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How much does "fidelity" matter to you?

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  • How much does "fidelity" matter to you?

    In the time we live in sound "quality" is such a big thing in music. Mastering, mixing, loudness; these are all omnipresent tasks that mainstream music and independent artists take on, often not themselves but by a hired individual. I remember in my early years of producing music I would obsess over it, however I feel I've strayed away from it.

    My question is: How much attention do you put on the fidelity of your music?

    Do you spend a lot of time post recording and arranging mixing and mastering, or do you just let the recording or arrangement stay as it is?

    or are you somewhere in the middle?

    I myself will go as far as rolling off the low-end on tracks that don't need it to keep my low-end from getting muddy. Occasionally I'll put a gentle compressor or global EQ just to tie up lose ends, but other than that I don't really do much because I feel the sound is there already!

    I look forward to seeing how you feel.

    ~andy
    a charter member in the fraternity of dreamers.

  • #2
    Interesting question. Sometimes specific EQ corrections are a must. Like the one you mentioned or e.g. correction of certain spikes like in the low mid range. Apart from that I almost do nothing to my tracks. I only occasionaly use some mild compression but that's about it. I have to admit: my tracks could sound "better" but mixing/mastering is an art in itself and when this art is not really mastered, it can destroy an otherwise reasonable track. Besides: I really have a problem with making decisions in the process (decision overload) so I think it works best for me to not go to great lengths in pimping my tracks.

    What I do use quite extensively is automation lanes (Cubase) for the volume of my tracks. Although I know a track can get much more interesting by also automating certain FX settings (like reverb, delay,EQ or other filtering) in the course of a track, I mostly leave those alone for the entire track. Again: too much decisions to be made... too much possibilities...
    Boqurant | Boqurant on Soundcloud

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    • #3
      Good one.

      When I first started releasing music as S1gns Of L1fe, I did pay close attention to it. I used my ears and did whatever I could to make things sound "right." I don't know how else to describe it. The response was good and the sound quality was there, I was happy. Then when we started Ascendant, I had to up my game because I was working in a collaboration where the fidelity level was of paramount importance to us. I've learned a ton too from the experience about the science and techniques of why and how you mix music, properly, instead of just "going by ear" which can sometimes be like working in the dark.

      I truly believe anyone can learn how to do it, and if you push yourself, you can be better than you thought you could. I have also learned a ton from trying to emulate artists I deeply respect, going so far as having "example tracks" that I want my own music to sound like inserted as dummy A/B tracks for reference.

      I know of some people who are "record and go" and honestly, I'd love to be that way if I could. Having gone down the road I have though, it's hard to come back from...for what it's worth. ;)

      Cheers,
      -S1gns
      Synphaera Records
      Space | Time | Matter

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      • #4
        I used to listen to so much underground/noise stuff (sonic youth, new zealands xpressway cassette label etc) that I'm pretty much in the mindset that it's the ideas and sounds that count and 'fidelity' is way down the list. I'll work on the actual sounds for ages but I never let my decisions be swayed by what constitutes a 'good' sound. If a strange, weak kick drum suits the track in my mind then so be it. If I ever compile an album (normally for a songwriter friend who I help out) then I'll 'master' the tracks by ensuring they're consistent volume-wise, no glaringly different tonality (no tracks significantly brighter than the others etc) but that's about it.

        I guess I mix as I go along but find that part of the creative process with 'ambient' material. The old idea of pulling all the faders down and mixing from scratch doesn't make sense to me; I'll have layers of sound that have been created especially to compliment each other, treating them as individual tracks just doesn't work.
        Latest release: never to be repeated

        Hearthis | Soundcloud

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        • #5
          Don't get me started

          I'm constantly remixing tracks. I usually find that each successive version is an improvement on the previous incarnation. I tend to leave each track alone for a year or two and then revisit it. I find the intervening period useful for allowing those niggling doubts to fester and mutate, so that at the end of this period of detached acclimatisation, I have a fairly good idea of the next steps that must be taken. In between times, I occasionally record a new track, and the process can begin again, although the newer pieces seem to require less revising that my earlier ones.
          Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

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          • #6
            I have to side with the Enabler, GaryG again--at least as far as how I approach my work, and not that of others or more traditional recordings.

