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the importance of analog sound in prog

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Cornelius View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 12 2013 at 14:42
Don't worry Surrealist, I know exactly where your coming from...



Edited by Cornelius - May 12 2013 at 14:46
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2013 at 16:15
Originally posted by Cornelius

Don't worry Surrealist, I know exactly where your coming from...

Oh, we can all see where he's coming from, even a myopic mole in a blindfold can see where he's coming from. 
 
also,
Originally posted by Cornelius

Also
"Stereo Separation" seems so much better on LPs than CDs, 
 
Take very good note of the word "seems" because, just like you, that is exactly where he's coming from. Every thing "seems" so much better - it is all about perception and confirmation bias. It is technically, physically and empirically impossible for "stereo seperation" to be so much better on LP than CD, but it "seems" that way to you for whatever reason. Great. Enjoy it because that's what it is there for, perception is everything.
 
You like analogue - Great, I'm really pleased for you. Whoop de doo. Break out the bunting, let's have a street party,


Edited by Dean - May 12 2013 at 17:12


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2013 at 17:04
Originally posted by Surrealist

If the production is so bloody awful or the playing so ruddy amateur then no one will buy it no matter what equipment was used to produce it.

Dean, as always, you completely miss my point.. but that is to be expected. 
I do not completely miss your point, you only believe I did, but that is to be expected. Once you get a misconception in your head there it stays.
Originally posted by Surrealist


The digital age has been destructive on both ends... it's damaged the creative process, and the playback.  I understand a lot of people like yourself won't get the playback part because you don't have a decent enough stereo to tell the difference.  We've been through the argument about playback.  A vinyl record can sound far superior far inferior depending upon any number of things.  A bad pressing, worn out stylus, bad tubes or capacitors, bad crossovers, a dirty or scratched up recording etc. 
You don't know what systems I have - I deliberately spoon-fed you a very small amount of information to see if you would bite, you did. Hook. Line. And sinker. And when you claimed to have owned an identical system, right down to the self same turntable and (non-standard) cartridge I cried laughing at the amazing coincidence that two people 5000 miles and several decades apart should find themselves in the same thread on a tiny little forum. Based on your (predictably) snobby reaction to that 30 year-old setup, I deliberately withheld details of all other equipment I use (though I have given vague hints) because (as I have said before), I'm not into "my equipment is better than your equipment" pissing contests. Find an audiophilist forum, they love that kind of thing.
Originally posted by Surrealist


On the creative end.. we have to go back to the beginning.  Before the age of digital manipulation, sampling, auto tune, pitch shifters, infinite digital editing option..... there was a different approach toward a recording session.  A musician didn't walk into a studio with the idea that they could simply buy a perfect recording.  Artists spent much more time preparing for their recording.  Lot's of practice, not only with the track, but also getting their gear lined up... and balancing their sound developments within the context of their presentation.  The listeners who bought records did so with a certain expectation.  This expectation included the possibility that production values even from major record companies could vary significantly.  Certain producers and engineers had reputations, some good and some bad.  But if a record was bad, a lot more of the blame would fall upon the artist themselves. 

The way things were done... recording onto tape reels spanned the entire industry.  It could be good or bad as far as production values.  There was not the homogenizing expectation that is going on today. 

In any serious studio today... everything is going to be fixed.  Every track can be manipulated.  Drums played out of time can be lined up on the computer screen and fixed.  So can the bass.  Guitars don't need to develop their sound before it hits the mic... nor do keyboards.  Vocals can be fixed with pitch shifters and auto tune. 

Modern recordings coming out of the serious studios are so dishonest... that the dishonestly has now become common fair.  It's expected.  It's accepted.
Just because everything can be fixed it does not mean that it will be fixed or that it will need fixing. Please grant modern musicians some integrity and musicanship. Your assertion that everything is fake is an insult to every kid who walks out of a music store with a brand new guitar under his arm, it is an insult to every budding keyboardist who sweated away pounding out their scales day after day until they could hear them in their sleep, it is an insult to every aspiring musician who practiced for hours on end each night for years before they felt good enough to play in public, it is an insult to every musician who plays a live gig to gain some attention for their art, it is an insult to every musician who uses a studio to record their dreams, it is an insult to every musician who presents the fruits of their labours to the world and, moreover, it is an insult to every music fan who buys, downloads or streams that music for their own pleasure.
Originally posted by Surrealist


