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  #591  
Old 04-19-2013, 09:32 AM
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Wow, someone actually gets it.

Rick Rubin's job isn't to make the album sound good, his job is to keep Sabbath in check and make sure they don't make a shit album. From arrangements, advice, critiques, ect. That sort of thing.
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  #592  
Old 04-19-2013, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Onioner View Post
Now this is where it gets tricky. Some mixing engineers have been doing what is supposed to be the mastering engineer's job and crank their master fader (basically the one fader in Pro-Tools/Logic that brings every active instrument fader up or down simultaneously) to oblivion. This results in clipping, which is when part of a wave form gets effectively chopped into a flat line because it hit the "ceiling" so to speak of digital audio- that's 0 dB. We hear clipping as digital distortion. When a mastering engineer receives a mix, they're supposed to balance the overall EQ from track to track, make the songs loud enough for the market and add fades and transitions where necessary. When a mastering engineer receives a jacked mix of the kind I just mentioned, there is nearly nothing they can do to fix it. This is what happened to Death Magnetic, and Stadium Arcadium, both Rick Rubin productions. Rick Rubin has probably never manned a board in his entire career. Yes, he deserves some blame for letting these albums get pressed sounding they way they do, but he is not directly responsible for the sound of any of his records in an engineering sense.
Thanks for the breakdown, I was wondering who to blame for the clipping present in so much music today. I had to get a new CD player 10 years ago just because of clipping. It's amazing the difference when you pop in a CD from the '80s or early '90s versus most anything after around 2002.
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  #593  
Old 04-19-2013, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Wrecking Crew View Post
Thanks for the breakdown, I was wondering who to blame for the clipping present in so much music today. I had to get a new CD player 10 years ago just because of clipping. It's amazing the difference when you pop in a CD from the '80s or early '90s versus most anything after around 2002.
Well, what I explained is the reason that explains why Death Magnetic sounds the way it did. It's the exception, not the rule. Most other albums get cranked to hell in the mastering, not the mixing. 95% of mix engineers leave a ton of room for the mastering engineer to make the track louder. Digital limiters and compressors have gotten a lot better in recent years. You can get a pretty jacked signal without any clipping and distortion if you've got the plugins/hardware and a bit of ingenuity.

It's a cyclical thing. For like 50 years artists have been competing for the loudest track around. Mastering engineers have had to acquiesce to the artists/labels' desire for a loud song or risk losing business. What's different about now as opposed to a few years ago is that mastering engineers finally have the technology to get a really loud signal that sounds good. Not nearly as nice as a song with most of its dynamic range intact mind you, but certainly good enough.
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  #594  
Old 04-19-2013, 07:48 PM
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I'm about to ask a potentially retarded (series of) question(s).

Why the fuck is this 'CD volume' bullshit an issue to begin with? Who cares about this? Don't you people have volume controls on whatever you're listening to music with? Why the fuck did this become a thing? Who would be losing business due to tracks not being 'loud enough'?!?

I don't get it.
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  #595  
Old 04-19-2013, 09:35 PM
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  #596  
Old 04-20-2013, 12:56 AM
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FUCK BLACK SABBATHS NEW SONG IS GREAT
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  #597  
Old 04-20-2013, 12:58 AM
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Geez is up high in the mix, nice. Drums are good so far. Little slow but pretty eerie sounding too. Ozz just came in, I don't think he sounds bad, less fake sounding than his recent solo stuff. I can hear a bit of autotune though for sure.

Not super crazy about the riffing on the chorus, its ok. Lyrics are pretty cool so far. Don't really like the part around the 5 minute mark. 6:20 - Hell yes, sounds bluesy like the first album. Ending was a bit abrupt, would have liked more solo work from Tony.



So those are my initial thoughts. Overall, I liked it. Ozz sounds better than I thought he would and Wilk sounds pretty good and I don't mind the production. Bit overly long though.
"Geez" has always been prominent in the mix.
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  #598  
Old 04-20-2013, 03:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Northern_Shaman View Post
I'm about to ask a potentially retarded (series of) question(s).

Why the fuck is this 'CD volume' bullshit an issue to begin with? Who cares about this? Don't you people have volume controls on whatever you're listening to music with? Why the fuck did this become a thing? Who would be losing business due to tracks not being 'loud enough'?!?

I don't get it.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war

This explains the loudness thing, which is related to the problems we associate with Rick Rubin's productions, but not quite one in the same. On a record, clipped signal is so because it is too loud. Loud signal is not necessary clipped. Squares and rectangles dude. And yes, we do have volume controls, that's very true- too bad artists and labels don't give a shit. Artists and label people for the most part, don't know a thing about sound engineering. To them, louder = better. Now think about this for a second- mastering engineer delivers final product to label. Label says "This isn't loud enough, do it again." Mastering engineer either says no and loses not just present, but also future business, or says yes and keeps present and future business. That's why albums have gotten louder over the years. It's literally a competition, and engineers are forced to encourage it in order to stay in business.

