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Draehl
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:13 pm
Posts: 34
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:38 pm 
 

So metal has the kvlt lo-fi crowd and perfect production nerds, but are any of y'all largely turned off by the two extremes and are sticklers for the middle ground?

For me the super clean production too often sounds unnatural and has too many layers, effects, etc. while the lo-fi often makes one struggle to decipher the melody or physically gives me a headache in the case of some screechy/trebly BM. The best balance IMO is that a middle ground where you can tell they're using decent equipment but leave most of the post-production at the door. As for the boundaries? I'd say a certain amount of "natural" sounding hazy production can work, such as Drudkh's Forgotten Legends or Aeternus' Beyond The Wandering Moon but any more than that is overkill. On the good production end I'd have to draw the line roughly between Opeth's Blackwater Park and Ghost Reveries with the latter being just over the 'too crisp' line.

Just curious since I don't think I've ever seen discussion specifically about middle of the road production since it's not exactly as noteworthy or obvious as the two fringes might be.

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PaganiusI
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:49 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:12 am 
 

I'm def. a lo-fi guy for the most part, even though that differs from band to band. I love some fuzzy guitars and raspy vocals with statics and noises, but too much kills it. Darkthrone are great for example while I can't stand the german Moonblood stuff. On the other hand, there are also lots of great releases with a pretty good/solid production. Energetic/epic stiff with pounding drums and furious guitars that are not produced to death. If a band can work with it and make it fit their music, every production is a good production, no matter if it's lo-, hi-, or "middle"-fi
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exsiccation
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2016 9:49 pm
Posts: 142
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:11 pm 
 

It depends on the album and the aesthetic the band is going for. Completely perfect and polished doesn't work well for atmospheric black metal. Garage recordings don't work for industrial tech death. In-between can work for a lot of genres, particularly thrash and traditional metal, but there's a fine line between "natural" sounding production and "bad", and that can be tough to walk.

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Ace_Rimmer
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:30 am
Posts: 320
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:21 pm 
 

Is hi-fi really referring to super processed pro-tooled to death mechanical sounding music though? Maybe I'm thinking form a listening equipment POV though.

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Temple Of Blood
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:16 am
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:34 pm 
 

Mid-fi is definitely the best.
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Ilwhyan
Metel fraek

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 7787
Location: Lifeless shadows
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:59 pm 
 

Ace_Rimmer wrote:
Is hi-fi really referring to super processed pro-tooled to death mechanical sounding music though? Maybe I'm thinking form a listening equipment POV though.

Perhaps that kind of approach to production would be the opposite of hi-fi by definition, as fi stands for fidelity.
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HamburgerBoy
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2007 6:40 am
Posts: 1826
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:54 pm 
 

Depends on what the album is trying to accomplish. Eternal Devastation with a Horrorscope production would be a downgrade, but so would Horrorscope with an Eternal Devastation production. The middle ground is fine too but not always an ideal. Could we call Peace Sells and Rust in Peace mid-fi and hi-fi, respectively? The rawer production is perfect for the former while still quite clear and balanced, but I can't imagine the guitar pyrotechnics of the latter with that kind of production.

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SuspirianSuspicion
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:54 pm
Posts: 7
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:57 pm 
 

Yeah, I think the terms hi-fi and lo-fi are a bit misused. Having everything sample replaced, stitched together, 100% aligned to the grid, such as the studio approach that Archspire uses (no offense), is not necessarily equivalent to "hi-fi". It's simply not "real" sounding. Something that is hi-fi would pick up all the details of the playing, the characteristics of the instruments, the properties of the room, etc. Even when it is recorded digitally and has a generous amount processing and post-production applied to it, assuming it's a signal that captured an actual performance, from real instruments and real amps, it won't really get that fake, overly-modern sound that many people dislike in metal. When thought of in this light, modern metal production could actually use a lot more hi-fi. There are lots of little inconsistencies (which are different than mistakes), slight variations in pitch, and noises secondary to the actual composition, that are part of the package when real instruments are used. It seems like a lot of producers want to eliminate these entirely, which is a shame, because I consider each one to be a little snippet of sonic magic and character. In regards to "mid-fi", I think the OP's definition kind of lines up with what "hi-fi" should really mean.

