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Topic: OT - Becoming hypercritical

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  1. #1

    OT - Becoming hypercritical

    Do you find listening to these sample compositions is making you hypercritical?

    I was listening to a recording of the London Symphony Orchestra this morning and found myself thinking: "No, no, no, those strings sound far too synthy"!
    Vista / Sonar Home Studio 6 / GPO 2d edition / Melodyne Uno 1.8

  2. #2

    Re: OT - Becoming hypercritical

    HA!

    Yes.
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  3. #3

    Re: OT - Becoming hypercritical

    I've done that too on many recordings.

    I've also listened to the POTC stuff though, and I'm pretty sure they were samples, or at least heavily augmented. (Check out the horns and the differences in playing nuances between tracks!)

  4. #4

    Re: OT - Becoming hypercritical

    I've previously recorded myself playing accoustic piano / guitar / etc. only to be told I need to get a "real" piano / guitar / etc. Regardless of what instruments I'm using (synth or not), I usually don't take such comments very seriously. If the most meaningful feedback an individual can provide is to hazard guesses at what software I used to record a song, then I tend to stop paying attention.

    BUT - regarding the topic, yes I have had this experience. The thing is, I used to consider myself some kind of purist with regard to sampling - i.e. live performance is always "better," no questions asked. Until I was exposed to some very average performances of famous pieces of music by and orchestra that I won't name. And it made me realize that while, all things being equal, a good live recording is better than a good synthesized recording, even a mediocre synth recording is better than a poor live recording. Each has its proper place in the scope of things and can fulfill it better than the other can.

    -Chris
    There is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Therefore there must be a God. You either get this one or you don't - Kreeft & Tacelli
    The will to achieve is not sufficient. Some things should not be achieved. - Rimsky-Korsakov
    Musicians are just these guys that want to make music. Okay, they want to have a wonderful lifestyle, but the majority just want to make really great music. - Jon Anderson


  5. #5

    Re: OT - Becoming hypercritical

    Quote Originally Posted by Reegs
    I've done that too on many recordings.

    I've also listened to the POTC stuff though, and I'm pretty sure they were samples, or at least heavily augmented. (Check out the horns and the differences in playing nuances between tracks!)
    That's quite possible. There's a long article in this month's Sound on Sound about how Hans Zimmer completely rebuilt his custom sample library in order to do POTC3, recording in about a billion bits and at a gazillion kHz. It was written by one of the engineers on the project. I can't remember what it was he said, but some off-hand comment made it sound like it was the intention that the new samples could augment actual recordings.

  6. #6

    Re: OT - Becoming hypercritical

    Interesting thread, thanks for starting it, Diligamus.

    And in your original post, I wouldn't call this being "hypercritical" but actually of having our perceptions getting a bit warped:

    "...Do you find listening to these sample compositions is making you hypercritical?
    I was listening to a recording of the London Symphony Orchestra this morning and found myself thinking: 'No, no, no, those strings sound far too synthy'!..."


    That's pretty funny! And I Do have an idea of what you mean. There are some sounds we've become accustomed to hearing in MIDI generated, sample-driven recordings which actually are excellent suggestions of what happens when instruments are layered in a live orchestra. The way the Horns can bite through with ringing, metallic resonance--something GPO emulates with the Overtone voice - We can hear the "real world" version of what is being emulated, and the Real Thing can end up sounding less real to us because the emulated version drew our attention to that particular artifiact.

    Strings can get a thin but shimmering buzzing sound VERy much like what the Roland string patches of 20 years ago sounded like - We hear that now and can think the real thing is "Synthy"--because I think our primitive brain gets confused by the variety and different kinds of constant stimuli thrown at it.

    The process is something like that--and it's weird!

    Several other things occur to me from reading the contributions on this thread, but I'll just keep it to one more thought:

    --There's a philosophical argument to the effect that keyboard/sampled/MIDI/sequencer recordings produced a more pure and artful music before there was such a drive to make sounds be so natural and modelled after acoustic instruments. Back when Wendy Carlos was using simple analog sounds just barely suggesting acoustic instruments, the results were extremely musical and the important thing--the results were Unique. Nothing else could sound like synthesized music, and many people feel it's then when using synths consisted of an art form. But once the idea was to sound as much like "real" instruments as possible, with the intendent obsession of "tricking" the listener, emulating everything possible to simulate--then the art was lost, and it became a parlor trick, a way to replace session players etc.

    I'm not saying I agree with that--But that's how the argument goes. WE CAN NEVER GO BACK though - Here we are, able to write for orchestras and jazz bands thanks to the affordability of the great Garritan Libraries. I say each person carries on writing, and always leave it to others to decide on if anything is "art" or merely "product."

    And so forth.

    --I fibbed, I have one more thing to say. I wish we could get away from thinking that "Live is always better" and from thinking a computer generated piece of music is only a "mock up" (brrrrrr, I can't stand that phrase)---I wish we could think of each thing as simply What It Is. I don't like to think of computer recorded pieces as stand-ins for "the real thing"--they are what they are. They, the recordings, are things in their own right, they don't have to be temporary sketch pads for the theoretically better Real thing to follow--I think it's helpful to think of our computer works as ends to themselves especially since it's true that the Vast majority of music recorded/rendered (brrrrrr) this way will never be played by live musicians--WHy make that a negative thing, a handicap? Let our music be This--the sound generated that comes pumping out of our sound cards.

    If a live band/orchestra ever plays it--great--but it will be yet a Different thing when that happens.

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  7. #7

    Re: OT - Becoming hypercritical

    I have found a useful by-product of working with and listening to a lot of perfectly tuned samples: ear training. Listening to live recordings, I can quickly find intonation problems. And when I play on my own, I am much more quick to find the correct pitch.

    I can usually tell if something is realized with samples, although I have been fooled a couple of times. And I'm more liable to be fooled by samples than I am to find fault with a live recording (aside from poor mixing or bad mic placement--like the recording I have of La Mer where the suspended cymbal at the end of the 1st movement just about slices the top of my head off).

  8. #8

    Re: OT - Becoming hypercritical

    Quote Originally Posted by jmc
    --like the recording I have of La Mer where the suspended cymbal at the end of the 1st movement just about slices the top of my head off).
    I hate when that happens.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  9. #9

    Cool Re: OT - Becoming hypercritical

    Yeah, as funny as true.

    Anyway it's bidirectional:

    - we all sometime are dreaming of screaming imprecations to our virtual orchestra: " NO NO NO! Mammamia, please just follow my hands, put a little of feelings in that music, just follow my expression....make the time pulsating like my hart and my soul...". We are never happy with the time track, long boring editing of articulations and controllers, to just arrive close but never reach the requested feeling...

    - but it's happening more and more time, that listening to real recordings I feel frustrated, because I find myself thinking yes this track is not so bad, but..."Oh no, the basses are too loud, this bassoon is so trivial, why I can't change the patch, and enter the mix for better balance...no, no the time is too fast and slightly mechanical, I would change a little the tempo track...such a metallic harpsichord, I would change a little the IR... "

  10. #10

    Re: OT - Becoming hypercritical

    Quote Originally Posted by Fabio
    .......
    - but it's happening more and more time, that listening to real recordings I feel frustrated, because I find myself thinking yes this track is not so bad, but..."Oh no, the basses are too loud, this bassoon is so trivial, why I can't change the patch, and enter the mix for better balance...no, no the time is too fast and slightly mechanical, I would change a little the tempo track...such a metallic harpsichord, I would change a little the IR... "
    Or this ......?


    Raymond

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