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View Full Version : Why are U2 albums so badly produced ??



pjdowns
21-03-2009, 19:47
So my question above has bothered me for years...

These guys have been around for years so should know a thing or two about producing albums, but they are always sub-standard which is very poor considering.

I don't think that engineering an album well can be that difficult so why, why, why.

P.

Audiocom AV
22-03-2009, 10:46
These guys have been around for years so should know a thing or two about producing albums, but they are always sub-standard which is very poor considering.

I don't think that engineering an album well can be that difficult so why, why, why.

P.

Hi Paul

You should try a Japan 1st pressing, 'The Joshua Tree' P35D-20034, this should change your mind on this album being poorly produced. In my experience, the quality differences between CD pressings can vary considerably depending on which country the CD is pressed in. Japanese pressed CD's 9/10 are superior to those pressed anywhere else. Look out for the Japan 'Black Triangle' 'West German Target', 32XD, etc. You will pay more for these, the 'Genesis - A Trick of the Tale' will cost approx. 50 for a mint/ex copy.

Best Wishes
Mark /Audiocom

DSJR
22-03-2009, 11:22
Record companies have a very low opinion of the standards the public will accept it seems.

You will probably find that the original master, digital or analogue, is quite well produced from the studio. It's what happens in the mastering that messes things up in many cases.

I don't mean to knock this band, but I think that these days, they are producing "product" which earns them much promotion for the millions they earn when performing live - it's the live events that bring the money in. I suspect they go into the studio, lay the tracks down, participate in the mixing to a degree and then leave it to the producers and label, who then add extra compression and level for the i-pod generation, not realising that low bit-rates NEED a clean signal if they are to be in any way effective as a sound source...

Try some of the sympathetic remasterings by houses such as The Audio Archiving Company (much Decca stuff including Camel and also some recent re-do's from Virgin [Steve Hillage] and the likes of a difficult live ELP recording).

To conclude this rant, I wish Dolby had taken off on commercial FM radio, as current compressed radio is also what many of these albums are mixed for. The less capable cheaper radio sets could playback the compressed signal (try the "Jethro Tull Original Masters" compilation CD from centuries ago to hear what an un-decoded [Dolby A] tape sounds like...I first heard this disc on ES14's Paul ;)) and the HiFi tuners could have fed a lower noise Dolby'd signal into HiFi systems. Dolby S showed that with proper alignment, it could be done (Dolby B too as tuners wouldn't have had the level and alignment issues exhibited by cassette decks).

Haselsh1
30-03-2009, 13:10
I guess in terms of engineering the final sound of the recording a lot of it is down to Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. In terms of the final 'product', as has already been said here, it is probably down to the pressing plant and a certain thing called quality control. Do these record pressing plants really care...??? I suspect not many actually do.

Stratmangler
31-03-2009, 21:57
I'd guess that the mastering engineer and the instructions he works to have far more of a negative effect on a recording than most of us can realise.

And those instructions come from the record company.

Most record companies want something that has an impact on radio (to quote Ian Gillan, on one of the intros on Made In Japan, "Can we have everything louder than anything else ?"), and as such they work to a pretty low common denominator.

I accept that some of the more recent U2 offerings major on sound density, but I'll bet that the masters presented to the record company do not sound anywhere near as horrible as the production masters.

Chris:)

Haselsh1
01-04-2009, 17:17
I have a vinyl copy of Zooropa and it sounds amazing even by very modern standards. I do not know why the record companies changed their policies around the year 2000 but I sure as hell wish they hadn't. Even very commercial modern vinyl tends to sound bloody awful and yes, it's all in the mastering.

foxysounds
02-04-2009, 11:21
It's known as the loudness war and it's the bane of modern audio. There's an excellent picture of the waveform of a modern pop song compared with the waveform of an 80's pop song in Bob Katz's excellent book "Mastering Audio". Take one look at it and you'll no-longer be surprised that so many modern albums are so fatiguing to listen to.

It's certainly not just U2 that are affected. I found Rush's "Snakes and Arrows" to be painful and they're another band that have produced really good sounding records/CDs in the past.

Simon.

Haselsh1
02-04-2009, 15:30
Mmmm... A Farewell to Kings, 2112 and Fly By Night...!!! Oh joy...!