Good Music for testing Audio Equipment

APP

Well-Known Member
Oct 2, 2014
335
22
68
There are many reasons for this.

First of all, pop music is not recorded with audio enthusiasts in mind. It is recorded to sound good on car stereo, smart phones with cheap ear buds, sound bars, home pods, etc. Even before all these new ways to listen, pop recordings were still engineered and mixed for the least common denominator in playback. Things have only got worse in the ensuing years.

All one has to do is look at Michael Jackson's "Black or White" to see what has gone wrong.

The first graph is from the 1991 recording, the second is from the 1994 reissue version, and the last is from the 2007 reissue. Notice the decreasing dynamic range in each ensuing version. This is to make the recording sound louder on the radio, and therefore, more 'exciting' to average listeners, thus more likely to be purchased.

View attachment 56933


Other problems with pop recordings of all types are: the massive amount of studio effect done in the recording process, auto-tune, massive amounts of noise gating, too much overdubbing, etc, etc.

One of the worst modern recording techniques is quantization. This is where they perfectly synch up all the musicians to be perfectly on the beats, or fractions of beats. This drains any of the humanity and life left in the music (after all the preceding destructive recording techniques have done their job).

All one has to do, is listen to great drummers of the past, who would purposely play slightly behind or ahead of the beat. This gives the music breath and life. Phil Collins was a master of this, even on some of his most complex drumming. I doubt this could be done these days. The engineer and record company would step in and make the recording sound 'perfect'.

Basically, the vast majority of modern pop has been 'Pro Tool-ed to death'.

Listen to a modern pop, or even rock, recording, and see if you can tell, there were ever real musicians playing their instruments, in a real space.
But isn't it getting better lately? I believe i read an article that said that sportify and Tidal wanted albums to have less loudness to better interact with the compression they have on their streams. Or ...? I'm not into streaming so maybe I remember wrong.
 

APP

Well-Known Member
Oct 2, 2014
335
22
68
There are many reasons for this.

One of the worst modern recording techniques is quantization. This is where they perfectly synch up all the musicians to be perfectly on the beats, or fractions of beats. This drains any of the humanity and life left in the music (after all the preceding destructive recording techniques have done their job).

All one has to do, is listen to great drummers of the past, who would purposely play slightly behind or ahead of the beat. This gives the music breath and life. Phil Collins was a master of this, even on some of his most complex drumming. I doubt this could be done these days. The engineer and record company would step in and make the recording sound 'perfect'.

Basically, the vast majority of modern pop has been 'Pro Tool-ed to death'.

Listen to a modern pop, or even rock, recording, and see if you can tell, there were ever real musicians playing their instruments, in a real space.
My favorite "behind the beat" groove;
 

Migo

Well-Known Member
Aug 10, 2013
121
5
68
Superb new Sound Liaison One Mic album.

Sound Liaison new release


......"For his seventh album, guitarist Marzio Scholten has formed a superb trio with ECM recording star Wolfert Brederode on piano and bass icon Ernst Glerum on bass.The trio recorded the album Isolophilia in the legendary Studio 2 atf the Dutch Music Centre of Broadcasters. It is a wonderful album. Scholten's compositions are more intimate than ever. His tender guitar sound is beautifully surrounded by Glerum’s counter melodies and Brederode’s impressionistic piano playing. This is silent music, yet it never gets boring due to surprising choices of notes and harmonies. In fact, as the album reach its conclusion, a gorgeous rendition of the traditional “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”, one is so immersed in Scholten’s musical universe that it is impossible to let go of the deep melancholic atmosphere. Here Scholten approaches the high level of American guitarist Bill Frisell on his recent work for the progressive label ECM. The trio is on tour this month, and will give the official presentation of Isolophilia on December 13 in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw." Review by Gijsbert Kamer in the “Volkskrant” December 5, 2019.
 

ferenc_k

Well-Known Member
Apr 9, 2011
55
19
83
I am very sorry for the self-promotion, but if you are looking for real reference recordings, you should know about my "My Reel Club" project. We organize live recording events in a studio where roughly 30 people can in the studio while the recording is made. Our first recording was a piano concert with the Goldberg Variation (available from nativedsd.com), the second one a modern cool jazz quartet, soon available from nativedsd.com too. Recorded in DSD256 and on tape at 38 cm/s.

