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Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: Sipuncula ()
Date: March 5, 2011 08:03

I know this is about six years too late, but I'm on a vinyl kick and I just got ABB and gave it another chance (yes, I know it's digital sourced and should sound similar). It would be a pretty good record with a few clunkers cut out, but above all, here is a prime example of something that was killed by its production (mastering?--I'm no sonic engineer). This one might be the poster child of how to ruin a record by compression. It's tedious and loud. I hate the '80s slick production of Steel Wheels, but this 2000s "loudness" trend might actually be worse to my ears. Voodoo Lounge is warm and dynamic, and a joy to listen to by comparison. I might like ABB just as well if it didn't make me want to f*cking pull the power cord because of the overall sound.

Any sound experts care to comment? Maybe ABB deserves a remaster.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: treaclefingers ()
Date: March 5, 2011 08:06

Quote
Sipuncula
I know this is about six years too late, but I'm on a vinyl kick and I just got ABB and gave it another chance (yes, I know it's digital sourced and should sound similar). It would be a pretty good record with a few clunkers cut out, but above all, here is a prime example of something that was killed by its production (mastering?--I'm no sonic engineer). This one might be the poster child of how to ruin a record by compression. It's tedious and loud. I hate the '80s slick production of Steel Wheels, but this 2000s "loudness" trend might actually be worse to my ears. Voodoo Lounge is warm and dynamic, and a joy to listen to by comparison. I might like ABB just as well if it didn't make me want to f*cking pull the power cord because of the overall sound.

Any sound experts care to comment? Maybe ABB deserves a remaster.

I believe it got a remaster with the recent UMe series...and the new vinyl is also available, albeit in a $200-300 box set.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: Sipuncula ()
Date: March 5, 2011 08:12

I'm enjoying the ABKCO era stuff tremendously (got the boxed set vol. 1) , but I've been avoiding the Universal set because I've heard it's got the compression treatment style ala. Bigger Bang.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: treaclefingers ()
Date: March 5, 2011 08:22

Quote
Sipuncula
I'm enjoying the ABKCO era stuff tremendously (got the boxed set vol. 1) , but I've been avoiding the Universal set because I've heard it's got the compression treatment style ala. Bigger Bang.

I have the ABKCO Box arriving next week myself!

I've read that the later releases are good...it's the earlier ones from the 70's that are the ones that suffer in the UMe box. Haven't heard it myself though.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: Sipuncula ()
Date: March 5, 2011 09:03

Quote
treaclefingers
I have the ABKCO Box arriving next week myself!

You are in for a treat. They are nice, solid, and heavy. I listened to them in order over the past few weeks, and Let it Bleed was definitely worth the wait. I never fully appreciated that one until now.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: kowalski ()
Date: March 5, 2011 09:56

Quote
Sipuncula
here is a prime example of something that was killed by its production (mastering?)

I can't agree more. The first times I listened to A Bigger Bang I hated it because of the ultra compressed and no dynamics sound. It's so aggressive for the ears that's it's unbelievable. I'm no sound expert neither but I think it comes from the mastering.
Problem is everything is so loud and put at the maximum level. Listening to the 16 songs of the album with such a loud sound is really tiring for the ears. A couple of years ago I started to listen to the vinyl and even if it's obviously the same master, at least you can hear something that sounds like music. Charlie's drums for instance have a much better sound on the vinyl. And you can hear the cymbals.

UMG remasters from 2009 have also all dynamics killed. When doing the remaster they put everything at the same level and as loud as possible (given CD possibility). When you start to listen to a record remastered this way, at first it sounds clearer, but after a couple of songs you just get tired of hearing all the instruments so loud.
A good exemple of remastering at the maximum loudness is the remastered version of Rocks Off on Exile. When it comes to the part sung by Keith in the middle of the song, all of a sudden his voice arrives just in front of your speakers, while in previous edition it was buried in the mix and would be heard from very far.

In comparison ABKCO remasters from 2002 even if they are a bit compressed have at least all dynamics respected.


Michael Fremer explains well the problem on musicangle.com in an article that's worth the reading

[www.musicangle.com]

"all of the reissues in the UMG box have been dynamically compressed to some degree. It wouldn’t be fair to say they were squashed, but they certainly lack the energy and exuberance of the originals (...)"

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: 71Tele ()
Date: March 5, 2011 10:00

The only thing that killed ABB was too many bad songs.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: Doxa ()
Date: March 5, 2011 10:14

There seems to be a lot of "saving A BIGGER BANG" campaign going on. Nice that people care but I think it is really a task impossible.

Me thinks the only way to make at least a bit better is to ask the guys back to studio - well, this time the whole band together - and start developing the songs further (and skip about half of the songs out).

- Doxa

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: barbabang ()
Date: March 5, 2011 11:31

Easily the worst production of latter day stones albums. Could have been much better. Record it in a quality studio. Take more time to work on the songs. Don´t kill off the dynamics in the production/mastering. Quite a shocker to hear that it was Keith who insisted that the ABB songs sounded good enough as it was and that Jagger wanted to work more on it in a decent studio. 100% the opposite attitude towards recording as he used to be.

