Walk The Sky Production Quality.

News and discussion about Alter Bridge. Get the latest updates here!
Post Reply
Buffon
Bought The CDs
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:46 pm

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by Buffon »

I've always thought Metallica's Black Album has some of the best production I've heard in a rock record. It sounds absolutely huge, without feeling like the music is assaulting you.

User avatar
Crumbso
On The Rail
Posts: 1078
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:32 pm

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by Crumbso »

Buffon wrote:I've always thought Metallica's Black Album has some of the best production I've heard in a rock record. It sounds absolutely huge, without feeling like the music is assaulting you.
It is a huge sounding record. The drum sound has dated a tad but it still sounds immense.
Image

User avatar
rscotta831
Bought The CDs
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:55 am

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by rscotta831 »

Crumbso wrote:
rscotta831 wrote:
littledreamer wrote:
rscotta831 wrote:
littledreamer wrote:Many of the above points support my original point- the kick drum is overpowering the mix. I, for one, like to randomize a few cd's, but couldn't achieve this without the EQ job I updated on the end of page 3. It'd be cool if someone took the time/care to try even one song based on my updated eq job to see if they feel the same as me.

We shouldn't have a release so far out of the normal range that we are forced to turn the bass way down on our equipment to enjoy every time it comes on.
As someone who's been used to EQing for 35 years, I completely disagree with rating an album negatively because you're being forced to turn down the bass. If anything, I consider that a bonus. Why? Because you can turn down the bass without affecting the overall sound quality of the album.

With TLH, you are stuck with its brickwalled sound quality no matter what you do with the EQ. Having said that about TLH, IMO, it is not as brickwalled as the original release of Death Magnetic or other similar circa 2008 albums.

Trust me...as someone who has adored heavy metal albums for almost four decades, Walk The Sky is a phenomenal sounding album. If your only problem is too much bass (kick drum), you don't have a problem.

Go listen to Metallica's Kill Em All. It won't blow you away with the best sound quality you've ever heard. But what it omits is distortion and a brickwalled sound. And IMO, that is key. You can crank that album on a decent system as loud as you can take it and what you won't hear is distortion. If you do, you've got a cheap system. Another big bonus to that album, for 1983, is it has a ton of kick drum, much like Walk The Sky. Guess what...you can turn the bass down and it still kicks ass.

As for a live album, sound quality wise, it doesn't get any better than AB - Live in Köln, Palladium Rockpalast (12/05/2016)
Sometime's it perfectly fine to have a different opinion. I carry many many years of audio experience as well- I'm 48. I would never compare the open and dry sounding Kill 'Em All to the compressed and muddy Walk The Sky. To me, that's bizarre. KEA was one of my first musical journeys. The recent remaster is much more balanced, to me, much more satisfying.

It's not just me saying the kick drum is massively overpowering, many others on this thread agree. One instrument should never hide other parts of the music in a proper recording. I am quite happy with my EQ job- but shouldn't have to do it in the first place- my entire point. Walk The Sky is an amazing painting done on cardboard- nowhere do I "rate the album negatively," I am criticizing the engineering/production, not the musicianship or songwriting. It's freaking amazing.
You're right, it's perfectly fine to have a different opinion. We can agree to disagree on the engineering/production of WTS. I do believe nitpicking an album for merely too much kick drum isn't call for complaining. We're well into the 21st Century. Albums in this era are going to have instruments galore blended together. Long gone are the days of a simple and balanced two guitars, a bass and drums recording.

I'm perfectly fine for complaining about the engineering/production of TLH as it is no question brickwalled.

Other than its kick drum, I'm not comparing the engineering/production of Kill Em All to WTS. What I am saying is they are both clean sounding albums. The recent remaster of Kill Em All adds a TON of kick drum. The original release already had a good bit.
WTS is certainly no paragon of clarity or music production prowess. The complex parts of riffs are totally hidden by the limiting and the drums. If you can work out what's happening guitar-wise in Dying Light's chorus, then you have better ears than I. It's certainly better than TLH and I'm fine with it but I certainly would change a lot if I could. KEA isn't exactly a great sounding record either, it's the attitude and performance that makes it an awesome album. If you want a Metallica record to compare to as a goal for sound quality (not material) then Load & Reload are the ones.