Where this has hurt the most is in the Prog Rock genre.  Because the Proggers have lost their advantage.... that being their ability to showcase superior musicianship and even compositional skills.  While tape splicing was around to edit and move things around.. it's nothing like the copy and paste option that is afforded artists today with complete ease. 
Copy and paste does not replace creativity. If the creativity wasn't there in the first place copy and paste cannot help. Here's Tom Dowd on the subject:
 
"... the thing that has stayed the same all through it is music is a form of expression" ~ Tom Dowd (1925-2002)
Originally posted by Surrealist


The artitsts in the pasts were forced to wrap their head around the music much more.  It forced them to internalize their music to a much greater degree than just leaving it all stored on a hard drive. 

It's the limitations that forced them to play better, to be more internally creative, to prepare better, to work with their fellow musicians in a more cohesive and inclusive manner.
 
In your opinion, not a fact. Every musician who composes has to go through the same processes regardless of how that is recorded and stored.
Originally posted by Surrealist

Have you listened to a rap record?  There is often nothing real or live going on.  The entire thing is samples and loops and copy and paste.  Kids who hear this today are being subjected to an expectation.  If the same kids who heard this computer generated music were to hear a prog album it would not have the same effect upon them as it would have 30 years ago.. even if the prog album were recorded by real musicians in real time onto a tape machine.... because the underlaying assumption is that the recording process is the same.  So while one is real, the other is fake, but to the casual listener, they have no understanding of this.  Zero.... nada, and even the great stuff will fall upon deaf ears.

So in the past it was understood that drums were played by drummers on a drumset and what you heard was ALWAYS the exact feel of the performer.  Nowadays, not only does anyone assume this to be true... most wouldn't know but more importantly wouldn't care.  THE WOULDN"T CARE! 

So what needs to happen is for serious musicians to take back the industry and start labeling recordings as DIGITAL FREE.

This way as slow re education could begin to take place.  So when discussions go on around the high school campus about music.. you might start hearing things like ...

Hey dude.. what kind of music to you like? " Oh, I like the digital free stuff... I'm not into that fake crap all you idiots listen to." 

Digital free? WTF is that?  

"that's when musicians actually have to play their music... and it actually sounds better too."  You should come over my house and listen to some stuff I found from the 1970's. They didn't have computers back then, and the guys actually had to play this stuff.  there is this trippy band called Gentle Giant... check this sh*t out!"
You need to work on this sales pitch a little more - insulting your potential customers is never a good idea.
 


Edited by Dean - May 12 2013 at 17:24


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Post Options Post Options   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2013 at 17:25
Originally posted by Gerinski


Originally posted by Surrealist



You still confuse the technology itself with how people use the technology. It is true that digital technology has enabled people to misuse it in ways which were not possible before digital came in, but blame the people not the technology.

I go along with this, and can't say it any better.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Cornelius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2013 at 20:52
As you edited yours Dean, I shall edit mine...

Edited by Cornelius - May 16 2013 at 06:49
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2013 at 09:20
Originally posted by Dean


You need to work on this sales pitch a little more - insulting your potential customers is never a good idea.
 

This tickled me.LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2013 at 11:56
Originally posted by surrealist

...On the creative end.. we have to go back to the beginning. Before the age of digital manipulation, sampling, auto tune, pitch shifters, infinite digital editing option..... there was a different approach toward a recording session. A musician didn't walk into a studio with the idea that they could simply buy a perfect recording. Artists spent much more time preparing for their recording....
I would suggest a little more music study for you as this is really off base. In all arts. You don't think that folks sharing a cafe in Paris was meaningless and just an orgy, do you? You don't think that a Salieri (even if the idea is a movie!), talking to Mozart, is not a way of helping define the music, do you?
 
You make it sound like the folks yesterday were better connected than those of today, and that is not necessarily true ... it might be that your preferences are in the way of your words, and you might want to adjust that.
 