So I agree with Sipuncula.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2011-03-05 12:23 by barbabang.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: dcba ()
Date: March 5, 2011 12:17

If you're a newbie get a quick education on bad mastering trends the record industry got : go to Yotube and search "loudness war" .

Plenty of vids, graphs, interviews of (disgusted) sound engineers that'll enable you why ABB and the awful crop of 2009 "remasters" ("over-masters" would be more accurate) is tripe...

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: benon again ()
Date: March 5, 2011 12:51

Yes , absolutely the worst production and mastering from their catalogue.Especially after brilliant Bridges To Babylon album.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: JumpingKentFlash ()
Date: March 5, 2011 12:52

Quote
dcba
If you're a newbie get a quick education on bad mastering trends the record industry got : go to Yotube and search "loudness war" .

Plenty of vids, graphs, interviews of (disgusted) sound engineers that'll enable you why ABB and the awful crop of 2009 "remasters" ("over-masters" would be more accurate) is tripe...





JumpingKentFlash

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: john lomax ()
Date: March 5, 2011 13:47

I completely agree.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: Nikolai ()
Date: March 5, 2011 17:27

Quote
Sipuncula
I know this is about six years too late, but I'm on a vinyl kick and I just got ABB and gave it another chance (yes, I know it's digital sourced and should sound similar). It would be a pretty good record with a few clunkers cut out, but above all, here is a prime example of something that was killed by its production (mastering?--I'm no sonic engineer). This one might be the poster child of how to ruin a record by compression. It's tedious and loud. I hate the '80s slick production of Steel Wheels, but this 2000s "loudness" trend might actually be worse to my ears. Voodoo Lounge is warm and dynamic, and a joy to listen to by comparison. I might like ABB just as well if it didn't make me want to f*cking pull the power cord because of the overall sound.

Any sound experts care to comment? Maybe ABB deserves a remaster.

ANOTHER remaster. grinning smiley

You're right. The album doesn't sound at all good. I've got a vinyl copy, which is an improvement, even though it's from the same digital source used for the CD.

The original 1989 CBS pressing of Steel Wheels sounds great. In fact, I think it was a poster called Kowalski who made a case for the CBS CDs being the best versions of the 1971-90 back catalogue. I've always been happy with the Bob Ludwig Virgin remasters from 1994.

I have since listened to all three pressings, and it's a mix and match. Here are my preferred versions:

Sticky Fingers - Virgin remaster
Exile on Main Street - CBS
Goats Head Soup - CBS
IORR - Virgin
Black and Blue - Universal
Some Girls - Universal
Emotional Rescue - CBS
Tattoo You - Virgin
Undercover - Virgin
Dirty Work - CBS
Steel Wheels - CBS

For Voodoo Lounge and BTB stick to the originals. I'd also recommend the UK/European pressing of Rewind for the best possible sounding versions of Brown Sugar and Wild Horses.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: lsbz ()
Date: March 5, 2011 17:34

Quote
Sipuncula
It's tedious and loud.

Rock *should* sound loud. With that type of heavy guitar sound, I doubt that the mastering could be much improved; probably largely a waste of time.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: Sleepy City ()
Date: March 5, 2011 17:49

Quote
lsbz
Quote
Sipuncula
It's tedious and loud.

Rock *should* sound loud.

The 'Dirty Work' album sounds loudest of 'em all.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: lsbz ()
Date: March 5, 2011 17:57

Quote
Sleepy City
Quote
lsbz
Quote
Sipuncula
It's tedious and loud.

Rock *should* sound loud.

The 'Dirty Work' album sounds loudest of 'em all.

I haven't heard it in a long time, but I doubt that. I did not notice a particularly heavy sound at the time, but I agree that ABB is loud.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: Sleepy City ()
Date: March 5, 2011 18:12

Quote
lsbz
Quote
Sleepy City
Quote
lsbz
Quote
Sipuncula
It's tedious and loud.

Rock *should* sound loud.

The 'Dirty Work' album sounds loudest of 'em all.

I haven't heard it in a long time, but I doubt that. I did not notice a particularly heavy sound at the time, but I agree that ABB is loud.

Well the drums are certainly loud on DW...

But I'm not a big fan of rock music anyway, much preferring the production / sound / music of the Andrew Loog Oldham era.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: lsbz ()
Date: March 5, 2011 18:22

Quote
Sleepy City
But I'm not a big fan of rock music anyway, much preferring the production / sound / music of the Andrew Loog Oldham era.

Yes, me too. It's more sophisticated. I like rock much, but I think that the rock of that era was also better produced.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2011-03-05 18:23 by lsbz.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: slew ()
Date: March 5, 2011 18:25

I actually like the sound of ABB - in fact I think its a really good album.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: lsbz ()
Date: March 5, 2011 18:32

Quote
slew
I actually like the sound of ABB - in fact I think its a really good album.