WTS is a great record but, IMHO (of course, nothing in music production is fact - despite what people say), there are still significant problems with overall volume, mixing and arrangments. I don't EQ for individual songs or albums either. If I absolutely have to then I do see that as a failing.

Having said all that. It is what it is and it's not a fatiguing mix so I'm happy. Fortress was Elvis' best AB effort (good clarity and power), closely followed by AB3 (nice crunchy guitars!).

To add fuel to the fire of hot-takes (for fun) I never liked the way Blackbird as an album was mixed. It sounds boxy. Also, if anyone says ODR has no bass, they're mental. It's got huge low end. That bass is just not defined in a way that you can clearly make out the individual notes. It blends with the guitar.
I'll start with exactly what you said...nothing in music production is fact - despite what people say...everyone has a different opinion on what sounds best, even if two people agree on their fav band...their fav albums/sound may differ.

My best friend in high school & I agreed on most everything sound-wise. One time, he said, "I love Shout At The Devil." I said yes it's awesome, but it has no bass whatsoever. He said, "So what." To this day, I still disagree with him. Doesn't mean I'm right.

I would love to hear everyone's opinion on what their fav AB album SONICALLY is, regardless what their fav AB is.

Mine is ABIII. It has the least amount of distortion and brickwalled sound of all their albums. I can crank the shit out of that album in my car and it still kicks ass, above all their others.

I disagree that KEA isn't exactly a great sounding record. IMO, it's SONICALLY one of the better sounding heavy metal albums I've ever heard. In fact, for anything released 1983-1989, I would SONICALLY put it up against anything else in the heavy metal genre.

User avatar
Arctic
Hardcore TABN'er
Posts: 617
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:56 am

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by Arctic »

ODR is their clearest, cleanest album sound wise by a mile.

As far as the Elvis albums, I’d to agree that AB III is probably the best.
Image

MuffinMcFluffin
Hardcore TABN'er
Posts: 526
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:05 am
Location: Elk Grove, CA
Contact:

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by MuffinMcFluffin »

littledreamer wrote:Okay, I've uploaded a link to EQ files for Audacity if any of you want to use them to try. I've ripped WTS to FLAC, opened in Audacity, applied these EQ potions, and enjoyed. This is likely my final attempt at polishing the turd of WTS production. Honestly, to me, I think I did a pretty decent job...YMMV. My goal was production as close to ODR as possible, and similar to the latest Slipknot as a benchmark. I can actually hear Brian's bassline decently now, not overpowered by the kick drum.

THESE ARE NOT MUSIC FILES, JUST .XML FILES FOR AUDACITY EQing! I'm not comfortable sharing my actual work...

Enjoy if you care! You should be able to download the folder as per usual in Google Drive.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

:cheers :cheers :cheers
If it's possible, I would like to know if you can answer at least one question I have. Well, it's a two-parter really, but I believe that answering one question will also answer the other:

1) What "length of filter" setting do you use in your EQ?
2) Does your XML file measure where your blue curve is set to, or what the green curve is?

Obviously the higher the length of filter setting, the more the green curve kind of reflects your blue curve's changes. That's why I'm curious.

Actually, I do have a third question: When you set yours, did you ever enter the "draw" settings, or did you firmly stick to the "graphic" settings?

Thanks!

EDIT: Ahhh finally finally... last last question, but it's more of a philosophical question: So by lowering the dB's so much, what does this accomplish versus keeping it at least +5dB higher than your settings where at least nothing will be mixed hot yet it won't be so much quieter than anything else you play on your system?

littledreamer
Brand New Start
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:06 pm

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by littledreamer »

Graphic, Filter Length 1013. Green line @ -7db.

I find eq's work better in reverse, more room. Then, you just adjust volume.

Good luck.

User avatar
TenaciousBe
On The Rail
Posts: 1614
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:04 pm
Location: Iowa, USA
Contact:

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by TenaciousBe »

This is one topic where I'm happy to just be an ignorant rube. I mean, I can hear that TLH and some of WTS sounds overly loud and fatiguing to the ear, but it doesn't stop me from enjoying the music. I'm guessing it doesn't stop you guys either, but some of you act like you can't listen to the album without "fixing" it, and that's kind of a shame. It could sound better, but what album in the world couldn't do with some tweaking to your personal taste? I just hope you guys aren't letting your distaste for the technicality prevent you from feeling the music and hearing the words and really immersing yourself in the aura of the album.
Image Join us on the Alter Bridge subreddit!
Sponsored by Moonrise Blue.

