Quantcast
Kings Of Leon - Only By The Night Mastering... - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Kings Of Leon - Only By The Night Mastering...
Old 10th February 2009
  #1
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Kings Of Leon - Only By The Night Mastering...

Hi all,

I love the KOL album "Only By The Night". For some reason the tracks on radio don't sound that great but when it is in the CD player - WOW! Most of my friends agree. What are some expert opinions here? Why when the tracks sound SO amazing on CD they sound almost strange, muffled on radio?

How can radio mess up a great sounding record?

Or, is it the mastering engineers job to make it sound great on CD and Radio - or is that simply impossible? Does a mastering engineer have to choose? To be honest, I feel the KOL album is THE BEST sounding CD I have probably heard for 10 years - that is why I am confused as to why it sounds weird on radio.

Any comments about this?

Thanks!
Old 10th February 2009
  #2
Gear Addict
 
Dale's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by everglass ➑️
Why when the tracks sound SO amazing on CD they sound almost strange, muffled on radio?
How can radio mess up a great sounding record?!
most radio station do not play cd's they encode them to a mp2 spec.
and then they each have their own way of setting up their broadcast signal processing chain... in other words they have engineers who can also corrupt the recording.
It may also be that the cd is not mono capable and the station is really broadcasting in mono where you receive it.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Wow, I can't believe radio convert to MP2!

It's definitely stereo broadcast, but it still sounds pretty lousy compared to the CD!
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Addict
 
Dale's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
sometimes radio does some tweaking to ensure that all the outlaying fringe of their broadcast area gets a strong signal ...

have you tried playing the cd through your DAW and summing to mono to see how that is??
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
bob katz discusses radio processing in his mastering-audio book.. there's a lot of processing going on before a song is broadcasted.. this processing really affects the sound of a cd most of the time
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Addict
 
spunkadellic's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
WOW!!! - this is really funny.....

everytime i hear one of the songs from that album on the radio i turn the volume up and get a confused look on my face and say

"something is weird with the mixing on this album - its different, i cant figure it out - nothing sounds deliberate"

ill have to borrow a cd and listen
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
jchadstopherhuez's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
the cd sounds amazing.

really.

jacquire did a great job....big rock tones..tons of space...just great.

i do not listen to radio...but did hear it once over a retail store speaker...and it was obviously a bad mp3 or worse version.

too bad...one of the best sounding rock records in a long time in my opinion.

best,

jchristopherhughes
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
C/G
Lives for gear
 
C/G's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The radio station here compresses everything into oblivion. Everything pumps and wheezes and I can't stand it.

The new KOL album sounds pretty good (not bad on the radio) but it was recorded at Blackbird so it should sound good. I think it has a soft feeling or sound to it. The reverbs seem more soft on this compared to the last one produced by Ethan Johns. Lot's of slap echos on the bass on the last album. At first I didn't like it but now I love those reverbs on that recording.

The new one sounds good but the song writting is lacking IMO compared to their last album, Because of the Times. I love KOL and really hope Ethan Johns comes back to do their next album as the new one lacks some of their grit that I love. The only tune on the new one to retain that grit is "Crawl".

The new one wasn't slammed into oblivion and I think it sounds really good. I just like their last offering better overall.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Addict
 
ORGANIK's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
funny

im not a mastering engineer, and typically would not really listen to this type of rock. but i have also fallen in love with the album....
I think its a great recording, well engineered. the vocal sound is killer super smooth transients. everything is pretty huge. its commercially competitive as in the loudness without being squashed and murdered. very analog sounding ! Great job all around.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Its interesting that they didn't go the usual Sterling, Marcussen, Vlado route with this record.

Mastered by Richard Dodd.

Richarddodd.com
Old 12th February 2009
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Kris Bang Boom's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I have listen to this record really loving the songs, and I am bass head,
mastering mostly hiphop,metal and bass heavy music(the reason I run HSU subs)
but there is serious lack of control in the bass
i find the bass very uncontrolled almost dangerous to peoples sytems,


Jaffa
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Nut
 
leftright's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
yes the album sounds really great... i love it too

And for the radio sound, don't forget that few years ago, it was the beginning of the loundness war

so now, i find that between radio station, they have their own loudness war
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
To be upfront, I guess I would like to know if this is a mastering issue, or is this something a mastering engineer has to decide?

