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Thread: FOLLOW-UP: What "makes" that big studio sound?

  1. #1
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    Default FOLLOW-UP: What "makes" that big studio sound?

    Thankyou to everyone who responded to my little poll.

    A few people have asked what exactly I meant by a "big studio sound." Of course, I could spend all day listing examples, instead I'll just give the first that popped into my mind. Antony and the Johnsons.
    I think such a basic piece best illustrates what I'm talking about because we can't get into huge debates over how the instruments were recorded, choice of instruments, etc.

    Antony's track has an indescribable big studio 'flavour' to it.

    My typical sound: www.puzzlefactory.com.au/The_President.mp3
    Typical BIG sound: www.puzzlefactory.com.au/Hope_Theres_Someone.mp3

    Even though the two songs are rather different, the difference is clear.

    FOR THE COPYRIGHT CONSCIOUS:
    The clip I provided is a sample of a sample. The whole sample can be found here: http://www.brainwashed.com/antony/
    The whole song can be found on Antony's beautiful album "I am a Bird Now."
    I am in no-way associated with Antony and/or his Johnson(s), although I have been called one, on occasion.

    Dax Liniere

    PUZZLE FACTORY
    SOUND STUDIO
    Sydney, Aust.

    c: +61 412 599 533
    www.puzzlefactory.com.au - now with VR!

  2. #2
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    Default

    It's funny the reverb topic came up because I think this is exactly what's missing. I don't mean big verbs, I mean verbs that you don't even notice until you take them out - they just create depth and space. I like things dry and I listen to these records that sound dry but they really aren't -- it's just the verb is very subtle. I think the quality of your tracks are good and not a problem.

  3. #3
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    Default Thanks for the examples

    Right.

    The difference between these are in favor of the "There's someone."

    The good news is that I think you may have everything you need at hand to emulate this ideal. The potentially frustrating news is that it depends on your ears!

    The sound-stage needs work. I have the same problem usually, so know that is where this review comes from.

    Provide more space for each component of the mix, and make some tough choices about what is figure what is ground for each musical section. Once decided, then you have several tools to make it so: relative loudness, re-verb amount and type, LR panning, EQ, and compression, and polarity. It does not mean everything is swimming in reverb. It may be just one or two components that are tweaked, and then you will hear the sound stage come alive. In some cases you have to do bass management by micro shifting the timing of a track, or just using a bludgeon of phase reversal can improve spatial perception. Do not be concerned about mixing reverbs, or using more than one reverb on each source.

    The thing about mixing instruments recorded in natural spaces, is that as long as the spaces are good, the sonics of each component can be interesting. It is what it is. With close directional micing you always have to provide room simulations. Thus, the spaces almost always be bogus. The upside is that there is more opportunity for variations in the illusions.

    If after much more experimenting you still can't get it, why not hire the engineer who did the work you like to come to your studio for a day as a consultant?

    Regards,
    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Kramer; 11-28-2005 at 07:58 PM. Reason: Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, Sloth
    Mark Kramer
    www.thejazzmall.com


    formula to live by
    _______________________________________
    I am not sure I am really back. It just seems that I've passed through a wormhole.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by daxliniere

    This mix is a perfect example of what I call the "everything's equidistant" mix syndrome. Everything in it sounds like it's 6" away from the listener.

    It's uncomfortable to listen to. If every player/singer is 6" away from you, then no wonder you're feeling claustrophobic.

    I can elaborate on this concept for days.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  5. #5
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    Lynn you are on a roll buddy. I was trying to find that description for a new intern....Oh Happy Day!!! A new intern who wants to do audio,not just for TV;but music and post. Wants to get what he can here in two years and then go for a four year school. Can I send him to you?
    Dennis Jones
    Technical Director
    WNCW-FM www.wncw.org
    3D Audio V.I.P.

  6. #6
    DennisC is offline 3D VIP 2004, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12
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    So, to expand upon the question while focusing on the reverb point:

    Which reverbs, outboard and plugin, fall into the category of:
    Crap
    Useable
    Big Time?

    Dennis

  7. #7
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    Default Be done with it.

    Ok, I admit it, I actually love recordings that are bone dry. A lot of times I feel like verb just adds mush, and I like a really open sound. When I mix, I go for as many places as possible I can cause true digital black to come out. Makes the dymanics have more impact if you ask me.

    That said, verb can be an incredibly powerful and special tool.

    When I need verb, I reach for Waves IR-1. The Sydney Opera House, trimmed to about 1.5 seconds, is perfect for vocals.
    Jim Dugger
    Poorhouse Productions

    At 20 bits, you are on the verge of dynamic range covering fly-farts-at-20-feet to untolerable pain. Really, what more could we need?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisC
    So, to expand upon the question while focusing on the reverb point:

    Which reverbs, outboard and plugin, fall into the category of:
    Crap
    Useable
    Big Time?

    Dennis
    Don't know Crap but for me it's...

    Usable software:
    Nuendo Natural Verb
    SIR

    Big Time:
    Hardware:
    Lexicon PCM 91 and up(my weapon of choice)
    TC Electronics M-3000 and up
    EMT 140 plate

    Software:
    Nuendo Natural Verb
    WAVES IR-1
    Dennis Jones
    Technical Director
    WNCW-FM www.wncw.org
    3D Audio V.I.P.

  9. #9
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    Default

    When I mix, I go for as many places as possible I can cause true digital black to come out.
    I am not sure what you mean, Jim.

    Are you saying you are shooting for spaces of true silence, no reverb tails etc. ?
    Mark
    Mark Kramer
    www.thejazzmall.com


    formula to live by
    _______________________________________
    I am not sure I am really back. It just seems that I've passed through a wormhole.

  10. #10
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    Default Silence, eh?

    Hey Jim! If you like your silence SILENT, then I'll send you a sample of another track from that CD. There's a stop at the end that makes me smile every time I hear it

    Dax Liniere

    PUZZLE FACTORY
    SOUND STUDIO
    Sydney, Aust.

    c: +61 412 599 533
    www.puzzlefactory.com.au - now with VR!

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