MuffinMcFluffin
Hardcore TABN'er
Posts: 526
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:05 am
Location: Elk Grove, CA
Contact:

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by MuffinMcFluffin »

TenaciousBe wrote:This is one topic where I'm happy to just be an ignorant rube.
Yes, be glad that you are in moments like these. For me, it's become more of a curse than a blessing to be a videophile and audiophile.
I just hope you guys aren't letting your distaste for the technicality prevent you from feeling the music and hearing the words and really immersing yourself in the aura of the album.
I hate to say it, but it does. There are songs that I playback in my head and can get chills/goosebumps from with moments that I seem to misremember, because when I play them in actuality nothing comes of it for me. It has to do with the mixing, arrangements, and dynamics (or lack thereof), etc. Just layers upon layers. And it sucks.

User avatar
Crumbso
On The Rail
Posts: 1078
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:32 pm

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by Crumbso »

littledreamer wrote:Hello, new to AB Nation, thanks for having me. Huge fan.
I do care greatly about sound/production quality, and am not impressed with WTS at all. To me, it's a BRILLIANT painting on a cardboard canvas. Very frustrating.
Now, if you are happy with the sound, great. I would immediately hypothesize that you are listening through a below average medium, such as a phone speaker/Spotify etc. stream/basic speaker system/average or less headphones.
In no way am I attempting to disparage the band, I am a huge fan. However, they are exceptionally musical and able, and the production does not lend to enjoying all 4 members playing together. The main issue I have is the muddy low end- right around Flip's kick drum- around 100-250hz from what I can tell. Muddy bass sounds such as this recording kill the sonic experience- you can't hear the band properly.
I've spent the entire weekend remixing WTS myself using Audacity. I know that's not a "professional fix," but I don't really have any choice. I've attahed a screenshot link via Google Drive of my EQ settings, and although I'm not going to share my work(legal reasons), I do encourage you to download Audacity and give it a shot. (Couldn't seem to easily add a .jpg to this thread?)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-GXCrS ... sp=sharing

Import tracks, do One Life alone, EQ to this, export. (It's quieter, and if you eq all 14 tracks, it will affect each one negatively).

Then EQ the other 13 tracks, and export multiple. Tag and enjoy.
If you're truly particular, lower the lowest bass about 1-2db on Godspeed, Native Son, Indoctrination, Forever Falling, and Walking On The Sky. I suspect those were the first 5 or last 5 recorded, at a separate time. The bass kick is noticeably more on these amazing tracks.


You'll be amazed at the change, the openness, the balanced impact of audio. It removes the kick drum from being so excessive, allows the music to breathe with some much needed clarity. Unfortunately, Elvis has blocked me on Twitter already for asking about this...too bad, as I feel strongly he is stifling the band by not showcasing their greatness...and clearly has a closed mindset about learning. If anyone went throught Metallica's Death Magnetic nightmare, Greg Fidelman has learned- and produced some excellent modern recordings lately. It's never too late to improve!

Thanks, and I'd love to know your thoughts! If you disagree, that's fine, but please do consider your listening source and personal ability to discern quality music from poorly produced modern recordings. I am simply presenting the elephant in the AB room.
Big IMHO ahead.

I did actually use these in Audacity and I have to say that, while an impressive job, I slightly preferred the original mix. It took some of the mid-power out of the guitars and pushed them slightly to the back of the mix without necessarily fixing the main problems with the mix that could never be touched without remixing and/or remastering (excessive limiting and compression etc).

Also, just a note, but there's little advantage to lowering the overall output Db (I think that's what you did, I could be wrong) if you're only using subtractive EQ. Any damage with compression or clipping has already been done and is irreversible. I normalised the file after applying your curve.

It's a great effort and that kick drum really does need some high-mids and mud taken out of it (I would say some highs as well - I prefer a kick drum to be felt/implied more than directly heard as a click) but it's impossible to do without affecting other parts of the mix.

