Best Albums from an Engineering Standpoint

Discussions on sound production outside the synthesizer such as mixing, processing, recording, editing and mastering.
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Theory?
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Best Albums from an Engineering Standpoint

Post by Theory? » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:28 am

What are the best mixed albums in your opinion?

Two I can think of off the top of my head:

The Clash - London Calling
Brian Wilson - SMiLE

There's a few others I'm forgetting, I just know there are.

What say you VSE?
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Post by MrHope » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:35 am

Shulman's last album was very well mixed and mastered. And Shulman did his own mastering!

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Post by tallowwaters » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:48 am

anything by scorn.
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Post by wiss » Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:24 am

Beach Boys~Pet Sounds
Phil Spector~pre Beatles work
Beatles~Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt Peppers
Spritualized~Ladies and Gentleman we are floating in space
Bruce Springsteen~Nebraska
Stereolab~ Emperor Tomato Ketchup and Dots and Loops


Any Record by Lou Barlow post Dino JR up to 1998...all those records were recorded with a crappy 4 track
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Post by Motavis » Tue Jun 12, 2007 5:10 am

Nine Inch Nails ~ Downward Spiral

Pretty sure he also won some award for
mastering / mixing.
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Post by jasedee » Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:30 am

Gosh there are alot out there.... Some of my faves are:

Steely Dan - Aja
Talk Talk - Colours of Spring
Pink Floyd - DSOTM
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Post by Cruel Hoax » Tue Jun 12, 2007 8:33 am

Mr. Bungle's self-titled first album. Schizophrenic metal/ska/circus music with each song mastered in chunks by Bob Ludwig. No overcompression and "loudness war" fallout at all.

Roger Eno's Voices. Solo acoustic piano, with "treatments" by Brian Eno. Minimal and lovely.
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Post by justinjbrown » Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:54 pm

the short list:

Radiohead: KidA/Amnesiac
Jeff Buckley: Grace
My Bloody Valentine: Loveless
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: No More Shall We Part/Henry's Dream
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Post by redchapterjubilee » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:25 pm

justinjbrown wrote:the short list:

Radiohead: KidA/Amnesiac
Jeff Buckley: Grace
My Bloody Valentine: Loveless
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: No More Shall We Part/Henry's Dream
I agree with those for sure. For my tastes I must also add:
PJ Harvey Rid of Me - Sorry, I'm a sucker for Albini's sound.
The Who Who's Next - At times it's hard for me to tell when this record was recorded. It sounds too good for 1971.
Peter Gabriel 3 and Phil Collins Face Value - The Hugh Padgham sound. Space, airiness.
Aaliyah One In a Million - Timbaland's thing has pretty much become cliche by now but then it was so alien, so avant for that style of music. It's hard to separate Tim's production style from the overall "sound" of the album.
Death Cab For Cutie We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes - On a borrowed 16-track 2" machine recorded at their practice room (downstairs from mine) and sounds so warm and expansive. Chris Walla now trends more natural and organic in his style but at that time he was fairly experimental.
Band of Horses (I forget the title) and I don't know who recorded it but OH MY GOD listen to the beautiful sheen of reverb. It was like John Leckie was in the house but with good reverb. Reminds me of Tim Friese-Greene's work on the first Catherine Wheel album.
Slowdive Slowdive EP - Big guitars encased in three feet of reverb. Effected but still full and rich.
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Post by Soundwave » Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:11 pm

I think a well produced album either doesn’t sound technologically dated or defines a particular sound.

Dark Side of the Moon/Floyd – Nuff said.
Oxygene/Jarre – Warm as toast.
Electric Ladyland – Jimmy’s best.
Joshua Tree/U2 – You can’t go wrong with Eno.
Low/Bowie - Just like I said.
The Black Album/Metallica – Made metal a bit heavier
Moon Safari/Air – Retro cool.
Giogaddy/Boards of Canada – Lo-Fi excellence
Leftism/Leftfield – The standard bearer for all dance music to follow.
Mirarge/Shulze – Doesn’t sound like 1977.
Lifeforms,ISDN,The isness/FSOL – Ethereal dark ambience to prog rock meets Protools
Dig Your Own Hole/Chemical Bros – made beats BIG!
Mezzanine/Massive Attack – The best trip-hop album ever.
OK Computer/Radiohead – Their definitive album, excellent drum production.
Metamorphosis/Jarre – Mediocre album but a good showcase of Protools.
Hybrid/The Wider angle – crisp digital production and cutting breaks.
Drukqs/Aphex Twin – Manic but transparent.
Everything Everything/Underworld – great live produced album.
Consumed/Plastikman – so subtle its spooky.
MCMXC a.d./Enigma – clichéd as f**k now but amazing when it cam out.
Strange Cargo 3, Hinterland/William Orbit – well Madonna thinks he’s good too.

I'm sure there's more that will spring to mind later. :roll:

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Post by Theory? » Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:36 pm

Production value and engineering value are, in my mind, two separate things.

Thriller has production value out the wazoo, doesn't mean it was MIXED very well (although it was).

What really defines a well mixed album for me is the engineers ability to put everything in it's place while preserving the air and space of the entire ensemble. I like it when I can sit and listen to an album and I can hear EVERYTHING perfectly. Every element has just the right amount of definition without being too sparse and disparate from the other elements. It's hard to explain in words.
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Post by xpander » Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:53 pm

Siamese Dream by the pumpkins.

electronic:

the downward spiral & broken
nin

Violator
Depeche Mode

I say, I say, I say
Erasure

and also...

SAWII & The Richard D. James Album
Aphex Twin

Emperor Tomato Ketchup
Stereolab

Dazzle Ships
OMD

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Post by Tofuik » Wed Jun 13, 2007 5:33 am

BT - This Binary Universe - Sounded amazing in 5.1 Surround, and amazing in general.

I second Hybrids albums also, very good mixing.
the cheese stands alone

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Post by wiss » Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:08 pm

justinjbrown wrote:the short list:


My Bloody Valentine: Loveless
this is a tricky one, its my fav record of all time.....but....knowing that kevin had zero help from engineers on this record until guy fixsen(moonshake, laika) showed up and followed kevins instruction and alan moulder joined very late and according to kevin just sat in front of the mixer. d**k meavey helped mix it down but the other 13 people listed as engineers sat there telling Kevin that he cant do that and its stoopid to even try. if Kevin had Guy at the very start it may have even been a better record.
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Post by PitchBender » Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:42 pm

Queen: Jazz

Im not the biggest Queen fan but the production (engineering??) quality blows me away.
Maybe this is more mixing the engineering. Lots of dynamics, quality sounds, even on a limiting format like vinyl.

Miles Davis: Bitches Brew

Definitely some great mastering on this one. If you dig some info into this album youll find some interesting techniques were used, for 1969 anyway.
Like using tape loops and adding new sounds into a track in post. Masterfully mixed.
Bitches Brew also pioneered the application of the studio as a musical instrument, featuring stacks of edits and studio effects that were an integral part of the music. Even though it sounded like an old-style studio registration of a bunch of guys playing some amazing stuff, large sections of it relied heavily on studio technology to create a fantasy that never was. Miles and his producer, the legendary Teo Macero, used the recording studio in radical new ways, especially in the title track and the opening track, "Pharaoh's Dance". There were many special effects, like tape loops, tape delays, reverb chambers and echo effects. And, through intensive tape editing, Macero concocted many totally new musical structures that were later imitated by the band in live concerts. Macero, who has a classical education and was most likely inspired by the 1930s and 1940s musique concrete experiments, used tape editing as a form of arranging and composition.

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