Will Octave Records use recording gimmicks?

July 10, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

17 comments on “Will Octave Records use recording gimmicks?”

  1. Wouldn’t it be mandatory for getting great recordings to use great microphones and mic amps and great monitor loudspeakers in a perfectly acoustically optimized studio?And if the musician wants his instrument sounding heavily distorted should be the microphones being put into his ears because even the recording studio shows different acoustics at different positions. No wonder the musician isn’t pleased hearing the sound recorded at a spot far from his head?! Wouldn’t the purest approach be having everything recorded in an anechoic chamber? And how to solve the problem that the mics capture the “sound” of the recording room but the listening room adds its own sound? Seeing all these unsolved problems (not to mention inter-loudspeaker crosstalk) high Fidelity seems to be an unreachable goal! Thus professional recording engineers just seem to follow the goal of producing a “good” sound and not the perfect sound. “Good” sound meaning it sounds acceptable in both high-end and low-end audio systems. Otherwise there should be specific recordings optimized for either highend or low end (car stereo) systems.

  2. There will always be differing opinions as to whether Telarc or Stockfish
    Records or Blue Note or Sheffield Sound Labs or Octave Records (just
    to name a hand-full) make good, great, excellent or exceptional recordings.
    What ingredients a baker uses to make a premium product & how (s)he
    combines those ingredients is always an ‘in-house’ decision.
    The most important thing is the result.
    Audio is subjective (different recordings will sound better, or worse,
    to different listeners) & even with my currently modest home audio rig,
    I can hear big differences in recordings from different producers,
    sound engineers & recording labels.

  3. Paul didn’t actually say if auto tune and quantization will be used in Octave Records, but I guess that they will work with performers that are talented enough to not need these aids, and in musical styles that emphasise the authenticity of the performance over polished perfection. Still, never say never.

    On the subject of guitar distortion, almost every electric guitar performance includes some some amplifier distortion from pedals or tube amplifiers; it’s an integral part of the sound. It’s really important to record each distorted sound and each acoustic sound accurately. We want to hear electric guitars sounding the way the performer intended and cymbals, drums and brass sounding natural. Distortion applied to the complex finished mix rapidly turns the whole thing into a muddy mess and should be meticulously avoided.

    It’s not just guitars that sound good distorted; Hammond organ is very often distorted by overdriving the tube amplifier in a Leslie speaker, and Fender Rhodes piano sounds great through a saturated tube amplifier.

    1. Good afternoon Mark!
      Have you ever heard the song Long Way Down by Goo Goo Doll?
      You could really hear that electric guitar really stand out.
      I don’t remember the name of the record label, and or the producer.
      But this was done long before DSD and SACD became the in thing to have.
      But on a really good sound system, the guitar the kick drum and the electric bass really rocks!
      And the best part is, there is nothing sonically covering anything up!
      I wonder, why aren’t there any records being made like this today?

  4. I’m surprised Paul didn’t mention DSD more heavily here. It seems if you want a pure recording then by virtue of the fact that DSD cannot be messed with you get what you get i.e – accurate, acoustically sound capture in a robust format.

  5. Paul. Great video. I think the term you’re looking for is bleed through. It was so prevalent in 80s – 90s recordings that I stopped listening to music. I’m happy to hear that you will be working towards isolation of individual instruments instead of the ear bleed recordings of the past

  6. I’ve always regretted for both himself and for the purchasers of his LPs that Bob Fulton never got to record full orchestras or other high quality professionals. He seemed to be limited to good high school choruses and similar ilk. His recordings were so real sounding with natural emphasis on every element. And his technique if I recall was very simple. He used a single physical recording element that consisted of two microphones and the microphone was simply placed on the floor in front of the recording sources in the middle.

  7. There’s a movie, “It might get loud”, where three amazing guitarists discuss how they make their sound and how they play it. It’s very instructive.
    Musicians listen and have (should have) final approval of how they sound. They do listen from the mixing and mastering set ups.
    We may or may not like what they finally approved, but that is what we should listen.
    What Paul is describing is the eternal decision making process of any producer and mastering engineer. Musicians have different tastes to how they want THEIR recordings to sound.
    Our job is to remain faithful to the final master.

  8. Paul, what I interpreted from your struggle with finding the right words is that you’ve realized that for most of your life you’ve aspired to being the perfect ‘messenger’. That is, delivering the ‘message’ as faithfully as possible. With Octave Records you’re finding that the process that creates the ‘message’ is a whole different universe that involves faithfully recording that mysterious and magical elixor of artistic expression through performance. That what you record is what the performer was trying to express. You’re aspiring to assist with this process by making the required technology as aurally transparent as possible.

    I see what you mean. I’m struggling with words myself! Whether creating or delivering the ‘message’, you want to do it faithfully and I greatly respect that aspiration.

    If I’m on the right track than I guess you’ve already done pretty well with your words. 😉

  9. Most of the time you can tell whether distortions were added intentionaly or not.(I think) com on man, it’s easy to distinguish if sound was put in made by mistake. “It’s the thing”…….;)

  10. The short answer is, no. We will not be using those tools in house.

    Working within the Sony Sonoma Digital Audio Workstation, we are not able to use most of the commercially known “plug in’s” as there are some formatting issues between the plug in itself, such as “Autotune”; or the DAW or the DSD format. Sonoma has some of it’s own effects such as equalization, however recording in that software is as close to the process of working with tape as it gets.

    It really is up to our engineers to use a more traditional approach to tracking, mixing, editing, and mastering that echoes the techniques of analog in order to get the most out of the DSD recording format.

    Another important factor here is we have hired Giselle Collazo, to be our in house Octave Records producer. This gives us a musically human touch to anything that needs to be addressed in the recordings where one may just simply fall back on the simplicity of autotune or some auto harmonizer in another studio.

    Hope this helps! 🙂

    -Jake Forsyth – hifi specialist

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