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Quality, Balance Are Key To Production Success

Author : William James

Submitted : 2011-09-26 18:46:01    Word Count : 624    Popularity:   10

Tags:   Fruity Loops, Hip Hop Samples, Mixing and Mastering

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When it comes to sound quality and production quality of a music project, nothing could be more significant to pay attention to.

The Internet and all the possible options of uploading, downloading, recording and producing music is challenging the way traditional sound quality is produced and appreciated. Online music options for artists, producers and consumers alike have changed the degrees to which these levels of quality are actually produced and or even noticed. Like it or not, we are getting used to scratchy downloads and often mediocre production even as the pursuit to perfect the quality remains ongoing.

Matt Mylroie’s blog Linescratch pretty much sums up the early sound of MP2 production this way. “The early sound of MP3 was frankly pretty terrible, but the convenience factor was a worthwhile trade off, and the format was widely and quickly accepted and allowed to revolutionize the industry,” says Mylroie.

When the internet first made it possible to record and produce music online, many performers found success and exposure, even with low-quality tracks, which, as Mylorie suggests, included “bootleg” recordings of lives shows. Over the course of modern music production, there has been a never-ending pursuit of “better” quality. Vinyl gave way to tape, and analog gave way to digital. Mono gave way to stereo, and surround sound has taken music to levels of realism never before imagined. FM surpassed AM in the radio music markets and we now have options for HD and Satellite radio. While the early MP3 quality was not that great, the technology has moved at a frantic pace to keep up with the ever increasing demand and expectations for compact and convenient quality.

“We have a lust for technology, and an insatiable desire for realistic and hyper-realistic media. More and more, audio is being bundled with embedded video and graphics –always pushing the limits of production quality,” writes Mylroie.

For some this scratchy sound of “Bootleg” recordings of live shows continue to remain very popular, in spite of the poor quality of most of the recordings. “The hum, hiss, buzz, crackle, and pop of vinyl records do not deter large numbers of the population from continuing to not only seek out old recordings, but to also still release new material on vinyl,” says Mylroie.

Young listeners are getting pretty comfortable listening to music on their phones, laptops, and through ear buds, often at the expense of quality sound production. And, according to Mylroie, much of the popular music in recent years is unnaturally compressed, and distortion and clipping of vocals, drums, and other elements of the music is actually considered cool as opposed to being a bad thing.”

He’s suggesting that, due to the onslaught of new technologies that allow for various options for downloading music, there is an argument supporting the diminishing importance of production quality over convenience. “Yes, I think it is safe to say that there is a strong argument that sound quality and overall production quality simply aren’t as important as they once were,” Mylroie says.

Here’s something else Mylroie suggests we also think about: investment in great sound quality requires a good sense of balance. Why? Because there is a risk of overproducing and not being able to live up to all that great quality when you go live. “If you are a gigging artist, remember that you need to be able to pull off a credible live rendition of your studio masterpiece. While your studio album might sound amazing, your fans may be grossly disappointed when they hear you live. When fans are disappointed, word gets around. You need to find the right balance.”

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