A) I make it sound great on CD (and radio is going to suffer)
B) I make it sound great on radio (and CD is going to suffer).
C) (I hope C doesn't exist) - I have to COMPENSATE so that they both work (albeit not at their best)

I am really perplexed. When I listen to old records from the 70's for example they sound great on radio and great on CD - so what's the deal??? Has mastering changed? Has digital killed the ability to make good sounding songs on radio AND cd?

I really can't go on enough about how good the KOL album sounds from the CD and it seems from the responses above, others agree. In that regard, I have to praise all involved, including Richard Dodd (Mastering Engineer). Infact, I rate this record so highly I think it is one of the best things I have heard in 15 years - so at first listen I was thinking, GREAT MASTERING (along with engineering and production, musicianship and songwriting). So why does it sound so bad on at radio? Or has Richard Dodd made a choice (above)?

It doesn't even sound similar to the CD? It really is STRANGE!!!!

What do you guys think????
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Once it gets out into the world there are so many ways for it to be sabotaged quality wise. I think all you can do is to make it sound good on the one medium you can control - the CD.
Old 13th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
MattGray's Avatar
 
Verified Member
12 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by recall ➑️
Its interesting that they didn't go the usual Sterling, Marcussen, Vlado route with this record.

Mastered by Richard Dodd.

Richarddodd.com
I'm interested in Richard's statement on his home page...

Quote:
"Motone"β„’
by Richard Dodd

An analogue 'Tone Enhancer'

As a result of persistent requests to build and sell my 'secret weapon'
I am pleased to announce that some units will be available by summer 2009
Anyone know anything about this statement & what processor he is talking about?

Matt
Old 13th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
macc's Avatar
 
Verified Member
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I think it's a plugin that converts to MP2 quality.
Old 13th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
MattGray's Avatar
 
Verified Member
12 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Actually it sounds more interesting than that

Richard Dodd Online Extra | Read Additional Quotes From Richard Dodd May 2008 Mix Interview

Read the last section of this article titled "ON MAKING THE β€œSOUND OF THE SOUND”

looks like a mixing tool being 500 series modules, but would be interesting to play with, I wonder if he uses it for mastering as well?

Matt
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Head
 
Dude Masters's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Not to thread jack but Milton Mapes-"The Blacklight Trap", done by our own Jerry Tubb, easily tops that. KOL is good. Just sayin.......
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Or you can make a radio edit...or radio mix, where the mp2 that is sent is made from the native resolution rather than ripped from CD so it can sound it's best.

Have a high resolution master, filter high end that will not be missed but free up bits so the lossy compression can focus more critically on the midrange and take out anything below 30 or 40 hertz and leave it somewhat dynamic.

I don't understand why more people don't make a seperate master for each medium, thats what mastering is supposed to be.

There is a vinyl master, a CD master, there should be a master for everything, to utilize a medium to it's fullest potential.

The compact disc is capable of 96 decibels of dynamic range...the quietest sound that can be heard to the loudest sound you can encode, but if you check out most CD releases they have a dynamic range of 5 dB on average.
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale ➑️
It may also be that the cd is not mono capable and the station is really broadcasting in mono where you receive it.

Your right mate, if you listen in mono, lots of the geetar goes......vamous. Great CD, more of a mix issue than a mastering one though
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by organik ➑️
im not a mastering engineer, and typically would not really listen to this type of rock. but i have also fallen in love with the album....
I think its a great recording, well engineered. the vocal sound is killer super smooth transients. everything is pretty huge. its commercially competitive as in the loudness without being squashed and murdered. very analog sounding ! Great job all around.
Blatantly tracked through neve to 30ips. might be wrong but i dont think so.
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I was recently contracted to produce a KOL sound-alike for a big game company's marketing campaign, and it was eye-opening to tear apart and rebuild their production/mix techniques. Lots of stuff that would seem dated under different circumstances: super-verby vox, delay on the bass and kick, fuzztone guitars with actual amp reverb, verbed-out 70's sounding tambourine hits, etc.

Also Had fun with boatloads of ducking comp's to keep everything upfront (or in back) at the right times.

Their arrangement was sparse and raw...which was refreshing given how over-produced much of today's music is. Lots of emotion in the vocal, and an almost Springsteen-like delivery.

As for the master, it wasn't too hard to match their overall level...so I'm inclined to think they didn't succumb to the Loudness War pressures on the reference track.

Still can't say I'm a big KOL fan, but I admire their willingness to go where the music takes them, popular opinion or trends (which perhaps they're now setting themselves) be damned.


