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Messages - mattfoxesq

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Album Board / Re: Your Remixes!
« on: February 19, 2009, 08:15:32 PM »
One thing I like to do in my mixes is replace the first "hotel room" in Cologne with the second one, which he sings much better that time.  I just do not like that first one.

Album Board / Re: Your Remixes!
« on: February 18, 2009, 11:08:43 AM »
I love messing around with all the possibilities.  I especially enjoy remixing Hiroshima.

And for the record, Dennis Herring did a FINE job of recording the tracks, as they sound great when isolated.

News / Re: Way to Normal modifications
« on: February 12, 2009, 09:03:16 AM »
Sidenote: I think listening to all the instrumental versions of the tracks should put to rest the attacks on Dennis Herring as a producer.  After listening to all the instrumentals, I believe that he did a FINE job recording them.

Howie Weinberg did the mastering on the original album, and I think that's where the problem was.  The weird thing is that Howie actually mastered Whatever and Ever Amen too, so one would think he would have a better concept of how Ben sounds best.  Or maybe this was his 21st century image of how Ben should sound now.  Nonetheless, Weinberg's work is better suited to Aerosmith, Beastie Boys and Deftones...which is where he seems most comfortable.

News / Re: Way to Normal modifications
« on: February 12, 2009, 08:10:24 AM »
By the way, if anyone is still not convinced that Free Coffee sounds way better, do yourselves a favor.  Crank up your stereo and listen to the last 35 seconds of it on the original CD.  Then listen to the last 35 seconds of the new mix.  I just compared and there is no contest there, it is MUCH improved and I actually like this mix a lot more.

News / Re: Way to Normal modifications
« on: February 12, 2009, 07:35:18 AM »
Fade in on 'Free Coffee Town' for example.


The fade-in version was included on the Japanese release of Way to Normal, as well as Ben's MySpace, so I'm not sure it has been tweaked any further.

Here are some more changes:

- Different vocal takes are clearly used in Frown Song and Kylie.
- There are parts of Ben's vocal in Hiroshima that are now muted (the "OH!" in the beginning, and the "ALLLLLL RIGHT" at the end, for example).  The piano is not as effected now, and you can even hear it pick up right after the "Oh my god" before the Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh's continue.  The Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh's are also mixed much better and they don't clip anymore.
- Certain effects are turned WAY DOWN in Dr. Yang.  In most cases I like it, but some of them I definitely miss from the original.  
- The Bitch Went Nuts is a much fuller mix, and you can hear every instrument now.
- The Altoids in Free Coffee have been turned way down.
- The vocals in Cologne are not compressed as much and they aren't quite as loud, which is nice because I never liked how so much attention was drawn to the "diapers" line before, and now it sounds slightly more natural.  Though I still don't like the line.

News / Way to Normal modifications
« on: February 11, 2009, 02:10:13 PM »
Here's a thread for people to note and collect as many changes they can notice about the Stems & Seeds version of Way to Normal versus the original!

News / Re: Way to Normal: Stems and Seeds! (SPOILERS-ish)
« on: February 11, 2009, 11:07:17 AM »
Great job getting those up there.  I meant to do the same, but I was too lazy to make a screen-cap of it.

News / Re: Way to Normal: Stems and Seeds! (SPOILERS-ish)
« on: February 11, 2009, 09:47:22 AM »
Yeah, Californication suffers from the worst mastering EVER.

As for Way to Normal, this is an example of a disc which may appear to be clipping on some CD players, and may sound okay on others.  It's because the levels are pushed to a point that some newer models can handle and others cannot.  (I am only referring to the actual CLIPPING here, not the other mastering problems which we have already discussed).

News / Re: Way to Normal: Stems and Seeds! (SPOILERS-ish)
« on: February 11, 2009, 06:50:37 AM »
I'd love for someone to find a single pop/rock album created in the past 30 years or so that didn't utilize SOME form of vocal compression during the recording process.  Maybe Herring used a little more than people are used to, but pretty much EVERYONE records it that way.

You can't mix an album that has vocals very well without some vocal compression.  Otherwise it gets drowned out in the mix.  Anyone that's ever mixed tracks knows this.  And you certainly don't want to record a totally dry sounding microphone just for the purpose of screwing with it later (which is what you would have to end up doing anyway!)  Crap in-Crap out.  Much better to adjust compression in the studio to get a sense for the sound you're going for.  Again, Herring used more compression than people may be used to...but the new mixes clearly indicate that he did NOT go overboard in the recording process.

News / Re: Way to Normal: Stems and Seeds! (SPOILERS-ish)
« on: February 10, 2009, 08:21:52 PM »
Nowhere near as much clipping as before.  Compare the oh-oh-oh-oh's in Hiroshima for a clear example.

News / Re: Way to Normal: Stems and Seeds! (SPOILERS-ish)
« on: February 10, 2009, 08:10:05 AM »
With all this debate about producers, I can't help but wish that Ben teams up with Nigel Godrich for an album at some point.  I bet it would sound incredible!

News / Re: Way to Normal: Stems and Seeds! (SPOILERS-ish)
« on: February 09, 2009, 06:54:03 AM »
My point was only that the close-miking, the use of ribbon mics and other decisions made during the recording process did NOT harm the actual performance that was committed to tape for the most part, because most of us seem to really like the new mixes.  It was the mastering itself that was god-awful.  If Herring's choices were so terrible and un-fixable, these new mixes would not even be an option.  Sure, there are things I'm not a fan of (the way the vocals were recorded in Errant Dog and Cologne for example).  But no one's going to love every single aspect of it.  Whether it's an album or a film, CHOICES are made, and some people will like them while others will not.  That's life.

I think it was good for Ben to have worked with Dennis, because it seems to have reinvigorated him, even if the resulting record was polarizing.  Having had this experience may be very good for the arc of Ben's career.

News / Re: Way to Normal: Stems and Seeds! (SPOILERS-ish)
« on: February 08, 2009, 04:11:19 PM »
As far as Dennis Herring taking him into new "sonic territory," remember that the original mess of a mix isn't really Herring's fault.  Most of the compression problems occurred in the mastering process, which would have been after the producer locked his mix in.  At that point it was probably out of Dennis Herring's hands.  There were obviously uncompressed masters used to create this new mix, and I'm guessing the original mixdown probably sounded more like this new version (minus the new tweaks).  The mastering process which flattened out the dynamic range was I hope people don't totally throw Dennis Herring under the bus for the way the album turned out.

News / Re: Way to Normal: Stems and Seeds! (SPOILERS-ish)
« on: February 08, 2009, 09:11:39 AM »
I mentioned earlier that The Frown Song now utilizes a partially (or completely) different vocal track on the new version.  I also just noticed that this is the case with Kylie as well.  Certain parts are clearly different vocal takes.  Not sure what that means to different people, but there are different things I like about both mixes. 

It reminds me of when Pet Sounds was first released as a stereo mix in '97 or so.  It sounded leaps and bounds better than the original mono mix in terms of sheer dynamics of the instrumentals, but some subtractions and compromises were made for the remix due to certain elements having been recorded over or missing.  "You Still Believe In Me," for example, is missing the double-layered vocal that can be heard in the mono mix, and some of the vocal parts for "God Only Knows" were recorded over by different Wilsons.  To each his own on this kind of stuff.  So far I agree with most of the minor changes made by Ben in this new mix, although some of them will take some getting used to as well, being that I'm so familiar with the original now. 

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