Btw, in those days, we probably did a lot more drugs with the music and work we did than might be the case today, and you are thinking that we were tuned enough to create something? And that today we are not as good? I do not think that Dream Theater does 1/10 the drugs we did ... and you are saying they are not defined or composed? And that we did better, then stoned out of our minds?
 
Weird!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2013 at 12:30
Originally posted by Surrealist

Have you listened to a rap record? 
Ermm Yes. Several, and much of it original music made with real instruments.
 
 
Why the big hang-up on Rap (and I presume Hip-Hop)? It is a minority genre of very little actual significance in the general scheme of things:
 
Got that?  It is even a minority genre amoung minorities with only Jazz being more of a minority.
 
 


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Surrealist Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2013 at 02:51
Originally posted by Gerinski

Originally posted by Surrealist




You still confuse the technology itself with how people use the technology. It is true that digital technology has enabled people to misuse it in ways which were not possible before digital came in, but blame the people not the technology.


I do blame the people ... every one of them.  That is why I suggest shutting off your computers when you start recording music.  Music is to be listened to.. so that your ears can have the experience... not looking at digital wave forms on a computer screen.  The modern engineers are spending hours and hours trying to get a track to LOOK right... not sound right.

I am not insulting modern musicians who practice.. actually completely the opposite.  I sympathize for their lack of support from the general public and the industry in general.   Most people are so ignorant as to sound quality and the reality of digital editing that the couldn't tell a real piano track recorded on garage band and an actual piano.  So the modern musician spends so much time trying to perfect things on the computer to garner some attention from the public because essentially they are competing with digital manipulation that has become "standard" to everyone's ears. 

Unless one sees it live.. people now just roll their eyes... "ok that was nice.. next...

But the masses... particularly the youth culture are attending electronic music events much more than live music events... for any number of reasons... that's where the chicks are.. the drugs are... or their friends are. 

This is the head down generation.  Everyone is staring at their iphone while the world is going on around them.  The other day I saw four kids having lunch... no one said a word to anyone.. they all had their heads buried into their iphones the entire meal.  It was pathetic. 

How does this relate?

Music now is meant to create white noise.  It's the background track... non invasive.. asks nothing of the listener other than to move their body to a 4x4 pulse. 

How was it that the youth culture of the early 70's packed stadiums to see bands like YES or ELP?  Because then ...what they saw was real.  The shared the experience with their friends.. and the recordings they bought were not questioned if not subconsciously. 

No one now has time to think.  Too busy texting.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Surrealist Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2013 at 03:04
One of the technological revolutions of the Internet age has been the marked increase in Self-Release and Self-Publishing of all creative arts. Fine-art, the written word and music have all been caught-up in this flurry of activity that promises to banish the corrupt self-serving corporate monster moguls to the annals of history and allow "the artist" the freedom to connect directly with the art-loving public.
But is this Utopian idyll an egalitarian dream or a self-delusional nightmare?
I have ventured into this world on many occasions, from the early beginnings of the World Wide Web and the look-at-me progenitors of social networking where I could create a "Home Page" to publish my confused rantings and musings on all manner of subjects and to present a primitive form of the eNovel for all the world to read or ignore at their leisure. Later I had several attempts to releasing my home-made music via numerous means from an AOL home-page, the original version of mp3.com, MySpace and LastFM to (finally) giving some of it away under Music and Musicians Exchange here at the PA. And more recently I have used a web-based vanity press to produce an actual printed paper novel replete with glossy paperback cover. What these experiences have taught me is that this is not a simple process, that the skills required are more than just being good at what you do. Of course my relative success or failure in these endeavours could be seen as jading my personal view of the whole process, but simply dipping a hand into these waters and plucking a self-released product at random will show even the most optimistic of "purchasers" that this is a far from perfect solution.
 
