Compression

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  • 01-05-2010, 07:12 AM
    Stone
    Compression
    Interesting NPR piece -- albeit really telling us nothing new -- on compression in recorded music: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...58&sc=fb&cc=fp.

    Normally I probably wouldn't have posted this, but I was just recently reminded of how compressed some recordings are. I have been transferring some 7" vinyl that Jay sent to me, and a couple of them are VERY compressed, especially Built To Spill's "Conventional Wisdom." It sounds terrible, and I thought, "Why even bother putting this on vinyl?"

    I know it depends on the label and particular situation, but do bands like Built To Spill have any control over this? I can't imagine that Doug Martsch likes the way that record sounds.
  • 01-05-2010, 08:34 AM
    Swish
    I felt the same way about their much ballyhooed...
    ...Perfect From Now On. In fact, when I bought the CD the year it was released, I thought it was unlistenable and it became another dust collector for me. What a shame because it's really a fine record.

    I have the same issue with satellite radio. I know they're playing compressed mp3s most of the time, if not all the time, so I often opt for talk shows rather than get myself in a dither because the tunes sound so crappy.
  • 01-05-2010, 09:12 AM
    poppachubby
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Stone
    I know it depends on the label and particular situation, but do bands like Built To Spill have any control over this? I can't imagine that Doug Martsch likes the way that record sounds.

    It's situational really. How much control an artist has over each aspect of their career varies between each and every band out there.

    As far as the recording process goes. If the money has been fronted by a record label, even a "cool" or "indy" label, they would have the majority of say as to how the final product should sound. Typically, a producer is selected who can achieve the overall vision and keep it within the budget and timeline for release.

    Obviously, the producer must be someone that can get results from the band, in the form of a good relationship. Usually, this is where the bands input would come in. If the producer is on the same wave as the band, he would try to atttain the ideas and goals of the band, while appeasing the label.

    Some bands produce their own albums. Some bands are given total freedom over their product. Guys like Jay-Z and Puff Daddy own everything and can do whatever they wish. All depends.

    I don't know about Built to Spill. Sir Terrence would be a good one to comment on this because he is a part of the recording machine.
  • 01-05-2010, 09:27 AM
    Rae
    I immediately sang this thread title in my head a la Elvis Costello on Get Happy--

    "...bum bumbum bum bum bum... compression..."

    ~Rae
  • 01-07-2010, 02:57 PM
    velo_road
    Compensation for Compression?
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Stone
    Interesting NPR piece -- albeit really telling us nothing new -- on compression in recorded music: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...58&sc=fb&cc=fp.

    Normally I probably wouldn't have posted this, but I was just recently reminded of how compressed some recordings are...

    Yup, came across the NPR article too; the included PDF poster is telling. Reading the article and your post triggered a thought - could those expanders made back in the 1970's-1980's help make the situation bearable? DBX, Pioneer (with technology licensed from a Roger Gorenski?), and several other companies made gear that had the intent to increase the dynamic range of source material. The results of the signal processing were varied, dependent on how severe the effect one applies; in the worst case you'd get a bad case of of 'pumping', but if lightly applied it helped open up the music. I've seen some of these units on eBay and they're not too expensive. Perhaps these 'black boxes' just might help make those squished recordings and/or MP3 files sound a little more aceptable?