It would be great to see what you could do with stems in a mix situation because that really is where the fun begins. Have you ever given that a go before?
Image

User avatar
Crumbso
On The Rail
Posts: 1078
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:32 pm

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by Crumbso »

rscotta831 wrote:I disagree that KEA isn't exactly a great sounding record. IMO, it's SONICALLY one of the better sounding heavy metal albums I've ever heard. In fact, for anything released 1983-1989, I would SONICALLY put it up against anything else in the heavy metal genre.
The guitars are lovely but the drums are lacking in detail and the bass is a bit weak. The vocals are a bit too chorused for my liking also.

Though not in the range of 83 to 89, I personally love the productions of:

Holy Diver - Dio
Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden
British Steel - Judas Priest
Any DLR-era Van Halen (1984 or Fair Warning particularly)

I'm personally a fan of mid-to-late 1990s production though. That's when things were at a peak for clarity and power.... aside from some dodgy drum reverb hangovers from the 80s.
Image

User avatar
gbruin
MEGLADONG
Posts: 7284
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:27 pm
Location: Highlands Ranch, CO

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by gbruin »

Arctic wrote:ODR is their clearest, cleanest album sound wise by a mile.

As far as the Elvis albums, I’d to agree that AB III is probably the best.
I totally agree with ODR overall, but Blackbird sounds cleaner than ABIII to me.
Another photobucket casualty... :(
As your courage crashes down before your eyes, don't lay down and die

littledreamer
Brand New Start
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:06 pm

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by littledreamer »

Just had "Read Between The Lines" by Slash come on my stereo... If only we could enjoy the Tremonti solos as much as the Slash ones. Slash is highlighted in the mix, not hidden. Sure, you can hear them on WTS, but it's not on display to showcase the brilliance.
Crumbso wrote:
littledreamer wrote:Hello, new to AB Nation, thanks for having me. Huge fan.
I do care greatly about sound/production quality, and am not impressed with WTS at all. To me, it's a BRILLIANT painting on a cardboard canvas. Very frustrating.
Now, if you are happy with the sound, great. I would immediately hypothesize that you are listening through a below average medium, such as a phone speaker/Spotify etc. stream/basic speaker system/average or less headphones.
In no way am I attempting to disparage the band, I am a huge fan. However, they are exceptionally musical and able, and the production does not lend to enjoying all 4 members playing together. The main issue I have is the muddy low end- right around Flip's kick drum- around 100-250hz from what I can tell. Muddy bass sounds such as this recording kill the sonic experience- you can't hear the band properly.
I've spent the entire weekend remixing WTS myself using Audacity. I know that's not a "professional fix," but I don't really have any choice. I've attahed a screenshot link via Google Drive of my EQ settings, and although I'm not going to share my work(legal reasons), I do encourage you to download Audacity and give it a shot. (Couldn't seem to easily add a .jpg to this thread?)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-GXCrS ... sp=sharing

Import tracks, do One Life alone, EQ to this, export. (It's quieter, and if you eq all 14 tracks, it will affect each one negatively).

Then EQ the other 13 tracks, and export multiple. Tag and enjoy.
If you're truly particular, lower the lowest bass about 1-2db on Godspeed, Native Son, Indoctrination, Forever Falling, and Walking On The Sky. I suspect those were the first 5 or last 5 recorded, at a separate time. The bass kick is noticeably more on these amazing tracks.


You'll be amazed at the change, the openness, the balanced impact of audio. It removes the kick drum from being so excessive, allows the music to breathe with some much needed clarity. Unfortunately, Elvis has blocked me on Twitter already for asking about this...too bad, as I feel strongly he is stifling the band by not showcasing their greatness...and clearly has a closed mindset about learning. If anyone went throught Metallica's Death Magnetic nightmare, Greg Fidelman has learned- and produced some excellent modern recordings lately. It's never too late to improve!

Thanks, and I'd love to know your thoughts! If you disagree, that's fine, but please do consider your listening source and personal ability to discern quality music from poorly produced modern recordings. I am simply presenting the elephant in the AB room.
Big IMHO ahead.

I did actually use these in Audacity and I have to say that, while an impressive job, I slightly preferred the original mix. It took some of the mid-power out of the guitars and pushed them slightly to the back of the mix without necessarily fixing the main problems with the mix that could never be touched without remixing and/or remastering (excessive limiting and compression etc).

Also, just a note, but there's little advantage to lowering the overall output Db (I think that's what you did, I could be wrong) if you're only using subtractive EQ. Any damage with compression or clipping has already been done and is irreversible. I normalised the file after applying your curve.

