Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:34 am

:D

Congrats Rodgre!

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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:09 am

Rodgre wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:59 am
drumsound wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:37 pm
I love the Classic Albums series, but haven't (and honestly probably won't) watch the Def Leppard or Fleetwood Mac ones, because I just don't care. The literal last thing I want to know about is how Hysteria was made. I don't want any of the shit creeping into my psyche and/or records.
So Tony doesn't want to know how a hit record is made! Ha!!!
I want my stuff to sound THE OPPOSITE of how hysteria sounds (rumors too for that matter), it's still very interesting and inspiring to watch. C'mon you don't wanna hear 96 tracks of Mutt's vocals solo'd? (Spoiler alert: they sound crazee)

Someone mentioned modern country sounding like hair metal and probably Mutt is to blame for that, no? Those Shania records he did were probably pretty influential.

Next time one of those Hysteria songs comes on the radio (should be about 5 minutes or so), stick with it until the prechorus, see if you don't offer up at least some grudging respect. Those guys were masters of the prechorus, they're the catchiest bits in all those songs. And Rodgre is right about Mutt, there's hooks just everywhere, there's plenty to learn from/borrow/steal even if you hate the way it all sounds.

Anyway I'm gonna book a month at Oxide Lounge and make Tony record a ton of def leppard covers using only 57s on everything.

Which reminds me that back in the old Jeff Robinson days, I had a plan to book time at Third Monk under an assumed name, assemble a crew of fellow tapeoppers to be my band, and then go in there and just be completely incompetent/impossible to record, just be totally inept and clueless, naturally we'd film the whole thing. I really thought this was a great idea. Sadly the plan collapsed due to the inevitable lack of funding.

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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by drumsound » Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:34 am

Rodgre wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:59 am
drumsound wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:37 pm
I love the Classic Albums series, but haven't (and honestly probably won't) watch the Def Leppard or Fleetwood Mac ones, because I just don't care. The literal last thing I want to know about is how Hysteria was made. I don't want any of the shit creeping into my psyche and/or records.
So Tony doesn't want to know how a hit record is made! Ha!!!

You're so right, Tony. The Def Leppard/Mutt Lange recording stories are sort of like driving by a massive 10-car pileup on the highway and not looking as you pass. It takes will power to not look. The only credit I can give Mutt for that one is that they set about to make a unique and identifiable, unapologetic smash hit record, and they were very successful. That's not where I'm at in my world, but hey, you do you, Mutt. When I was a kid, I actually liked Def Leppard. Up to a bit of Pyromania, they had their "thing". They had a distinct way to construct chord progressions that made them unique. Steve Clark was an interesting guitar player and made them sound different from all the other British hard rock bands of the time. By the time of Hysteria, Mutt seems to have washed that whole ethos away in favor of just constructing smash radio hits from the ground up. What made them "THEM" was out the window (because those cool chord progressions that I liked didn't sell records to anyone but me). So as a historical document, it's interesting to know the total anal retentive insanity that went into making that record, but, like Tony, I don't want any of those techniques creeping into my bag of tricks. Does that make me anti-success? Serious question. Does that make me actually avoidant of doing what it takes to make a smash hit record (granted, in 1987)? Maybe it does? I hope my clients aren't reading this! Ha! :lol:

I think my only useful takeaway from Mutt's production style is that you will notice that at every 8th note, there is ALWAYS something to focus on and keep your ear engaged. There's a vocal hook, then a guitar hook, then an iconic drum fill, then another vocal hook.... It's just a linear collection of "hooks" and never leaves room for your ear to disengage. It's a very psychological thing and it works very well.

Roger
You've kind of hit the nail on the head of what I absolutely hate about Mutt Lange. He makes HIS record over and over using the band as his little puppets. It's kind of amazing that, especially with those Def Leppard records, that he gets the people who only buy one record a year to buy HIS records, plus a bunch of other people buy 'em too. And he completely RUINED the Cars, and I'm still pissed at him for that. He completely homologizes music and takes all of the joy, and the interesting out of it. I often describe the sound of those records as plastic. Think about things in your life that are plastic. Everything you own that is plastic is mass produced. There are a million of them, everyone you know also has that plastic thing. It's generally disposable and often a fake and cheap version of something cool. It's fine, it functions and does its job, but it's never the desirable version of the thing. Plastic is great for things with a simple function. Something meant to be a part that you doing notice, or maybe a goofy little chochky on a kid's bookshelf. I know a lot of people disagree with me, and that's fine. This is just one man's opinion.

