Author Topic: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)  (Read 2287 times)

Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« on: March 01, 2019, 12:05:11 AM »
Maybe it's my ears but to me The Specials' debut album, produced by Elvis Costello, seems to put the vocals way in the background, including Hall's leads. Even if intentional, to create some kind of 60s ska vibe, it's fucking annoying.

Velvet Underground and Nico - why such a poor sound?

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2019, 12:30:01 AM »
Born in the USA sounds like a tinny mess.

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2019, 12:49:03 AM »
Iggy Pop has some form for this, Raw Power has had all kinds of different mixes and it still never quite sounds as scary as it should. I still play it all the time but there's always just a nagging feeling that something isn't quite right.

New Values sounds like it's playing miles away, far too quiet.

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2019, 12:55:17 AM »
Doolittle sounds terrible on a stereo. Way too quiet and mild.

This Nation's Saving Grace also, although I might just have a shit CD issue.

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2019, 01:01:59 AM »
Doolittle sounds terrible on a stereo. Way too quiet and mild.

This Nation's Saving Grace also, although I might just have a shit CD issue.
Yeah, doolittle sounds crap. Cure's Disintegration always sounded really muffled, like a cassette with the wrong Dolby setting, and the remasters curated by Rob didn't seem to improve it.

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2019, 01:11:29 AM »
Yeah, doolittle sounds crap. Cure's Disintegration always sounded really muffled, like a cassette with the wrong Dolby setting, and the remasters curated by Rob didn't seem to improve it.

'This record has been mixed to play loud so turn it up'

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2019, 01:15:01 AM »
The Smiths' debut album is an obvious one

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2019, 01:15:11 AM »
'This record has been mixed to play loud so turn it up'

Let's not forget In Utero included 'advised' tone control settings.

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2019, 04:08:16 AM »
The first two Talking Heads albums. The surround mixes that came out in the mid-2000s are a revelation, although not for Fear of Music and Remain in Light because those two albums sound perfect and don't need fucking with.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2019, 04:40:02 AM »
I always thought Various Postions by Leonard Cohen sounded like an ‘80s mess. Great songs, but all sounding a bit... off...

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2019, 09:55:38 AM »
Yeah, doolittle sounds crap. Cure's Disintegration always sounded really muffled, like a cassette with the wrong Dolby setting, and the remasters curated by Rob didn't seem to improve it.

I didn’t know they’d remastered it I’ll have to check it out. Even before I ever knew about the existence mixing or mastering I always though disintegration sounded muffled and obscured. Which I weird because the songs and arrangements would have sounded even better than they are with a crystal clear production. I’d love to hear what the first song (is it plainsong?) sounded like without its layer of cotton wool.

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Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2019, 10:39:18 AM »
Doolittle sounds terrible on a stereo. Way too quiet and mild.

This is the wrongest opinion I've read in a long time.

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Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2019, 10:42:19 AM »
The Smiths' debut album is an obvious one

Absolutely - even as a teen I knew there was something very wrong with the production on this. It contrasts dramatically with later Smiths albums, especially after Street gets involved.

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2019, 10:42:40 AM »
Velvet Underground and Nico - why such a poor sound?

It was recorded in 2 (or 3) days in a studio with a massive hole in the floor (from what I can remember reading) what do you expect?

EDIT- Four days in New York, two in LA and one further New York day according to Wiki...still.


It still sounds good to me though. I remember hearing "Venus In Furs" sandwiched between two songs on Sounds Of The Sixties (when Brian Matthews was still presenting/alive) and it stuck out like a self lacerated thumb. It also sounded like it was recorded yesterday.

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Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2019, 11:09:10 AM »
Cure's Disintegration always sounded really muffled, like a cassette with the wrong Dolby setting, and the remasters curated by Rob didn't seem to improve it.
According to Roger O'Donnell's memoir of the sessions the instrumental rough mixes made while they were still at Hookend Manor sounded great. The final mixes were done at RAK while he went back to Toronto and when he heard the released version he was disappointed with the mastering, Wasn't the 'Play Loud' thing because they were trying to squeeze 60 minutes onto a single LP, so had to compress the high and low frequencies and reduce the overall levelto avoid any inter-groove bleedthrough? That would leave it sounding muddy, and also fuck up the SNR.

