How was music that was recorded 40 odd years ago sound so good ?

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  • How was music that was recorded 40 odd years ago sound so good ?
  • mogrim
    Member

    No real secret, unless the physics of sound have changed…

    A quality analogue recording will hold all the same data as a quality digital recording, the main problem with analogue is copying it. Assuming the studio / record company has a copy of the original master discs to start with, there’s no reason the sound would be any worse.

    Premier Icon dannybgoode
    Subscriber

    Because it was generally recorded on really high quality analogue equipment with care taken at the recording stage as they couldn’t digitally remove / correct errors later.

    Digital != good sound quality necessarily and quite often these days albums are remastered to ‘sound good’ on poor quality playback devices, compress nicely to mp3 files etc and not remastered to ‘sound good’ on good quality hi fi.

    Get yourself some well pressed records and a half decent turntable and be surprised for how good music can sound…

    Premier Icon woody2000
    Subscriber

    No compression? Have you been listening to vinyl? Most modern CDs seem to be too loud to me (grumble, grumble, youth of today etc etc), with no emphasis on quality as such

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    the sound quality is rubbish on some old recordings.

    But your brain fills in the ‘gaps’ – so more of your brain is involved in listening to the music. Your brain likes doing this.

    maybe: noises like fret buzz, the singer breathing, and pedal knocks, are audible, which makes is sound more ‘real’.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Done properly first time around, the current files will be recorded from good masters which shouldn’t have degraded. Also most people over estimate being able to tell the difference between quality ๐Ÿ™‚
    Also your probably listening to it on the same technology that you listen to other music on (digital file of analogue recording?)

    mrmonkfinger
    Member

    But your brain fills in the ‘gaps’ – so more of your brain is involved in listening to the music. Your brain likes doing this

    Utter tosh.

    dannybgoode has it; quality recordings are quality recordings no matter what the medium – and music can be mastered in a way to sound good on a car stereo but crap on decent hifi (which is sadly so very common now) or it can be mastered to sound great on decent hifi and poor on a crappy car stereo.

    As an aside, valve distortion common in ’50s-’70s recordings is easy to replicate these days, and is quite often done so.

    unfitgeezer
    Member

    good points cheers

    old cyrus one amp and equally as old technics turntable with my old heybrook floorstanders

    album doors the soft parade

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    I played a friend a solo piano piece – his first time listening to music through my CD-based hifi. He expressed astonishment that it sounded like the pianist was in the room. It was “Round Midnight” by Thelonius Monk.

    He was even more astonished when I told him it was recorded in 1957… ๐Ÿ˜€

    Milkie
    Member

    It’s your old ears, they can’t tell the difference between good and bad these days. ๐Ÿ˜†

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    If you examine my post, you’ll see that the ears in question did not belong to me. Thanks for your insight, however – despite the bizarre claim to know what my ears can, or can’t, hear….

    fifo
    Member

    I’ve just got a 192kHz/24bit FLAC copy of Hotel California from teh original analogue masters through my Naim gear. The sound is frankly astonishing when you listen to it compared to a modern CD I have of teh same

    Premier Icon Mike-E
    Subscriber

    It was something in the air. Man.

    samuri
    Member

    Because modern music is absolutely shite. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    Edit. Mistaken identity.

    fifo
    Member

    Samuir has it

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Because you want it to sound better.

    JtotheP68
    Member

    In my opinion they master the final recording a lot louder these days, so it sounds great on an ipod etc. but its really tiring on your ears after a while. They also compress everything a lot more which means some of the dynamics is lost, there is just a lot less of the quiet bits that you find on older recordings, everything is just an evenly loud volume throughout the recording.

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    Apologies to Milkie. I just realised that you were responding to the OP, not having a dig at me.

    ๐Ÿ˜ณ

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    One thing about remastered-to-digital from analogue though, even if it is a decent job – tape hiss…

    ohnohesback
    Member

    Can’t the tape hiss be electronically cancelled?

    Lack of dynamic range in modern recordings explains a lot.

    torsoinalake
    Member

    I like that you can hear the bass drum pedal squeaking on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Since I’ve been loving you’.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    They just don’t make ’em like they used to…

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQoOfiLz1G4[/video]

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    I like that you can hear the bass drum pedal squeaking on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Since I’ve been loving you’.

    YES! ๐Ÿ˜†

    gordimhor
    Member

    Because recordings were made using top quality studios and equipment bands were in the studio for a long time. Above all the engineers were really…. err …….sound
    Despite all that I think sound quality isn’t a major factor in making a good album.

    mrmonkfinger
    Member

    @ awhiles

    Utter tosh in relation to the OP talking about quality recordings, yes.

    unfitgeezer
    Member

    In the days before digital recording and it was all done analogue style how is it that the sound quality is so good ?