What also bothers me is that often when I mention a dislike for those records I'm hit with the "but it sold a bizzilion copies." Sales as a metric for quality really gets on my nerves. There are a few Chicago folks here and so they'll understand the comparison I'm about to make. McDonnald's hamburgers are not even in the neighborhood of Kuma's Corner's burgers. Kuma makes AMAZING, unique, and delicious burgers. No one will dispute this. If I say "I hate McDonnald's" generally people won't tell me "but they sold 50 Billion burgers" because they know that the point of McD's is SELLING. Their point is not delicious or unique. Their point is "it will taste the same every time and you can shove it in your gob quickly." Mutt Lange is the McDonnald's of music and no one is going to convince me otherwise.
Rodgre wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:08 am
I don't know if this is true, but it's a great story (therefore probably not true).

Someone once told me that they assisted on a session with that uber-famous producer previously discussed (but I won't mention here, because this might be total bullshit) and he had a huge shipment of TC Electronic 2290 delays brought to the studio. Like 24 of them. He inserted one on each track of the multitrack. He set them all to the same time, say like 20ms. He then set about having the assistant nudge each track forward or backward by changing the delay times. "put the kick later by 5ms....okay, make that 3ms..." He was trying to mess with the feel of the song by altering whether things were ahead or behind each other. It was an interesting experiment. The story I was told had him spending most of the day asking the assistant to nudge things back and forth and back and forth until after several hours he said "that's it. I love the way this feels!" Of course you've figured out by now that by that point, all the delay times were set to the same value again and everything was as it originally was.

Again, probably a totally bullshit story, but an interesting one.

Roger
I don't doubt that he would have done that. I just don't think that his end result was each of them set at the same delay time before he said I love it. I'm sure now he has a crew that spends HOURS per song editing EVERY attack to the grid. Those people are probably going blind zooming in and nudging tracks to the EXACT SPOT...

A band I know worked with a known producer in the South East shortly after a band he worked with had big success. The way sessions worked with him was they got to the studio around 10-11 AM and left around 10-11 PM. After they had played a bunch of takes and whatever like a typical day there was an overnight guy at the studio. HIS job was to edit everything to the grid based on notes from the producer. That was this dude's JOB. It might have been called some type of audio job (probably Pro Tools engineer) but, let's face it, that was a DATA ENTRY gig.
Rodgre wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:35 am
digitaldrummer wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:20 am
a few years ago someone in Nashville must have dug up some 80's hair metal templates. If you take away the lyrics, the songs are again the same. :twisted:
Exactly. I think modern country is directly descendent from 80's hair bands, especially moments like "Every Rose..." By Poison and "Blaze of Glory" by Jon Bon Jovi. Not that they are rewriting those songs, in particular, but those songs bridged the gap between "You Give Love a Bad Name" and country music and kind of opened that door. Plus, I think a lot of modern country fans are 40-50 year olds who grew up on 80's hair rock and that's just where their tastes lie. That's the way it happens.... Same way a lot of modern "americana" made by younger people is what happens when people brought up on boy bands and Disney music get turned on to The Band records. I sound like I'm being negative, but Im not. It's all good. No judging.

Roger
A shit ton of the guys making those terrible 80s hair band records moved to Nashville in the 90s and early 2000s.

Rodgre wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:37 am
Nick Sevilla wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:33 am
Rodgre wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:20 am
I'm on the cusp of 50 ...

Roger

GO BACK!!! IT IS ALL MESSED UP HERE AT 51 !!!

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
trying. so. hard...

btw, I'll bury this here so I don't draw TOOOOO much attention to myself, but this article on my local recording studio scene came out last night:

https://www.worcestermag.com/story/ente ... 968335002/

I appreciate the 20 year old photo of me.

Roger
Very cool!!!

---
Turning 51 in less than a month can confirm aging is weird.

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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by Rodgre » Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:21 am

drumsound wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:34 am
I'm sure now he has a crew that spends HOURS per song editing EVERY attack to the grid. Those people are probably going blind zooming in and nudging tracks to the EXACT SPOT...

So where is the line drawn between doing a correction for the sake of making the recording better and just doing something because you're OCD?

Again, serious question.

When I first learned DAW-based recording in the late 90s and saw how easy it was to visually edit things that you would have just shrugged and said "that's fine" a year ago on tape. I kind of blame one producer friend of mine (who I still love) for opening my eyes and ruining me for a little while as far as editing and especially vocal comping/tuning. Once you hear something, you can't un-hear it. When I first crossed the bridge over to hardcore editing and vocal comping from 30 takes, I would pore and pore over every syllable. Ever since, I hear a vocal performance with a different set of ears.

