to remember when all that stuff came out and second I don't think most people would consider a "Fostex quarter-inch eight-track" to have that "retro" sound if you know what I mean.

    • Like 1
  17. I think for a lot of people it's because they think "retro" stuff sounds better.

    In many cases they may be right, (especially with early digital equipment) but there is a lot of good "fat" and "warm" digital gear now.


    The public has been conditioned now to automatically think anything "retro" must sound better than anything that's digital.


    You can make a case that hi-res audio was promoted; you can also make a case it wasn't promoted properly. However, I think that even if it had been promoted more extensively and with a bigger push, people still would have rejected it. I think they just don't perceive that the difference justifies the cost.



    They didn't reject CDs.


    I think the industry feels that they screwed up with hi-rez the first time around and that it's too late to try something again. The public was confused and didn't understand the formats or what they were supposed to do. It seems to me that the main focus of DVD-Audio was to promote it as a surround sound product and not hi-rez per se .


    Had they come out with a product that was simple and backwards compatible, or if the hardware side of things had gotten on board and started producing players that were affordable and backwards compatible with CDs there could have been an eventual shift. But it seems to me they gave up pretty quick.


    Most people want something they can just put in a disc player and not have to fumble with menus and sample rates etc...


    For a while they were producing SACDs that had a CD red book PCM layer. Bob Dylan's stuff was all reissued in hybrid SCADs.


    His regular CDs were discontinued and you could only buy the SACDs. But if you didn't have an SACD player you could still play it on your CD player while you saved up to buy that $5000 Sony SACD player.


    Now if the industry had gotten behind the format, the prices of the players would have eventually fallen. CDs would have been discontinued because there would be no need for them anymore if only hybrid discs were available. The general public wouldn't really care much because they could buy the disc and play it on anything while the audiophiles could play them on their hi-end SACD players. And in 2016 CDs would probably be extinct.



  19. The general public - the issue is not whether they care or not about high fidelity. The issue is whether they buy or not (high fidelity.)


    The general public will buy what they feel like they have to buy. Whether it's good or gooder or bad or badder in some sort of objective sense...that's secondary. Products in their specifics are like fashions - they come and go. What never goes is the desire, the deep need, to be fashionable.




    The only people who buy hi-rez audio to be "fashionable" are the people who have more money than they know what to do with.


    When CDs came out people bought them because the music industry decided that CDs were going to be the new music format. It took a while but within ten years or so they were dominant.


    Nothing like that has happened with hi-rez audio because the industry has never gotten behind a new medium like they did with CDs. For me it's amazing that they are still the main music format.


    If the industry had said we are moving away from 16 bit at 44.1khz and on to higher resolutions it would have eventually happened.


    Just like CDs replaced albums and LPs replaced 78s a lot of people (including myself) assumed a new format would have emerged by now.



  20. I remember being very excited about the format wars gearing up in the late ninteties between DVD-Audio and SACD. I heard a demo of the very first Sony SACD player when they first came out and they cost $5000. I remember seeing racks of DVD-Audios and reading about artists remastering their albums for hi-rez audio.


    If you had said back then that people would still be buying CDS in 2016 I would'nt have believed you. It was a forgone conclusion that CD technology was hopelessly outdated and in a short matter of time CDs would be replaced by either DVD-Audio or SACD.


    But the war was over almost before it even got started. And there was no winner.


    So what happened?


    I think part of the problem was that things were just too complicated.


    The DVD audios had eight different formats with 6 different sampling rates. Some discs had video content. Others didn't. Some had surround sound. Some were stereo. Some were 96khz some 192khz.


    With SACD they had the single layered SACDs and then the dual layered ones and then came the ones that had the PCM layer on them. Then the double rate SACDs.


    At one point I thought the SACD with the PCM CD layer was going to be the clear winner because they were backward compatible with CD players.


    I assumed that one day the players would become cheap enough for everybody to afford one. I think the last SACD player I ever saw was still about $1000.


    A couple of years ago I got a cheap DVD player. One day I noticed that it says it plays SACDs.


    So 17 years after being mightly impressed with that SACD demo I finally have an SACD player.


    Unfortunately they don't make SACDs anymore.:idk:

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