Author Topic: Modern recording technique  (Read 501 times)

TC Chris

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Modern recording technique
« on: February 07, 2019, 07:11:24 PM »
Well, my movie going failed because the theater closed for bad weather.  Got there and the doors wouldn;t open. ???  Then I saw the little notice.

The NY Times had an article today about the decline in popular music recording techniques, especially the extreme levels and compression used on recordings.  It's odd--as we have improved our technical capacity to record well, we have chosen to make recordings worse.  Here's the article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/opinion/what-these-grammy-songs-tell-us-about-the-loudness-wars.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

The focus is on pop music.  Classical and jazz recordings don't compete online or on radio in quite the same way so there aren't the incentives to ruin them.

This isn't the first go-round with intentionally ruining recordings.  RCA had a technique called "Dynagroove" that was designed to sound good on crummy equipment.  There was a time when every instrument had to have its own mic, which led to lousy sound.  Early on there was the extreme or fake stereo ("ping-pong effect").  Early digital recordings often sound harsh because some engineers accepted the notion that if it's digital, it must be perfect, no matter what your ears reported.

Check out the article.

Chris Campbell

electra225

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Re: Modern recording technique
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2019, 07:37:50 PM »
I've heard the criticism of Dynagroove.  And I have never heard the ping pong effect they talk about.  If they are referring to "hyper stereo" then, yes, I've heard of that.  I like hyper-stereo myself.  I don't understand what they are referring to in their criticism of Dynagroove. 


The biggest problem with modern recording is the artists have no talent, compared with the good old days.  The writing sucks, too.  The words don't make sense and they try to make me think too hard to "hear" the words.  Most of the Top 40 country they play on the radio is simply rap set to an electric fiddle.  Fake music.


Gee, I may have invented a term.  Fake music.  You heard it here first.   ;)
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TC Chris

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Re: Modern recording technique
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2019, 10:25:38 PM »
I've heard the criticism of Dynagroove.  And I have never heard the ping pong effect they talk about.  If they are referring to "hyper stereo" then, yes, I've heard of that.  I like hyper-stereo myself.  I don't understand what they are referring to in their criticism of Dynagroove. 


As I recall, Dynagroove varied the frequency response depending on the amplitude of the sound in order to limit excursions of the groove.  That was so inexpensive cartridges wouldn't have the needle pop out of the groove on loud bass passages.  There may have been other tweaks. 

Chris Campbell

electra225

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Re: Modern recording technique
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2019, 10:38:45 PM »
Dynagroove courtesy of Wikipedia.....


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynagroove
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firedome

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Re: Modern recording technique
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2019, 11:02:16 AM »
I've heard those criticisms as well. The "ping-pong" effect was meant to showcase the stereo effect, steam engines going from 1 channel to the other were a typical example, and recording techniques where the instruments bounced from one side to the other also were popular. It was not very true to real music, and one of the examplars of this were the Command label recodings from Enoch Light, which were infamous for over-utilizing these effects. It was rather contrived not to mention synthetic, but it was also very dramatic. To a public raised on mono reproduction it was the latest & greatest and very popular for a short time. Of course to music critics it was an abomination, but to me it's a case of TEHO, it can be kind of fun, with popular music at least. Dynagroove was also panned, while London/Decca's ffrr and ffss were highly lauded for accuracy. I recall reading about the controversies back in HiFi and Stereo review back in the day.

FM Radio connoisseurs also complain bitterly about use of "lossy" compression and other techniques that have considerably degraded the quality of radio signal. Along with mp3 and other techniques many younger people have no idea of what quality reproduction is anymore. There's a guy on AW.o who is a radio transmission engineer who can expound intelligently on the subject, a lot is above my head.  Bottom line is very little of current FM is worth bothering with, but we still keep a couple of tube FM tuners ready and willing. as locally we do have a good NPR FM music station, something I attribute to the large influence of McIntosh Labs on the music scene in town. Not many cities our size have a Symphony, Opera company, and numerous musical & Broadway productions.
Happy Motoring! from Roger in NY

walyfd

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Re: Modern recording technique
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2019, 11:45:51 AM »
I LOVE the Command and RCA Stereo Action records.  The tapes are even better...

Quad was completely over the top, though...

TC Chris

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Re: Modern recording technique
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2019, 06:45:11 PM »
I LOVE the Command and RCA Stereo Action records.  The tapes are even better...

Quad was completely over the top, though...

Actually, some of the Command line were high-quality recordings, some on 35 mm film and engineered to high standards.  RCA's Living Stereo, Mercury's Living Presence, and even some labels like Everest seemed to have the best recording quality for domestic brands.  Columbia always seemed second best, perhaps because they had their own equalization before RIAA was adopted as a standard.  I haven't heard many of the fabled European discs like the Deccas (their Decca, not ours) and others.

I have a few R to R prerecorded tapes, and yes, they have astonishing quality.  A bit of hiss way in the background, but the realism and transparency are surprising. I need to revive one of my R to R machines and have a listen sometime.

