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Taylor Swift- "Speak Now" Album- Clipping/Distortion?
Old 22nd September 2012
  #1
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🎧 10 years
Taylor Swift- "Speak Now" Album- Clipping/Distortion?

Hi!

Ok, I bought Taylor Swifts "Speak Now" album to study some of Justin Niebanks work...plus, I just like her stuff

Anyways, I'm just relaxing listening on some headphones right now...and can't help but constantly hear digital clipping/distortion going on. Sounds like they've crushed it and it sounds...well...just bad. I listened in the truck today earlier and it was very bright, harsh at times, sibilant...etc. I really respect everyone who worked on this album, so I'm wondering if I got a bad copy or what...

Anyone else notice the distortion going on throughout the entire record?
Old 22nd September 2012
  #2
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cinealta's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
That's unusual. Justin Niebank is not one of the loudness war guys. Hank Williams is a good ME. I haven't heard the whole album but the tracks I heard were pretty good. She can be sibilant at times on that Avantone CV12.
Old 22nd September 2012
  #3
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🎧 10 years
Yeah...I'm starting to think somethings going on with it. I'll check more in depth tomorrow in the studio.

Thanks!
Old 24th September 2012
  #4
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
i have the double lp of "Speak Now" and I too have noticed some slight distortion on her vocal in certain tracks. Thought it could just be my stylus. It is a very tight sounding album and i'm wondering what that clipping is too...
Old 4th November 2012 | Show parent
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinealta ➡️
That's unusual. Justin Niebank is not one of the loudness war guys. Hank Williams is a good ME. I haven't heard the whole album but the tracks I heard were pretty good. She can be sibilant at times on that Avantone CV12.
true that about that avantone cv 12.

but i dont think he is the guy who crushes records to death.

one thing for sure, digital clipping is awful.. lately i been making my mixes a little bit lower in volume but there is defnitly no clipping going on. you want loud? turn up ur speaker volume..

the tendecy to tune everything also doesnt really help. i know he doesnt use autotune and melody on her vocals.

note that he mixed everything ITB with plugins on that album. all waves and uad. if he can do it, then i can do it too.
Old 4th November 2012 | Show parent
  #6
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinealta ➡️
That's unusual. Justin Niebank is not one of the loudness war guys. Hank Williams is a good ME. I haven't heard the whole album but the tracks I heard were pretty good. She can be sibilant at times on that Avantone CV12.
seriusly, how do you know so much sh^t about dr luke and max martin, taylor swift?

you must read alot
Old 4th November 2012 | Show parent
  #7
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Heyclown's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nznexus ➡️
all waves and uad. if he can do it, then i can do it too.
So you say you can use waves?
Best wishes!

I´m listening on SennCans HD800 now and can´t really hear much distortion there.

BTW; IMO anyone into pop on that level is partly into loudness war. It might end up on radio.
Old 4th November 2012
  #8
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RightOnRome's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDB_12 ➡️
Hi!

Ok, I bought Taylor Swifts "Speak Now" album to study some of Justin Niebanks work...plus, I just like her stuff

Anyways, I'm just relaxing listening on some headphones right now...and can't help but constantly hear digital clipping/distortion going on. Sounds like they've crushed it and it sounds...well...just bad. I listened in the truck today earlier and it was very bright, harsh at times, sibilant...etc. I really respect everyone who worked on this album, so I'm wondering if I got a bad copy or what...

Anyone else notice the distortion going on throughout the entire record?
i have had mastering engineers destroy mixes..im just sayn
Old 4th November 2012 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nznexus ➡️
the tendecy to tune everything also doesnt really help. i know he doesnt use autotune and melody on her vocals.
Really? Must be the way she's singing cause it sure as hell sounds like there is some tightening going on! I believe it's starting to get common these days for people to start to mimic the pitch corrected type of sound.. I think it's the lack of vibrato in her singing partially that makes it sound like that. Which suits the style of music.

I think I read that she only does a few vocal takes as well and pretty much nails it? If that's so, then damn, she has some serious talent!

