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Topic: Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers? (Read 35957 times) previous topic - next topic
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #75
I don't have much metal in my collection, but Dream Theatre albums are usually good-sounding.

Then again, mood plays a part - I bought the first King's X album and really didn't like it at first, but played it again a month or so later and 'got' the sound they were going for.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #76
Oddly enough, I've found that some of the albums I considered to be over-compressed are actually more enjoyable now that I've upgraded to a set of Beyerdynamic DT-880 headphones from the AIAIAI TMA-1s I had before.

I would have thought the more prominent treble and 'leaner' sound signature would make them sound more harsh, but the exact opposite happened. They also seem to encourage to keep the volume at a sane level, whereas with the AIAIAIs it was like they always wanted to play louder. Which makes sense, since they have completely opposite sound signatures (bright vs. bass-heavy).

So I guess it's not always better for equipment to "smooth out" uneven recordings, at least not for me.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #77
The SQ of most metal is abysmal, with rare exceptions. Maybe they record with Cel phones?

cheers,

AJ
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #78
The SQ of most metal is abysmal, with rare exceptions. Maybe they record with Cel phones?


I wouldn't be surprised. Black metal and the crustier genres of punk seem to pride themselves on deliberately lo-fi (or no-fi) production. I guess they think it makes them more hardcore and noncommercial or something.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #79
I wouldn't be surprised. Black metal and the crustier genres of punk seem to pride themselves on deliberately lo-fi (or no-fi) production. I guess they think it makes them more hardcore and noncommercial or something.
Which is ironic, since the big commercial productions are just as bad.
It's only audiophile if it's inconvenient.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #80
to me is the same when i listen some "Rap" or Hip-Hop albums: The bass and drums sounds so hard and flat!



Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #83
The SQ of most metal is abysmal, with rare exceptions

Why not say you just don't like metal?
Music: sounds arranged such that they construct feelings.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #84
The SQ of most metal is abysmal, with rare exceptions. Maybe they record with Cel phones?

cheers,

AJ

Possibly the worst SQ of any band I heard was Hatebeak, a metal band that featured a parrot as lead vocalist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatebeak


I take it you've never heard any TRVE KVLT black metal? Like "recorded in a basement on a Fisher Price tape recorder" black metal?

Darkthrone - Summer Of The Diabolical Holocaust

And it gets worse than that.


Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #86
Maybe the opposite is true, because he likes metal he's annoyed by bad sound quality.
^^^^
This

cheers,

AJ
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #87
Maybe the opposite is true, because he likes metal he's annoyed by bad sound quality.

I just don't like the statement, because it implies that a quarter of my music collection is of abysmal quality, i.e. utter garbage. That, in turn, sounds like snobbery. I'd say, this is a matter of tastes: liking or not liking the way 'most metal' (whatever that means) is processed.

I just want to know what is considered 'bad quality'. Is it the distortion due to excessive peak limiting? Is it some sort of DRC? Is it EQ applied? Is it the balance between different instruments that isn't right? Except the first one, those are really a matter of taste.

Some examples of songs I really like
Nightwish - Scaretale: has some peak limiting distortion (which I only noticed just now, because I listened for it)
Mercenary - Lost Reality: one of my favourites for ~ 8 years now, has no dynamics at all except for the very beginning
Amaranthe - Trinity: has quite a pronounced EQ
Equilibrium - Snuffel: balance might be a bit bass-heavy

But still, I can't see how the 'sound quality' of any of these can be rated 'abysmal' on any scale at all. These songs never fail to excite me, which is in the end, what this music is about for me.
Music: sounds arranged such that they construct feelings.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #88
The SQ of most metal is abysmal, with rare exceptions. Maybe they record with Cel phones?


I really never liked heavy metal much until I set aside my LP playback system and changed over to digital.