It's a great effort and that kick drum really does need some high-mids and mud taken out of it (I would say some highs as well - I prefer a kick drum to be felt/implied more than directly heard as a click) but it's impossible to do without affecting other parts of the mix.

It would be great to see what you could do with stems in a mix situation because that really is where the fun begins. Have you ever given that a go before?
Apologies for the long thread quote.
Try my latest effort, link at the end of page 3.
I've played with stems once, during the Death Magnetic Guitar Hero 3 days, never made a version I found superior to the Moderus 3 version, but he's more of an expert than I for sure. I'm quite satisfied with my eq job applied in terms of saving Walk The Sky... All available to use with Audacity via the Google Drive link I provided on page 3... And understand I feel we are polishing a turd... It just becomes a better sounding bad mix.
Last edited by littledreamer on Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

littledreamer
Brand New Start
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:06 pm

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by littledreamer »

.

User avatar
Crumbso
On The Rail
Posts: 1078
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:32 pm

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by Crumbso »

Quoted instead of editing. Please ignore.
Image

littledreamer
Brand New Start
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:06 pm

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by littledreamer »

So after not listening to anything but my most recent EQ(end of page 3), I went back and relistened to the original mix. I was half expecting to think I had been crazy all along and embarassingly wrong. To my surprise, I was even more shocked at the poor quality of the original mix and the success of my EQ despite lacking real knowledge/ability. I think this just proves the incredible hackjob that is the studio mix.

MuffinMcFluffin
Hardcore TABN'er
Posts: 526
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:05 am
Location: Elk Grove, CA
Contact:

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by MuffinMcFluffin »

I never heard what equipment you listen on. Care to give us a textual tour?

LosingPatience
White Knuckled
Posts: 224
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:39 am

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by LosingPatience »

Blackbird wrote:I'll definitely try that out, thanks! If not for WTS, then definitely to learn something about improving the quality of my own band's sound.

By the way, the production quality of The Last Hero is even worse. Which amazes me because, at the same time, Mark is putting out solo records that have a really clear sound.


I disagree never had the issues some had here with TLH, listening to Walk The Sky gives me a headache. Doesnt help the songs are the worst they have ever written but the sound quality is atrocious

LosingPatience
White Knuckled
Posts: 224
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:39 am

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by LosingPatience »

Crumbso wrote:
rscotta831 wrote:I disagree that KEA isn't exactly a great sounding record. IMO, it's SONICALLY one of the better sounding heavy metal albums I've ever heard. In fact, for anything released 1983-1989, I would SONICALLY put it up against anything else in the heavy metal genre.
The guitars are lovely but the drums are lacking in detail and the bass is a bit weak. The vocals are a bit too chorused for my liking also.

Though not in the range of 83 to 89, I personally love the productions of:

Holy Diver - Dio
Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden
British Steel - Judas Priest
Any DLR-era Van Halen (1984 or Fair Warning particularly)

I'm personally a fan of mid-to-late 1990s production though. That's when things were at a peak for clarity and power.... aside from some dodgy drum reverb hangovers from the 80s.


Van Halen's first album sounds incredible, hard to believe it came out in 78. The guitar tones, the drums , everything sounds close to flawless

LosingPatience
White Knuckled
Posts: 224
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:39 am

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by LosingPatience »

Exceed wrote:Walk the Sky is definitely an improvement on The Last Hero. The mixing on TLH is criminal. The bridge in This Side of Fate is probably my favorite segment of music in history, and I often imagine what it'd sound like if the mix wasn't so damn muddy. I like the grand sound they go for, but it needs to be executed better.

That bit you are talking about in This Side Of Fate might be my favourite passage of music ever, its ear porn. Myles doesnt get enough credit for that entire vocal section let alone that incredibly beautiful guitar solo

LosingPatience
White Knuckled
Posts: 224
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:39 am

Re: Walk The Sky Production Quality.

Post by LosingPatience »

DCooper727 wrote:Does it bother anyone else that there are people who can't hear the difference between ODR's production and something like TLH? There are plenty of users here who just say they sound the same and it blows my mind. Go put on Broken Wings and listen to how clear everything is. Like how the **** can people not notice the difference? The band used to sound massive and now the production makes them sound small, ironically enough.

I think TLH sounds better than ABIII cant believe people actually think that sounds great

Post Reply