The trick is to know when NOT to edit things. Just because you can, doesn't mean you have to, or that you should. We have all gone down rabbit holes of tweaking and tweaking only to come out the other side realizing we didn't make anything better. Maybe just different at best, but sometimes, worse.

So to a guy like Mutt Lange who has a bag of tricks that he pulls out on every production, like aligning EVERYTHING to the grid, does he do it because he truly feels it makes an improvement or just because he's OCD?

I'm in total agreement about the fact that billions of records sold not being my litmus test to what's a good record or not. Money doesn't equal talent and record sales doesn't equal goodness. The problem here, though, is that because Hysteria was so dominant at the time and everyone except me had a copy of it, it has informed and influenced all that came after it in one way or another. Either you were influenced by it or influenced against it, but it affected you. So now we have established the 48 tracks of "HEY!" layered over the snare as a sound. We have established the glossy plastic overproduced sound as a successful thing. That record has become part of our vocabulary.

It takes conviction and vision to specifically not make records like that nowadays. Don't edit everything! Don't quantize everything! Don't tune everything! Just because you can.

Roger

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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by Magnetic Services » Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:57 am

Rodgre wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:21 am
drumsound wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:34 am
I'm sure now he has a crew that spends HOURS per song editing EVERY attack to the grid. Those people are probably going blind zooming in and nudging tracks to the EXACT SPOT...

So where is the line drawn between doing a correction for the sake of making the recording better and just doing something because you're OCD?

Again, serious question.

When I first learned DAW-based recording in the late 90s and saw how easy it was to visually edit things that you would have just shrugged and said "that's fine" a year ago on tape. I kind of blame one producer friend of mine (who I still love) for opening my eyes and ruining me for a little while as far as editing and especially vocal comping/tuning. Once you hear something, you can't un-hear it. When I first crossed the bridge over to hardcore editing and vocal comping from 30 takes, I would pore and pore over every syllable. Ever since, I hear a vocal performance with a different set of ears.

The trick is to know when NOT to edit things. Just because you can, doesn't mean you have to, or that you should. We have all gone down rabbit holes of tweaking and tweaking only to come out the other side realizing we didn't make anything better. Maybe just different at best, but sometimes, worse.

So to a guy like Mutt Lange who has a bag of tricks that he pulls out on every production, like aligning EVERYTHING to the grid, does he do it because he truly feels it makes an improvement or just because he's OCD?

I'm in total agreement about the fact that billions of records sold not being my litmus test to what's a good record or not. Money doesn't equal talent and record sales doesn't equal goodness. The problem here, though, is that because Hysteria was so dominant at the time and everyone except me had a copy of it, it has informed and influenced all that came after it in one way or another. Either you were influenced by it or influenced against it, but it affected you. So now we have established the 48 tracks of "HEY!" layered over the snare as a sound. We have established the glossy plastic overproduced sound as a successful thing. That record has become part of our vocabulary.

It takes conviction and vision to specifically not make records like that nowadays. Don't edit everything! Don't quantize everything! Don't tune everything! Just because you can.

Roger
Hi, just a reminder not to use "OCD" like this unless you're actually speaking about your own experience.

I have OCD (and I'll bet many of us do), and to me it doesn't mean compulsively editing everything in sight, it means doing whatever needs to be done to make something sound "right." For me, it's been more of an asset than a detriment.

You can just say "obsessive" next time :)

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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by markjazzbassist » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:13 am

sweet write up roger, congrats!

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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by Rodgre » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:33 am

Magnetic Services wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:57 am

Hi, just a reminder not to use "OCD" like this unless you're actually speaking about your own experience.

I have OCD (and I'll bet many of us do), and to me it doesn't mean compulsively editing everything in sight, it means doing whatever needs to be done to make something sound "right." For me, it's been more of an asset than a detriment.

You can just say "obsessive" next time :)
Point definitely taken. I also have OCD issues (in and out of the studio) and I definitely get obsessive about making something sound "right" to me (I used to say it had to sound "like a record"). That said, there are definitely obsessive tendencies that come into play about recording for some people. Things you just can't let go of. Sometimes it's for irrational reasons (but music being art, what is "rational" about it at all, really?) I was just thinking about the compulsive need to align everything to a grid, regardless of what it sounds like. To me, that's kind of a detriment, if you can't NOT do it. The other obsessive behaviors of just caring what things sound like and making sure it's all great... that's definitely a plus in this business!

I mean no offense by using that term loosely!

Roger

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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by drumsound » Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:08 pm

Rodgre wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:21 am
drumsound wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:34 am
I'm sure now he has a crew that spends HOURS per song editing EVERY attack to the grid. Those people are probably going blind zooming in and nudging tracks to the EXACT SPOT...