EDIT: OK so I listened to some live stuff and it's pretty tight! Can hear it getting a little wobbly in transitional pieces but that's what you get live. It's VERY minimal. Still far better than a large sum of live singers out there.
Old 4th November 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
You gotta remember that even if Justin Niebank and Hank Williams did a great job, at the end of the day they need to make ..... someone else.... happy. I'm sure if they got to do exactly what they wanted the record would likely sound 'better', at least to audio nerds like the folks on GS.
Old 4th November 2012
  #11
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'm listening to "Mine" from that album

Swift is a, let's say, deeply challenged singer. She's been improving, but this 2010 track certainly has tuning on it -- I mean, the wrenchmarks are obvious in places -- and I'd be shocked if there weren't plenty of other howlers scattered across the rest of the album. But I've heard enough. I like real country music.
Old 4th November 2012
  #12
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SoZo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Listening to the iTunes version i bought for my daughter well treated room , apogee Mindac, Focal solo 6be... very! sibilant top. Then Foreigner Hot Blooded came on and I feel better... now that's vocals!
Old 4th November 2012
  #13
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nathan who mixed her albums
Old 4th November 2012
  #14
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SoZo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Im sure they were mixed that way on purpose ... in your face pop radio but give me Norah Jones vox please...!
Old 4th November 2012 | Show parent
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattLyonsMusic ➡️
Really? Must be the way she's singing cause it sure as hell sounds like there is some tightening going on! I believe it's starting to get common these days for people to start to mimic the pitch corrected type of sound.. I think it's the lack of vibrato in her singing partially that makes it sound like that. Which suits the style of music.

I think I read that she only does a few vocal takes as well and pretty much nails it? If that's so, then damn, she has some serious talent!

EDIT: OK so I listened to some live stuff and it's pretty tight! Can hear it getting a little wobbly in transitional pieces but that's what you get live. It's VERY minimal. Still far better than a large sum of live singers out there.
here is a quote

Quote:
What creates the individual nature of an artist is how he or she approaches pitch in time. Nobody hits a note straight on. Ray Charles never sang dead in tune. It was about where he placed things in time. And we’re killing that in music. I have Auto?Tune and Melodyne, but prefer not to use it, and I didn’t use any on the Taylor album. Occasionally, if I hear something that bugs me, I may brush it with a little Auto?Tune, but more often than not I get vocals that are over?tuned, and I’ll ask for a version that’s not tuned
Old 4th November 2012
  #16
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fastlanestoner's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
My girlfriend has made me listen to every one of her albums at one point and I've thought the same thing! The vocal sound on Fearless is a lot less harsh than what came after that and it always bugged me.

I think her lyrics are bit childish, but the music is good and hopefully the words will catch up.

I've typed a paragraph about Taylor Swift, I'm going to go find my manhood.
Old 4th November 2012 | Show parent
  #17
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cinealta's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nznexus ➡️
nathan who mixed her albums
Justin Niebank mixed. Nathan Chapman was the co-songwriter, engineer and producer.
Old 4th November 2012
  #18
Gear Addict
 
Micah421's Avatar
I like Taylor Swift's music, but I haven't heard the new album yet. I own and love the Avantone CV12 with vintage tube.

Just had Justin recently in the studio and after seeing his work and a few conversations I can honestly say he doesn't push ANYTHING near distortion(tons of headroom....tons...............did I mention tons.

By the way the 1st Adele Album has distortion all over the vocals, here and there.

I would take a guess that its possibly mastering but just a guess.

Last edited by Micah421; 4th November 2012 at 10:13 PM.. Reason: edit: TONS OF HEADROOM
Old 4th November 2012 | Show parent
  #19
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cinealta's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micah421 ➡️
I own and love the Avantone CV12 with vintage tube.
Not too bright for you?
Old 4th November 2012 | Show parent
  #20
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Micah421's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinealta ➡️
Not too bright for you?
bright.....noooo. Maybe with the stock tube(never used it)

IMHO..flat and thick....very easy to EQ and sit in front of the mix
Old 4th November 2012 | Show parent
  #21
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psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nznexus ➡️
here is a quote
Don't believe everything you read....I'd trust ears over a quote in a magazine any day!

And yeah...that's not the guy who mixed it, that's the guy who recorded/wrote it...I remember that much from the magazine article. And since you've quoted directly from it, shame you didn't take the time to read it properly too, instead of desperately trying to prove a point.
Old 5th November 2012 | Show parent
  #22
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➡️
Don't believe everything you read....I'd trust ears over a quote in a magazine any day!

And yeah...that's not the guy who mixed it, that's the guy who recorded/wrote it...I remember that much from the magazine article. And since you've quoted directly from it, shame you didn't take the time to read it properly too, instead of desperately trying to prove a point.

But should I believe at least some things I read?
Old 5th November 2012
  #23
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psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nznexus ➡️
But should I believe at least some things I read?
Up to you really! But if it contradicts what you hear, I'd trust the ears first.

Lots of people spout nonsense in these interviews - you're hardly going to say "the vocals were so awful I had to tune them within an inch of their lives" are they?!
Old 5th November 2012
  #24
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i think it depends on what you mean with distortion. its very different, it depends on what sound-card you use, what speakers you use.. etc what headphones you use.

on one system it will sound distortion free, on other may distort. however, i do not hear any distortion on this album.
Old 5th November 2012 | Show parent
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➡️
Up to you really! But if it contradicts what you hear, I'd trust the ears first.
I don't care.
Old 5th November 2012 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nznexus ➡️
here is a quote
He said "didn't use any on THE Taylor album". Which album was he referring to? Maybe not on that album, but maybe on others?

Either way, listening to her live - she is good. I have no doubt about her ability to sing, unlike many other 'singers' out there.
Old 5th November 2012
  #27
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andersmv's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I hope Taylor Swift reads this thread and writes a song about it.
Old 5th November 2012
  #28
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
I've been listening to 2 of her albums lately, Speak Now and the one before that. They're bright mixes, Speak Now is a bit too intense sometimes. The previous one has pretty natural feel, which I like.

I also read somewhere that the first one was mixed with oodles of time and the second one mixed in a bit more than a week? o_0, could be wrong. But I can't help feeling Speak Now was a bit rushed and it translates to the mix on the album, and I don't quite get why they went with the Avantone, it might work for some vocals, but not hers, IMO. But I do love that drum sound on Speak Now. Justin Niebank did a great did a great job ITB, seriously.

Ok, I'm done talking about Taylor Swift for now.
Old 5th November 2012 | Show parent
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andersmv ➡️
I hope Taylor Swift reads this thread and writes a song about it.
You can hope
Old 5th November 2012 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➡️
Up to you really! But if it contradicts what you hear, I'd trust the ears first.

Lots of people spout nonsense in these interviews - you're hardly going to say "the vocals were so awful I had to tune them within an inch of their lives" are they?!
heh

If we were talking about Ella Fitzgerald or Betty Carter and someone said there was no tuning, we might give that a little more credibility.

But we're talking about Taylor Swift, whose earlier efforts show the frequent and obvious artifacts of correction, an artist for whom there is more than enough live video of her trainwrecking tonally that it definitely stretches credulity to entertain the notion that she can now turn out a whole album without being tuned -- particularly when there are, in said album, places that clearly sound like tuning wrenchmarks.


EDIT:

PS... I just went back and listened to part of the second song on the album, as well; of course it's tuned. Maybe not Auto-Tune by brand. Notice how often you hear production people claim very specifically, "There's no Auto-Tune on this album?" Anyhow, if people can't hear the obvious tuning, I find that a bit shocking. I'd really find it rather distressing, but my opinion of the music biz can't sink a whole lot lower, anyhow.

PPS... For fun, I put on the song "Speak Now." It starts out pretty naturalistic but when she gets to the oh-oh-oh melisma, it is SO OBVIOUSLY TUNED, it's absurd. Come on. If one cannot hear such obvious tuning, I think he should have someone in the studio with him who CAN hear -- like a guide dog for the blind. This is absurdly tuned. For gawsh sake!


PPPS... here's a bit of a fig leaf maybe for those who don't seem to be as 'sensitive' to hearing tuning... I posted about the issue of production staff who apparently don't always hear tuning even when it seems clearly audible to others (in another BB) and one of my associates there suggested that, just as low fi, narrow frequency bandwidth speakers can seem to 'emphasize' tuning artifacts (somehow, but I do think there's some truth to that), perhaps those with diminished hearing -- and mine drops off rapidly above 10 kHz -- may actually find those artifacts more prominent in the balance of what they do hear.

So, as I suggested in that thread, maybe it's not so much golden ears that allow one to more clearly perceive the wrenchmarks of tuning -- maybe it's having leaden ears -- like me. heh

Last edited by theblue1; 5th November 2012 at 09:02 PM.. Reason: addendum
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