Chris Campbell

walyfd

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Re: Modern recording technique
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2019, 08:09:43 PM »
London is another label of great quality.  More than just Mantovani muzak.  Still the same genre but the bifold "Phase 4" were well recorded.

Look at a Command disk next to any other record and you can see and feel the difference.  They're heavy and so deeply pressed.  Everyone should have at least one as a reference and they really do come in handy for balancing speakers.

electra225

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Re: Modern recording technique
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2019, 07:29:38 PM »
I am now the proud owner of a Command recording.  This Command recording is one of those blessings you don't know you are going to receive.  It is also a demonstration record for a Magnavox Concert Grand!   :) :)


Since my Concert Grand is not available, I played it on my Symphony.  One artist on the record is unmistakably the Lawrence Welk orchestra.  The vocalist on "Let's Put Out The Lights" is Alice Lon, then the current Champagne Lady with the Welk organization.


This record is "hyper-hyper stereo".  I can see where the comments of ultra-high fidelity with Command recordings can be made.  I can also understand the comments of the "ping pong" effect in early stereo recordings.  Stereo was new in 1959.  I can see how a record such as this would sell stereo instruments. This one can serve a double purpose.  Add to my Concert Grand documentation and add to my Lawrence Welk collection.  I also wish to take this opportunity to thank the friend who got this record to me.  He may remain anonymous or identify himself, whichever he chooses.
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walyfd

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Re: Modern recording technique
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2019, 04:27:52 AM »
I'm sure I have a copy of this one.  Actually, Magna vox gave out a few different Command records over the years but Larry Welk never recorded on Enoch Light's label.  Enoch had his own orchestra with a lot of talent from Doc Severensen and Tony Matola to the Ray Charles singers from the Perry Como show.  This ray Charles is the one who sang the "Three's Company" theme.

What song are you thinking of?  I probably have the album it was pulled from.  If it's accordion, it's probably Lewis Ayers...  it's all Wunnerful, Wunnerful...

electra225

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Re: Modern recording technique
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2019, 09:20:24 AM »
I don't know who Enoch Light is, but the music on this Command record is definitely by the Lawrence Welk orchestra.  Nobody can sound like Welk other than the real McCoy.  Welk also technically never had a recording contract with RCA, but I have an album he did for Kellogg's that is on RCA.  I have a Longines Symphonette album that has Welk on it.  I respect your input, and mean no disrespect.  I have been a fan of Lawrence Welk and have listened to and collected his material for over 60 years.  Lawrence Welk was one of the early proponents of stereo.  He started recording in stereo in late 1958.  The sound on his TV show was sometimes criminally inept, but the sound on his recordings were amazing.  I can see why his material would be featured on a high-end recording for demonstration purposes. 



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walyfd

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Re: Modern recording technique
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2019, 10:39:50 AM »

firedome

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Re: Modern recording technique
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2019, 01:46:54 PM »
At age 12 I bought with my lawn mowing money "Persuasive Percussion" at E.J. Korvettes on Perring Parkway in Baltimore. I loved it, even though I completely missed all of the cool stereo effects by playing it on my parent's old 1940s RCA record player/radio! By time I built my own Heathkit stereo in 1964 the grooves of that poor record were pretty well trashed by the RCA's heavy crude tone arm and worn out stylus! Love to find a copy and listen as it was meant to be heard!
Happy Motoring! from Roger in NY

electra225

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Re: Modern recording technique
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2019, 06:36:17 PM »
The Magnavox record I have may not be a true representative of the Command portfolio as it was normally presented.  Magnavox may have contracted with Welk to provide the music and contracted with Enoch Light and Command records to produce the recording with their exaggerated stereo so Magnavox could use the recording as a demonstration record.  I have been wrong before and will be again.  If the record I have is not Lawrence Welk and is the Enoch Light orchestra, they did the only exact duplicate of Welk material I have ever heard of.  There are "sounds" in certain recordings that were likely not there originally, if indeed I have Welk material.  I have a demonstration record for an Astro-Sonic Magnavox that is on Decca, IIRC.  I have an Admiral on Decca and two RCA "New Vista" recordings on RCA Red Label.  I have a 1963 Buick demonstration record on RCA Dynagroove as well.  The Magnavox Concert Grand Command recording is by far the most listenable of any of them.  The music on it is very good.
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TC Chris

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Re: Modern recording technique
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2019, 07:00:57 PM »
I've got a V-M demonstration record and it is, surprisingly, not a very good recording, certainly not designed to show off an audio device.  What were they thinking?  A demonstration record should have some frequency extremes, and maybe some large-scale orchestral recordings to show off soundstage. 

This record was in a trash can at the music store where I took trombone lessons as a kid.  Somebody had dumped an ash tray into the can after the record landed there (remember when people smoked in public, indoors?).   Well, just like dumped electronics, this recording found a place in my collection. 

Chris Campbell