AndrΓ©
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreH ➑️
I was recently contracted to produce a KOL sound-alike for a big game company's marketing campaign, and it was eye-opening to tear apart and rebuild their production/mix techniques. Lots of stuff that would seem dated under different circumstances: super-verby vox, delay on the bass and kick, fuzztone guitars with actual amp reverb, verbed-out 70's sounding tambourine hits, etc.

Also Had fun with boatloads of ducking comp's to keep everything upfront (or in back) at the right times.

Their arrangement was sparse and raw...which was refreshing given how over-produced much of today's music is. Lots of emotion in the vocal, and an almost Springsteen-like delivery.

As for the master, it wasn't too hard to match their overall level...so I'm inclined to think they didn't succumb to the Loudness War pressures on the reference track.

Still can't say I'm a big KOL fan, but I admire their willingness to go where the music takes them, popular opinion or trends (which perhaps they're now setting themselves) be damned.


AndrΓ©
Yeah I really like the sound of their records, not too smashed either, refreshing! hopefully more will follow suite. I'm currently working on an album for a great UK band, and we have formed a sonically similar-ish vibe as kol only by the night, alot more British,a bit more kick & snare heavy to give it an almost dnb edge (real drummer meets pendulum perhaps). All drums to 2" with a good dose of ribbons for kick and oh'z for that big tone and club thumpin' transients. Having loads of fun working on this album, best band i have ever worked with.

Toby


oh, the vocal performance / sound on kol - o.b.t.n, gives me goosebumps and makes the hair on my neck stand on end... Its so heart-felt and sincere. Beautiful!
Old 23rd February 2009
  #24
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I just bought this cd yesterday and have to say i am confused.. I expected this cd to really impress me after hearing these comments and reading the soundonsound article about all the gear they had at their disposal and the organic way it was made.

I do love the guys voice, and think its refreshing that the mix isnt crushed to hard and it sounds like real drums without any samples but my girlfriend was actually the first one to point out that it sounds like an mp3. Its got this wash, or cloud over it where nothing seems to really have any definition to my ears. The cymbals are to me the weakest part, and the bass kinda comes in and out. It just to me seems like one of my early ITB mixes that i used to be unhappy with..

I have a decent car stereo, nothing over the top but i couldnt believe what i was hearing. I wanted to like it and expected to like it but wow this was one of the most upsetting sounding albums ive heard in awhile.
I put in down on the upside and neon ballroom in right after to see if something was up but they both sounded much better to me.

The guy has a killer voice though its undeniable but i dont know if i can really listen to the whole album through
Old 23rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I'm going to take this to studio today and have a listen.

One time I was listenin to sex on fire on my tv and sounds were missing...the guitar fills were gone etc I couldn't figure out why they'd put a poor version on telly, then I realised someone had turned my tv from stereo to mono. Switching that back was like "ahhh thats more like it"
Old 23rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
About the whole radio and compression discussion:

Since I work for a company that developes software/solutions for broadcasting I can tell you that almost every major radiostation will store its audio in a highly compressed format merely for reasons of datasize. Their catalogue is stored in big databases which are also used for playout (there are still few stations at which the host is using CDs however). In general audio quality is one of the last things considered when it comes to broadcasting. Ive seen and heard files that went onair which have been converted (and edited, sometimes even compressed again) many times, without anybody caring about audio quality (CD -> WAV 44.1 -> Compress to mp2 and 48khz -> convert to WAV for editing fades/cutting -> convert back to mp2 for storage. And that is just the usual thing). Gerenally speaking its all about an easy workflow and not about quality of audio. And even if you are lucky and the material isnt converted and heavily edited there is usually a processing stage after the actually playout in the radiostudio which consists of compressors, EQs, stereo enhancers, limiters and so on (usually bundled in one box. In Germany Optimod is used quite often) I dont know if that is true for the US too, but at least in Germany restrictions for the OnAir signal exist and have to be maintained (e.g. a (small) specified dynamic range).
From my point of view the song on the radio has not very much in common with its origin on the CD. I dont think its a bad thing, its just how things are and some restrictions have to be kept in order to achieve good FM/AM broadcasting. The problem is that the same concept is used for other ways of distribution which would not require so heavy restrictions which means that internet streams or radio via cable still sounds ridiciulously bad.
Old 23rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
24-96 Mastering's Avatar
 
Verified Member
9 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hisbluness ➑️
About the whole radio and compression discussion:

