O.T. Hank Williams Daughter rails against over compression

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The Maillard Reaction
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2008/10/25 09:51:56 (permalink)

O.T. Hank Williams Daughter rails against over compression

Hank Williams Daughter rails against over compression

It's on NPR right now and she's speaking of over compression on the original releases in 1951. They are re releasing with a more wide open dynamic... hear the breath. Try to check it out.


PS if you want to search it up at NPR.org it was a Scott Williams (just a coincidence) interview with "Jett" Williams.
post edited by mike_mccue - 2008/11/05 19:53:54


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    tarsier
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    RE: Hank Williams Daughter rails against over compression 2008/10/25 11:25:22 (permalink)
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    The Maillard Reaction
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    RE: Hank Williams Daughter rails against over compression 2008/10/25 11:33:53 (permalink)
    Yes, at some point in the interview she says something like "MGM ruined the tracks by running everything through compressors" ( which I think may have been appropriate for music intended to playback thru a 3" pick em up truck dashboard speaker on a tube based portable radio ) and that statement caught my attention and made me sit up and take notice.

    I thought others might find it an interesting interview.

    best regards,
    mike

    BTW I placed my order for the boxed set. Now I gotta dust off the cowboy hat :-)


    edit to add: Here's the quote right off the NPR page that Tarsier posted:

    "The other thing that's fascinating about the Mother's Best," Williams says, "is that, back when my dad was recording under MGM, what they did was apply compressors and limiters and filters, and that kind of robbed some of that presence we're hearing in these recordings. These were made direct to the disc, so it didn't have that middle man or anything in there. I know a lot of people would say, 'Those are rare or old recordings; they're gonna sound like that.' Well, you can hear these are better than the MGM masters. If you listen, it's as close to you being in that studio with my dad when he recorded these things."
    post edited by mike_mccue - 2008/10/25 11:39:15


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    NYSR
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    RE: Hank Williams Daughter rails against over compression 2008/10/25 12:26:51 (permalink)
    The compression game has become absolutely ridiculous. They are destroying some great music and making hum drum music obnoxious.

    It is everywhere, even in music that has no need to break through. I caught the new Dr. Phil TV theme song just the other day. It sounded so shrill and harsh because of how over driven and compressed it was that I could not bear to have the TV on. Every time he went to break or came back from a break, that harsh shrill sound assaults my ears. It is so distasteful that it is enough to make me not turn on that show again regardless of the topic just to keep my ears from being assaulted by the shrill over compressed music. That has to hurt his ratings. It sounds to me as if the tracks were individually compresses, then the mix was compressed, then it goes through another compressor at the broadcast station.



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    Geokauf
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    RE: Hank Williams Daughter rails against over compression 2008/10/25 13:19:21 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: mike_mccue

    Hank Williams Daughter rails against over compression

    It's on NPR right now and she's speaking of over compression on the original releases in 1951. They are re releasing with a more wide open dynamic... hear the breath. Try to check it out.


    PS if you want to search it up at NPR.org it was a Scott Williams (just a coincidence) interview with "Jett" Williams.

    Hello,

    You're editorializing a bit here. According to the article she wasn't "railing" against anything. And in the article she does not use the term "over compression." I quote:

    back when my dad was recording under MGM, what they did was apply compressors and limiters and filters


    OK, it was 1951 and they were recording direct to disk (acetate). You must peak limit so the cutter does not break through the groove wall which would spoil the disk. You also must compress to bring up the soft parts to get them above the noise that a needle makes while it is scraping along the surface of the phonograph record. "Filter[ing]" is EQ and the EQs they had back then (Pultecs, etc) are today still considered to be the best there is.

    So all this adds up to a sales pitch for a new recording not a technical discussion. There's no way that EQ and compression can be removed from the acetates. But it's even more of a sales pitch when you realize that no matter how careful you store the acetates that old, they warp (if standing on edge) and the tops of the groove walls "roll over" if they are stored flat (for example if a the acetates were stacked. And, no matter what kind of digital magic they claim to have there is absolutely no way you repair or remove the results of the physical deterioration of the disk.

    Now for the editorializing:

    Avoid NPR at all costs. Listen to you own thoughts or put on music. NPR is one of the worst at purveying misinformation and the first news service to accept any and all press releases at face value no matter how farcical they may be. An excellent example is Jett Williams "sales call" called an interview.

    ...I caught the new Dr. Phil TV...


    Bob, I have a lot of respect for you. Please say it ain't so - you watch Dr. Phil. All I can say is, "Ouch!"

    And, finally,

    Jett Williams' story is in itself a better story than the re-issue (BTW, I am a fan of the 'original' Hank Williams, Jr. - as oppossed to the "Are you ready for some football" Hank Williams Jr.).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jett_Williams

    GK
    post edited by Geokauf - 2008/10/25 13:23:36
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    Middleman
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    RE: Hank Williams Daughter rails against over compression 2008/10/25 13:33:39 (permalink)
    Geokauf, I concur.

    If they did away with compression, the sound of acoustic guitars in Nashville recordings would not be nearly as appealing as they currently sound. Compressors can be quite beneficial. Now the mastering people that cram the recording right up to the ceiling have something to answer for but when used correctly, for sonic enhancement, compressors can make the sound of a track very appealing.

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    The Maillard Reaction
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    RE: Hank Williams Daughter rails against over compression 2008/10/25 13:36:03 (permalink)
    Geokauf wrote:

    "Hello,
    You're editorializing a bit here. According to the article she wasn't "railing" against anything. And in the article she does not use the term "over compression." I quote:"


    Yes, George... In fact I'd even go one step further... I was acting the part of a drama queen.

