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Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Vote and debate.

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Content aside, which of these sounds the worst?

Fugazi - Steady Diet of Nothing
1
3%
Husker Du - Warehouse: Songs and Stories
6
17%
Iggy and the Stooges - Raw Power (original)
5
14%
Iggy and the Stooges - Raw Power (1997 remix)
1
3%
Metallica - ...And Justice For All
2
6%
Metallica - St. Anger
9
26%
ZZ Top - several LPs (1987 remixes)
10
29%
they all sound great/I have no hearing
1
3%
 
Total votes : 35

Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby total_douche on Sun Oct 20, 2019 2:32 pm

So Far, So Good, So What!

Anything mixed by Phil Spector. He's literally the pre-80s 80s.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby mrcancelled on Sun Oct 20, 2019 3:16 pm

tallchris wrote:Yeah, pretty much all the Spot SST stuff


Yep. Spot never seemed to get any better over time either.

I usually can handle a subpar recording for albums I like, but the sound of The Birthday Party's Junkyard really diminishes the album for me.

When I first heard the Scratch Acid EP it took a long time for me to get past the fuckedupness of the recording, though now I guess I've trained my ears to not hear the weirdness because I can no longer distinguish it.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby askii on Sun Oct 20, 2019 4:58 pm

My love of Dead Moon knows no bounds, and the recording ethos is obviously part of their whole thing, but the studio albums don't do them justice. To be fair, it's not just the lo-fi-ness, but that the performances always seemed a little uninspired. The audience was really a fourth member. I listen to various official and quasi-bootleg live recordings a lot, but rarely reach for the studio LPs.

total_douche wrote:So Far, So Good, So What!

Oh yeah, this. Although for better or worse, the objectively fucked-up aircraft-hangar recording is of a piece with the the most demented material they ever wrote. The remix just makes it worse, if that's even possible -- turns it into a generic overcompressed modern-sounding metal album.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby total_douche on Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:17 pm

They got rid of the gated reverb "douche" sound on the drums but the end result is pretty gutless. Like, if you set up a loud enough sound system in a room, pan like a real drum kit, throw room mics in like there was a drum kit, you can get a fairly convincing room sound. I used to do that with sample drums. They could have at least done that. And I hate how Dave expanded his parts and cut other people's - the beginning of In My Darkest Hour is a prime example.

The verse riff on Set The World Afire is still total fucking ownage though.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby numberthirty on Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:20 pm

mrcancelled wrote:
tallchris wrote:Yeah, pretty much all the Spot SST stuff


Yep. Spot never seemed to get any better over time either.

I usually can handle a subpar recording for albums I like, but the sound of The Birthday Party's Junkyard really diminishes the album for me.

When I first heard the Scratch Acid EP it took a long time for me to get past the fuckedupness of the recording, though now I guess I've trained my ears to not hear the weirdness because I can no longer distinguish it.


Credit where it's due, he did a bang up job on Milo Goes To College.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby kaleb on Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:33 pm

"This is possibly the worst mix in the annuals of rock music.Must have stuffed some pillows in the monitors.Buried in the muffle are some pretty good songs.Turn it up."
- somebody on rateyourmusic.com reviewing Daisychain Reaction by Poster Children.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby Bernardo on Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:53 pm

I've come to not mind the Spot sound at all. Hist stuff sounds simple and direct, with no extraneous bullshit. It's never a particularly good sound for any particular element (like "whoa, listen to those drums"), but also never a bad balance, from what I remember. A whole lot of 80's independent rock has terrible balances and weird hollow mixes.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby oZZma on Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:13 am

I can't see Nevermind in the list :mrgreen:
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby A Landing Craft on Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:17 pm

Bernardo wrote:I've come to not mind the Spot sound at all. Hist stuff sounds simple and direct, with no extraneous bullshit. It's never a particularly good sound for any particular element (like "whoa, listen to those drums"), but also never a bad balance, from what I remember. A whole lot of 80's independent rock has terrible balances and weird hollow mixes.


He did a great job with Saccharine Trust's Surviving You Always, and for someone who apparently had an allergy to low frequencies, his production on the first Saint Vitus LP is really cool.

I've said it elsewhere but I'm sure he was just following orders, especially on the stuff he recorded for Black Flag and Husker Du. All of their post-Spot recordings sound wonky and just 'odd'. Listen to "The Process Of Weeding Out" or "Warehouse: Songs and Stories" (plus the Ginn jam sessions from the 90s onwards if you dare) and tell me that they sound better.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby total_douche on Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:39 pm

Fair point. In the Du's case, it definitely got progressively worse as time went on. The drums on Metal Circus are a little dry, but otherwise sound pretty good. By Warehouse, they're in full "buttcheek" drum territory (exposition: say "buttcheek" without the syllables, and you're pretty close to that tinny 80s drum sound). The guitars usually sounded consistently good, though - mind, it could be argued that a big part of this is just that Japanese PAF-style humbuckers sound really fucking good.

