jon.s5634

What's your favourite track/album to listen to from a engineering/production perspective

12 posts in this topic

Fairly self explanatory, tell me your favourite track or album that you like not because of the music, but because of the production and mix techniques used.

As an exercise in communication, first explain it like you were telling it to someone with no technical experience, and then explain using as much technical detail as you want.

Lately for me it has been the album In this Life, by a local Brissy band called Kooii. http://www.myspace.com/kooii to hear some tracks (mp3's only sorry!). Everything about the album is smooth, there are no sharp edges, and everything blends well.

I think the low end is really well controlled (kick and bass freq's, around the 50-250Hz range), there's no competing frequencies between the kick/bass. Compression used here (whether in the mix or the master) is very tasteful and keeps the low's consistent and up upfront on a range of playback systems. All instruments sit within a well defined frequency band, even in the midrange where everything lives, which gives clarity, something i look for in a mix. High mids and Highs are again nicely controlled, no listening fatigue here. Reverb is used fairly liberally, but without muddying up everything with the wash.

Oh, and also anything by The Black Keys, it just makes me think of hot tubes and tape :wub: .

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I'll give this one a go...

I can't just choose one album though, I have to go with 3 coz I'm greedy :blush:

Grace Jones - Slave to the Rhythm. Produced by Trevor Horn c.1985, considered a masterpiece album and a lot of engineers look at this for inspiration/reference, and it hasn't really dated.

One the earliest examples of 'remix/concept' album, although back then each track was recorded from scratch not just edited in a DAW. Analog tape and Fairlight sampler FTW! The geek in me loves the use of extreme pan on this album - entire arrangements are placed 100% left and right, so if you mute one side you get mix A, mute the other you get mix B, put them together and the track sounds full and coherent. Really clever shit.

Johnny Cash - American Recordings. Produced by Rick Rubin, this is an exercise in minimal production and the art of mic placement. Each track has a subtle change in ambience that reflects the rooms they used to record in, which were mostly rooms around Rick's house I believe. The nuances of the guitar and voice are stunning, the album has a sense of honesty and intimacy that is rare these days.

Skrillex - Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites. Not necessarily a fan of dubstep per se, but this album is a good example of it. Surprisingly coherent overall for what is basically an EP with remixes. The Bare Noise remix of 'Kill Everybody' is sheer aural overload, the micro-arranging and editing is awesome. I use this track in my music cognition class to exemplify the capacity of the human mind to process multiple aural dimensions simultaneously and the amazing capacity of the human ear to analyse sound across short time spans.

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Skrillex - Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.

At risk of derailing the quality thread...

...I couldn't help but go 'wow!' at seeing a bunch of musos having a fair crack at recreating some of Skrillex's (presumably) Ableton Live noodlings in a genuinely live setting!

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Sweeeeeet! There's still an awful lot of tech and production involved.

Anyone have any idea what it is the bass player is using? When i shake my hands like that when i play i just look like an idiot...

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It's an ebow?...but this one is like a ring rather than hand-held.

That sampler gives me the heebie jeebies :lol:

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^^ (non-guitar player here) ... so what's an 'elbow'?

In another clip of theirs, one can see it acting like a on-off motion trigger for a filter, giving the sound a whoooomp whoooomp effect.

Similar tech on the lead guitar, though in the form of a 'blackberry' looking thing stuck to the front of it, apparently sending trigger data via bluetooth as its buttons are pressed. Check out their other clips, I think it's the Christmas / Santa one that shows it off. But how has it been mapped, and what is it controlling, I don't know.

Any modern-day guitar heads here able to enlighten us. And is this type of tech relatively common these days, or are these guys pioneering it?

And Jon S, yes absolutely lots of tech and production gone into it. I had presumed the stuttery-vocoder-vox where samples triggered from the keys, but now I think they actually triggering an auto-tuned gate while the vox are sung live (just don't get to see a shot of the singer's face while he plays the micro keyboard). It just sounds too well balanced to his natural voice to have been done at a different time/place. EDIT: Scrap that, definitely samples, he can be seen not-singing-as-he-plays in the first instance of that riff.

All up, a tight performance. In fact the entire mix seems really well polished for being captured in such a cramped, crappy room. Did make me wonder whether this a mime-along, but everything does look like it's been mic'd up accordingly. Drums are triggered (Clavia ddrum triggers) to play sampled drum sounds, possibly mixed in with the acoustic drums, while the cymbals are acoustic. All up, that would give it an upfront sampled 'loop' sound. Great drummer too, see him in another clip whip out some tidy 16th notes with the right-hand only.

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i just grabbed the first youtube clip I could find so can't guarantee the excitement factor.

I don't believe that many self-professed guitar-heads are into it either. I have one, and I use it on my heavy guage string guitar which I use when the other guitarist from my band and I decide to play brutal metal for a bit of time out from our usual stuff. I use it as an alternative to long lead sections as the heavier guage strings don't lend themselves well to those.

Mine came with a badge with a picture of a guitar pick on it with a red circle and strike through it (aka the Ghostbusters sign). Sometimes I wear it to work (a guitar shop) and some customers have found it offensive! :lol:

Bass players think it means I'm a bassist. Great, whatever - now buy something!

But when I have explained what it is, I get a blank look; so apparently the ebow ain't that popular with guitarists either. Old and young, lots of people still wanna be Jimmy Page. As a side note, I went to his holiday house in Brazil and his maid showed me around. He wasn't home. I'm not a fan of massive proportions so I did not really care all that much.

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I regularly pull up the song Detours by Sheryl Crow from the album of the same name. For me the vocal is about as loud as a lead vocal can be on a track without being too loud. Its a good one for when A&R people are asking for more and more and more lead vocal. The bottom end on that track is really well controlled while being nice and full. I'm a fan of the way Bill Botrill goes about making records and think this is a really good example of his work

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As a side note, I went to his holiday house in Brazil and his maid showed me around. He wasn't home. I'm not a fan of massive proportions so I did not really care all that much.

Please to make explain at me this story of Jimmy Page's holiday house! Did you just rock up and get a tour???

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My favourite production is Michael Jacksons Thriller.

Its not my favourite album but the production on it is just fantastic. 

I can only imagine what it would have came out like using pro tools. 

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I can only imagine what it would have came out like using pro tools. 

Have you ever seen a runny dog poo? I think it'd sound like one of those looks.

 

:D

 

Don't mess with perfection.

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