            What I do for most of my work is not correct or proper. I often purposely place things in the same frequency range to cause obscuring, distortions, and beating that isn't present in the tracks alone. I add noise, hiss, crackles, pops, and sometimes just a mic picking up the air rushing through an AC register.

            If someone made a plugin that does what Gausian Blur does in photoshop, I'd buy it.



            "The Enabler" sounds like a Batman Villian

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            • #7
              Originally posted by aoVI View Post
              If someone made a plugin that does what Gausian Blur does in photoshop, I'd buy it.
              Maybe take a delay and put other fx into the feedback-loop (I often do that in Bitwig) :listening:
              ahornberg.bandcamp.com
              soundcloud.com/ahornberg

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              • #8
                Originally posted by aoVI View Post
                "The Enabler" sounds like a Batman Villian
                I was thinking more...



                (outstanding photoshop manipulations are my specialty if anyone is in need of such services)
                Latest release: never to be repeated

                Hearthis | Soundcloud

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                • #9
                  fidelity to what? :biggrin: these days im rather busy and can aim at small sketches at best, but if i had more time i'd work within preset parameters and expectations for each project. mixing is maybe part of a final tidying-up, but it occurs more or less at all stages of production, which to me is a reiterative process highly dependent on feedback loops. don't master my stuff and plan to turn to professionals when needed.
                  Last edited by phoenstorm; 07-04-2015, 11:15 AM.
                  www.soundcloud.com/phoenstorm

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by aoVI View Post
                    If someone made a plugin that does what Gausian Blur does in photoshop, I'd buy it.
                    You're in luck! Such a plugin exists...

                    It's called a "high pass filter." :rotf:
                    Synphaera Records
                    Space | Time | Matter

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by phoenstorm View Post
                      it [mixing] occurs more or less at all stages of production, which to me is a reiterative process highly dependend on feedback loops.
                      Haven't thought of it that way but that definitely is applicable to my workflow. Thanks for the insight :razz:
                      Boqurant | Boqurant on Soundcloud

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                      • #12
                        I do a modest amount of mixing (pan, level, EQ) and even slight mastering, but I do a lot of work with the OP-1 and cassettes, so I'm not too concerned with "fidelity" as a whole. Bit-crushing and SRR are my friends and I would love an SP-303 some day
                        Meh.

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                        • #13
                          I use an Op-1 as well, however not for my solo music as much as my live duo. The Op-1 is a fun performance tool, and it's capable of a lot of awesome sounds in such a small package.

                          Anyway, I love the input you guys all have on this topic. It's worth saying that there is no real "right" way to do anything. Weather or not someone pays close attention to their mastering doesn't change much at all, its all preference.

                          Ultimately: good music is good music!

                          ~andy
                          a charter member in the fraternity of dreamers.

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                          • #14
                            I tend to run pretty loose and fast, I'm afraid... :canthearyou:

                            Only recently has I started to obsess about the quality of the final work, mostly due to having worked with a talented mastering engineer in the UK for a special project. Lately I've been spending time with Voxengo SPAN and various EQs and compressors, to both see and hear what each tool does.

                            I just had to reach a point where I knew what "my sound" was FIRST, before I could go anywhere with it! Now that I have direction, I can step it up a bit.

                            It did take a bit to get rid of my punk ethos "it's fine release the sodding thing".. :eek:
                            Home Page: http://www.syntheticaurality.com/
                            Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/synthetic_aurality
                            Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/edwardaustinaverill

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                            • #15
                              It may be an interesting exercise to correlate the answers delivered via this thread with the marital status of the respondents ;)

                              Sent from my C6603 using Tapatalk
                              Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

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