Also, this is definitely where things that should have been left on the cutting room floor (like "No Promise Have I Made" and "Turn It Around") started making it to the album... maybe it's an ego thing, maybe it's a drug thing, but it's probably a combination of the two.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby enframed on Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:52 pm

Black Sabbath's Never Say Die! is pretty fucking bad.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby jakethesnake on Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:58 pm

Me 3 on not understanding the criticism against Spot; I think the records he produced/engineered sounds better than most of everything else in the same 79-85 era. Even the much criticized production for "New day rising", I don't get it; that record has *character* and in a way that feels totally consistent with Husker Dus aesthetic regardless of how much *they* claim to have hated it-"Flip your wig" sounds more artificial to me and don't even get me started on the last two. The late Black Flag stuff he produced is sort of problematic but I suspect his production is the least problem there; Ginn is most likely the main offender. Meat Puppets sounded great until he stopped producing them, same with Saccharine Trust
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby total_douche on Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:13 pm

For me, it's mostly the drums, everything else sounds great. The guitars always sounded monstrous, just fucking huge. And the way they usually mixed in Greg's bass, with lots of mids and treble, really helped it cut through the guitars so he could have his space, too. But Grant Hart was a seriously energetic heavy hitter, and it never really comes across on the recordings like it does in some live recordings, which is a damn shame.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby A Landing Craft on Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:05 pm

jakethesnake wrote:Me 3 on not understanding the criticism against Spot; I think the records he produced/engineered sounds better than most of everything else in the same 79-85 era. Even the much criticized production for "New day rising", I don't get it; that record has *character* and in a way that feels totally consistent with Husker Dus aesthetic regardless of how much *they* claim to have hated it-"Flip your wig" sounds more artificial to me and don't even get me started on the last two.


I never got into "Flip Your Wig" and the production is why. "Zen Arcade" sounds much better and that was recorded in one speed-snorting 40 hour block. Bob not using earplugs is the reason that the last three albums sound horrible.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby four_oclocker_2 on Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:03 pm

tallchris wrote:
154 wrote:The ZZ Top remix thing is unforgivable and worse, they never undid those versions. I'm sure you could go buy one of those CDs at WalMart right now..


The original mixes are on Spotify now! Not sure if it's under the original albums, or just as part of a box set, but they're definitely available! I think I read that it's all safety masters, so not 1st generation. Same with any recent vinyl repressings.


[url+https://www.discogs.com/ZZ-Top-The-Complete-Studio-Albums-1970-1990/release/4651510]This set[/url], has all of the original versions of the ZZ Top albums, and it's $25. Well worth it!

This would be my pick - The Fall, Reformation Post-TLC. Granted, this is the record that was recorded like, 3 weeks after the band quit mid-tour with a band of ringers. Much love for this record, but come on...
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby kokorodoko on Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:45 am

The worst sounding album I know is Skinny Puppy's "Rabies". The music seems to lack any kind of oomph, no matter how high you turn it up it sounds tame. And when you do turn it up, a harsh, piercing high frequency becomes all the more apparent. The highhat in "Fascist Jock Itch" makes that track absolutely unlistenable.

It also seems to be uneven between tracks. "Worlock" I remember sounding alright, but I might confuse it with the single version.

The remaster corrected the worst of this. Still it's strange how they let it pass, since the Puppies knew their shit, and I imagine also Jourgensen did. Too many drugs? Who knows.


There are a lot of late 80s/early 90s death metal records that sound like ass. The drums are too high and have some weird echo and a sharp, ugly midrange. Gives me a headache.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby VaticanShotglass on Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:41 pm

The non-remaster albums in this thread that I have heard are ones that I definitely learned to listen around. Scratch Acid is a good example. Early on I knew I really hated to hear Steady Diet of Nothing in the car. It just sounded super garbled and unpleasant. I liked the songs, when I could hear them.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby iHateTheFloridaPanhandle on Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:52 pm

The only recording job Spot did that I think noticeably hurt the record was My War. Everything else gives it a certain DIY character that comes with recording shit from 10pm to 7am because that's all they could afford.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby milkmeat on Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:30 pm

I don't understand why Steady Diet is on here. It seems like the majority of the critiques here are about performance or production decisions that you would have done differently. Which, fair, but I don't think it's remotely part of the same conversation if we're talking about Justice or the aural needle that is Warehouse.
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Re: Worst Mastered/Mixed/Produced Album

Postby Get dog costumes on Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:41 pm

Spot apologists always baffle me. The presence of competent work in his catalogue makes the fails all the worse - what happened? I don't know of other recordists that prolific who have so many disasters.

Dez's guitar intro on "Six Pack" says it all. Could be the worst-recorded instrument of all time. The St. Anger snare is better.
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