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Ilwhyan
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Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 7787
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:58 am 
 

SuspirianSuspicion wrote:
Yeah, I think the terms hi-fi and lo-fi are a bit misused. Having everything sample replaced, stitched together, 100% aligned to the grid, such as the studio approach that Archspire uses (no offense), is not necessarily equivalent to "hi-fi". It's simply not "real" sounding. Something that is hi-fi would pick up all the details of the playing, the characteristics of the instruments, the properties of the room, etc. Even when it is recorded digitally and has a generous amount processing and post-production applied to it, assuming it's a signal that captured an actual performance, from real instruments and real amps, it won't really get that fake, overly-modern sound that many people dislike in metal. When thought of in this light, modern metal production could actually use a lot more hi-fi. There are lots of little inconsistencies (which are different than mistakes), slight variations in pitch, and noises secondary to the actual composition, that are part of the package when real instruments are used. It seems like a lot of producers want to eliminate these entirely, which is a shame, because I consider each one to be a little snippet of sonic magic and character. In regards to "mid-fi", I think the OP's definition kind of lines up with what "hi-fi" should really mean.

You said it better than I could have. :nods:
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TrooperEd
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2004 6:18 pm
Posts: 1758
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:03 pm 
 

HamburgerBoy wrote:
Depends on what the album is trying to accomplish. Eternal Devastation with a Horrorscope production would be a downgrade,



I vehemently disagree with this. Eternal Devastation's production is just awful in my opinion.
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Big_Grand
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:59 pm
Posts: 557
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:29 pm 
 

I feel like a lot of 90s death metal albums from bands like Deicide and Dying Fetus were mid-fi, not super clean high production, but not quite as raw as black metal at the time either, just a little raspy.

Personally I don't like hi-fi too much from a lot of bands but more because it's usually associated to bands when they put out really dry albums once they've been signed to Metal Blade or something. Of course there's bands like Carach Angaren and Abigail Williams that were higher production and still had some good quality stuff, but I guess if the production had to catch my eye, it would be low production.
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Draehl
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:13 pm
Posts: 34
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:35 pm 
 

SuspirianSuspicion wrote:
Yeah, I think the terms hi-fi and lo-fi are a bit misused. Having everything sample replaced, stitched together, 100% aligned to the grid, such as the studio approach that Archspire uses (no offense), is not necessarily equivalent to "hi-fi". It's simply not "real" sounding. Something that is hi-fi would pick up all the details of the playing, the characteristics of the instruments, the properties of the room, etc. Even when it is recorded digitally and has a generous amount processing and post-production applied to it, assuming it's a signal that captured an actual performance, from real instruments and real amps, it won't really get that fake, overly-modern sound that many people dislike in metal. When thought of in this light, modern metal production could actually use a lot more hi-fi. There are lots of little inconsistencies (which are different than mistakes), slight variations in pitch, and noises secondary to the actual composition, that are part of the package when real instruments are used. It seems like a lot of producers want to eliminate these entirely, which is a shame, because I consider each one to be a little snippet of sonic magic and character. In regards to "mid-fi", I think the OP's definition kind of lines up with what "hi-fi" should really mean.


That's a solid observation. Both the lo-fi and plastic/digital sounds are artificial in their own way. It's like the aural equivalent of showing up to a party in a suit & tie or with blue hair & dog collar. Both come off as dis-ingenious on different ends of the spectrum. Just be real and wear jeans and a decent t-shirt/polo :P

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SuspirianSuspicion
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:54 pm
Posts: 7
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:25 pm 
 

Ilwhyan, thanks for the kind words!

