Recording process beyond belief etc

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Dan
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Recording process beyond belief etc

Post by Dan » Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:13 pm

Does anyone know when beyond belief was pressed to a CD, what form was it stored on directly before that... Hard Disk or Digital tape? I'm just trying to understand the mastering process.
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Re: Recording process beyond belief etc

Post by Diehardpetrafan:) » Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:38 pm

Not sure exactly, but I think a CD. I have a used one from 1990 which is when it was made I think so yeah. Yeah it'd be 1990. I don't know if it ever was a tape or not though.
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Re: Recording process beyond belief etc

Post by brenthandy » Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:03 pm

First of all, I don't know if the original masters were analog or digital. It could have been digital open reel tape back then (Sony, Mitsubishi/Otari, 3M, etc. It could have also been on MDM (ADAT or DA-88). It could have been recorded onto a hard drive. It could have been on analog tape too. Now, when a project is done being tracked, it is mixed. After it is mixed, it is mastered. Mastering is the process of sequencing tracks and setting the spacing between them to suit each type of media. For instance, with vinyl, the disc has the most high-end frequency response on the first half of both sides of the record. The deeper the grooves and the spaces between them, the better the bass response. The fade-outs on the songs are sped up as they are faded on vinyl to conserve space. The process of setting the EQ, compression, etc for each form of media is different. Too much compression was perfectly acceptable for CDs, but not for tape and vinyl. So, this is why the songs do not sound the same and somethings may be shorter/longer/missing from media to media.

As for how the master mixes are delivered, that could have been analog 1/2 tracks on 1/4", 1/2" or 1" tape for Ampex, Otari, Studer, etc master machines. If it was digital, it could have been digital open reel, DAT or Sony PCM1630, which was THE de facto standard and the delivery method to CD pressing plants. Cassette plants did a physical transfer. It was like smashing two pieces of tape together more or less. It was not that great sounding, but how it was done to get the quantity in such a short period of time. Records were pressed and the vinyl quality varied depending upon the run and the market sold (record club had cheap crap, which is why retailers would not accept them as returns or exchanges.)

There is a lot to it and there is no way to know at this point.
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Re: Recording process beyond belief etc

Post by Diehardpetrafan:) » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:23 pm

brenthandy wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:03 pm
First of all, I don't know if the original masters were analog or digital. It could have been digital open reel tape back then (Sony, Mitsubishi/Otari, 3M, etc. It could have also been on MDM (ADAT or DA-88). It could have been recorded onto a hard drive. It could have been on analog tape too. Now, when a project is done being tracked, it is mixed. After it is mixed, it is mastered. Mastering is the process of sequencing tracks and setting the spacing between them to suit each type of media. For instance, with vinyl, the disc has the most high-end frequency response on the first half of both sides of the record. The deeper the grooves and the spaces between them, the better the bass response. The fade-outs on the songs are sped up as they are faded on vinyl to conserve space. The process of setting the EQ, compression, etc for each form of media is different. Too much compression was perfectly acceptable for CDs, but not for tape and vinyl. So, this is why the songs do not sound the same and somethings may be shorter/longer/missing from media to media.

As for how the master mixes are delivered, that could have been analog 1/2 tracks on 1/4", 1/2" or 1" tape for Ampex, Otari, Studer, etc master machines. If it was digital, it could have been digital open reel, DAT or Sony PCM1630, which was THE de facto standard and the delivery method to CD pressing plants. Cassette plants did a physical transfer. It was like smashing two pieces of tape together more or less. It was not that great sounding, but how it was done to get the quantity in such a short period of time. Records were pressed and the vinyl quality varied depending upon the run and the market sold (record club had cheap crap, which is why retailers would not accept them as returns or exchanges.)

There is a lot to it and there is no way to know at this point.
Oh, i see. I guess I really don't know much now do I :roll:
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Re: Recording process beyond belief etc

Post by Mountain Man » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:05 am

Dan wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:13 pm
Does anyone know when beyond belief was pressed to a CD, what form was it stored on directly before that... Hard Disk or Digital tape? I'm just trying to understand the mastering process.
Brent obviously knows way more about the technical aspects than any of us, but in the early 90's, CDs used to have a legend on the back cover comprised of three letters indicating in what format it was recorded, mixed, and mastered with "A" for analog and "D" for digital. The Beyond Belief CD cover has "ADD" on the back, indicating that it was recorded in analog and then mixed and mastered in digital.

Back in the day, I used to consider "DDD" the Holy Grail of CDs because in my mind, digital was inherently superior to analog (I know better now). I don't think labels even bother putting that information on CDs any more.

On a related note, I used to love reading the liner notes for the vinyl releases of solo pianist George Winston because he included a detailed description of the equipment and studio set-up he used to record his records, including specific brand names of gear, the speed the tape was run at, the exact types and placement of microphones, and so on. For whatever reason, those notes were not included with any of the CD rereleases.
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Re: Recording process beyond belief etc

Post by brenthandy » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:19 am

I LOVE THAT stuff, Phil Keaggy had an album like that. He listed amps, guitars, etc, etc only nerds would like. The one and only time I had a decent conversation with him was when we were backstage at the Ryman in Nashville, for a guitar show at NAMM. I was working for Junior Brown at the time. When I met him, he was SOOOOO COOOOL. He introduced himself. I was like...DUH. You are Phil FREAKIN' Keaggy. I told him how much I liked and appreciated that record. He was shocked I knew about it. He was probably more shocked that I spoke of that and not his recent work, which was killer. Anyway....YES. This information is VERY good to know. So helpful for those with less exposure but are hungry to learn.
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Re: Recording process beyond belief etc

Post by Diehardpetrafan:) » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:28 am

brenthandy wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:19 am
I LOVE THAT stuff, Phil Keaggy had an album like that. He listed amps, guitars, etc, etc only nerds would like. The one and only time I had a decent conversation with him was when we were backstage at the Ryman in Nashville, for a guitar show at NAMM. I was working for Junior Brown at the time. When I met him, he was SOOOOO COOOOL. He introduced himself. I was like...DUH. You are Phil FREAKIN' Keaggy. I told him how much I liked and appreciated that record. He was shocked I knew about it. He was probably more shocked that I spoke of that and not his recent work, which was killer. Anyway....YES. This information is VERY good to know. So helpful for those with less exposure but are hungry to learn.
Cool! I envy you. I don't know Phil Keaggy's stuff but my dad has a cd. My dream is to talk to one of my favorite musicians like, them introducing themselves and then I'd be like...DUH. You're John Freakin Lawry! all these people born in the 70s are soooo lucky, like the drummer for Cinderella rode past my mom on his bicycle in the cities!! I think he was her favorite from the band too :cry: :shock:
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Re: Recording process beyond belief etc

Post by Dan » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:18 pm

Thanks Brent, that clears that up. People that are recording with today's technology will never understand the struggle.
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Re: Recording process beyond belief etc

Post by George Harrison » Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:34 pm

Dan wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:18 pm
Thanks Brent, that clears that up. People that are recording with today's technology will never understand the struggle.
You are right, it is very easy and inexpensive for ametuers and "bedroom musicians" to record music nowadays, some DAWs can be had for very little or even free, and the cost of a few mics and cables isn't outrageous... It certainly is a fine time to make music... Unless maybe you want to make money doing, that's always a challenge.
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