So where is the line drawn between doing a correction for the sake of making the recording better and just doing something because you're OCD?

Again, serious question.

When I first learned DAW-based recording in the late 90s and saw how easy it was to visually edit things that you would have just shrugged and said "that's fine" a year ago on tape. I kind of blame one producer friend of mine (who I still love) for opening my eyes and ruining me for a little while as far as editing and especially vocal comping/tuning. Once you hear something, you can't un-hear it. When I first crossed the bridge over to hardcore editing and vocal comping from 30 takes, I would pore and pore over every syllable. Ever since, I hear a vocal performance with a different set of ears.

The trick is to know when NOT to edit things. Just because you can, doesn't mean you have to, or that you should. We have all gone down rabbit holes of tweaking and tweaking only to come out the other side realizing we didn't make anything better. Maybe just different at best, but sometimes, worse.

So to a guy like Mutt Lange who has a bag of tricks that he pulls out on every production, like aligning EVERYTHING to the grid, does he do it because he truly feels it makes an improvement or just because he's OCD?

I'm in total agreement about the fact that billions of records sold not being my litmus test to what's a good record or not. Money doesn't equal talent and record sales doesn't equal goodness. The problem here, though, is that because Hysteria was so dominant at the time and everyone except me had a copy of it, it has informed and influenced all that came after it in one way or another. Either you were influenced by it or influenced against it, but it affected you. So now we have established the 48 tracks of "HEY!" layered over the snare as a sound. We have established the glossy plastic overproduced sound as a successful thing. That record has become part of our vocabulary.

It takes conviction and vision to specifically not make records like that nowadays. Don't edit everything! Don't quantize everything! Don't tune everything! Just because you can.

Roger
I can only speculate as I don't know Mr. Lange, but I think a number of people did things because he did, not because they believed it to be the best thing to do. I think there's a lot of that in the studio world. There's a lot of 'it's the standard thing that people do' so they do it. It makes for a bunch of records that have the human element squeezed out of them, that sound like a bunch of other records, and make the end user think of them as wallpaper. I choose to avoid those types of records from both points of view. I don't like hearing them, and I don't like making them. Arrogant...maybe, stupid...probably, sabotaging my chances of a "big hit record"...most likely.

I think there's a lot of things done because people either think they should, or because they can. I don't know that this is the best course of attack for making records, but maybe it is, and I'm just on the wrong side of this particular 'argument.'

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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by Burnt Ernie » Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:55 pm

Rodgre wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:08 am
I don't know if this is true, but it's a great story (therefore probably not true).

Someone once told me that they assisted on a session with that uber-famous producer previously discussed (but I won't mention here, because this might be total bullshit) and he had a huge shipment of TC Electronic 2290 delays brought to the studio. Like 24 of them. He inserted one on each track of the multitrack. He set them all to the same time, say like 20ms. He then set about having the assistant nudge each track forward or backward by changing the delay times. "put the kick later by 5ms....okay, make that 3ms..." He was trying to mess with the feel of the song by altering whether things were ahead or behind each other. It was an interesting experiment. The story I was told had him spending most of the day asking the assistant to nudge things back and forth and back and forth until after several hours he said "that's it. I love the way this feels!" Of course you've figured out by now that by that point, all the delay times were set to the same value again and everything was as it originally was.

Again, probably a totally bullshit story, but an interesting one.

Roger
Wouldn't doubt it for a second. Looking at the earlier posts- I AM OLD (58). So get a bunch of delays,so you can Nudge tracks. 2 weeks later,ask A&R person for more money. Yep. Go get a couple SDE3000's ,and a Russian Dragon,and manually trigger kick and snare,then spend a month on the toms and overheads,after you ditch the room mic's in your $2k/day NYC room. Then go edit at Steely Dan's place (River sound?) Nice Madison Producer guy I got to work with for a year or so-Map out track (vocals/gtr/bass,whatever) with a tuner,write it all down,then pitch correct by hand with an Eventide H3000. That's why I went back to "record everything/play it again". Put an analog face on it on the way in to the DAW,find the most offensive culprits,leave the warts on.
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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by drumsound » Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:43 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:09 am
Rodgre wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:59 am
drumsound wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:37 pm
I love the Classic Albums series, but haven't (and honestly probably won't) watch the Def Leppard or Fleetwood Mac ones, because I just don't care. The literal last thing I want to know about is how Hysteria was made. I don't want any of the shit creeping into my psyche and/or records.
So Tony doesn't want to know how a hit record is made! Ha!!!
I want my stuff to sound THE OPPOSITE of how hysteria sounds (rumors too for that matter), it's still very interesting and inspiring to watch. C'mon you don't wanna hear 96 tracks of Mutt's vocals solo'd? (Spoiler alert: they sound crazee)

Someone mentioned modern country sounding like hair metal and probably Mutt is to blame for that, no? Those Shania records he did were probably pretty influential.