Since I work for a company that developes software/solutions for broadcasting I can tell you that almost every major radiostation will store its audio in a highly compressed format merely for reasons of datasize. Their catalogue is stored in big databases which are also used for playout (there are still few stations at which the host is using CDs however). In general audio quality is one of the last things considered when it comes to broadcasting. Ive seen and heard files that went onair which have been converted (and edited, sometimes even compressed again) many times, without anybody caring about audio quality (CD -> WAV 44.1 -> Compress to mp2 and 48khz -> convert to WAV for editing fades/cutting -> convert back to mp2 for storage. And that is just the usual thing). Gerenally speaking its all about an easy workflow and not about quality of audio. And even if you are lucky and the material isnt converted and heavily edited there is usually a processing stage after the actually playout in the radiostudio which consists of compressors, EQs, stereo enhancers, limiters and so on (usually bundled in one box. In Germany Optimod is used quite often) I dont know if that is true for the US too, but at least in Germany restrictions for the OnAir signal exist and have to be maintained (e.g. a (small) specified dynamic range).
From my point of view the song on the radio has not very much in common with its origin on the CD. I dont think its a bad thing, its just how things are and some restrictions have to be kept in order to achieve good FM/AM broadcasting. The problem is that the same concept is used for other ways of distribution which would not require so heavy restrictions which means that internet streams or radio via cable still sounds ridiciulously bad.
Thanks for the insights.

The worst of all radio stations on air in Germany is AFN (American Forces Network) though. They seem to play what must be 48 kbps mp3s or less. It's completely unlistenable. How on earth was that decision made, I wonder...
Old 23rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
You are welcome

I havent worked directly at a radio station for quite a while but the last time I was in one (BR/SWR/Ant.Bayern) it was like I tried to describe. Usually workflow and speed is all that counts in broadcasting. Many many people work there and Id say less then 5% really know something (!) about audio. That doenst mean that nobody cares, but the majority of people and of workflows too are done by people that just have no clue about audio. Things get edited a lot and most of the software just doesnt remind you about many technical things like SRC and so on. And that is good for their work since most people wouldnt understand or wouldnt care. A stable, quick and easy to use software is what radio stations want and need.
Ive talked to some radio technicans about this issue and many of them just dont see radiostations responsible for delivering quality music (in terms of audio quality that is). This issue just kind of developed because of the early technical limitations of broadcasting. By now we should be able to deliver a acceptable quality but that is not important to those in charge. Its about content (put on a good show, play all hits, deliver some culture etc) and the possible range of the signal.
Heavy signal processing like mentioned above is just a necessary step to a) maintain the maximum range of a signal b) to avoid any loss of level no matter what kind of audio they play. The goal is that everything is loud, no matter if its metillica or some classical music. That sounds silly to us but people who sweep through stations instinctivly stay at the one which sounds loudest because they think that is the best sound or the station they receive best. And basically it just comes down to how many people you can keep listening, right?

Its sad in a way since by now we are technically able to deliver at least a good format (320kb mp3 would be enough in my opinion). But as mentioned, thats really not what broadcasting is about.
Old 23rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
24-96 Mastering's Avatar
 
Verified Member
9 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hisbluness ➑️

Heavy signal processing like mentioned above is just a necessary step to a) maintain the maximum range of a signal b) to avoid any loss of level no matter what kind of audio they play. The goal is that everything is loud, no matter if its metillica or some classical music. That sounds silly to us but people who sweep through stations instinctivly stay at the one which sounds loudest because they think that is the best sound or the station they receive best. And basically it just comes down to how many people you can keep listening, right?
I don't mean to hijack the thread, just as an aside: One of these days I'd love to actually see a scientific test on the relationship between radio station / TV channel loudness and listener skipping. I know it's the generally accepted reality, but whether 2 dB louder or quieter on FM radio makes a significant difference in numbers, who knows? Has there ever been actual scientific testing on that? And not from the fifties, but from current FM times?

Really, I would love to do some empiric testing on that. Because I don't believe it's as clear cut as people seem to believe. My wife switches stations / channels if they are too loud. For her, it's not that loud is good, it's "exactly as loud as the previous channel" that's desirable. So it seems to me it's more about a common standard than about actual loudness.

Anyway, back to your post, I never worked in radio but I know someone who worked as technical director of a private station and to me too, it seemed like quality concerns are much less an issue than productivity. It was funny though, the equipment was always absolute top notch, but never used to its capabilities.
Old 23rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Addict
 
Dale's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
loudness on radio is for the fringe of their broadcast area.
they do not want to drop anyone listening who is on the edge of their signal!
πŸ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 5858 views: 1879236
Avatar for andychamp
andychamp 11 hours ago
replies: 62 views: 6827
Avatar for Sir Bob
Sir Bob 12th December 2003
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump