Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Classic rock CD musings...

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Classic rock CD musings...

    I didn't want to hijack the thread asking about what makes the best rock speaker.

    I find that for a lot of classic rock disks, I need to adjust my software EQ 63-Hz slider up by 10, from the flat (66) up to 76.

    Just about anything that was recorded before CD's were widely adopted (and a lot during the transition), requires this sort of nudge to sound like I remember the vinyl of my youth. Like today, when I was listening to "The Flat Earth" (Thomas Dolby).

    I can't leave the slider there when playing most any newer recording, otherwise the bass is simply overwhelming.

    I've pondered why many classic rock recordings sound thin on CD, and I have a working theory...

    Studio engineers of the era understood that the guy cutting the masters at the lathe had the ultimate call on bass balance, as too much would cause all sorts of playback problems (namely, the inability of the needle to stay in the groove).

    So if you know that is the drill, if you trust your lathe guy to give you a pleasant balance to the degree that he can, you create thin tapes because it solves a host of other problems (saturation and bleeding to name just two).

    But the new guys mastering for CD were never given the memo, they got thin tapes and we got thin CD's.

    Crazy?

  • #2
    I would think that the majority of listeners in that era did not have the top of the line playback equipment like we do today and so music may have been mixed so it sounds as good as possible on a variety of the available equipment back then. ...

    Comment


    • #3

      Comment


      • #4
        To me, it seems like big difference between 60s, 70s and 80s, and even early 70s verses late. I think there were lots of advances in recording during that period and when record/CD was made and whether made with latest methods mattered al lot.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by philthien View Post
          ... I have a working theory...

          Studio engineers of the era understood that the guy cutting the masters at the lathe had the ultimate call on bass balance, as too much would cause all sorts of playback problems (namely, the inability of the needle to stay in the groove)...

          Crazy?
          No, this concern is expressed in early BBC Recording Manuals


          Originally posted by michaelmoran View Post
          ...I think there were lots of advances in recording during that period....
          Greater bandwidth utilized now vs then.
          Last edited by Sydney; 04-09-2018, 09:55 AM.
          "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
          “Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”
          "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

          Comment


          • #6
            Microphones went through a technological revolution in the late 60's and early 70's. The old RCA Model 5 ribbons that couldn't handle constant high SPL's were replaced by large ultra-light diaphragm dynamic units and condenser mic's. Different noise reduction/dynamic range expansion techniques were being created for the master tapes, then the ability to sync-up 2 or 3 8 channel tape recorders and close miking of individual vocals and instruments gave a "cleaner" mix-down, with less inter-modulation. Listen to the early ATCO 15 ips tapes of The Rolling Stones and compare them to Rolling Stones Records (EMI) tapes and you can understand Mick on the later recordings! Tape formulas changed to chrome then to evaporated metal types and put more "meat", especially on the top and bottom of the frequency range, onto the tape without distortion too. Remember too, the recording engineers then expected the typical listener to crank the bass and treble knobs on their amps to "11", partly because of speaker performance, partly due to preference.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sydney View Post
              No, this concern is expressed in early BBC Recording Manuals
              Someone should write a book (maybe someone has?) detailing the ins and outs of recording live and in-studio in the 50's, 60's, and 70's.

              Comment


              • #8
                Perhaps not one comprehensive title, but numerous related aspects :
                TASCAM: 30 Years of Recording Evolution By Randy Alberts
                The Great British Recording Studios By Howard Massey
                "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
                “Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”
                "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sydney View Post
                  Perhaps not one comprehensive title, but numerous related aspects :
                  TASCAM: 30 Years of Recording Evolution By Randy Alberts
                  The Great British Recording Studios By Howard Massey
                  Thanks, I will try to find them!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by philthien View Post

                    Thanks, I will try to find them!
                    I previewed them a bit via Google Book ( so much internet, so little time )
                    "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
                    “Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”
                    "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Whitneyville1 View Post
                      Remember too, the recording engineers then expected the typical listener to crank the bass and treble knobs on their amps to "11".
                      Hence the origins of the phrase "smiley face EQ". But on the other hand if a person had a speaker system with enough lowend output that wasn't necessary. I can still listen to most classic rock without slapping a massive bass boost on it but there are some notable exceptions. The early Van Halen recordings are rediculously thin sounding and apparently their producer at the time or more correctly Eddy's producer wanted him to be featured on all tracks so the bass and drums were completely neutered.