For all these one-man table-top ventures suffer from a number of failings that immediately mark them as being substandard and amateurish (in the worse possible connotation of that word) - they lack the judicious hand of the experts - the editors, the producers, the graphic artists and layout specialists and the management agents, the A&R men and the marketing teams who stand up to "the artist" and say that the product is not good enough, that the packaging is in need of refinement, that the work needs more work to be in any way, shape or form saleable ... While it is fashionable to cheer at the demise of all these industry middle-men and corporate hanger-oners under the assumption (though not completely without foundation) that they have corrupted the very nature of the business they draw their substantial salaries from, they do actually perform a valid and worthwhile role in the furtherance of the art as an art-form and therefore are a vital part of the creative process. While on the surface their job-functions ensure that the product will give a return on investment, it has the underlying responsibility of maintaining a level of quality that filters the worthy from the also-rans. This does not imply that they sort out the commercial from the unsellable, or even the professional from the amateur, but that they provide some necessary critical feedback to the artist prior to unleashing their prized creation onto the public, to ensure that what is heard or read is the best that the artist can produce.
 
Quality Control is not something that can be bolted on at the end, it has to be prevalent through the entire process, from the moment that *someone* says that a particular phrase is clichéd and should be re-written or discarded all the way through to the final presentation in its packaging and overall look, so that the product placed on the virtual shop shelves not only stands out against the plethora of other items from all the other dreamers, but is of equal quality to the best of what is on offer. So for a book not only does it have to be of the right readable standard, or if it is an album of music it has to be of a given listenable standard, but it has to be of the same professional standard as those produced by the established publishing houses and record labels.
 
Without this the music world (and by that I mean the music world at all levels – the underground and the specialist markets and not just the commercial pop and rock world) will be reduced to the lowest common denominator (if it hasn’t already), that all product will be as bad as each other rather than being as good as each other. Once we, as the buying/downloading/listening public, accept the limitations of what the artist deemed was good enough and take into account his excuses for the known faults of his work then we have bought into this myth and will have acknowledged sub-standard production methods (of content, packaging and promotion) as being the norm. The question then becomes how will be recognise a masterpiece in all the flotsam and jetsam that passes through our media players and hi-fi systems and by what means will the crème de al crème rise to the surface when all that is produced is produced by all that can produce?
 
Now, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that any single artist can possess all the talents to raise the level of what they create to an acceptable standard, or that a single band can contain individuals within their number with a share of theses skills, but in many ways they are complimentary and even counter to the creative process and would ideally be divorced from it. Artists often say that they are their own worse critic, but are they really? In reality are they any worse than their immediate friends and family, who to a man (and woman) will invariably be supportive rather than honestly (and brutally) analytical?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2013 at 03:14

Originally posted by Surrealist

One of the technological revolutions of the Internet age has been the marked increase in Self-Release and Self-Publishing of all creative arts. Fine-art, the written word and music have all been caught-up in this flurry of activity that promises to banish the corrupt self-serving corporate monster moguls to the annals of history and allow "the artist" the freedom to connect directly with the art-loving public.
But is this Utopian idyll an egalitarian dream or a self-delusional nightmare?
I have ventured into this world on many occasions, from the early beginnings of the World Wide Web and the look-at-me progenitors of social networking where I could create a "Home Page" to publish my confused rantings and musings on all manner of subjects and to present a primitive form of the eNovel for all the world to read or ignore at their leisure. Later I had several attempts to releasing my home-made music via numerous means from an AOL home-page, the original version of mp3.com, MySpace and LastFM to (finally) giving some of it away under Music and Musicians Exchange here at the PA. And more recently I have used a web-based vanity press to produce an actual printed paper novel replete with glossy paperback cover. What these experiences have taught me is that this is not a simple process, that the skills required are more than just being good at what you do. Of course my relative success or failure in these endeavours could be seen as jading my personal view of the whole process, but simply dipping a hand into these waters and plucking a self-released product at random will show even the most optimistic of "purchasers" that this is a far from perfect solution.
 
For all these one-man table-top ventures suffer from a number of failings that immediately mark them as being substandard and amateurish (in the worse possible connotation of that word) - they lack the judicious hand of the experts - the editors, the producers, the graphic artists and layout specialists and the management agents, the A&R men and the marketing teams who stand up to "the artist" and say that the product is not good enough, that the packaging is in need of refinement, that the work needs more work to be in any way, shape or form saleable ... While it is fashionable to cheer at the demise of all these industry middle-men and corporate hanger-oners under the assumption (though not completely without foundation) that they have corrupted the very nature of the business they draw their substantial salaries from, they do actually perform a valid and worthwhile role in the furtherance of the art as an art-form and therefore are a vital part of the creative process. While on the surface their job-functions ensure that the product will give a return on investment, it has the underlying responsibility of maintaining a level of quality that filters the worthy from the also-rans. This does not imply that they sort out the commercial from the unsellable, or even the professional from the amateur, but that they provide some necessary critical feedback to the artist prior to unleashing their prized creation onto the public, to ensure that what is heard or read is the best that the artist can produce.
 
