What is the deal with all the crappy production quality on records these days?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by lowendmafia, Dec 20, 2013.


  1. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

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    So, I have a moderately long morning commute and spend a lot of time listening to music in my car. Recently, I have gone back to some of my favorite records from the late 90s and early 2000s and noticed something that the production value was significantly better back then. The 2 that really made me take notice were both Deftones records (White Pony, and the Self Titled). You can literally hear every little nuance and production trick they used on those records. Then I started listening to more stuff from that era and it was similar in quality. Conversely, bands seem to gravitate to a much more stripped down approach to recording these days. For example, I am a huge fan of The Arcade Fire, but their most recent release sounds noisy and sorta sloppily recorded to me and it kills what are otherwise great songs.

    I have been out of the studio and out of recording for several years, just curious if anyone had any opinions on this.
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    It's the new hip thing to do.
  3. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

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    I figured... I love when hipsters tell me that they love indie rock and name a bunch of mainstream bands... how is a major-label band indie rock? It would seem to me it would be more hipsters to do the opposite of what is hip.
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    Thus being "ironic".
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  6. knumbskull

    knumbskull

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    dunno, i'd file the Deftones under "heavily produced" - lots of reverb, compression, efx etc.

    then again, that kind of production is designed to sound good through variable sound sources (e.g. car stereos!), while a looser sound probably benefits more from headphones/home hifi/solid gold speaker cables ;)

    i don't know, for all i know you have one of these:

    [​IMG]
  7. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

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    How did you get a picture of my car?

    I know that Deftones and similar bands use a lot of production tricks, but I like that. I like when a band tries to make their songs sound as good as possible in the studio. I also think that engineers are using way too much compression on things these days and it makes then sound like they are playing through a cardboard box.
  8. Selta

    Selta

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    Holy cow, you only went back to the 2000s and consider that good? It was already in a deplorable state by then.
  9. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

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    Thats your preference, though. Some bands like having their music heavily produced; others prefer their albums to sound more raw without a lot of production tricks.
  10. jrthebassguy

    jrthebassguy Supporting Member

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    I sorta thought the same thing about the newest Arcade Fire. Neon Bible, which was recorded back when they were still relatively unknown (and thus had less recording money to spend) has a better sound and feel than Reflektor. "Funeral" is very empty sounding, but that was intentional, and really drives in the feeling of loss throughout the record. And also why it remains my favorite record by them.



    But in some cases I know there are budgetary restraints. I forgot what band said this, but some Top 40 rock artist (Weezer I think?) said they use less money for recording now than a decade ago because they know they won't sell as many records.
  11. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

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    Raw = Using crappy sounding gear and more compression than Bon Jovi's leather pants.
  12. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

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    Have you listened to all of the records being put out these days? I doubt that they all sound as you seem to think they do.
  13. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

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    No, but as JR said regarding Arcade Fire, the Neon Bible record has "what I would consider" superior production to the Reflektor record.

    Honestly, it probably has something to do with recording for CD production vs recording for MP3 production. I know there are bands that still have high quality sounding recordings, but most of the things I hear do not. I fully blame The White Stripes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for this.
  14. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

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    Lo-fi and stripped down recordings have been going on for a long time. I like the approach myself. Im not a fan of huge productions. I want my record to sound as close to what I can actually perform/reproduce on stage, as much as possible.
    Nirvana's 'In Utero' is a good example of what I like from a record.
  15. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

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    I don't actually disagree with you, I always appreciate a band that records the way they play live. Not that I am a huge fan, but RATM was always known for this. I guess I just spent so long playing, recording and touring with hardcore and metal bands that the whole "sounding like the Beatles" is lost on me.
  16. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

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    I believe I read somewhere that RATM's self-titled album is regarded as a production masterpiece. Its been a long while since Ive listened to it, so Im not sure how I feel about it.
    When it comes to production my main concern is a well balanced mix, in which all instruments can be heard clearly. I was playing in a band for a while where our bandleader liked heavy production. The EP we recorded turned out really well. It was balanced and everything can be heard. I can dig different types of mixes, from the heavily produced to the minimal. I guess its really all in the way one wants their music to be heard.
  17. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

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    I just meant that RATM always said that they would never record something that they could not do live. I think Tom Morello mentioned it when he was questioned about all the "scratching" he did on his guitar.
  18. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

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    I see what youre saying. Thats my person philosophy when it comes to recording my music, but having been in other bands doing music I didnt consider my own, well then Im open to production ideas.

    There might be some samples of the recording up on reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/starveya
  19. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member

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    I think studio production quality topped at the end of the 80s. People who made records in the 90s still had this culture.
    Then budgets became lower and lower. People nowadays barely get a few weeks to fully produce an album, as opposed to a few months in the great days.
  20. DwaynieAD

    DwaynieAD

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    raw production vs polished production is just another tool in the soundscape to me. some albums benefit from being raw, open, and airy others from being polished and tight. it'd be really boring if they all sounded the same.
  21. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

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    I agree. Different formats work well for various recordings.

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