Like I said earlier, loudness isn't really much of a problem anymore. It was before when engineers had to literally drive signal through the roof to increase the loudness of a track. In 2013 modern mastering technology can get a good sounding jacked signal. Yes, some dynamic range would be nice, but there are a lot of albums that sound perfectly good while still being really loud. The Devil You Know is actually a really good example of this funny enough. Most people that complain about 'loud mastering' spend more time staring at waveforms instead of actively listening and making a judgement based on that (to anyone that judges a track's quality based on a waveform photo, listen with your ears, not your eyes). Clipping always equals distortion, and for the most part distortion = bad. As of now, clipping is now a result of a small number of things including, but definitely not limited to these:

1) A mix engineer that jacks the album to oblivion for purposes that supposedly serves the mix. Ted Jensen, the guy who mastered Death Magnetic, claimed that the mixed tracks he was sent was already clipped- that's an example of this scenario.

2) The artist themselves clip the track or part of the track for artistic purposes. Trent Reznor did this to some NIN instrument tracks to achieve a desired digital distortion effect. If that's what the artist was going for, then more power to them.

3) The mastering engineer doesn't have the tech or the knowhow to get a song to be loud without clipping the signal. This scenario was the most common one, but it should be happening much less frequently as time goes on.

Just listen to The Tenant by Ludicra. The album has one of the best modern metal productions in every single area- performances, tones, mixing and mastering- while still being really fucking loud. Same with Andy Sneap's recent productions, he especially has really improved in that regard in the last couple of years. To be honest with every single person here, dynamic range compression is absolutely necessary. If you like listening to music in your car, or on earbuds, or in any other environment where you're listening to music with shit happening in the background, compression makes your music listenable. The only people who can actually enjoy records with zero dynamic compression are people that are able to listen to music in otherwise silent environments. That's probably like 5% of any act's fanbase at best, and realistically only 2%. Basically, compression can act as the glue of a good mix. Quieter elements are brought up, and more abrasive ones are toned down. It also adds uniformity to the volume of a track, so that way you don't have to constantly adjust the volume as you listen to it. It also has the potential of causing the opposite extreme- a song can sound 'too together' and can sound too tightly packed for lack of a better phrase. Limiters can potentially avoid some of this issue thanks to some black motherfuck audio magic that I don't understand, but they're certainly not a definitive solution.

And to everyone here, if my posts haven't indicated this enough already, this whole loudness and compression issue is a very complicated issue. There is no perfect solution other than to hope that the engineers give every song the unique treatment it deserves. And as far as this Black Sabbath song is concerned, I do like that all the instruments are nicely balanced in the mix. I'm not a fan of the drum tones, the kick drum sounds especially super weak during the slow bits. I also think that the loud parts of the song are just a tad too compressed. One of the great things about Paranoid, Master of Reality and Vol 4 was how well the mix breathed- you could practically feel the air on those albums, even if their fidelity wasn't too great, especially on Vol 4. The instruments weren't merely all audible, but there was space in between them too. That's the big thing missing from God is Dead to me, but it won't be a deal breaker- it certainly wasn't on The Devil You Know anyway, although the issue wasn't nearly as pronounced on that album.

If anyone has any more engineering questions and whatnot, just shoot me a PM. I've hijacked this thread enough already haha. I'm also afraid that if I go into any more detail about specific albums that I know the production process of, I'll put something on here that I'll later regret.
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  #599  
Old 04-20-2013, 03:22 AM
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I had absolutely NO problems of hearing every instrument on Devil You Know.

Put on Vapor Trails or, unfortunately, Death Magnetic... God Is Dead doesn't sound anything like that. And I do like the latter album, thank you.
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  #600  
Old 04-20-2013, 04:06 AM
Onioner Onioner is offline
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I had absolutely NO problems of hearing every instrument on Devil You Know.

Put on Vapor Trails or, unfortunately, Death Magnetic... God Is Dead doesn't sound anything like that. And I do like the latter album, thank you.
Cool, neither did I haha. I think The Devil You Know had a fantastic modern production. Sure I'll take Master of Reality over it any day, but for a metal album released in 2009 The Devil You Know kicked all sorts of ass. Tony's tone on The Devil You Know in particular is one of my favorite guitar tones ever. Heavier than TIME.

Vapor Trails and Death Magnetic are both examples of clipping negatively impacting the songs. My opinions on the production quality of an album have literally nothing to do with what I think of the music itself, so please don't think I'm bashing the music on Death Magnetic in any way. I also never said God is Dead suffered from the same issues as Death Magnetic, only that I didn't like the kick sound and that I thought it was just too compressed at times. As far as earbuds playing back the YouTube stream are showing me, I don't hear any clipping, which is great! I like the mix on the album a lot too, everything is audible and Geezer especially takes no effort to pick out without sacrificing Tony's tone.
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