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Some recordings come to life on full range gear vs limited range?!

Robbo99999

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I know you sometimes hear talk of recordings being designed so they sound good on car stereos and through the radio on **** equipment, but I never really thought much about it. But today I listened to some old music of mine that I never really thought much of in terms of it's balanced sonic character (but listened to it a lot due to it's affinity), as in I never thought it was very well balanced - this is music dating back to the 90's & 80's when I didn't have a decent setup - listened to it now through Harman EQ'd headphones (HD560s) and I was surprised at how well balanced it was through the frequency range, which I never had that impression before. Soul Mining from the band The The is what triggered this thread post. I always thought sonically that it was lacking back in the 90's (and even around 5yrs ago when I was listening to it on **** ipods), but now listening to it on full range gear that can reproduce 20Hz-20kHz faithfully then it came alive from a purely sonic perspective in terms of balance. I suppose what I'm saying is that some music seems to be recorded to sound good on "rubbish" non-full range gear, but there are some musical gems out there that come alive when played on truly anechoic flat full range gear, which might otherwise sound subdued or uninteresting on "standard" gear. I'm not sure this is worthy of a thread, but I wanted to relay my thoughts. The example of Soul Mining from The The is not a particularly hard to play track in terms of significant low reach bass, although I'm sure there is some (I've not analysed it spectrally), but it contrasts with my experience of the same music on lesser systems in the past where sonically I thought it had been lacking, but seems like it was recorded to be optimised for full range/balanced systems.

With this in mind, what music have you found that really only sounds right on "full range (high fidelity) gear"? Might be interesting for folks who have written off previous older recordings of bands they weren't exposed to before they got some decent gear??
 
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RayDunzl

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Robbo99999

Robbo99999

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All of it?
Ha, that might be it.......I haven't really listened to that band I mentioned since I had proper gear (until recently)! But, that's true of a fair few tracks I have, and those ones did stand out a fair bit. I get the impression that there is some music that is purposefully designed to sound OK on rubbish gear and also OK on great gear, and then perhaps in contrast there is some music where they've not bothered to optimise it on rubbish gear but might sound excellent on good gear. I've heard of the idea of some music creators making sure their tracks sound ok on various sources, so I wondered if some bands eschewed that & just went pure with making their stuff sound good on studio level gear without pandering to other types.
 
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Robbo99999

Robbo99999

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I think it is safe to say that most of the pop music recorded in the 1960s and mastered to sound great on an AM car radio won't be at its best with truly full-range reproduction.
That's interesting, I've not had much exposure to that era since I've had my "full range equipment". Searching my playlist I think it's limited to Jefferson Airplane: "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit". Ah, I've also got Daryl Hall & John Oates, the albumn Anbandoned Luncheonette: the tracks When the Morning Comes / Lady Rain / Laughing Boy. Those Daryl Hall tracks from the 70's sound pretty good (bought from iTunes) as long as you turn them up, low recording levels. The Jefferson Airplane stuff sounds a bit more muted. (both of those bought on iTunes)
 
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Cbdb2

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"I think it is safe to say that most of the pop music recorded in the 1960s and mastered to sound great on an AM car radio won't be at its best with truly full-range reproduction."
Thats not necessarily true. The 45s (singles) were mastered and edited (often shorter) for AM radio. These stations never played anything off an LP. The LPs were mastered for home. The problem with these recordings was that the recording equipment was in its adolescence.
 
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Robbo99999

Robbo99999

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Listening to another track, a more recent one, REM: Leave from New Adventures in Hifi. I always found that track hard to understand and seperate the elements, it seemed like a mess, but with my current gear of the past year or so (just listened to that track now since the late 90's) I can differentiate what's going on in there, and it sounds more pleasing than I remember along with being able to understand the vocals.
 

sarumbear

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I think it is safe to say that most of the pop music recorded in the 1960s and mastered to sound great on an AM car radio won't be at its best with truly full-range reproduction.
There were no mastering during the 60s.
 

sarumbear

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Cbdb2

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There has been "mastering" as long as there has been vinyl records.