Quality Control is not something that can be bolted on at the end, it has to be prevalent through the entire process, from the moment that *someone* says that a particular phrase is clichéd and should be re-written or discarded all the way through to the final presentation in its packaging and overall look, so that the product placed on the virtual shop shelves not only stands out against the plethora of other items from all the other dreamers, but is of equal quality to the best of what is on offer. So for a book not only does it have to be of the right readable standard, or if it is an album of music it has to be of a given listenable standard, but it has to be of the same professional standard as those produced by the established publishing houses and record labels.
 
Without this the music world (and by that I mean the music world at all levels – the underground and the specialist markets and not just the commercial pop and rock world) will be reduced to the lowest common denominator (if it hasn’t already), that all product will be as bad as each other rather than being as good as each other. Once we, as the buying/downloading/listening public, accept the limitations of what the artist deemed was good enough and take into account his excuses for the known faults of his work then we have bought into this myth and will have acknowledged sub-standard production methods (of content, packaging and promotion) as being the norm. The question then becomes how will be recognise a masterpiece in all the flotsam and jetsam that passes through our media players and hi-fi systems and by what means will the crème de al crème rise to the surface when all that is produced is produced by all that can produce?
 
Now, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that any single artist can possess all the talents to raise the level of what they create to an acceptable standard, or that a single band can contain individuals within their number with a share of theses skills, but in many ways they are complimentary and even counter to the creative process and would ideally be divorced from it. Artists often say that they are their own worse critic, but are they really? In reality are they any worse than their immediate friends and family, who to a man (and woman) will invariably be supportive rather than honestly (and brutally) analytical?

Wow, I could not have put that better myself. At last you've seen the light (assuming you understood the whole sentences not just the individual words).



Edited by Dean - May 14 2013 at 04:31


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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2013 at 10:35
Originally posted by Surrealist


I do blame the people ... every one of them.  That is why I suggest shutting off your computers when you start recording music.  Music is to be listened to.. so that your ears can have the experience... not looking at digital wave forms on a computer screen.  The modern engineers are spending hours and hours trying to get a track to LOOK right... not sound right.

I am not insulting modern musicians who practice.. actually completely the opposite.  I sympathize for their lack of support from the general public and the industry in general.   Most people are so ignorant as to sound quality and the reality of digital editing that the couldn't tell a real piano track recorded on garage band and an actual piano.  So the modern musician spends so much time trying to perfect things on the computer to garner some attention from the public because essentially they are competing with digital manipulation that has become "standard" to everyone's ears. 

Unless one sees it live.. people now just roll their eyes... "ok that was nice.. next...

But the masses... particularly the youth culture are attending electronic music events much more than live music events... for any number of reasons... that's where the chicks are.. the drugs are... or their friends are. 

This is the head down generation.  Everyone is staring at their iphone while the world is going on around them.  The other day I saw four kids having lunch... no one said a word to anyone.. they all had their heads buried into their iphones the entire meal.  It was pathetic. 

How does this relate?

Music now is meant to create white noise.  It's the background track... non invasive.. asks nothing of the listener other than to move their body to a 4x4 pulse. 

How was it that the youth culture of the early 70's packed stadiums to see bands like YES or ELP?  Because then ...what they saw was real.  The shared the experience with their friends.. and the recordings they bought were not questioned if not subconsciously. 

No one now has time to think.  Too busy texting.