Other system enhancements such as a subwoofer and moving up to speakers that are cleaner with higher SPLs has helped.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #89
Maybe the opposite is true, because he likes metal he's annoyed by bad sound quality.
I just don't like the statement, because it implies that a quarter of my music collection is of abysmal quality, i.e. utter garbage. That, in turn, sounds like snobbery.
What's wrong with that statement? It's not a personal attack. A good portion of music I really, really like is of abysmal sound quality. I sometimes fantasize how it would sound if it had not been touched by Vlado Meller and his cohort. Seriously, because I like it I'm even more appalled by shoddy production. Having bought a better pair of headphones made the situation even worse. Maybe listening with speakers again and a good sub like Arny suggests help. But then again hearing ability changes over time, too (no offense to Arny), so my preference might change, too. Apparently all the audiophool old people like the same horrible masters in "hi-res" now, though they didn't like when they were released on CD.

I just want to know what is considered 'bad quality'. Is it the distortion due to excessive peak limiting? Is it some sort of DRC? Is it EQ applied? Is it the balance between different instruments that isn't right? Except the first one, those are really a matter of taste.
The usual suspects, bad EQ, tremendous amounts of DRC and clipping, and in turn general loudness. Some (CD-era production) albums I have hardly have 10 bits of dynamic range (as tested by inspecting dropped bits in LossyWav), with really weird choices in the EQ department.
More generally, anything which doesn't sound like a real band playing instruments (on albums where this was most certainly the aim), anything without dynamics, or anything where instruments are completely swamped in noise is bad sound quality to me. Metal (and friends) has a plethora of examples, Meshuggah, Metallica, Lamb of God, Mastodon, System of a Down, etc. But I don't really see the point of mentioning examples, because certainly there are very bad examples, and some good examples. Maybe you are lucky because you like the good ones, or you're just not annoyed by stuff other think to be a deficiency. That's fine, I mean you said it yourself:
These songs never fail to excite me, which is in the end, what this music is about for me.
Sometimes I wished I could be happier again listening to RHCP or The Mars Volta.
It's only audiophile if it's inconvenient.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #90
Of course taste is a major factor, if I'm in the mood I can even stand the mastering on Mastodon or Meshuggah albums.

Mastodon were supposed to sound like they were recorded on the equipment available in the Paleolithic. 
QOTSA, for example, have much nicer-sounding drums, with more "definition" to them, even if their songs routinely measure RG values of -12 dB (and drums are supposedly the first to be affected by DR compression).

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #91
A good portion of music I really, really like is of abysmal sound quality.
Ditto.

I think DRC, and for that matter outright distortion, mean you can play music more quietly and/or on lesser equipment, and it has more of the impact it would have if played louder and/or on better equipment. However, when actually played louder and/or on better equipment, it would usually have more impact with less DRC and distortion on the track.

I'm sure many genres would sound pretty hopeless as pure unmastered tracks. I'm not arguing for no DRC. The sound is created in the production, and DRC is a part of that. However, I think the degree of DRC and distortion and various other production decisions would be different if it was aimed at loud playback on excellent equipment, rather than quieter playback and/or lesser equipment.

That was true even before the loudness war.

Add the loudness war on top of all that, and the production decisions to compete in this war make the music sound worse under most circumstances IMO. The absolute best sound (even the absolute best maximally distorted sound) isn't necessarily generated by smashing the complete mix up against digital 0dB FS. You'd probably smash individual tracks in the mix up against something else. But not usually digital full scale.

Cheers,
David.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #92
Heavy metal can sound good. Unfortunately most of what comes to mind is before the 2nd and current phase of the loudness war.

Some examples:

Pantera - cowboys from hell - 1990
Metallica - 1991
Paradise Lost - Draconian Times - 1995 (may have been remastered since)
Paradise Lost - Symbol OF life - 2002
Sins Of Thy Beloved - Lake of sorrow - 1998
Lacuna Coil - EP - 1997
Lacuna Coil - unleashed memories / halflife EP - 2000
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #93
Heavy metal can sound good. Unfortunately most of what comes to mind is before the 2nd and current phase of the loudness war.

Some examples:

Pantera - cowboys from hell - 1990
Metallica - 1991
Paradise Lost - Draconian Times - 1995 (may have been remastered since)
Paradise Lost - Symbol OF life - 2002
Sins Of Thy Beloved - Lake of sorrow - 1998
Lacuna Coil - EP - 1997
Lacuna Coil - unleashed memories / halflife EP - 2000


IMO, the production-wise Metallica sounds terrible after MoP. Same for Dream Theater: Images and Words and Metropolis II even though they aren't classified as heavy metal, whoever produced such an abomination needs to be fired.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #94
What's wrong with that statement?

