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Does the average listener care about guitar tone?

Discussion in 'Bar' started by SocialNumb, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. SocialNumb

    SocialNumb Damn Christians!

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    Does the average listener know what a "good" tone is vs a not so great tone? The musician in me is an asshole in the sense that "he" forces me to pic apart every sound in a song instead of just listening and enjoying it. So would a listener with no music knowledge enjoy one tone over another? IDK my guess is they would not have a clue and either one will do so long as they like the style/singer. What are your thoughts on this?:erk:
     
  2. LydonB

    LydonB Member

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    My one friend could care less about production. He loves Burzum, despite the godawful production. That honestly ruins the music to some degree. If I can't hear it, its hard to appreciate it.
     
  3. Metaltastic

    Metaltastic Member

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    Also, the punchiness/power/quality of the sounds affect everyone's enjoyment, I think - although the uninitiated probably wouldn't be able to say why they like one mix over another, more than likely they would, and we would be able to say that it's cuz of it's better guitar tone, for example.
     
  4. Sinister Mephisto

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    I think they do to a certain extent, but they aren't as particular as musicians, and a lot of musicians are less picky than audio geeks.

    Also, the Beatles/Black Sabbath had really cool sounds, especially for the time.
     
  5. Machinated

    Machinated Member

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    I think moreso with metal, the listener more than likely plays an instrument and would therefore care more about guitar tones than your people who listen to just other genres.
     
  6. SocialNumb

    SocialNumb Damn Christians!

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    Burzum eh, I just checked it out on the tube & well.......:lol:
    Don't know anything about him/them but dam that sounds bad. Sounds like it was recorded with a cassette tape player.
     
  7. LydonB

    LydonB Member

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    yep. I think if it was recorded better, the entire product would be better.
     
  8. SpewChunks

    SpewChunks Member

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    Thats missing the point, the reason why burzum is so good is because the production is shit. I think increased 'quality' of production has defined genre's, i mean one of the biggest differences between old skool punk and pop punk is the 'over production' (and gay singing) and all the extra possiblites that are a benefactor of this. Same goes for the evolution of straight death metal into tech death. The quality of a production does not change the quality of a composition, it just embellishes the aural arrangement to make it more alluring.

    There is also the fact that 'super produced' is often synonymous with 'mega marketed' so it can be hard to justify how much an excesively produced band compares to the counter...

    and on tone...
    I don't really know what makes a great tone, or if a band has either a shit or good tone really even matters, as long as they have a recognizeable 'signature' tone that the listener can instantly assimilate to as 'that' bands tone or sound.
     
  9. Unavailable

    Unavailable Member

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    Kind of off topic, but in FPS video games, my friends (non musicians or audiophiles) say as long as it sounds like a gun its fine... But then there are games raising the bar that make their guns sound like they are actually being shot in the environment that you are in, which I have a special appreciation for. It subconsciously affects peoples enjoyment of the game in my opinion.

    I think, in general, non-audiophiles will never care about certain nuances that we appreciate about sound.
     
  10. abyssofdreams

    abyssofdreams knows what you think.

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    To answer your question: I think the average listener does not care about guitar tone.
    I'd say the average listener wouldn't even care about the production at all unless there is something that went completely wrong with it...
     
  11. TomAwesome

    TomAwesome I LIKE JUICE!

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    I think it depends on the genre. There's stuff like pop where most of the fans don't know what a guitar is supposed to sound like anyway, and there are entire genres that are almost defined by shitty guitar tone (like a big chunk of the nu-metal thing, most metalcore [IMO], and a lot of the more extreme metal, though I've heard good tones in these genres sometimes). To an ever-increasing extent, I dissect the hell out of any produced audio I hear. A lot of things bother me now that I might not have even noticed before. I couldn't even listen all the way through Dimmu Borgir's last album, because it was giving me serious ear fatigue.
     
  12. -Vith-

    -Vith- To the bar!!

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    That's just part of the charm of Burzum (as well as most other old skool black metal such as Darkthrone, early Bathory etc), the fact it sounds like it was recorded in a barn or something. I know quite a few people, myself included, who love old Mayhem stuff but don't really enjoy their newer material so much because they've started to use good production. Those bands just weren't meant to have good production lol and to be honest I think if Aske or Hvis Lyset Tar Oss etc etc were really well produced albums then it'd take the atmosphere / essence away. Same goes for the other BM bands as I mentioned before. Even now when most mainstream black metal bands like to sound "clean" and "polished" I still enjoy sticking a bit of the ol' Nattefrost stuff on... fucking raw :headbang:

    But about tone, like someone up there^ said before the average listener who doesn't play an instrument or have any musical knowledge / talent might not notice or care about different guitar tones..but in metal when the majority of listeners do have an ear for music then it gets noticed quite a bit. Goes for any instrument I guess, I find myself occasionally listening to something and thinking "those keys really don't fit in that bit, they could've left them out there" and so on. When I first bought Dimmu Borgir's "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia" album around 4 years ago, I barely made it all the way through when I listened to it the drums are just so damn loud in the mix on that record

    EDIT: Thinking about it, Dimmu Borgir are a good example. I fooking love all of Dimmu's material to date, but For All Tid and the original version of Stormblast will always have a special place in my little pink heart just because of the blatantly crap production which, in Stormblast's case at least, gave those albums their particular essence and feel. Especially now all Dimmu's albums are all nicely polished and refined, it's nice to put those 2 albums on just to hear how Dimmu originally sounded. (this probably makes little sense to anyone but me, apologies)
     
  13. Chryst Krispies

    Chryst Krispies Vanilla Gorilla

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    It works the other way too.

