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  #1  
Old 05-25-2011, 04:44 PM
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Default Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

I got a copy of the big issue (the magazine that homeless people sell) and it had DG in it talking about how amazing his new album was. He was discussing about the fact that there was no computer processing, to the point that the producer had to physically splice bits of tape using the old razor blade and sticky tape method. Now i don't know about you but i've listened to the album and I just don't think it sounds any good at all. IMO it's waay overcompressed and just sounds extremely rough and distorted. Obviously i know there are people who practically worship analogue undigitised music and all that but as far as i'm concerned i can't really see what the big deal is about this album. Maybe it's just a bad torrent (320 kb/s though) or it's just a problem with the way this album was mixed or processed for effects but I just thought it sounded terrible. I really do think it would have sounded better if they'd just made it like any normal album is made these days.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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Originally Posted by eddiehimself View Post
Maybe it's just a bad torrent
I'm sorry, but if you downloaded this from a Torrent (which I assume means you haven't paid a dime for it), you:

1: Have no idea what the source material is, meaning it can be the source's fault
2: Have no grounds to complain about anything, since you essentially stole it anyway

As for the album, I think it's the best Foo Fighters album to come out this millennium.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

He's describing the painstaking effort to literally cut and paste analog tracks together and you listen to a recorded then digitized then compressed to mp3 that was cut up in a torrent and pieced back together. You've nullified the entire point.
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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Originally Posted by chaymus View Post
He's describing the painstaking effort to literally cut and paste analog tracks together and you listen to a recorded then digitized then compressed to mp3 that was cut up in a torrent and pieced back together. You've nullified the entire point.
To be honest i am tempted to buy the album just to see if it sounds any better but i've got plenty of other 320 kb/s quality mp3 files which sound much better so i disagree with this entirely. If you think it would sound much better if we went back to the old 78s and tried it on a record player than i disagree with that as well since vinyl accounts for such a tiny proportion of the music market these days then what is the point in releasing an album just to sound good on vinyl? (If it indeed does sound good on vinyl).

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Originally Posted by Naigewron View Post
2: Have no grounds to complain about anything, since you essentially stole it anyway
i'm not complaining, I just think it's ridiculous that he's so uppity about how the album was produced with no computers or digital recording methods whatsoever if it really does sound this shite. The source might be shite, i'm tempted to get the CD now just to see if it really does sound this crap.
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:31 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

You should have downloaded the album in FLAC format and burnt an Audio CD... Just kidding. It sounds fine to me and I agree that it's the best Foo Fighters album of the decade. And I really dig Taylor Hawkins's drumming. So much energy plus he's singing on eight of the 11 tracks.
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

I think the album sounds amazing and is probably one of my favourite albums of the year (or ever).
Taylors drumming is the best it's been so far in my opinion, and if you downloaded it from a torrent you HAVE stolen it and the source would be terrible as illegal downloads always sound bad which is why I go out and buy my music :)
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

My point is you don't know how this torrent was created, if they played the album and recorded it through a microphone or if it was ripped. It could be more or less identical if you're not an audiophile, or it could be like listening to a live album of a concert you were at and saying it sounds completely different because you stood somewhere else. Analog recordings are notorious for a degradation in sound quality overall. I remember reading interviews with Pink Floyd discuss how awesome their synthesizers sound while their recording and how disappointed they were that it was more or less gutted on tape.
If you're looking for crispness in the audio you're idea of "better" audio isn't going to be there, that's one of the reasons digital is used so much now.

Despite this, some people actually prefer vinyl to CD. Zaireeka could be ripped and programmed to play at the same time on the same pieces of hardware but you'd be depriving the album of it's central concept.