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2019, 11:27:15 AM »
Husker Du's Warehouse: Songs And Stories is probably my favourite of all their albums but it sounds really thin, like you're listening to it through a cheap old radio or something (I checked and I'm not).  None of the instruments sound powerful enough despite the band obviously playing with a lot of energy.  The drums are especially bad, Grant Hart may as well have just used brushes instead of sticks and the same amount of oomph would have been achieved.

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2019, 11:41:35 AM »
Husker Du's Warehouse: Songs And Stories is probably my favourite of all their albums but it sounds really thin, like you're listening to it through a cheap old radio or something (I checked and I'm not).  None of the instruments sound powerful enough despite the band obviously playing with a lot of energy.  The drums are especially bad, Grant Hart may as well have just used brushes instead of sticks and the same amount of oomph would have been achieved.

This goes for everything they released imho

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2019, 11:52:16 AM »
This goes for everything they released imho

True enough, I guess I just notice it a lot more on that album in particular.  They somehow managed to make the previous badly-produced albums sound better by comparison which is quite a feat.

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2019, 01:11:42 PM »
According to Roger O'Donnell's memoir of the sessions the instrumental rough mixes made while they were still at Hookend Manor sounded great. The final mixes were done at RAK while he went back to Toronto and when he heard the released version he was disappointed with the mastering, Wasn't the 'Play Loud' thing because they were trying to squeeze 60 minutes onto a single LP, so had to compress the high and low frequencies and reduce the overall levelto avoid any inter-groove bleedthrough? That would leave it sounding muddy, and also fuck up the SNR.

I don't know, the remaster I have is a double lp and the cd I had sounded muddy as well. I've not actually heard a single plate one, but given it sounds poor elsewhere, I think it goes beyond a single pressing.

gilbertharding

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Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2019, 03:04:16 PM »
Iggy Pop has some form for this, Raw Power has had all kinds of different mixes and it still never quite sounds as scary as it should. I still play it all the time but there's always just a nagging feeling that something isn't quite right.

The only copy I own is the 97 remix, which sounds fine to me, as long as it's turned up to the max, in the car... but I understand people prefer the Bowie mix, even though it's far from perfect, as you say.

What do you get if you bought a copy now?

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2019, 05:15:00 PM »
The only copy I own is the 97 remix, which sounds fine to me, as long as it's turned up to the max, in the car... but I understand people prefer the Bowie mix, even though it's far from perfect, as you say.

What do you get if you bought a copy now?

I dunno, to be honest, I think it's still the 1997 one but I've heard a few remixes called Rough Power (it was the early Iggy one and a few others I think) and maybe because of some songs sounding better on certain mixes and worse on others I've got a warped view of the whole thing. They're all fine though, i'm just a tit think.

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2019, 05:38:24 PM »
Husker Du was a band I was a bit excited to hear for the first time - I had (and loved) the Sugar albums so was keen to hear Bob Mould's previous band, that I'd read had a real fierce intensity to them.

Even now I still feel like Grant Hart is softly tapping away on biscuit tins. In time, I'd recognised the quality of the songwriting, but always with the suspicion I would have been best served seeing them live (I've seen Mould do 'Makes No Sense At All' live, which provided a vague idea of this)

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Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2019, 05:49:51 PM »
The only copy I own is the 97 remix, which sounds fine to me, as long as it's turned up to the max, in the car... but I understand people prefer the Bowie mix, even though it's far from perfect, as you say.

What do you get if you bought a copy now?

If you buy it now it's a remaster of the original Bowie mix. Too many people had issues with the Iggy remix (as tends to happen when you play around with a historic document). To me the Iggy remix is part of that history (but I'd want to own both versions).

purlieu

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Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2019, 07:09:25 PM »
I don't have a problem with new mixes - I totally subscribe to the 'art is never finished, only abandoned' line and am always happy to hear variations and extensions on a work - but the fact that, for quite a few years, it was the only version available was a mistake. A version that contains both mixes would be an ideal purchase.