    That said, have you listened to the interview? The inflection of Miss Jett's voice revealed a sense of disdain.

    But otherwise, I agree with your assessment of my actions.

    all the best,
    mike

    edit to add: I'm sorry I didn't read your opinion of NPR prior to answering. I can only respond that if one listens to these interviews with any regularity it would be impossible to not understand that each and every interview with an artist IS ABSOLUTELY an oppurtunity for the artist to pitch their wares. Terry Gross does several of these interviews each day. I don't think there is any HIDDEN agenda... The agenda is implicit.

    It was not a press release that just landed on their doorstep... It was an actual two way interview... the very same kind conducted on virtually every media outlet that presents people who produce creative content.

    once again,
    best regards!
    post edited by mike_mccue - 2008/10/25 13:45:59


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    Geokauf
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    RE: Hank Williams Daughter rails against over compression 2008/10/25 14:38:42 (permalink)
    Hi Mike,

    have you listened to the interview?

    LOL. After railing against NPR the answer would be a quick No.

    But otherwise, I agree with your assessment of my actions.

    Not meant to call you out. Just funnin'. Unfortunately, the real message got lost. Which is the EQ and compression Jett is describing is 1950's record making EQ and compression - not - 2008 "slamming the signal to the wall" loudness compression. In this case the acetates are well deteriorated and the EQ and compression was "cut" into the disk. There is no way it could be undone. So it is salesspeak.

    Regarding NPR, I didn't say hidden agenda. I said, "NPR is one of the worst at purveying misinformation..." I don't hold listening to NPR against you. Some of my best friends do also (despite may rantings and ravings). Just don't believe any of it.

    An aside - "Low-fi" (cutting one-time use acetates) was not typical of recording back in the 50's. Commercial phonograph records were recorded to tape. The tape formulas were very similar, if not the same as today and the machines (Ampex and Scully) were mechanically and electronically as good as modern tape machines, the mics were Telefunken, Neumann, AKG, Shure, etc., the EQs were Pultecs, the compressors were UA and Tektronix - the signal that went to tape was every bit as good as modern tape recordings. Record cutting and pressing wasn't as precise as it became in the 60's and beyond. Those "old" tapes, when mastered to CD (the Ella Fitzgerald "Songbooks," for example), are breathtaking - the clarity and definition.

    Here's a summary of Jett from "Wikipedia" for those who won't follow the link: The illegitimate daughter born 5 days after HW died. He signed papers to be her guardian. Jett is raised by HW's mother, who dies and Jett becomes a ward of the state. Jett is adopted and, knowing she is adopted, when she grows up she finds out who she is and attempts to claim her half of HW's legacy and the current HW (HW's son, a successful country music star) rejects her claim and fights her in court. Jett ultimately won. The two 1/2 siblings have joint custody of the catalog. HW the son is involved with the Mother's Best release. They're supposed to have made up by now. It was quite a few years ago.

    GK

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    tcaylor
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    RE: Hank Williams Daughter rails against over compression 2008/10/25 15:36:55 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: mike_mccue

    Yes, George... In fact I'd even go one step further... I was acting the part of a drama queen.



    Great comeback Mike

    Tom

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    John
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    RE: Hank Williams Daughter rails against over compression 2008/10/25 16:21:30 (permalink)
    Interesting two of my favorite members going at each other. I can't say who is right or who is wrong though I do sympathizes with Mike on the idea of too much compression. I have listened to NPR while in the car from time to time. I don't know what is true and what isn't on NPR when they interview someone. Over the years I have found out some tasty bits about people I don't hear much about or think much about. That in no way is putting any one down just not that much in my mind. Here in the Detroit area NPR is our best Jazz station and is also good with blues and Bluegrass plus Celtic and folk music. If I want to hear some of that I really have little choice. As far as news goes I don't get it from them. But then I am not that current on anything anyway. They do have a local broadcast of the Detroit Symphony orchestra. So I am a distant fan to my local PBS station. Your listings may vary. LOL

    Best
    John
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    The Maillard Reaction
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    RE: Hank Williams Daughter rails against over compression 2008/11/05 20:14:15 (permalink)
    So,
    I received the box set today and I have to say... it sounds fantastic. I listened to all 54 tunes today. It's just beautiful stuff.

    It was recorded in 1951 on acetate transcription disks for one time licensed play and then stored in archives. The Ampex reel to reel tape recorder was only 3 years old at the time.

    The mics in the photos are all classic American gear. RCA ribbons and such.

    The stuff was conserved to tape in 1981 by a concerned sound engineer.

    The most noteworthy thing is the feel of the performances. Everyone is so relaxed and comfortable.

    The back up band is sooooooo smooth and steady while providing a deluxe sound and vibe with no show boating. This stuff is about the SONG!

    Mr Williams was in full on road warrior mode in 1951 and indeed the purpose of the recordings was for the radio station to have content to play while he was out of the studio. His singing prowess is at it's peak.

    Apparently the engineers who made these original recordings for WSM (that's the Grand ol Opry folks) also worked with Mr. Williams across the street at the "recording" studio... where they had the Ampex... so they knew what they were doing as far as capturing his sound.

    If you want some insights into Hank Sr. try to get a chance to listen to these cuts.

    Apologies in advance for what appears to be an endorsement... I'm really just trying to share some info that this stuff is now available for public listening... because listening to it has deeply effected me.

    best regards,
    mike



    post edited by mike_mccue - 2008/11/05 20:16:43


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