My recommendation is to not fight the lack of polish and embrace the rough aspects to understand what they were going for. It's fitting that it's Grohl and the over-produced sound in Nirvana's Nevermind was absolutely hated by the group compared to their other albums with rougher mixing and a 'grungier' feel.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:32 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

Despite the zealots at the studio wanting it to be all-analogue, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that it may very well be the mastering at fault as usual. Probably brick-wall digital mastering. It ruined the last Metallica album (that and Lars) and it'll ruin a lot more albums in the years to come.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Despite the zealots at the studio wanting it to be all-analogue, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that it may very well be the mastering at fault as usual. Probably brick-wall digital mastering. It ruined the last Metallica album (that and Lars) and it'll ruin a lot more albums in the years to come.
I think that might very well be it. That is pretty much how it sounds to me. Really overcompressed to the point that you're getting a lot of clipping on the louder parts. I'm not sure it's just that either. There are other points in the album where you can hear the fact that it was recorded in a garage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaymus View Post
My point is you don't know how this torrent was created, if they played the album and recorded it through a microphone or if it was ripped. It could be more or less identical if you're not an audiophile, or it could be like listening to a live album of a concert you were at and saying it sounds completely different because you stood somewhere else. Analog recordings are notorious for a degradation in sound quality overall. I remember reading interviews with Pink Floyd discuss how awesome their synthesizers sound while their recording and how disappointed they were that it was more or less gutted on tape.
If you're looking for crispness in the audio you're idea of "better" audio isn't going to be there, that's one of the reasons digital is used so much now.

Despite this, some people actually prefer vinyl to CD. Zaireeka could be ripped and programmed to play at the same time on the same pieces of hardware but you'd be depriving the album of it's central concept.

My recommendation is to not fight the lack of polish and embrace the rough aspects to understand what they were going for. It's fitting that it's Grohl and the over-produced sound in Nirvana's Nevermind was absolutely hated by the group compared to their other albums with rougher mixing and a 'grungier' feel.
So in other words you think he was intentionally trying to make it sound bad? Well that's fine, but why doesn't he just say that instead of trying to make it out that it's going to be the most awesome sounding thing ever?
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

Either that or they've gone too far and driven their tape machines to ridiculous levels. It would take a Hell of a lot to get tapes to do that though. It's most likely a digitisation issue.

Incidentally, there's a big article about it in the new 'Sound on Sound'. Haven't gotten around to reading it yet, what with flying over the sea and all (that and transferring work to cassette tape) so if I remember, I'll post my findings on here.

EDIT: I'm saying this without having heard it. I apologise if I give a perception otherwise, I am merely suggesting possible causes for Eddie's perception of the album.

Last edited by mediocrefunkybeat; 05-25-2011 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

I don't know, I thought it sounded great, but hey, to each his own.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

Man, I've never gotten MAD at someone's post or opinion on this forum, until now.

I don't know.. I don't wanna be rude, after all it's just your opinion, but seriously, I think either you downloaded a crappy file (I hope you did) or you simply don't have a clue what you're talking about. (It's not my opinion.. I mean.. first FF album to hit number one on USA, and number one on 12 countries at its release).

I own every single one of their 9 cd's and I can easily say that this is by far one of their very best albums. Top 2 at least, with The Colour and The Shape being a close number one.

Cheers.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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Originally Posted by diegobxr View Post
Man, I've never gotten MAD at someone's post or opinion on this forum, until now.
Well i'm very proud to be giving you such an experience for the first time then :)

Quote:
I don't know.. I don't wanna be rude, after all it's just your opinion, but seriously, I think either you downloaded a crappy file (I hope you did) or you simply don't have a clue what you're talking about. (It's not my opinion.. I mean.. first FF album to hit number one on USA, and number one on 12 countries at its release).
I hope i downloaded a crap file as well but after reading what i saw in the paper then i can't be too sure unfortunately. I could post a million answers that contradict the notion that album sales=how good the recording of the actual album itself sounds. The fact is that such a correlation really doesn't exist, at least at the level we're talking about. Don't get me wrong, i love the songs and everything, i think they're fantastic. That's pretty much the reason i still choose to listen to it despite the bad sound. I have done a tonne of recordings on my computer over the last 6 years so yeah i like to think i do know at least a little bit about what a good recording sounds like (at least to my ears) :)
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:57 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

Alright, great then.

I know sound quality isn't the main factor in sales, of course.. but I mean, I don't think this record sounds bad, distorted, clipping or overcompressed at all ! But ok, I have a huge man crush on Dave Grohl, so I can't be fully objective.

Anyway, after all.. your ears are not mine or anybody's else. eg: some time ago my guitarist showed me a recording all like "wow listen at this!! This is my dream drum sound! look it's so awesome!".. and it was some horrible, dreadful, god-awful radiohead, or some other british depressing band that sounded like it was recorded with an earphone.

