My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

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BufordTJustice
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My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by BufordTJustice » Wed Sep 22, 2004 2:32 am

Hi

Just had a listen to some old recordings of mine last night done on a roland 8 track (vs 840ex) and with some really shitty mics, one of which was ?1 from a car boot sale.

After comparing them with newer ones that ive done on my mac (logic, motu 828mk2, better mics) the old ones sound 'more together' and no elements really stand out. It doesnt sound as good quality but sounds flatter and you can hear things without them sounding like they stick out loads. Any ideas why this is? It's annoying the crap out of me. I thought using my new stuff (especially due to the cost) would kick the crap out of my old stuff.

Jonny

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Re: My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by bobbydj » Wed Sep 22, 2004 3:50 am

Toughie, this one. I dunno. Could it be other factors outside the actual format and recorder context? Were the musicians different? Was the room different? Are you mixing down to a different format? Just asking.

Sticking with the mics and recorder upgrade though, I suppose it's possible that the better equipment is more accurately revealing weak points in the process. I sometimes think that a shit room sound doesn't sound so shit through bad gear, simply because not so much of the shitness is audible!! :lol:

Seriously - I am more than ever becoming convinced that, after the musicians, the room is top of the fucking pile when it comes to crucial variables. Much as it pains me to have reached this conclusion.

The other possibility is that better mics + better digital recording medium = more separation of parts. Each sound is more detailed, placed more specifically in the field, etc. etc. Sometimes that can (uhm) unglue a mix. I'm sort of more of a fan of older records where instruments were tracked together (to tape), rather than becoming (small parts) isolated (and destroyed). Wtf. I dunno.
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Al
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Re: My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by Al » Wed Sep 22, 2004 4:04 am

bobbydj wrote:Toughie, this one. I dunno. Could it be other factors outside the actual format and recorder context? Were the musicians different? Was the room different? Are you mixing down to a different format? Just asking.

Sticking with the mics and recorder upgrade though, I suppose it's possible that the better equipment is more accurately revealing weak points in the process. I sometimes think that a shit room sound doesn't sound so shit through bad gear, simply because not so much of the shitness is audible!! :lol:

Seriously - I am more than ever becoming convinced that, after the musicians, the room is top of the fucking pile when it comes to crucial variables. Much as it pains me to have reached this conclusion.

The other possibility is that better mics + better digital recording medium = more separation of parts. Each sound is more detailed, placed more specifically in the field, etc. etc. Sometimes that can (uhm) unglue a mix. I'm sort of more of a fan of older records where instruments were tracked together (to tape), rather than becoming (small parts) isolated (and destroyed). Wtf. I dunno.


Wow Rob!, will you be sending this chap an invoice..hehehe...

Gear shmear!, if the ideas crap, it doesn't matter what you're using.

Hey, is that Mark Lamar playing that casio keyboard?


Al

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Re: My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by bigtoe » Wed Sep 22, 2004 5:34 am

"Seriously - I am more than ever becoming convinced that, after the musicians, the room is top of the fucking pile when it comes to crucial variables. Much as it pains me to have reached this conclusion."

Amen. Rooms cost so much bread...and a bad one can kill everything.

Mike

BufordTJustice
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Re: My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by BufordTJustice » Wed Sep 22, 2004 5:34 am

The only things that i could think of were the same reasons as what you guys said.

That being that the room was different (old ones done in house environment, deader and the new ones in a room with stone walls, more lively) and that because the equipment is better it translates the sounds more accurately meaning they will all sound more different from each other which i guess would pull them apart.

I guess like you said it comes down to the room and i reckon getting better at mixing.

Thanks

Jonny

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Al
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Re: My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by Al » Wed Sep 22, 2004 6:25 am

At what cost a room?, rent a space and give it some acoustic treatment, you can make a lot of these things fairly cheaply yourself, dot a few tiles about, the tailor made stuff costs an arm and a leg..too expensive.

Like it's already been mentioned here, shit rooms are accountable for a lot nasties on you're recordings, Band, Room and then equipment, most definately!.

Al

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wing
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Re: My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by wing » Wed Sep 22, 2004 6:50 am

well first of all, those roland things just plain kick ass. they have a nice old digital grit to them that makes things actually kind of sound warm and grainy and nice. i don't think it was intended by roland. but i've definitely heard some fantastic recordings on those...

i'd try pairing up the roland with some nice mics and experimenting with various mic techniques, who knows what you might come up with... maybe that'll sound better?