    I have been listening to music that hasn’t been digitally remastered the past few days and the sound is just “there” !

    What was the secret all that time ago ?

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    I suppose the real reason is that the equipment to record high quality sound has been around for a long time, we’ve [as mentioned] mostly moved away from it as a concern though.

    Big fat fast tapes, valves, quality vinyl – they all sound very very good. There was also a huge amount of engineering effort going into the equipment, The UK, the US, Japan and Germany all made some amazing gear then. Now many pop musicians are more concerned with the number of samples and effects they want, and there’s a lot of pressure on sound and mix engineers to think primarily of things other than the reproduction of the sound as it is first made/played.

    Hell, you can go back more than 40 years. Some early mono LPs sound lovely.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    In my opinion they master the final recording a lot louder these days,

    Yup.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war

    mrmoofo
    Member

    I would love to join in – but having been informed I need hearing aids, I guess my days of Hi-Fi are behind me, so I can only talk in the past.

    Thse days, i can’t hear air leaking out of an inner tube!

    TBH, music recordings many years ago – some were good, some were bad. If you listen to The Doors stuff, the recording is pretty shoddy, as was Lou Reed’s Transformer. The Sex Pistols and Stranglers stuff also seems to have been recorded low fi.
    Some stuff is really good ( when I could hear it :() but there is a modern trend to record everything “loud”, (in a very spinal tap way, at 11) as in expand the mid range, so that relatively the high highs and low lows end up are less definable.

    Also , stuff is being recorded to sound good on the media it is played through – generally iPods.
    Several years ago, when I was spending in hi-fi, I linked up my ipod to a musical fidelity amp/ B&W speakers. Comapared to the recording on a CD, the iPod was rubbish in reproducing a good playback. even on Loseless, it wasn’t great. Via airplay etc they now sound better (or I can’t hear the difference). However , in a plane at 30k meters, who cares.

    But vinyl or CD. Sorry purists and luddites – CD every time.

    grievoustim
    Member

    The loudness war has been going on longer than you think

    Rock n roll 45s / motown records etc were mastered as “hot” as possible so they would “pop” compared to other records when played on a duke box

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    when played on a duke box

    Obviously, the ears were not royal enough.

    CountZero
    Member

    No compression? Have you been listening to vinyl? Most modern CDs seem to be too loud to me (grumble, grumble, youth of today etc etc), with no emphasis on quality as such

    See: The Loudness Wars. There’s a RHCP album, forget the name, that’s regarded as being the worst recording ever, because there’s no dynamic range to it, it’s all loud! Thing is, there’s stacks of modern music which is recorded sensitively, with respect to loud and quiet passages; ie wide dynamic range. It’s just not stuff you’ll hear on mainstream pop radio. Listen to Laura Marling, or Elbow, or Laura Viers, or The Paper Aeroplanes, Thea Gilmore, etc.
    The reason a lot of early CD transfers sounded crap was because they’d been mastered from stereo masters EQ’d for vinyl, so there was compression to stop grooves running into one another and jumping, like my vinyl copy of Rumours. I can’t listen to ‘Go Your Own Way’ on CD without expecting it to jump; you can see the grooves cross over. Properly re-mastered CD’s can sound fantastic, like the Buddy Holly album ‘From The Original Master Tapes’,
    which is astonishing, just an incredible set of recordings.
    It’s usually crap mastering that makes older recordings sound poor, pretty much the same as now, really.
    As Ian Gillan once said, ‘let’s have everything louder than everything else’. ๐Ÿ˜†

    mickyfinn
    Member

    grievoustim – Member
    The loudness war has been going on longer than you think

    Rock n roll 45s / motown records etc were mastered as “hot” as possible so they would “pop” compared to other records when played on a duke box

    However they had to live within the limitations of the Delivery medium. Vinyl can only take so much before it’s unplayable. Digital sadly does not have this limit, it can however only take so much before it’s un-listenable. The powers that be are pushing mastering engineers to hard clip and compress to the point that modern media has no dynamic range. The Recordings do have the Dynamic range it’s the final product that is failing us here!

    For the digital is better argument. It has it’s benefits and they are many, however the recording industry as a whole is full of software trying to emulate vintage mixing desks, EQ’s, Compressors, Tape machines. Some of it very good and some not. So there is something to be said for the mojo of the less than perfect Analogue world.

    To say that old recordings were executed with more care or skill than modern ones is just wrong. A skilled engineer is a skilled engineer no matter what the era or genre they work in.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    Californication might be the one – I hardly listen to it for that reason, which is a shame because I like it a lot.

    fifo
    Member

    Californication on CD is gash

    Californication mastered for LP 8)

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    hmmm… How does it sound if you copy it to a PC at 24bit? It would seem fair to me that as I have bought the CD I should be able to have a good copy….

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