"Historically, mastering engineers evolved from “cutting” or “transfer: engineers, who were responsible for transferring recordings from tape to vinyl. The work of cutting engineers focused mainly on optimizing the audio so that a vinyl disc could play reasonable quality audio without the needle skipping off the record. That is, the cutting engineer focused on the technical issues of disc cutting rather than creative issues. The 1980s ushered in the compact disc and digital mastering with almost unlimited audio processing capabilities. The role of the mastering engineer began to include not only corrective processing but also creative changes to an audio file as it is prepared for distribution and mastering became relied upon as a step needed to finish a project sonically. "

From. https://www.sonarworks.com/blog/learn/the-history-of-mastering
 
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Robbo99999

Robbo99999

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There has been "mastering" as long as there has been vinyl records.

"Historically, mastering engineers evolved from “cutting” or “transfer: engineers, who were responsible for transferring recordings from tape to vinyl. The work of cutting engineers focused mainly on optimizing the audio so that a vinyl disc could play reasonable quality audio without the needle skipping off the record. That is, the cutting engineer focused on the technical issues of disc cutting rather than creative issues. The 1980s ushered in the compact disc and digital mastering with almost unlimited audio processing capabilities. The role of the mastering engineer began to include not only corrective processing but also creative changes to an audio file as it is prepared for distribution and mastering became relied upon as a step needed to finish a project sonically. "

From. https://www.sonarworks.com/blog/learn/the-history-of-mastering
Interesting link, thanks!
 
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Robbo99999

Robbo99999

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sarumbear

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"I think it is safe to say that most of the pop music recorded in the 1960s and mastered to sound great on an AM car radio won't be at its best with truly full-range reproduction."
Thats not necessarily true. The 45s (singles) were mastered and edited (often shorter) for AM radio. These stations never played anything off an LP. The LPs were mastered for home. The problem with these recordings was that the recording equipment was in its adolescence.
Listen to this recording from 1959 and tell me what you hear was recorded with equipment "in its adolescence."


If you read the history of audio-recording you will know that by 1955 the recording systems had reached the zenith that we call Hi-Fi. There were even 8-track recorders in use by 1955. Hi-Fi followed a decade later when it became cheaper to produce that technology not to improve it.
 
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I found this Youtube link:
Sounds pretty good.
Track down the DVD-A surround version of it,absolutely stunning.Opens up the recording so much.Blows the stereo mix away.Just like all the early Jeff Beck stuff that was released in surround,blows the stereo mix away,the mix just opens up so much.
 
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Robbo99999

Robbo99999

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Track down the DVD-A surround version of it,absolutely stunning.Opens up the recording so much.Blows the stereo mix away.Just like all the early Jeff Beck stuff that was released in surround,blows the stereo mix away,the mix just opens up so much.
Cool, but you need a surround system for that though. I mean I could emulate it in my headphones using Creative Soundblaster virtual 7.1 or 5.1, but I'm not comfortable with that for audiophile music use, but it's great for gaming.
 

PierreV

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Modern recordings "suffering" from a compressed dynamic range aren't that bad on full-range systems, IMHO.
Recordings that exploit the available DR more fully lose a lot in a noisy environment. One of the first high DR recording I was exposed to when I was much younger was Dire Strait's Telegraph Road. It was hugely impressive on my bedroom's stereo, but basically unlistenable in a car or on a walkman.

Regardless of the DR range, I'd say that the main difference between my car/desktop setup and full-range system today is the bass (duh!). Relatively speaking, there's always enough "bass" in the recording. 60-80Hz in the car can sound punchy, but when you listen to the same song on a full range system and deeper bass is actually present in the recording, you get the feeling you are listening to a different song.
 
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Robbo99999

Robbo99999

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Modern recordings "suffering" from a compressed dynamic range aren't that bad on full-range systems, IMHO.
Recordings that exploit the available DR more fully lose a lot in a noisy environment. One of the first high DR recording I was exposed to when I was much younger was Dire Strait's Telegraph Road. It was hugely impressive on my bedroom's stereo, but basically unlistenable in a car or on a walkman.

Regardless of the DR range, I'd say that the main difference between my car/desktop setup and full-range system today is the bass (duh!). Relatively speaking, there's always enough "bass" in the recording. 60-80Hz in the car can sound punchy, but when you listen to the same song on a full range system and deeper bass is actually present in the recording, you get the feeling you are listening to a different song.
Good point on the design priorities of different tracks vs their usage cases - your car stereo Telegraph Rd point.
 
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