MixCheck is a depositary of song analysis from the team at PureMix, that will point you to great songs, great productions and great mixes, point to the important points, and single out the hidden gems to help you form your taste and broaden your musical and sonic culture. Normally PureMix only make these detailed analysises available to subscribers but the latest MixCheck on Metallica is available to everyone. Over to the PureMix team...
Mix Analysis: Metallica vs Metallica - Metallica
Let’s talk about perception. Shall we?
I hear a lot of comments in the style of ‘Records don’t sound the way they used to’, ‘Modern recording tools are horrible’, ‘Dark Side of the moon is the best sounding record EVER, dude’, ‘I wish I had a ‘insert expensive german piece of gear name here’ so I could get that magical sound, I can’t do it without’, ‘I can’t find any new exciting references to inspire me’ etc, etc… That’s how it feels to a lot of people, but is it real? Ever the question in relationships, innit?
Obviously since the sound of a record is a matter of taste, it’s hard to quantify. Yet there are signs that can be considered concrete like, for example, when you have a tendency to squint your eyes from pain when listening to a particular record then, maybe, it’s safe to say that someone failed at their job somewhere along the line (unless the intent was to inflict pain on the listener). Same if you can’t hear the lyrics of a song from vocals being buried or getting a nose bleed from every time cymbals get hit.
And then there are production choices. Color. Direction. Crazy or cool artistic decisions. Someone in the 80s decided it’d be fun to drown the most important elements of every song in 8 bit digital reverb. Go listen to George Michael’s Careless Whisper or anything by Enya for a good refresher. Some people love it and are bringing that sound back, some people think it’s just plain funny. So what’s GOOD and what’s BAD?
When I hear absolute and unequivocal statements from people saying things like ‘Death Magnetic’ by Metallica sounds horrible but ‘Enter the Sandman’ sounds perfect. I’m always dubious. It warrants a careful listen. What’s real and what’s not?
You can read the rest of this analysis on the PureMix site here. I have to say it is an excellent detailed study with examples and well worth a read even it this isn't your style of music.