The confusion between an opinion and factual matter. At Hydrogenaudio, I'm used to people taking care in formulating their responses. However, for some reason, this thread is littered with people overgeneralizing and stating opinions as facts.

I like the way current metal is produced. I like the way Meshuggah and System of a Down sound. Apparently quite a few people here don't like it, but instead of stating that they don't like it, the production is said to be wrong. In my view, that is simply stating an opinion as a fact.
Music: sounds arranged such that they construct feelings.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #95
What's wrong with that statement?

The confusion between an opinion and factual matter. At Hydrogenaudio, I'm used to people taking care in formulating their responses. However, for some reason, this thread is littered with people overgeneralizing and stating opinions as facts.

I like the way current metal is produced. I like the way Meshuggah and System of a Down sound. Apparently quite a few people here don't like it, but instead of stating that they don't like it, the production is said to be wrong. In my view, that is simply stating an opinion as a fact.


I can certainly accept the mastering of most metal as it is currently, but it could definitely be a lot better, still.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #96
I like the way current metal is produced. I like the way Meshuggah and System of a Down sound. Apparently quite a few people here don't like it, but instead of stating that they don't like it, the production is said to be wrong. In my view, that is simply stating an opinion as a fact.
It's not wrong production, it's intentionally or accidentally lo-fi, overly loud, and full of distortion in many cases and in other cases it's not. If some people think that's good or OK, fine, but I (and some others) think that's bad. It most certainly is often not capturing the way instruments or people sound like in real life performances, which I would consider a sign of a quality production. What other purpose does recording something serve, than being a good representation and reproduction of something which was worth to preserve? Bad production (as by the definition above) tells me that the performance in question apparently was considered by some not worthy to be preserved in its full impact or intent. A recording is a statement of dedication, love, and respect for your own work as an engineer, and the work of the artist(s).
It's only audiophile if it's inconvenient.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #97
If some people think that's good or OK, fine, but I (and some others) think that's bad.


However, it is still your opinion, which is fine. It's the way the artist wanted it to sound. Just because you disagree with it does not make it wrong or bad.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #98
Either my tastes have drifted towards metal/hard rock with better mastering, or maybe the situation is improving in general.

For instance, the latest Opeth album "Pale Communion" is quite well-mastered by Steven Wilson. Similarly, all three albums by the Swedish retro-metal band Graveyard are very well mastered in my opinion.

Graveyard also does silly neat multicolored and transparent vinyl releases, and when I bought their latest album "Lights Out", the folder insert was hand-signed by all four band members. Stuff like that and good mastering really goes a long way to make a positive impression.

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?

Reply #99
However, it is still your opinion, which is fine. It's the way the artist wanted it to sound. Just because you disagree with it does not make it wrong or bad.
Faults in recordings can be intentional artistic decisions. Or they can just be faults in recordings.

They can even be both. Things can happen ("go wrong") and the artist likes the result and keeps it.


If you accept complete artistic freedom, then anything is subjectively acceptable and there is only opinion. People have done much stranger and more extreme things in the name of art than make distorted recordings of music.

Someone drew a parallel with putting intentional distortion on guitars. If you are a classical guitar player, that's wrong. I don't think metal would get very far without it. The person implied that modern CD mastering is just another new sound that old people object to.

I would argue that it's different. I bet many metal bands use the same guitar distortion effects at live shows as on their CDs. However, I doubt they're smashing the live mix against digital 0dB FS with the same SW/equipment used for CD mastering before putting it out through the PA. The former is part of their sound. The latter is a compromise used to release CDs in 2015.

I think in that situation you can objectively identify when someone is compromising their sound, even if they make grand statements about that compromise being part of their artistic vision. Great artists can still be full of BS, and it's fine to call them on it.


Then again, I can buy into the idea that the sound of a distorted CD is somehow emotionally closer to the powerful clean sound of a well done live concert than a "clean" sounding CD could ever. Even then, I think digital clipping and modern mastering is the wrong way to get close. You can get a fuller sound with other tricks, while staying away from 0dB FS.

Cheers,
David.

 
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