Jump to content
soundbound

It's a shame most Rock is recorded badly!

Recommended Posts

I enjoy most music. I enjoy it best live. I can enjoy listening to it on a small low cost radio or boombox outside, but enjoy it more on a good stereo system. Most jazz is recorded good and sounds good on a good stereo, but most rock is recorded bad and sounds bad on a good stereo system which is a shame, because I want to rock sometimes, but can't enjoy most rock's bad sound recordings on my good stereo.  Most rock recordings are distorted way too much with low level bass and drums being mainly just loud distorted mids and highs. When I listen to just about any jazz recording, then just about any rock right afterwards it really shows how bad rock is recorded no matter what decade either of them was recorded including recent.

 

Why doesn't most rock make good sounding recordings? Do they not care, or do they feel rock is meant to sound bad?

 

 Is it going to have to be only jazz on my good stereo system and rock for my bombox?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See articles on "The Loudness Wars."

 

Too often, the people making the decisions (the "suits") are not musicians, AND don't care, except about $$$.  The recording engineers don't dare defy orders to compress the dynamic range and cram the music up against the maximum recording ceiling, causing distortion.

 

There is hope.  See Chris A's posts on home "unmastering" of badly mastered recordings.  I agree, jazz and classical are not tampered with (ruined) as much as rock.

 

Sometimes the old vinyl disks sound better than the re-issued "improved" CD versions

 

A trick that sometimes works (although I hate doing it!) is to turn down the highs a bit, and turn up the bass below about 80 Hz.  That may hide some distortion.

 

Just one of Chris's threads: https://community.klipsch.com/index.php?/topic/166920-the-hidden-fidelity-of-classic-albums/&tab=comments#comment-2106752

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That really confirms my sentiments exactly. In my case it's so noticeable on voices. Then you wonder why you hear distortion with equipment rated at .00000000000003% distortion.

JJK

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have often wondered this myself and had thought it had to do with the fact that most rock is played with electric instruments intentionally distorted to begin with , rather than the mainly acoustic instruments used in jazz. Just about all my 50s and early 60s jazz sounds better overall than the rock from the 70s and 80s which I also enjoy.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the best recordings for rock I have found are on concert dvd's and blu-rays. The recording quality appears to be a lot higher.  I am not a huge Metal fan, but from reading and later purchasing,  Metallica's- Through the Never- blu-ray, I have found it to be the most dynamicly recorded disc I have heard to this day.  It will work out your sound system like nothing else. Audio/ video is as good as it gets.  Slammin. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, shiva said:

the best recordings for rock

Acoustica, by the Scorpions is a fantastic DVD. It's an unplugged concert, that is one of my fav's...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your posts. They're all helpful.

 

You're right about DVD sound being good. Too bad many rock CDs are not that good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/31/2017 at 12:45 AM, soundbound said:

When I listen to just about any jazz recording, then just about any rock right afterwards it really shows how bad rock is recorded no matter what decade either of them was recorded including recent...Why doesn't most rock make good sounding recordings? Do they not care, or do they feel rock is meant to sound bad?

 

To answer your question, it's been my experience that the people in rock/popular music that do this "don't care"...REALLY...don't care.  These same people that do this to the music will typically insult you online if you comment on how poor their music products have become.  They'll tell you that you're opinions "aren't relevant", and that "they can't produce music just for 3% of the population" (a bald-faced lie). All they have to do to produce good tracks is hit "save" before they continue down the merry paths to producing "commercialized music", and post those good saved tracks for sale on the download sites since it now costs them nothing to do this. 

 

The entire DR Database site was created because of these (abusive) industry practices, and was created by mastering engineers that are fighting back against this continuing (and worsening) corporate culture of "mastering the tracks for greatest sales potential".  The guys defending these terrible practices don't like anyone talking about how bad the industry has become...which is much worse today than it was 30 years ago. "Do anything for money" seems to be the ethic, unfortunately.

 

Chris

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many times you submit mixes to mastering, and mastering does the damage.  I've rejected acoustic recording masters sent back from major mastering houses like Sterling Sound because they jacked levels up into distortion.  Unless ordered otherwise, pop music mastering assumes 'as loud as possible'.   I sit in on mastering sessions as much as I can, and push for sane dynamic interpretations.  Virtually everyone I work with is self-financed, and their tens of dollars don't go far in the first place.  My preferred local mastering facility always gives me a hi-res version lacking final limiting, and only one artist to date has used it.  It exists, but unheard by all but myself when I delve into the archives.   That hi-res version is what would be used as the basis for vinyl pressings, which few can afford to make.   

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The last two posts explains a lot too. Thank you. It's unfortunate they final mix the sound of most rock badly when they could mix it good easily enough. It's sad how bad some of it sounds, including recent and major bands. Not all rock sounds bad. I have some that sounds good, but a lot of it sounds bad when it could and should sound good when it's not that difficult to make a good recording, especially these days. I have some friends who play instruments and make their own good recordings with minimal equipment in their houses and they sound good. I'd listen to rock more if it sounded better, but I don't enjoy how a lot of it sounds bad on my good stereo, so listen to jazz mostly which is a shame, because I like rock too. My rock spends most of its time shelved.

 

Another thing I don't like about some mixing is how much artificial effects they add to vocals, especially females when they have good voices and sound better just normally recorded. I realize they're trying to make them sound bigger from stereo by adding delay, echoes, and other such effects, but most of the time they just sound artificial bad like they're singing in a tunnel. I'll check sometimes by playing through my direct radiator speakers to assure it's not my horn speakers causing the effect and everytime I find it's the recordings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, EMRR said:

Many times you submit mixes to mastering, and mastering does the damage.

Based on the many demasterings that I've done to date, this historically has been true.  Otherwise the techniques that I use would be much less effective.

 

However, for the biggest rock and other popular genre recording artists, I've noticed that poor quality mastering practices have begun to appear in the mixes (particularly "stem" mixes).  Once this occurs at mix time, little can be demastered.  I'm speaking now of new popular recordings recorded and released particularly since 1999, and sometimes as early as 1991.

 

I've even run into the situation where the mixing during a particular song was obviously hacked into 2-3 second piece stems and individually compressed, limited, and effectively re-Eqed, along with other heavy-handed Auto-Tuning applied to voices and instrumental tracks in the mixes, then reassembled into a two-channel master track.  There's little that can be done for these released recordings.  They've effectively been fried. 

 

If you look for live albums, sometimes you can get better material to demaster, but note that a lot of live performances in arena-style venues simply sound terrible due to the poor venue acoustics.  Those recordings done acoustically for a live audience in smaller theater-type venues usually turn out much better--but not necessarily so, especially if the "foldback" amplification gets back into the recording or causes the musicians to alter their pitch (playing flat) due to more extreme loudness foldback into the musicians ears.  The performance quality always seems to improve once the on-stage amplification is simply turned off and acoustic instruments are used with the musicians wearing on-stage earbuds for foldback instead of monitors on-stage.  The problem is, in rock, the guitars and most keyboards don't have an "acoustic mode".  They must be amplified. 

 

You see the problem.

 

Chris

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×