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Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2019, 07:59:15 PM »
Nirvana’s Bleach? I guess that's to be expected, as it was their first go at an album, but it feels quite cheap and sloppy.

Some of Simon & Garfunkel’s stuff feels a bit rough around the edges (although I quite like this)

at 3:13 into Paul Simon’s 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover you can hear a tiny clip of vocal that wasn’t pulled down quick enough on the fader (it’s on the Still Crazy … album, but might have been a single edit)

Always felt the vocals on NIN’s Downward Spiral were a bit buried, although, it might have been intentional and it seems to depend on the sound system I listen to it on.

Once attended a talk, where a guy from Propellerhead’s was trying to flog us their (short lived, I think) multi-track app “Record” - Part of his demo was showing off and isolating the 4 tracks of Stevie Wonder’s Superstitious, his point being the recording was really messy, lots of bleed between the tracks etc. yet it still manages to be an amazing song and sound great: i.e. sometimes good playing / writing will rise above obsessing over audio perfection.

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2019, 09:25:04 PM »
According to Roger O'Donnell's memoir of the sessions the instrumental rough mixes made while they were still at Hookend Manor sounded great. The final mixes were done at RAK while he went back to Toronto and when he heard the released version he was disappointed with the mastering, Wasn't the 'Play Loud' thing because they were trying to squeeze 60 minutes onto a single LP, so had to compress the high and low frequencies and reduce the overall levelto avoid any inter-groove bleedthrough? That would leave it sounding muddy, and also fuck up the SNR.

That article was amazing - I hope there is one about Wish which is probably my favorite Cure album and the only one I can still face listening to.

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2019, 10:04:05 PM »
This is the wrongest opinion I've read in a long time.
Again, it may just be the CD edition that I have, but it's never sounded as good as it has on headphones.

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Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2019, 10:51:20 PM »
I don't know, the remaster I have is a double lp and the cd I had sounded muddy as well. I've not actually heard a single plate one, but given it sounds poor elsewhere, I think it goes beyond a single pressing.
I was more wondering if the same stereo master was used for all the formats, so any compromises made for the vinyl version would be reflected in the CD and tape releases. Did Smith actually go back to the two 24-track multitrack reels and recreate the mix for the 2010 remaster, or did he just do the usual thing of digitising a first-generation stereo master from 1989 and process it? Having compared a couple of the old and new versions of the tracks I agree they don't sound that different.

That article was amazing - I hope there is one about Wish which is probably my favorite Cure album and the only one I can still face listening to.
Unfortunately not, as O'Donnell wasn't involved in the recording of Wish. He got into hot water from persons unnamed (though we can guess who) over publishing that memoir in 2009, and it was pulled from his site in 2016 (which is why the link is to the Wayback Machine). His website was turned off completely in 2017

Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2019, 10:56:58 PM »
Unfortunately not, as O'Donnell wasn't involved in the recording of Wish. He got into hot water from persons unnamed (though we can guess who) over publishing that memoir in 2009, and it was pulled from his site in 2016 (which is why the link is to the Wayback Machine). His website was turned off completely in 2017

I forgot that he left in 1990.  There are some really good digs in there against Tolhurst, Gallup and even Porl/Paul. 

Perhaps the most telling dig is about how it used to be fun and then the group started to record in the gothic environment with candles and chains that they had been pigeonholed into by the press and fans.  That is something that always bugged me about the Cure once you get past Wish. 

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Re: Classic Albums That Sound Badly Produced (To Your Ears)
« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2019, 11:41:26 PM »
True enough, I guess I just notice it a lot more on that album in particular.  They somehow managed to make the previous badly-produced albums sound better by comparison which is quite a feat.

Warehouse: Songs and Stories was the one that immediately jumped to mind for me too, and I do think it's noticeably 'thinner' than most of their other stuff.  The opening ten seconds of the first track still kind of take me by surprise - surely this isn't going to sound this weedy?