Next time one of those Hysteria songs comes on the radio (should be about 5 minutes or so), stick with it until the prechorus, see if you don't offer up at least some grudging respect. Those guys were masters of the prechorus, they're the catchiest bits in all those songs. And Rodgre is right about Mutt, there's hooks just everywhere, there's plenty to learn from/borrow/steal even if you hate the way it all sounds.
It LITERALLY does the opposite of inspiring me. It makes me want to just avoid making or listening to records. I get into this mindset (which is dangerous and stupid) that if that is what records are supposed to be I'm just gonna find a day gig, get a paycheck, and be done with it all.
MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:09 am
Anyway I'm gonna book a month at Oxide Lounge and make Tony record a ton of def leppard covers using only 57s on everything.

You're gonna need to show up with those 57s, but sure, if you're writing checks...LET'S GO!
MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:09 am
Which reminds me that back in the old Jeff Robinson days, I had a plan to book time at Third Monk under an assumed name, assemble a crew of fellow tapeoppers to be my band, and then go in there and just be completely incompetent/impossible to record, just be totally inept and clueless, naturally we'd film the whole thing. I really thought this was a great idea. Sadly the plan collapsed due to the inevitable lack of funding.
I believe I was part of that mythical 'MSE Eleven.' He's in Michigan, so it was a simplish drive for me.

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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by vvv » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:10 am

May I, at 2:10 AM and 1/2 a bottle of white wine into it, suggest we all re-read this thread and reflect upon what geeks we are?

Even our in-jokes and proposed pranks are geeky.

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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by Scodiddly » Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:46 am

Not sure whether we missed the point on the 24 tracks of delays story. My guess would be that somebody with nearly infinite budget and a desire to figure out every tiny aspect of the process might try such a thing as an experiment. What would happen if the snare was 5mS early all the time? What if the guitar came in 7mS later? That (in the story) it didn't result in any changes means that the musicians were already putting the groove together the best way.

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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by digitaldrummer » Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:52 am

Scodiddly wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:46 am
the musicians were already putting the groove together the best way.
and I think what you are also pointing out is that manipulating everything to a grid is not always the right thing - even though this is done on so many recordings now. But that is what has sucked the life out of some music too. Then again as pointed out earlier, many people (dare I say "kids") that grew up on that kind of music, now expect to hear that and maybe a band with a real band groove, would sound weird to them?

have you noticed how many of the "newer" artists also play to clicks, and use backing tracks, or in some cases, don't even have a live band (or if they do it's just for show- i.e. air guitar and air drumming)
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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by losthighway » Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:51 am

digitaldrummer wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:52 am
and I think what you are also pointing out is that manipulating everything to a grid is not always the right thing - even though this is done on so many recordings now. But that is what has sucked the life out of some music too. Then again as pointed out earlier, many people (dare I say "kids") that grew up on that kind of music, now expect to hear that and maybe a band with a real band groove, would sound weird to them?
Totally. The interaction of a rhythm section and the way different members push or pull against what a click might dictate as the mathematical beat is so much of the feel. Contrary to your last point, I always lament that the same people demanding their recordings are treated with grid edits and autotune are often mainly inspired by records that utilize none of those technologies.

I really think much of their usage stems from insecurity. If you know your groove, and it feels good, you lay it down and get the right one. Done. But if you're second guessing yourself at every turn it's not just doubting that your performance was right, it's losing track of what even is right. Suddenly the grid is there to give you some sense of certainty, because you can refer to it as the boss. Same with singing, why scrutinize a vocal performance for what is acceptable, charmingly loose, and unacceptable intonation throughout the verse? You can just say, 'I pressed the button to make me know its right. Now I don't have to think about it.'

Autotune could have destroyed the vocal performances of Ray Davies and Neil Young, had it existed and been employed on their finest records. Those dudes could be pretty loose on pitch, and it's all a part of their sound.

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Re: Recording Trends/Techniques that drive you nuts

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:01 am

vvv wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:10 am
Even our in-jokes and proposed pranks are geeky.
:D :evil: :high: :mrgreen:

Was thinking about this thread last night, do you guys think that Cars' first record drum sound was the precursor to the much-hated Def Leppard drum sound? This doesn't seem like a stretch to me, that Cars drum sound was the biggest/fattest sound going at the time, was it not?

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