                      Paul O

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I thought that in the LP age, the bass level was reduced for cutting so that the LP groove could be cut, the playback stylus wouldn't jump, and then the RAII equalisation in the amplifier re-adjusted the bass level.

                        It is certainly possible to get really nice bass from an LP - think The Band's first two albums, for example - and it's also possible to make the bass sound thin and miserable.  The Van Halen albums mentioned above are a good example, with 'Diver Down' sounding like the bass player and drummer are in the next building!  I had the LP and then bought the CD, hoping for a fuller sound - but it was even more feeble.

                        Some albums sound 'better' on CD than LP, some don't and different versions of the LP or CD can sound different, too.  Early Hendrix CDs were pretty thin, for example, but the recent Bernie Grundman masters are marvellous. 

                        I had an Australian pressing of Who's Next which sounded miserable when compared to the English pressing.  Comparing the grooves of the albums, the Oz pressing took up less of the side, so it must have been cut by a different mastering engineer.  The album was beautifully recorded and mixed, so it took real talent to stuff it up!

                        So, there are many variables in how classic era recordings can sound: but at least if it's a great album, it remains a great album.

                        Geoff

                        PS anyone know how I can get rid of these irritating hash tags and numbers? Thank you!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just in case anyone's interested, I've found that, using REW's RTA feature as a guide, EQ'ing a classic rock recording so that there's a 10~12dB smooth rolloff between 100 Hz to 10 kHz and ensuring that the bass below 100 Hz does not exceed the 100 Hz level seems to produce good results. I've attached for example the EQ settings on my PC for Blue Oyster Cult's "Burnin' For You", and the EQ'd version sounds a lot better. The RTA is set to 1/6th octave, 32768 FFT length, and "Forever" averages. 300~400 samples usually provides enough information to go by.

                          ​Pictures (in order) - RTA of track without EQ, EQ settings, RTA of track with EQ. Family consensus is that the EQ'd track sounds better, but a little quieter (not surprising, the software EQ on my PC drops overall level if any of the bands are pushed up above the 0dB reference).

                          ​I'm still experimenting with this, so it might not be true for all tracks. One other thing that I did find though is that having any frequencies below 100 Hz exceed the level at 100 Hz produced results that sounded unnatural. Sloping them off slightly below 100 Hz and faster below 50~60 Hz seems to produce better results. YMMV.

                          ​I'd contacted Deezer some time ago with an idea that can be used for their player that would differentiate if from say using a CD or LP as a source - store individual EQ settings per track. It could really come in hand when putting together a playlist and avoiding situations where some tracks sound thin and others sound bass-heavy because the system EQ settings are being applied to all tracks instead of just those that actually need it.
                          Brian Steele
                          www.diysubwoofers.org

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Geoff Millar View Post
                            I thought that in the LP age, the bass level was reduced for cutting so that the LP groove could be cut, the playback stylus wouldn't jump, and then the RAII equalisation in the amplifier re-adjusted the bass level....
                            Precisely
                            Imagine that the groove would have to be much wider to be a direct analog of amplitude, if RIAA eq wasn't utilized.





                            "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
                            “Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”
                            "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Brian Steele View Post
                              ...smooth rolloff between 100 Hz to 10 kHz and ensuring that the bass below 100 Hz does not exceed the 100 Hz level seems to produce good results. I've attached for example the EQ settings ...
                              Not surprised, it's consistent with any I've looked at.
                              ( Granted I've not been able to hear the 2" Master tapes to know what was captured )

                              The ELP track "Lucky Man" was long used as a test track because of the Moog drop
                              I had wondered how low did it go, and found someone using a 'Scope noted:
                              "I was able to observe D/2 at 73.42 on the loud notes as roughly 4 peaks across the screen, then the octave drop as around 2 - in other words, the last D is the one at 36.71 and it is there, though it has overtones galore." ( emp mine )

                              Last edited by Sydney; 04-10-2018, 11:15 AM.
                              "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
                              “Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”
                              "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X