(and this guy has perfect pitch hearing and is a sound production student, so go figure. Personal taste is key).

Cheers.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

Diegobxr - insulting Radiohead like that is out of line. Especially if you're talking about sound quality. They have consistently released some of the best-sounding and most innovatively produced albums in the last fifteen years, each sounding different from the last.

Sure, you don't have to like the band, but when you insult their production you really do demonstrate that you don't have a clue what you are talking about. Go an listen to OK Computer. You don't have to like the songs, but listen to the way they've been recorded and crafted. The same with any other album except for Pablo Honey - which was rubbish. I don't much like Eminem, but I think he's got some of the most exciting production values around, for instance.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:58 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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The same with any other album except for Pablo Honey - which was rubbish.
Dude, insulting Radiohead like that is out of line.
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:32 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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Originally Posted by Naigewron View Post
I'm sorry, but if you downloaded this from a Torrent (which I assume means you haven't paid a dime for it), you:

1: Have no idea what the source material is, meaning it can be the source's fault
2: Have no grounds to complain about anything, since you essentially stole it anyway
.
^ This.

The few torrents I've ever heard from anyone had sound quality issues, but upon buying the CD, were no longer issues.

But overall, I've never given much credence to the analog vs digital methods of recording. There are 1001 other factors in making a recording that can sway the sound for better or worse that have nothing to do with the music being on tape vs hard drive.
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:34 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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Dude, insulting Radiohead like that is out of line.
It is. I say this as someone who has bought the last two albums on the preorder vinyl.
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Old 05-26-2011, 02:27 AM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Diegobxr - insulting Radiohead like that is out of line. Especially if you're talking about sound quality. They have consistently released some of the best-sounding and most innovatively produced albums in the last fifteen years, each sounding different from the last.

Sure, you don't have to like the band, but when you insult their production you really do demonstrate that you don't have a clue what you are talking about. Go an listen to OK Computer. You don't have to like the songs, but listen to the way they've been recorded and crafted. The same with any other album except for Pablo Honey - which was rubbish. I don't much like Eminem, but I think he's got some of the most exciting production values around, for instance.
I get your point and I respect your opinion.
However:
1) What's "best-sounding" is 100% subjective. "Most innovatively produced/each one different from the last" does not equal "great/the best/the way things should be". And "most whatever" is an exaggeration. There are many innovative bands.

2) I do have a clue about what I'm talking about.

3) I had OK Computer on my iPod after my guitarist begged me to. I sincerely can't see what's all the fuss about. I'm not a fan of over-compressed and bass heavy music, but I do like to hear the bass drum, unlike Mr. Yorke, who seems to like to bury it in the mix.

4) I don't like their songs, their vibe, their attitude, their lyrics, nothing.

5) I think they're overrated.

But nobody forces me to listen to them, so... it's all cool.

Cheers.
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:46 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

Right.

Sound quality actually isn't a subjective thing. Mix quality isn't either. That's why you can instantly tell a good mix from a bad mix. There are different levels of appropriateness which can make a mix suitable, but that can also be a bad mix. Take the Dead Kennedy's first album - it sounds horrible, which is exactly what it needs. Therefore, it's a good mix even though technically it's a bad mix. That's not a subjective thing at all. The flip side of that is Nirvana's 'Nevermind' which has a technically fairly flawless mix and production, but doesn't suit the band at all. Therefore, it's a bad mix in that situation. I can assure you that very little is as subjective as you think.

Incidentally, I'm not hearing many innovative bands at the moment either.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
^ This.

The few torrents I've ever heard from anyone had sound quality issues, but upon buying the CD, were no longer issues.
Well i'd like to think so but i think with it being 320 kb/s sound quality it would have sounded much better than it does. Having said that, whenever i get some money i may just get the CD to see if it sounds that much better. Hopefully i will be proved wrong, but i'm not holding out much hope.