Draehl, nice clothing metaphor haha. I never thought of lo-fi being artificial, but you're entirely right. Actual instruments usually don't sound anything like they do in a "lo-fi" recording. That's not to say it can't be useful as an effect in moderation though. However, when bands have clearly gone to a studio and gotten a solid recording, and then retroactively make the mix sound lo-fi in post production, (for the sake of sounding "trve" or atmospheric), it comes off as disenguinine. I get the impression Ulver did this with "Nattens Madrigal". A raw recording, on the other hand, can be quite charming.

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Acidgobblin
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:56 pm
Posts: 2488
Location: Antarctica
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:44 am 
 

I've pften marvelled about how black metal strives to be organic and realistic whilst actually creating a sound that is utterly dependant on modern recording equipment.

But anyway, I love the production on recent Marduk. Its not raw, but it has movement and a roughness, and the drums in particular have a very realistic feel. They sound like drums!
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PaganiusI
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:49 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:58 am 
 

Modern/Mainstream Black Metal*
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HeavenDuff
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:35 pm
Posts: 941
Location: Quebec, Canada
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 1:21 am 
 

Draehl wrote:
Just curious since I don't think I've ever seen discussion specifically about middle of the road production since it's not exactly as noteworthy or obvious as the two fringes might be.


Eh. At some point it gets a little tedious and pointless to try and define what hi-fi and "mid-fi" would be. Lo fidelity is typically voluntary, so it's easy to define. But when you choose to work on your production to give it a gritty or crisp sound, the fact that you're not overproducing your music doesn't make it less hi fi. High fidelity doesn't mean, at least not IMO, overproduced polished radio friendly pop rock.

Dunno... just my two cents.

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Lane
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2002 11:54 am
Posts: 192
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 4:46 am 
 

HeavenDuff wrote:
High fidelity doesn't mean, at least not IMO, overproduced polished radio friendly pop rock.


True. I cannot imagine something like Ayreon with lo-fi production. Not even with mid-fi.

But yes, about the topic. The middle-road happens very, very often. I do not really care too much about the way any album is produced, but if it can deal some serious atmosphere, be it any style of music, then I'm happy.
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mrbskywalker
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:18 pm
Posts: 20
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 10:03 am 
 

I mean everything produced by Scott Burns probably counts as mid-fi, especially albums like Human, ITP, and Slowly We Rot, ect. Springy bass, drums high in the mix and dirty sounding guitars
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Wrldeatr
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:13 pm
Posts: 96
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 6:59 pm 
 

Good way of putting it. Lo-fi is definitely off-putting to me. Stuff has to be clear otherwise why even bother. But it should sound like people playing instruments. Distorted guitars should sound like...distorted guitars not so processed that it doesn't resemble anything you would get when you plug a guitar into an amp. Same with the rest of the instruments. I can deal with higher-mid-fi, again because I want to be able to hear everything clearly, including every cymbal and not some washed out mess where all cymbals sound the same. Psycrtoptic's Ob(Servant) is about as higher-fi as I will go but it's well suited for how those guys play. Parkway Drive's Ire is another example of a stellar production, uh I guess they're not considered metal here, but it's still a fantastic recording.

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TheConqueror1
With a 120 mm gun!

Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:05 am
Posts: 569
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 7:15 pm 
 

PaganiusI wrote:
I'm def. a lo-fi guy for the most part, even though that differs from band to band. I love some fuzzy guitars and raspy vocals with statics and noises, but too much kills it. Darkthrone are great for example while I can't stand the german Moonblood stuff. On the other hand, there are also lots of great releases with a pretty good/solid production. Energetic/epic stiff with pounding drums and furious guitars that are not produced to death. If a band can work with it and make it fit their music, every production is a good production, no matter if it's lo-, hi-, or "middle"-fi


Moonblood kicks ass. They utilize the lo-fi raw black metal sound perfectly.
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