I can't say I really like the sound of ABB, but it has its own qualities. And it's definitely a good album.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2011-03-05 18:33 by lsbz.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: straycatuk ()
Date: March 5, 2011 18:35

Very interesting video. I do most of my volume listening on Headphones and certainly find myself having to take breaks from listening because I'm convinced this "wall of noise" type of production causes tinitus.

You Can't beat the warm sound and Dynamic range of analogue vinyl recordings OR well remastered cds.

ABB was a sonic disaster............Mick was right about wanting to take it to a proper studio IMHO. Although ,in the case of about half of it - YOU CAN'T POLISH A TURD!

sc uk

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: FreeBird ()
Date: March 5, 2011 19:21

Quote
Nikolai
I'd also recommend the UK/European pressing of Rewind for the best possible sounding versions of Brown Sugar and Wild Horses.
Wild Horses isn't on it. Furthermore, which US version of Rewind are you comparing it to - CBS or Atlantic?
Quote
Sleepy City
The 'Dirty Work' album sounds loudest of 'em all.
The Virgin Dirty Work doesn't even come close to the loudness of ABB.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: lsbz ()
Date: March 5, 2011 19:30

Quote
FreeBird
Quote
Sleepy City
The 'Dirty Work' album sounds loudest of 'em all.
The Virgin Dirty Work doesn't even come close to the loudness of ABB.

And Liliwhite of U2 fame is hardly the producer for heavy rock.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: FreeBird ()
Date: March 5, 2011 19:34

Quote
lsbz
Quote
FreeBird
Quote
Sleepy City
The 'Dirty Work' album sounds loudest of 'em all.
The Virgin Dirty Work doesn't even come close to the loudness of ABB.

And Liliwhite of U2 fame is hardly the producer for heavy rock.
I was merely talking about mastering.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: Chris Fountain ()
Date: March 5, 2011 19:35

At this point, it doesn't really matter what they play; A 2016 tour seems remote; but then again we all have been wrong setting deadlines.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: 71Tele ()
Date: March 5, 2011 19:39

Quote
JumpingKentFlash
Quote
dcba
If you're a newbie get a quick education on bad mastering trends the record industry got : go to Yotube and search "loudness war" .

Plenty of vids, graphs, interviews of (disgusted) sound engineers that'll enable you why ABB and the awful crop of 2009 "remasters" ("over-masters" would be more accurate) is tripe...



I get his point, but wish he hadn't used such horrible music to demonstrate it. That crap sounds bad at any loudness level.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: lsbz ()
Date: March 5, 2011 19:40

Quote
FreeBird
Quote
lsbz
Quote
FreeBird
Quote
Sleepy City
The 'Dirty Work' album sounds loudest of 'em all.
The Virgin Dirty Work doesn't even come close to the loudness of ABB.

And Liliwhite of U2 fame is hardly the producer for heavy rock.
I was merely talking about mastering.

General production is way more important than mastering. Even mixing is way more important than mastering. This was the Harlem Shuffle album; they probably did not even have something like ABB in mind.

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: tatters ()
Date: March 5, 2011 19:43

Quote
71Tele
Quote
JumpingKentFlash
Quote
dcba
If you're a newbie get a quick education on bad mastering trends the record industry got : go to Yotube and search "loudness war" .

Plenty of vids, graphs, interviews of (disgusted) sound engineers that'll enable you why ABB and the awful crop of 2009 "remasters" ("over-masters" would be more accurate) is tripe...



I get his point, but wish he hadn't used such horrible music to demonstrate it. That crap sounds bad at any loudness level.

"Fatiguing". That is the key word. That's why the Universal remasters give me a headache, and why I can't listen to them. And yet, the 2009 Beatles remasters, which are also louder, sound wonderful. Why is that?

Re: Production (Mastering?) Kills A Bigger Bang
Posted by: kowalski ()
Date: March 5, 2011 19:47

Just to make it clear "loud" or "loudness" means that everything is put at the same (and maximum) level : for instance an acoustic guitar will sound as loud as an electric guitar. That means there's no more breath in the music you listen to. This kind of sound started at the end of the 90's and became the regular sound for most of "popular music" during the 2000's. A Bigger Bang is a good example of the loud sound. Like are the UMG 2009 remasters. In this particular case they just took away every bit of life of some of the greatest albums ever recorded IMO.


Quote
Nikolai
In fact, I think it was a poster called Kowalski who made a case for the CBS CDs being the best versions of the 1971-90 back catalogue.

That was me. And I still recommend these out of print CD's if you want to get the best sound on CD for the Rolling Stones albums issued between 1971 and 1989. And I agree that Rewind CBS CD has the best digital master of Brown Sugar on it. After that the originals are the best (Voodoo Lounge & Bridges To Babylon). For A Bigger Bang, if you can get a digital copy of the vinyl release, that's would be the best way to go.

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