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Topic: The real reason TB 2003 sounds "fake"< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
AwayWeGo Offline




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Posted: Aug. 05 2015, 16:48

The real reason Tubular Bells 2003 sounds "fake"

The answer: compression.

Everyone talks about how Tubular Bells 2003 sounds "fake" or "computerized," but the fact is, most of it is likely played by hand. There are some synthesizers and synthetic instruments, but the album is full of guitar, glockenspiel, etc. just like on the original album. So what's the problem?

The issue is that Mike, in order to make the record sound more precise and professional, compressed the dynamic range of many of the instruments, causing them to sound flat and dynamically monotone at times, just like computerized instruments often sound.

So basically, to explain, when we hear instruments played in person, we hear the constantly varying loudness of notes. This helps it sound realistic. The original Tubular Bells recording matched natural dynamics more closely. This was even true of the 2009 remaster. However, the 2003 re-recording smashed down the dynamics to a point in which the notes sometimes sound unnatural and uniform with the rest of the track, as well as with each other. Combine that with the fact that there are computer synthesizers laying the foundations often, and the result is a blend that sounds very precise and clean, but not natural to our ears.

I think the reason that many people have a problem with this is that this is not the Tubular Bells sound they were expecting. They fell in love with the grittiness of the original Tubular Bells. They first heard a record that sounded very human and not perfect, and that was a huge part of the appeal. So, you can imagine people's surprise at the new, dynamically linear sound of the re-recording. You may be in that same camp that was taken aback the first time, as was I.

However, this is not to say that I don't like the record. In fact, I do very much like it. I try to think of it as a different recording of the same melodies, as opposed to a strict do-over recording, which is what I think we were all expecting.

I think TB 2003 should be appreciated in its own right. It's a newer effort which will never truly replace the original, but is still a good and well-made listen.

What are your thoughts?
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Dr Bogenbroom Offline




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Posted: Aug. 07 2015, 03:07

As a new follower of Mike Oldfield I have to say that 2003 is, for me, the best version. I'm not sure that 'sounding realistic' is something I'm concerned with. I do enjoy the original mix, but it's one I will always listen to on headphones in order to pick up on everything, and yes, the roughness of it is enjoyable.
I read that 2003 was the way Mike wanted it to sound but the technology at the time wouldn't allow. I for one am glad he rerecorded it.


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Dancing the Entropy Tango
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AwayWeGo Offline




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Posted: Aug. 07 2015, 13:41

Quote (Dr Bogenbroom @ Aug. 07 2015, 03:07)
As a new follower of Mike Oldfield I have to say that 2003 is, for me, the best version. I'm not sure that 'sounding realistic' is something I'm concerned with. I do enjoy the original mix, but it's one I will always listen to on headphones in order to pick up on everything, and yes, the roughness of it is enjoyable.
I read that 2003 was the way Mike wanted it to sound but the technology at the time wouldn't allow. I for one am glad he rerecorded it.

People swear by the original, but I think it really does come down to preference. People tend to sway toward the version they heard first. I, like you, like both versions.

I find it so interesting that Mike said this about his intended sound. I think artists often can't see their own work through the eyes of their fans. (Let us remember that Mike also isn't a huge fan of the beloved Hergest Ridge.) I'm glad he re-recorded TB, but also glad he made the original. Either way, I think we should just be glad that he made so many records and mixes for us fans to choose from.

Thanks for replying (:
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EeToN Offline




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Posted: Aug. 07 2015, 19:24

I find that TB Part 1 sounds best in rocky arrangements like how it sounded like live in the 80s, particularly in the 10th Anniversary concert in 1983 (inserted below) which I love and listen to a lot. Compared to that, I tend to find the original studio version pale. The more 'chillout' and reverby arrangement/mixing of TB2003 is an interesting one and I still enjoy it but it sounds like the potential power of the music is repressed.
However, for the calmer parts of Part 2, the atmosphere of TB2003 is spot on.

To comment directly on the topic, I find the large reverbs a more characteristic attribute of TB2003 than compression but of course, compression can have such an effect, too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2WUWtexuFc


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If I were music, I would be Enigmatism.
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Dr Bogenbroom Offline




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Posted: Aug. 08 2015, 07:39

Quote (AwayWeGo @ Aug. 07 2015, 13:41)
Quote (Dr Bogenbroom @ Aug. 07 2015, 03:07)
As a new follower of Mike Oldfield I have to say that 2003 is, for me, the best version. I'm not sure that 'sounding realistic' is something I'm concerned with. I do enjoy the original mix, but it's one I will always listen to on headphones in order to pick up on everything, and yes, the roughness of it is enjoyable.
I read that 2003 was the way Mike wanted it to sound but the technology at the time wouldn't allow. I for one am glad he rerecorded it.

People swear by the original, but I think it really does come down to preference. People tend to sway toward the version they heard first. I, like you, like both versions.