Quote:
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I get your point and I respect your opinion.
However:
1) What's "best-sounding" is 100% subjective. "Most innovatively produced/each one different from the last" does not equal "great/the best/the way things should be". And "most whatever" is an exaggeration. There are many innovative bands.
I think it's quite funny the way you accuse me of not knowing what i'm talking about. You're obviously not an expert in this sort of thing, but you're still trying to convince people who have been doing this sort of thing for years (MFB is much more experienced in it than me though i'll admit) that we're somehow wrong.
The thing is that music is like art, and where it is perfectly acceptable to make your own art which is badly drawn and crap perspective with not very good shading or whatever for your own purposes that you think is great then that's fine if you're just looking at it yourself or with friends, but if you want to actually show the art at a gallery to the public then really it's got to be good. Or, if it's bad, it has to have been done by someone who is capable of really good artwork, but chose to do it badly for effect, knowing what "bad" aspects would work for the picture.
If DG had just been someone like you or me creating this stuff in his garage for the fun of it then obviously that's fine he can do that. But when you're trying to sell millions of records and probably more importantly than that actually telling the world how amazing you think this new album is from a production point of view, then actually if it has these mistakes in it (which are NOT subjective, as MFB said) then it's really not very good. If he'd been deliberately making it sound as bad as it does for effect then that would have been cool if the band had suited that sort of sound, but as far as i'm concerned i don't think they do. Going back to the artist thing, i don't think it was a bad production sound but done deliberately for effect. I think it just sounds bad full stop. Which i think is a shame.
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Old 05-26-2011, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

For instance, take an artist like Kazimir Malevich, who was a good technical painter, but his 'known' work is anything but:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazimir_Malevich

That's not 'bad' painting as such, but the technical skill involved in his best-known works is quite low. It doesn't matter - it's an aesthetic quality of his work. There is a difference between technical skill and aesthetic appropriation and only knowing both really lets you criticise anything with any value.
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Old 05-26-2011, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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The thing is that music is like art, and where it is perfectly acceptable to make your own art which is badly drawn and crap perspective with not very good shading or whatever for your own purposes that you think is great then that's fine if you're just looking at it yourself or with friends, but if you want to actually show the art at a gallery to the public then really it's got to be good. Or, if it's bad, it has to have been done by someone who is capable of really good artwork, but chose to do it badly for effect, knowing what "bad" aspects would work for the picture.
If DG had just been someone like you or me creating this stuff in his garage for the fun of it then obviously that's fine he can do that. But when you're trying to sell millions of records and probably more importantly than that actually telling the world how amazing you think this new album is from a production point of view, then actually if it has these mistakes in it (which are NOT subjective, as MFB said) then it's really not very good. If he'd been deliberately making it sound as bad as it does for effect then that would have been cool if the band had suited that sort of sound, but as far as i'm concerned i don't think they do. Going back to the artist thing, i don't think it was a bad production sound but done deliberately for effect. I think it just sounds bad full stop. Which i think is a shame.
I don't know about this. Dave Grohl obviously doesn't HAVE to sell millions of albums, and considering the whole project was for fun and turned into something huge, I'd still like to believe he's making albums for fun. If he were honestly trying to sell millions of albums, he would have done it in the studio he owns. I would guess the reasoning for doing it in his garage with tape was because it was...fun.

I think he intended to have it sound the way it does, and he's obviously capable of making a better quality recording (see other 7 albums). Plus, quite a few songs on Wasting Light fit a dirtier, lower-fi quality.
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Old 05-26-2011, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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If he were honestly trying to sell millions of albums, he would have done it in the studio he owns. I would guess the reasoning for doing it in his garage with tape was because it was...fun.
You don't think he wants to shift units? Betcha he does. I'm sure it's fun and he has a ball doing what he loves, but make no mistake, he wants to flog his wares too.....and if he doesn't then his record company certainly does.

No doubt he was aiming for a different sound. Bands have used different studios/engineers/recording techniques/producers for this very purpose long before this current venture.


I'll tell you the one thing this thread has done.......now I'm gonna have to buy this album. Not a huge FF fan, but this debate has sparked my interest in the album.

Now who said there was such a thing as bad publicity? Clearly I am a sales and marketing exec's wet dream!!
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Old 05-26-2011, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

Incidentally, if Grohl wanted that sound he should've hired Steve Albini.
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Old 05-26-2011, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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You don't think he wants to shift units? Betcha he does. I'm sure it's fun and he has a ball doing what he loves, but make no mistake, he wants to flog his wares too.....and if he doesn't then his record company certainly does.
You're right, I worded that wrong, sorry...