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Re: My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by wing » Wed Sep 22, 2004 6:53 am

oh yea, and the different rooms thing probably plays a huuuuge role. do you still have your crappier gear? try making some recordings with it to compare... set up the nice mics or whatever, keep them in the same position, and then track one song the same way with the DAW, then plug all the mics into the roland and track the same way again.

then you can A/B the results and learn from the differences.

just a thought.

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Slider
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Re: My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by Slider » Wed Sep 22, 2004 7:02 am

Recording is a strange thing.

No matter how you try to set up the same, you'll get a different result everytime.
That's kind of cool in a way.
A drum will sound way different a week later.
Moving a 57 an inch will totally change the sound.
I have some magical 388 recordings from way back that sound great.
I have recordings done on a vintage neve to tape that sound shit to me now.
I have some great old ADAT recordings with a mackie console.
I have no good explanation for any of this, other than it was really working out on that particular day.

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Al
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Re: My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by Al » Wed Sep 22, 2004 8:32 am

Slider wrote:Recording is a strange thing.

No matter how you try to set up the same, you'll get a different result everytime.
That's kind of cool in a way.
A drum will sound way different a week later.
Moving a 57 an inch will totally change the sound.
I have some magical 388 recordings from way back that sound great.
I have recordings done on a vintage neve to tape that sound shit to me now.
I have some great old ADAT recordings with a mackie console.
I have no good explanation for any of this, other than it was really working out on that particular day.

Yeah, i'm with you there slider, the enigma that is known as recording..
Btw. I've joined you in Platinum Penta world, as i know your'e a fan, excellent! , it rocks!! 8)

Al

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Re: My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by nestle » Wed Sep 22, 2004 8:40 am

just a thought on this-
I have done several sessions bouncing the roland stuff into my protools rig.
Now I was very skepitical and all ready to put id down, I mean this stuff was usually recorded with no fancy pre's just the on board stuff-
each time I was very impressed with the sound quality, I mean it really stood up on its own merits. Of course the there were other variables, but diffrent times with
diffrent people but same machine and I was like "damn, maybe there is something going on with these machines,,,"
All I'm saying is its better than I expected for the price point I have to admit

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Ben Logan
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Re: My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by Ben Logan » Wed Sep 22, 2004 9:22 am

Could it be the performances themselves? I had a similar experience while comparing some stuff I had done strictly as "demos" - (demos for what I have no idea), to some later recorded "polished takes."

My thinking with the "demos" was, "I'm just going to document these songs, and make 'real good' recordings of them later." I was shocked to find that those demos sound better than the "polished" versions which I recorded later.

Same room, same mics. The difference? Since I wasn't pressuring myself to "nail the sound" with the first the performances, the "demo" cuts were fresher, and more honest, despite lots of technical imperfections.

The problem you described is more "fidelity-related," I know. But could the performances be a factor?

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Re: My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by jajjguy » Wed Sep 22, 2004 9:42 am

also, it could be that your "crap" mics are actuallly better for the purpose than your "better" mics.

are the "better" ones cheap condensors by any chance? they will likely give you more high-freq detail and faster dynamic jumps, but may be harder to mix well.

try what wing suggested, but also try the opposite: using the "crap" mics with the computer setup. you may ultimately settle on a mix of the different kinds of mics.

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I'm Painting Again
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Re: My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by I'm Painting Again » Wed Sep 22, 2004 10:04 am

i too have heard a bunch of recordings done on those types of small digital multitracks and my thinking is that they are either by design or fluke to be "mix easey" with the sacrafice of depth and quality..kind of like how tape is forgiving..you can make nice 2 dimensional recordings with them..they just make things come together..although its a flat grainy together..but acceptable, even very good for rock..

BufordTJustice
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Re: My old recordings sounds better using crappy stuff

Post by BufordTJustice » Wed Sep 22, 2004 10:27 am

Yeah the 'easy mix' thing sounds about right to me and the recordings do have a type of 2d feel to them.

I dont even know what the mics were that i used before, they were basically whatever i could get hold of. I do remember one oof them being about 2 inches long though. They were just totally random weird dynamic mics. These days i use

57 snare
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