What are some of the most "poorly engineered" albu

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Crocoduck5000
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What are some of the most "poorly engineered" albu

Post by Crocoduck5000 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:33 pm

And by "engineered poorly", I don't necessarily mean "lo-fi", but rather "hi-fi" records that sound like garbage and could have been much better. It can even be music you enjoy. Essentially, good songs (or average songs) ruined by a harsh, out-of-touch mix.

For instance, I enjoy MGMTs Oracular Spectacular in a musical sense, but it seems to cause me so much hearing fatigue that after a few songs I have to switch over to something else. It's so overly compressed, the lyrics are garbled, and the saturation/distortion just seems to be the worst kind in all the wrong places. (I wonder if the vinyl was mastered differently? Doubt it.)

As another example, Radiohead's track "Idioteque" from Kid A also is one of the harshest sounding "popular" recordings I've heard. Some would say that's the point of the song given the lyrics, but it just sucks because I guess I have overly sensitive ears :(

I wanted to know if anyone else had opinions on this phenomenon!

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Post by chris harris » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:29 pm

My opinion is that both of the examples you cited are fantastic sounding. It's also my opinion that both were fantastically engineered.

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Post by suppositron » Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:19 am

Haven't heard the first example but I love Kid A.

I think the Fire E.P. from Thrice sounds like trash. It was the first time they ventured out to record themselves and I give them credit for that but holy crap did they compress the piss out of that record.

St. Anger. sounds like garbage.

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Post by centurymantra » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:35 am

There was a thread over on GS in which the MGMT recording was discussed. In an interview with MGMT, I know they talked about how he ran the whole thing through "crappy '90s compressors". It also came to light that Dave Fridmann was intentionally distorting his plug-ins and pushing them into the red to create all kinds of digital distortion. It sounded like this is something he has become fond of. Many people felt otherwise, of course.

You top this off with extreme limiting and compression in the mastering and the result is the sound you are describing. Apparently some people love it though. :)
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Post by Crocoduck5000 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:14 am

centurymantra wrote:There was a thread over on GS in which the MGMT recording was discussed. In an interview with MGMT, I know they talked about how he ran the whole thing through "crappy '90s compressors". It also came to light that Dave Fridmann was intentionally distorting his plug-ins and pushing them into the red to create all kinds of digital distortion. It sounded like this is something he has become fond of. Many people felt otherwise, of course.

You top this off with extreme limiting and compression in the mastering and the result is the sound you are describing. Apparently some people love it though. :)
I guess since it was a Columbia Records recording so they had to compress the hell out of it somehow :)

MGMT has an EP before they released Oracular which is called "Time to Pretend", and they have some of the same songs. Difference is, there's very little reverb and no compression, and I think it fits the style better.

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Post by SoulOfJonas » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:33 am

2 big examples that popped up in my mind are the Titus Andronicus record and the first Tokyo Police Club record. I love what both of these bands do live and the songs are amazing but the recordings are too harsh. It seems to me that they wanted their records to convey that energy they have live but went way over the top with the clipping at every stage - the Titus Andronicus record especially. I've never made it through the whole album in one pass. I think it might sound better if I heard it from behind a curtain or possibly a thin wall. :)

On the opposite end of spectrum, Health is a band I think nailed their live insanity on their first record. And they recorded it themselves. There are tons of really "harsh" sounds all over that album but I could listen to it all day long.

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Re: What are some of the most "poorly engineered"

Post by tonewoods » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:50 pm

Crocoduck5000 wrote:And by "engineered poorly", I don't necessarily mean "lo-fi", but rather "hi-fi" records that sound like garbage and could have been much better. It can even be music you enjoy. Essentially, good songs (or average songs) ruined by a harsh, out-of-touch mix.
Bring on the stones and arrows, but this geezer nominates "Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs" and "Electric Ladyland"...

I'd kill to have a go at re-mixing those...

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Post by Sean Sullivan » Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:22 pm

I'm too afraid to make any suggestions because the engineers or producers might read this thread :oops:
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Post by cgarges » Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:46 pm

Do a search for any posts I've made about Eddie Kramer.

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Re: What are some of the most "poorly engineered"

Post by kingtoad » Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:47 pm

tonewoods wrote:
Crocoduck5000 wrote:And by "engineered poorly", I don't necessarily mean "lo-fi", but rather "hi-fi" records that sound like garbage and could have been much better. It can even be music you enjoy. Essentially, good songs (or average songs) ruined by a harsh, out-of-touch mix.
Bring on the stones and arrows, but this geezer nominates "Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs" and "Electric Ladyland"...

I'd kill to have a go at re-mixing those...
Ha, I almost mentioned Electric Ladyland too. I think it's more the use of the stereo field that annoys me rather than the general engineering, though. Was that album originally in mono?

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a couple come to mind

Post by Zoltar » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:28 pm

Metallica's 'and justice for all' is a great album with a terrible mix. No bass. Of course the 'Death Magnetic' album was over compressed.

Nirvana 'Nevermind' is a great album that was produced (rough quote) "more Motley Crue than The Pixies"

A lot of what the smashing pumpkins did after 'Siamese Dream' was not paid proper attention to detail.

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Post by Jitters » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:20 pm

What about Raw Power by Iggy and the Stooges? People have bitched about that one forever and then Iggy goes in remixes it and actually made it worse! :shock:

Also there are a lot of would be great records that someone needs to go in and scrape the 80s off of.

Some early Kinks albums could have use a little more TLC imho.

On the other hand a lot of people complain about Exile on Main Street, but I would hate to hear that one any differently.

The Man Who Fell to Earth sounds like a demo for what could be a great album. Just a little - unfinished...

If I had a time machine I would go to Jamaca in the 70s and take a couple hundred packs of fresh bass strings.

I could go on forever!

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Post by JGriffin » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:40 am

Not an album, but I hate the sound mix on the movie Jesus Christ Superstar. Fantastic music, great vocal performances, but the vocals are so out in front that the band about vanishes and definitely loses much of its power.
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Post by Sean Sullivan » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:00 am

Ok...Alejandro Escovedo "Looking for Love" from The Boxing Mirror gives me a funkin' headache. The worst sound drum machine of all time. The cymbal is like so bright it feels like something piercing my forehead. That's just poorly mixed, produced...everything.

But, the rest of that album is good. It's too 80's sounding, but that's probably John Cale's touch.
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Post by Aquaman » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:29 am

Jitters wrote:If I had a time machine I would go to Jamaca in the 70s and take a couple hundred packs of fresh bass strings.
Don't even joke about killing reggae like that.

That James Jamerson had an awful bass sound, too. Maybe you'd like to fix that as well?

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