In a roundabout way I agree with you.   To use just one example, autotune has gone so far that there is the possibility that a lot of people will forget what singing is supposed to be like.  The industry may have always been interested in propping up people who can't really sing but appeal to a certain demographic due to their personality or who are simply famous already (e.g. actors).  But I wonder if it has ever been easier than it is now for a very bad singer to get away and even pass himself as a good one.  If you listen attentively to the original Black Sabbath albums (and the digital remaster will do too Wink) you can hear Ozzy's numerous mistakes.   It was left in there as part of his identity but now some who are probably worse singers, technically, than him are airbrushed to sound perfect.   It may not be worth the effort to acquire the skills required to project your voice properly and to intonate correctly - that is, unless you are really passionate about it and don't mind not being rewarded at all for your skills.  I don't know what exactly the music industry hoped to achieve with this because this hasn't even delivered any unprecedented commercial success for them while it probably turns off a lot of people who were once interested in music (and who may not however make the effort to dig out obscure albums, say,of prog rock bands).


Edited by rogerthat - May 14 2013 at 10:37
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2013 at 13:00
Originally posted by Surrealist


Originally posted by Gerinski


Originally posted by Surrealist


You still confuse the technology itself with how people use the technology. It is true that digital technology has enabled people to misuse it in ways which were not possible before digital came in, but blame the people not the technology.
I do blame the people ... every one of them.  That is why I suggest shutting off your computers when you start recording music.  Music is to be listened to.. so that your ears can have the experience... not looking at digital wave forms on a computer screen.  The modern engineers are spending hours and hours trying to get a track to LOOK right... not sound right.
... Right there ... You don't sound like a person who spent enough time editing sound files (tell me if I'm wrong). You can make it neat or sloppy; it's your call. Has it ever occurred to you that sometimes neatness sounds right?

Edited by Dayvenkirq - May 14 2013 at 13:02
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2013 at 17:39
Originally posted by rogerthat

Originally posted by Surrealist


I do blame the people ... every one of them.  That is why I suggest shutting off your computers when you start recording music.  Music is to be listened to.. so that your ears can have the experience... not looking at digital wave forms on a computer screen.  The modern engineers are spending hours and hours trying to get a track to LOOK right... not sound right.

I am not insulting modern musicians who practice.. actually completely the opposite.  I sympathize for their lack of support from the general public and the industry in general.   Most people are so ignorant as to sound quality and the reality of digital editing that the couldn't tell a real piano track recorded on garage band and an actual piano.  So the modern musician spends so much time trying to perfect things on the computer to garner some attention from the public because essentially they are competing with digital manipulation that has become "standard" to everyone's ears. 

Unless one sees it live.. people now just roll their eyes... "ok that was nice.. next...

But the masses... particularly the youth culture are attending electronic music events much more than live music events... for any number of reasons... that's where the chicks are.. the drugs are... or their friends are. 

This is the head down generation.  Everyone is staring at their iphone while the world is going on around them.  The other day I saw four kids having lunch... no one said a word to anyone.. they all had their heads buried into their iphones the entire meal.  It was pathetic. 

How does this relate?

Music now is meant to create white noise.  It's the background track... non invasive.. asks nothing of the listener other than to move their body to a 4x4 pulse. 

How was it that the youth culture of the early 70's packed stadiums to see bands like YES or ELP?  Because then ...what they saw was real.  The shared the experience with their friends.. and the recordings they bought were not questioned if not subconsciously. 

No one now has time to think.  Too busy texting.