The attendees (for roughly 70 Euro) not only can be at the event, ask the producer, engineers and the artists but will get all the recordings we made in DSD256 and optionally on tape too and they can playback the raw recording at the control room right after the event.

You can sit roughly 2-3-4 m from the instruments and an acoustically very well treated recording room and at home you will remember how the live music was when you listen to the recording at home few days, weeks later.

It is really educational event.

Recordings are made with minimal processing if any, minimal mic technology, only a stereo pair if it is possible and the highest quality analogue studio desk (Neve, SSL), mic amps, (Platinum silver) Wireworld cabling and a Merging Hapi A/D converter (with external linear PSU) with (a linear PSU) dedicated audio computer.

You can read more about it in my topic:
https://www.whatsbestforum.com/thre...r-own-reference-recordings.28788/#post-613470
 
Likes: Migo

ferenc_k

Well-Known Member
Apr 9, 2011
55
19
83
Sounds very interesting ferenc. It seems similar to what the Sound Liaison guys are doing. Keep us posted!
Thanks. I will.
We will make recordings on-site and without an audience as well. Strictly in DSD256 and only with a stereo mic pair, when it is possible. Not always.

As I see the 2020 schedule we will have a very diverse selection of music from classical to pop, world music and even some rock (unplugged :) ) as well. Even some amplified electronic too.

https://we.tl/t-6B3YX6KDub

It is one sample track from the last one, the Varga Gabor Quartet cool jazz. This track is digitized with a semi-pro A/D converter in 96k, with ordinary cabling as a kind of back-up copy, from the live mixed stereo Nagra tape, so it is not the final production quality. This Nagra tape recording will not be available through nativedsd.com. Only the attendees will get it on tape and in DSD256 if they want it both ways. They will get the first two tracks from the 8 we recorded, which is the stereo microphone part without the added other microphones. We will have an analogue mixed and rerecorded DSD256 final version available for those not attending.

We are thinking of issuing a kind of selection recording, where 3 selected tracks can be compared in all the available recordings:

- 1: the final mixed and rerecorded DS256,
- 2: the original stereo mic DSD256 recording and
- 3: a live mixed tape digitized in DSD256 too.

3 tracks will be available in 3 formats for comparison.

Exciting times ahead.
 
Likes: APP and Migo

Kefas

Well-Known Member
May 21, 2014
159
12
68
Thanks. I will.
We will make recordings on-site and without an audience as well. Strictly in DSD256 and only with a stereo mic pair, when it is possible.
Could you as an expert elaborate a little on the benefits of a one point stereo recording from a listeners perspective?
I'm very impressed by SOUND LIAISON 's recent One Microphone Recordings. I hope it is a trend that will blossom, so that more labels will follow.
 

kodomo

Well-Known Member
Apr 26, 2017
530
504
120
They are called one microphone recordings but actually they are more single point location recordings as Josephson 700s has 3 capsules in it. So, you have a stereo pair plus an omni in between. This creates a phase coherent 3 mic input which you can level according to your needs and have a natural and full sound that is heard from that exact location. The biggest challenge is mic placement/band placement as this dictates the final result. It is how you level, pan and eq and not through your mixer. You need high caliber musicians and top acoustics to get something good. Franz have them all plus his experience and his keen ear both for good music and sound. I buy all sound liaison offering without even previewing anymore. Kudos to them!
 

daytona600

Well-Known Member
Sep 10, 2012
577
43
115
scotland
12ingle single will test any system on LF
Famous for blowing up PA stacks in nightclubs

 

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