I just meant that I don't think he's making music JUST to sell records, and no one would make an album in a garage with that mindset because...people seem to like overproduced crap.
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

Commitment to concept is he key here. If Grohl wants to make a 'garage' album, then make it that way and master it like that. I haven't heard the album as I said earlier - so I can't judge, but if the album has been digitally mastered for maximum 'loudness' then that's breaching his own concept and doesn't hold up. Commitment is the key.
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

Here's an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbpqZT_56Ns

I'm no sound expert but the sound is pretty decent to me. Dunno what the processing was (is that the compression, Eddie?) but I'd like the music more still if it was more raw.
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:15 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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Here's an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbpqZT_56Ns

I'm no sound expert but the sound is pretty decent to me. Dunno what the processing was (is that the compression, Eddie?) but I'd like the music more still if it was more raw.
I'm not sure of the quality of the clip but it seems to sound pretty warbly to me. That might just be the guitars though. As i say, i'd really have to listen to the CD.
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:24 PM
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I'm just listening to the album on Spotify. This is one LOUD album. The songs are great, but these have had the absolute bejesus compressed and limited out of them. Eddie's right, this is some really bad mastering. It won't seem like it unless you've got a good set of speakers and know what you're listening for (or in my case, I'm listening on headphones) but it's 'Death Magnetic' all over again. It's not as bad as 'One by One' with the mastering, but it's close.

Overloud digital mastering. Sorry, it doesn't fly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRyIA...eature=related

This video explains it all much better than I could.

Last edited by mediocrefunkybeat; 05-26-2011 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:17 PM
chaymus chaymus is offline
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

I learned a lot in this thread, thanks for bringing this topic up and everyone's input on the technical aspects behind recording.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:13 PM
ltemma74 ltemma74 is offline
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

This album was mastered in the analog domain at The Lodge in NY.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:26 PM
chaymus chaymus is offline
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

Nice informative first post there, welcome!
http://thelodgemastering.blogspot.co...rts-in-12.html
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:28 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

Quote:
Originally Posted by ltemma74 View Post
This album was mastered in the analog domain at The Lodge in NY.
It still clips my digital system.

Too loud.
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:38 PM
ltemma74 ltemma74 is offline
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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It still clips my digital system.

Too loud.
I wasn't talking to you.
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:39 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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I wasn't talking to you.
You were talking to everybody when you posted it on a public forum.
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:53 PM
ltemma74 ltemma74 is offline
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

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Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat View Post
You were talking to everybody when you posted it on a public forum.
Everyone except you.
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:56 PM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

Nice. What's the deal? Anything specific? It's not like I've dealt with you before here unless you're a previously banned member. Classy.

I know attorneys aren't known for their politeness, but man...
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Old 05-27-2011, 12:49 AM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

Quote:
Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat View Post
I'm just listening to the album on Spotify. This is one LOUD album. The songs are great, but these have had the absolute bejesus compressed and limited out of them. Eddie's right, this is some really bad mastering. It won't seem like it unless you've got a good set of speakers and know what you're listening for (or in my case, I'm listening on headphones) but it's 'Death Magnetic' all over again. It's not as bad as 'One by One' with the mastering, but it's close.
Yeah, I'm starting to see Eddie's point too.

As much as I know Youtube sound quality is not the greatest, I can at least A/B the new official Foo Fighters uploads with their previous official uploads, and blast them through my studio monitors.

The songs from the new album do come off as way over compressed relative to their previous songs.
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Old 05-27-2011, 01:07 AM
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Default Re: Dave Grohl on "Wasting Light"

Quote:
Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Overloud digital mastering. Sorry, it doesn't fly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRyIA...eature=related

This video explains it all much better than I could.
Yes. That total flatline approach.

People often complain that TV ads are louder than the programs, yet volume limits mean ads are not allowed to be louder than the program's peak volume. While a movie may hit the peaks 5% of the time the ads will be at the peak almost all the time, so it seems louder. It appears that the commercial domain operates on a similar principle as ads.

Eddie, could you define "warbly" in this context? "I'm not sure of the quality of the clip but it seems to sound pretty warbly to me" ... uneven??

Disclaimer: this post is for all readers except Itemma74 :-P
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