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Thread: Production philosophy

  1. #1
    PenultimateTone Member Demanic's Avatar
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    Default Production philosophy

    Given the recent threads on songs or bands that one likes but dislikes the tone or production, I am curious as to what you think is good production? When you are recording, what is your production philosophy?
    For myself, I prefer to keep things as stripped down as possible. I want the listener to feel like they are in the room as the song is being recorded live. Even if it isn't perfect.
    I've always preferred bands that could reproduce their studio recordings live without having to resort to lots of tricks or extra performers. Extra improv is fine with me as long as the main part of the studio sound and technical performance are there. But if you can't do it live, then don't use the studio to try to compensate.

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    Michaelewski BlueSnMettle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    I agree. I think that a bands live performance should,
    at a minimum, be as good or better than the recorded
    material. I prefer the organic (carbon based) 😜 feel of
    the live show and would like to hear that on the album.
    Eric Clapton’s “From the Cradle” was pretty much recorded
    live in the studio and it is awesome. Anyway my .02.

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    Mojo's Minions beaubrummels's Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    Good production is when I don’t notice the production.
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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    If the song sounds good, it is good. If that means massive amounts of production to polish a turd into a diamond . . . so be it.


    That said, I'm always disappointed when I hear a band live that sounds nothing like their recordings.
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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    I do not have a production philosophy, other than to be open minded and willing to experiment (i.e. not too rigid), and to approach each production on its own terms. I don't operate on pre-canned general rules such as, "Keep things as stripped down as possible" – not in life, and not in music. What works for one song doesn't always work for every song. I like things stripped down when I want them to be stripped down, and I like things complex when I want them to be complex. No preconceived notions of what is "good production" across the board, for all songs. Always a song-by-song approach for what is "good."
    Last edited by ItsaBass; 05-11-2019 at 11:22 AM.
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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    Quote Originally Posted by beaubrummels View Post
    Good production is when I don’t notice the production.
    This is it. But when I notice it, I think it is amazing.
    I don't like bands that sound the same live. I guess it is the jazz in my background- if I want to hear the studio recording, I will stay home. I want to experience these musicians being creative right in front of me.

    But good record production can be stripped down, or super dense to me. But I want drums to sound like I am standing next to them. I want separation of frequencies. I want good arrangements. I like dense guitar parts, but not superfluous doubled and tripled rhythms.
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    PenultimateTone Member Demanic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    As I said, I like improvisation live, but not as a cover for not being able to do what was done in the studio. Zeppelin was famous for this. As opposed to Dream Theater, who can break into circus music in the middle of a song, but never leave the impression that they couldn't sound exactly like they did in the studio if they choose to.

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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    Quote Originally Posted by beaubrummels View Post
    Good production is when I don’t notice the production.
    Probably the two biggest factors that go into 'music production' are the technology of the time and the circumstances surrounding the recording. Great room, great performers and what passes for great sound-capture equipment for the time is going to yield some pretty great results. Is Caruso singing into a giant horn great production? In my opinion, yes; but you certainly notice the technology used; same with early recordings done into 'cans', captured directly on disk, etc. These are extremely bandwidth-limited recordings. Same goes for Library of Congress field recordings.

    Sonically speaking, when I listen to The Beatles and Led Zeppelin all I can hear, from a production standpoint, is all the compression used! Those recordings were compressed within an inch of their lives, oftentimes to the point of pumping and creating weird artifacts. But I don't think anyone is going to say that they aren't great productions!

    The role of 'producer' has drastically changed in the advent of the Laptop Generation, and now the Smart Phone and Tablet Generation. It has never been easier to get great-sounding, high resolution recordings.

    Music production in general also has a LOT of sacred cows that are long past their expiration date.

    At the end of the day I would rather hear a less-than-stellar recording of a great performance than a pristine recording of a so-so one. But then, it also depends on what your end goal is for listening to the piece in the first place. Modern pop music is FULL of great, complex, cutting-edge production techniques that any aspiring recordist/engineer/producer SHOULD be studying, and studying closely! People who act as gate keepers and allow their stylistic preferences to prevent them from learning something new are doing themselves, and the people who would listen to their productions, a disservice.
    Last edited by TwilightOdyssey; 05-12-2019 at 05:46 AM.
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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    I don't like bands that sound the same live. I guess it is the jazz in my background- if I want to hear the studio recording, I will stay home. I want to experience these musicians being creative right in front of me.
    I feel like you're talking about performance here, not production.

    A solo can be note for note perfect, but the timber and feel of the band can be radically different because of the way they were produced on the record vs how they actually sound live. (Same performance, different production.) Conversely, a solo can be completely different and improvised live, but the band can sound exactly the way they sound on the album. (Different performance, same production.)

    Improvisation is great, but to me it's kinda weird when a band sounds completely different live than they do on the record. That always makes me feel like they were probably overproduced.
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker NecroPolo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    Delivering what I've been asked / paid for and keeping things (costs/time, dead-end requests, loudness / punch, deadlines) in balance. That's all really.

    Beyond that, in details every project is different: different problems to solve, different people/personalities to deal with, different program material e.t.c.
    Last edited by NecroPolo; 05-13-2019 at 06:15 AM. Reason: typos

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    Mojo's Minions devastone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    IMO there are no rules, it's all different depending on the band/players/situation. I've seen Van Halen multiple times since 1982, their early recordings were very live sounding and their stuff with Hagar had a lot more production, I liked it both, but I would never expect them to play it exactly like the record live. I saw Queensryche do Operation Mindcrime live ~90 or 91 (all the original members) and it wouldn't have been the same if they had gone off improvising live, that's not their thing.

    Hendrix/SRV/Zeppelin/"many others of that era" never played like the album, that would have been truly disappointing.
    Last edited by devastone; 05-14-2019 at 06:01 AM.

  12. #12
    Sock Supplier to RHCP Beer$'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    Mine is very simple. Serve the song. I think about which sounds will best convey the moods and vibes that the song is trying to convey.
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    Toneologist Obsessive Compulsive's Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    Get everything to sound right before hitting the 'record' button, applying all effects heard when practicing. Therefore, very minimal post production; EQ at most. Definitely no 'reamping'.

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    Mojo's Minions beaubrummels's Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    “There’s nothing worse than a clear picture of a fuzzy concept.” - Ansel Adams
    Quote Originally Posted by Demanic
    Incompetence is widespread in a world that rewards mediocrity while punishing excellence.
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    I did find the DS-1 in the garbage.
    I once found a guitar amp in the garbage, a Peavey Studio 110. It caught fire at the first gig I played it at.. But it was at the end of it, thank god.

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    Mojo's Minions Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    A fuzzy picture of a clear concept?
    That pretty much describes corporate America.

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    Mojo's Minions Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Production philosophy

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    This is it. But when I notice it, I think it is amazing.
    I don't like bands that sound the same live. I guess it is the jazz in my background- if I want to hear the studio recording, I will stay home. I want to experience these musicians being creative right in front of me.

    But good record production can be stripped down, or super dense to me. But I want drums to sound like I am standing next to them. I want separation of frequencies. I want good arrangements. I like dense guitar parts, but not superfluous doubled and tripled rhythms.
    Agreed.
    I hate when people come up to me and tell me they went to go see “such and such” band and they sounded “just like the record”.....
    Really? And you paid money for that?
    I want to see the band actually perform the music....that means taking chances and stretching out a bit....clams and all.

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