    I listen to a lot of bands that are pretty terrible BECAUSE I like the guitar sounds.....
     
  14. Metaltastic

    Metaltastic Member

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    Uggghhh, not me - that's always one of the things I hated about some wannabe (and real deal) AE's, they'll go on and on about how they'll buy (and enjoy) a CD just cuz of the production/producer, and meanwhile, the music is just so fucking terrible; isn't the music what matters here people, not the mechanics of capturing it? I can appreciate and acknowledge good production, of course, but I'm certainly not going to spend money to listen to the new fucking Linkin Park CD, for example (if they even do stuff anymore) just because it sounds good.

    There's a quote that really sums up my feelings on the subject from an old issue of "EQ" that my roommate has lying around. It's by Tim Palmer on the recording of the new HIM album: "It's funny that as we increase sampling and bit rates on the production side of music, the public is moving the other way, and downgrading to mp3's. They are showing us they really care about the songs, artists, and performances. That's not an excuse for poor production and mixing, but it's a reminder about what makes someone want to own a piece of music. The song is - and always will be - king. If the song is great, the recording is automatically in a good place. As they say, 'The best cure for a bad mix is a great song.'"

    On the other hand, I certainly don't enjoy painfully bad productions - I just think it's important to remember priorities here. :)
     
  15. Sinister Mephisto

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    I'm sorry that other people enjoying things bothers you. :lol:
     
  16. abyssofdreams

    abyssofdreams knows what you think.

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    good music, bad production = nice
    bad music, good production = shit
    good music, good production = awesome
     
  17. STINNETT

    STINNETT Bad / Nationwide

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    I think it only becomes an issue in extreme situations.

    What I mean is that subtle differences don't matter too much to most people. For example, as long as the guitar sounds somewhere in the neighborhood of what they think a guitar sounds like, most people don't care. An album that has a meticulously crafted guitar sound that makes audiophiles and guitar geeks drool, won't mean a damn bit more to the average listener versus something with average guitar tone.
    But in the other direction, there is a cutoff point where their indifference will start to deteriorate. Some albums sound so bad that a person will go, "what the fuck is wrong with the guitar?"
     
  18. kev

    kev Im guybrush threepwood

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    I agree with abyss above, and my opinion is that the general population (and even a lot of musicians themselves) dont care for a great production consciously. But with good production that "heavy riff" is much heavier and so its going to stand out to them more and make them consequently have greater interest of course. (p.s i cant stand burzum or the production haha)
     
  19. JBroll

    JBroll I MIX WITH PHYSICS!!!!

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    Holy fucking hell, Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia is too loud on Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia. Fucking loud as hell... still makes me feel a little queasy when I listen to ten minutes of it.

    Production does have value in and of itself for someone whose job revolves around that. You may not like the pictures taken to show that one camera is clear and another isn't, but you learn something about the way a camera handles a given type of image if you look hard enough. You may not like a tune someone plays on... an oboe, but you could get a better idea of what an oboe can be good for. You may not want to fuck anyone in a given porn scene, but if there's a new position to tr... okay, you get the picture.

    Listening to learn production ability does not equal, or detract from, listening for musical quality. Learning how to make shit sound decent makes it easier to make good sound great. If you've played an instrument very well, you've almost without a doubt done at least a few 'exercises' not for their own intrinsic melodic value but to make it easier to convey different melodies as they come along. You've driven through cones not because the American highway system revolves around little orange blobs of plastic but because you had to learn how to handle a motor vehicle. You took math tests not to be prepared for the day when Jesus comes up and asks you to find the roots of (x^2-3x-4)/(x+1) but to be able to recognize basic patterns in nature and be able to approach them properly with critical thinking... whether or not that lesson actually stuck.

    As for enjoying such learning experiences, is learning not allowed to be fun? I know you probably went through American schooling, but still...

    Jeff
     
  20. -Vith-

    -Vith- To the bar!!

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    I never thought about it that way^^ Nice.

    Something I forgot to mention before that just occurred to me: With some really well produced music I sometimes think it just sounds too...clinical, too methodic and it just makes me think of some guys in white coats and facemasks in a sterile white room that smells strongly of disinfectant and chlorine dissecting the music to make sure it's all absolutely perfect and machine-like. Sometimes I like to be able to hear fingers sliding over frets or some slight guitar ring in palm-muted start-stop sections. Just something to show that the music was actually made by real life humans, maybe with beards, in a studio somewhere drinking beer and having a good time, rather than robots.

    Maybe that's just me heh
     

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