I find it so interesting that Mike said this about his intended sound. I think artists often can't see their own work through the eyes of their fans. (Let us remember that Mike also isn't a huge fan of the beloved Hergest Ridge.) I'm glad he re-recorded TB, but also glad he made the original. Either way, I think we should just be glad that he made so many records and mixes for us fans to choose from.

Thanks for replying (:

Interesting what you say about artists not seeing through eyes of their fans. For me the Boxed version of Hergest Ridge is the best thing I've heard by Mike. It is a truly magnificent piece of music, and although I also have the Deluxe Edition, I don't like those mixes as much. Apparently he wanted all further versions to be derived from Boxed, but the 2010 remix doesn't seem to be, which is a shame.
Like I said in another post, it's worth checking out all the different mixes of his albums, as you just may hit upon one you find amazing.


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AwayWeGo Offline




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Posted: Aug. 08 2015, 19:34

Quote (EeToN @ Aug. 07 2015, 19:24)
I find that TB Part 1 sounds best in rocky arrangements like how it sounded like live in the 80s, particularly in the 10th Anniversary concert in 1983 (inserted below) which I love and listen to a lot. Compared to that, I tend to find the original studio version pale. The more 'chillout' and reverby arrangement/mixing of TB2003 is an interesting one and I still enjoy it but it sounds like the potential power of the music is repressed.
However, for the calmer parts of Part 2, the atmosphere of TB2003 is spot on.

To comment directly on the topic, I find the large reverbs a more characteristic attribute of TB2003 than compression but of course, compression can have such an effect, too.

I'm glad you pointed out that the 2003 version had more reverb. I hadn't really noticed that until now, but it does have massive beach-scale reverb. It makes it sound bigger. Don't you think?
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AwayWeGo Offline




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Posted: Aug. 08 2015, 19:40

Quote (Dr Bogenbroom @ Aug. 08 2015, 07:39)
Quote (AwayWeGo @ Aug. 07 2015, 13:41)
Quote (Dr Bogenbroom @ Aug. 07 2015, 03:07)
As a new follower of Mike Oldfield I have to say that 2003 is, for me, the best version. I'm not sure that 'sounding realistic' is something I'm concerned with. I do enjoy the original mix, but it's one I will always listen to on headphones in order to pick up on everything, and yes, the roughness of it is enjoyable.
I read that 2003 was the way Mike wanted it to sound but the technology at the time wouldn't allow. I for one am glad he rerecorded it.

People swear by the original, but I think it really does come down to preference. People tend to sway toward the version they heard first. I, like you, like both versions.

I find it so interesting that Mike said this about his intended sound. I think artists often can't see their own work through the eyes of their fans. (Let us remember that Mike also isn't a huge fan of the beloved Hergest Ridge.) I'm glad he re-recorded TB, but also glad he made the original. Either way, I think we should just be glad that he made so many records and mixes for us fans to choose from.

Thanks for replying (:

Interesting what you say about artists not seeing through eyes of their fans. For me the Boxed version of Hergest Ridge is the best thing I've heard by Mike. It is a truly magnificent piece of music, and although I also have the Deluxe Edition, I don't like those mixes as much. Apparently he wanted all further versions to be derived from Boxed, but the 2010 remix doesn't seem to be, which is a shame.
Like I said in another post, it's worth checking out all the different mixes of his albums, as you just may hit upon one you find amazing.

Yo dawg, I heard you like quote boxes. So I put a quote box around your quote box around my quote box so you can box quotes while I quote the box that you box-quoted.
Lol

I really liked the Boxed mix of Hergest Ridge the first time I heard it. It's a new take, and it has the thunderstorm section at the right volume. But I am so glad the 2010 mix was an integrated version with features from both old mixes. I think of it as the definitive version. But like I said, I'm glad we have so many versions, plus that awesome demo that was newly released.
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AwayWeGo Offline




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Posted: Aug. 22 2015, 20:58

Quote (EeToN @ Aug. 07 2015, 19:24)
I find that TB Part 1 sounds best in rocky arrangements like how it sounded like live in the 80s, particularly in the 10th Anniversary concert in 1983 (inserted below) which I love and listen to a lot. Compared to that, I tend to find the original studio version pale. The more 'chillout' and reverby arrangement/mixing of TB2003 is an interesting one and I still enjoy it but it sounds like the potential power of the music is repressed.
However, for the calmer parts of Part 2, the atmosphere of TB2003 is spot on.

To comment directly on the topic, I find the large reverbs a more characteristic attribute of TB2003 than compression but of course, compression can have such an effect, too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2WUWtexuFc

I am fond of these arrangements, but to me they almost sound like an attempt to make Tubular Bells more marketable in arrangement, almost trying to make it a proper rock album. To me, that's not what the album was originally about. But I understand the dynamic of Mike being on tour and knowing that people want to hear his signature work, and also wanting to have something for all the performers to do (:

Thanks for sharing that video (:
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