In a roundabout way I agree with you.   To use just one example, autotune has gone so far that there is the possibility that a lot of people will forget what singing is supposed to be like.  The industry may have always been interested in propping up people who can't really sing but appeal to a certain demographic due to their personality or who are simply famous already (e.g. actors).  But I wonder if it has ever been easier than it is now for a very bad singer to get away and even pass himself as a good one.  If you listen attentively to the original Black Sabbath albums (and the digital remaster will do too Wink) you can hear Ozzy's numerous mistakes.   It was left in there as part of his identity but now some who are probably worse singers, technically, than him are airbrushed to sound perfect.   It may not be worth the effort to acquire the skills required to project your voice properly and to intonate correctly - that is, unless you are really passionate about it and don't mind not being rewarded at all for your skills.  I don't know what exactly the music industry hoped to achieve with this because this hasn't even delivered any unprecedented commercial success for them while it probably turns off a lot of people who were once interested in music (and who may not however make the effort to dig out obscure albums, say,of prog rock bands).
Auto-tune can only correct out of tune singing (and then not always - the singer has to be singing in the right key to begin with or Auto-tune is lost), it cannot correct bad singing, it cannot fix poor intonation, projection, articulation or diction, it cannot fix poor breathing, it cannot improve range or tone, phonation, timbre or tessitura, it cannot correct excessive vocal sibilance, singing impediments or bad pronouncetipation. It cannot make a mediocre singer sound good or a good singer sound great. Auto-tune gets a bum-rap because of its misuse, not for its use.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2013 at 19:15
Well, in that case, I am not aware of what other tools they may be using in the studio other than auto tune but that they 'polish' the singing of bad singers, I am certain.   Yes, you can't change the tone but then a good mic already distorts the tone substantially so with today's technology a bad singer can sound like God.   They might get him to be somewhat in tune after several takes and then edit all the mistakes to present an illusion of perfection.  And when you find that he just can't sing properly on stage no matter what, it looks bad.  It would have been better to leave a few mistakes on the record for the sake of integrity.  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2013 at 01:06
I'd need to hear a "before and after" before I could even begin to speculate, but as far as I am aware there is no software or technology that can polish a turd.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2013 at 02:27
I don't think anybody is putting a 'bad singer' into a recording, for sure not if the intention is to have a commercial hit. Many of the modern hit singers may be more or less 'fabricated stars', but all of them must have a certain level of competence. There are enough pretty people who can sing that it would be silly to choose one who can't.

Having said that, I recently pointed in some thread that I notice a suspicious homogeneity in the timbre and singing style of modern pop hit singers (both male and female). I might be simply due to selection, the labels selecting singers who have a proven successful type of timbre, but I suspect that there is also some element of timbre manipulation, at least if only by a certain 'culture' of equalization style in the pop hit world.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2013 at 02:40
Originally posted by Gerinski


Having said that, I recently pointed in some thread that I notice a suspicious homogeneity in the timbre and singing style of modern pop hit singers (both male and female). I might be simply due to selection, the labels selecting singers who have a proven successful type of timbre, but I suspect that there is also some element of timbre manipulation, at least if only by a certain 'culture' of equalization style in the pop hit world.
Auto-tune can correct some iffy vibrato, but if the vibrato was really bad it gives it a "bubbling" effect which sounds worse. Unfortuantely most new pop singers tend to imitate their favourite R&B pop stars which does make them sound the same (this has always happened - Mowtown singers had a similar delivery styles and vocal timbres for example) - you don't get this so much with rock singers, though female-fronted prog and metal bands can sound very samey.
 
Auto-tune is best (figuratively speaking) used to correct single notes and is not switched-on all the time.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2013 at 09:51
Originally posted by Dean

I'd need to hear a "before and after" before I could even begin to speculate, but as far as I am aware there is no software or technology that can polish a turd.


I am going to give an example from back home because it is what got me thinking on these lines.   This guy is not a professional singer.  He is an actor and won an award for Best Playback Singer for this song:



And this is a live performance of the same song (and even this is pretty 'controlled'...it's not like he sang live in a stadium or hall, just live in the studio)




Even in these controlled conditions, there is evidence that he is very tentative and not comfortable playing the part of a singer.  He might have a fairly palatable tone and sound reasonably in tune on the surface, but that's it.  There are plenty of pitch mistakes, way more than would be considered acceptable in Indian singing, but that apart he is also sliding into notes rather than hitting them on the centre (which the studio version suggested he did).   I tend to think such a huge difference between studio and live in a fairly simple song is the product of manipulation.    
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2013 at 09:53
Originally posted by Gerinski

I don't think anybody is putting a 'bad singer' into a recording, for sure not if the intention is to have a commercial hit. Many of the modern hit singers may be more or less 'fabricated stars', but all of them must have a certain level of competence. There are enough pretty people who can sing that it would be silly to choose one who can't.


That depends on whether you and I mean the same thing by the expression "can sing".   I am not sure guys like the one in the video I just posted can really sing at all.  Maybe, like me, he can sing in small friendly gatherings in an amateur way but is he really good enough to be considered a professional singer?  But these are the kind of 'singers' who get critical acclaim as well as commercial success these days, even as the gent who trained me and some other employees for a company musical event has never recorded a Bollywood song in a 20 year career in spite of being a well trained singer who knows his stuff front to back. 
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