Articles, Blog

Ep.5 (Part 1) Grammy Award Winning Audio Engineer Reacts to GFRIEND, Twice and Pristin

All right, so here we are with my recording arts professor Please introduce yourself and explain a little bit about what mixing engineers and mastering engineers do okay. My name is Steven Ressler I’m a professor at the University of Rochester in the audio music engineering department. I’m also a Grammy Award winning engineer and I Mix and master and record. I’ve been doing it for probably too long But I enjoy it. I enjoy it. I love it mixing and mastering in particular. So we’ve already recorded the band So that’s recording is done. So mixing and mastering is kind of like I’ve got this whole board of individual tracks that I need to mix together One of my favorite ways to explain it that I do in class is akin to baking. Okay so
recording is going out to the store and you buy a whole bunch of ingredients by the flour and the sugar and all that kind of Stuff eggs milk, whatever you need you’re gonna bake a cake and So mixing you got all those ingredients in your kitchen and you literally put them in a mixing bowl So you have all these instruments that you’ve recorded? so now we’re gonna put them in a mix and What comes out is the batter the stereo track or the 5.1 mix or 7.1 mix? so we need to make sure that all the proportions are right if There’s too much sugar. The cake is going to be too much too sweet If there’s too much flour, it’s gonna be too dry And sit like a rock and your stomach when you eat it? So you have to balance everything and make sure it’s right Mastering on the on the ends after you bake the cake and you have that mastering is the icing on the cake It’s making sure it’s even on the top and it’s making sure that all the songs and each slices It’s going to have the same amount of flavor and Otto stuff All right, so this is our girl group episode I have your showing you six different girl groups six Alright, so I chose these songs not based on the musical complexity but rather these are some groups that we haven’t touched much on on our main series on the classical musicians react and on top of That I think something unique happens in every single one that will allow you to comment on and not be too repetitive Okay, but feel free to be repetitive because people will usually only watch videos of their favorite group So many of the band people won’t be watching this This very first song is by a girl group called Gfriend they debuted in 2015 under source music entertainment and this group consists of six members and you’ll be reacting to their 2016 release called Navillera which was composed by Iggyy and Youngbae . It’s basically a Composition do that like composes all their musics, okay It’s pretty interesting this song I chose because it’s a little bit more acoustical There are more real instruments about also I think they probably use some MIDI tracks and it’s just fun and like it throwback Okay, let’s go Nice and wide sounds great Supposed to electronic instruments Samples one that made synth is quite interesting. It’s almost like a grating like her I can hear everything clearly Even the little nuances at Harveys that came in the right speaker to say there’s a sin that came through Vocals are very forward, but that’s pretty standard for pop production It’s a lot Its way it’s well mixed for what’s going on in general when the organ with electronic song center electronica Samples, it’s a little easier to mix because the sounds already pretty much set for you. I chosen with the samples on those kick and snare the since we’re adding delays you’re adding reverbs to make it more interesting or different than the stock sample I could talk so it needs to be louder only for the fact that it’s a solo and I felt like the sins were Overpowering it. It was very bad limited to is also it sounded very high mid-range but it was just kind of buried for us although Yeah, overall, it’s a pretty good mix like pretty standard pop production that’s going on vocals are extremely forward But I think that that’s that’s a style thing both American and Korean Prodigies and probably German and like, you know any kind of electronic pop music like that is it’s very vocal forward but that’s the point like most people are listening to songs to signal and most people want to learn the lyrics to you know be At the club and dance and sing along and all kind of stuff and that’s great again I think that guitar solo gonna come up, but that’s just preference for me the only thing and this is just my Being a converted curmudgeon of modern pop music in general is there’s not a lot of dynamics It’s very like who the loud and soft is made by the removal of instruments and then the adding of instruments It’s not necessarily a dynamic change. It’s just kind of like well, there’s a lot going on There isn’t something like I don’t know there’s a lot again. That’s that’s what modern loud soft That’s okay, it’s just we’ve been doing that for 20 years now in pop music So it’s like okay we need to do something new but that’s just me being a curmudgeon and an old man I’ll put on my old man hat and complain for a while How do you think that balance was cuz when my friends reacted to this song they said oh my god way too much high-end Again, yeah, there is there’s a lot of high-end that’s attacking me. It is the same kind of fatiguing problem That’s that we saw with the rock you go check out the rock bands once and I talk more about that But yes your ears get fatigued when you’re listening to a lot of high frequency content this had more bass than the rock band ones because there was a more of a Synth bass type thing that’s holding the ground and holding it down But yeah, the the vocals I thought were too out front in this they were almost separated from the band But that’s again part of the style. All right. Well, the next one is twice They are a girl group that debuted in 2015 under JYP entertainment. So this is the same as day six This song is called TT. And it’s arguably this group’s biggest hit It was released in 2016 and was composed by black eyed pulsing. We probably haven’t heard of it Um, do you know what TT means? No, it’s just like that emoji for crying Sounds like oh, I’m so sad. Yes, I’m old. I don’t get that Okay. Well now you know, and I learned something new today. Yeah This song I chose because there’s a lot of editing on the vocals So it’d be nice to talk about auto-tune or like those type of programs used to change this. Yeah, great. Here we go And then there’s a little storyline sound design It’s not very playful mix I’m getting lost in it, which is a good thing There’s a lot going on a lot to take apart. It’s kind of fun to listen to Yeah, there’s a lot of everything you can hear the jungbaek firm enough to note in the vocals It’s not like a loose on that left selection out or down to the next nail it set definitive. Alright, we’re stepping up right There in particular that section there’s a nice EE lower octave which is actually kind of neat that they do. It’s very honestly This is one the vocals sit nicer it’s kind of being developed by everything else that’s going on. This is a really nice nice Almost every time I turn up speakers again, I hear something news. It’s touching my ear. Like how do they do that? So like I’m kind of going in my brain, like what was that sound? And how did they replicate? I’m cuz there’s like a Sympathy tuned at times, which is pretty cool There’s a sine sweep on this right side of it Hmm some kind of distracting. It’s like constantly going that’s the one thing I probably already know this. Let’s go away if I was the engineer That’s actually the intro to their next song when I say yeah continuation of the story kind of okay Well, we won’t get to finish the story in this one. I wasn’t even paying attention. I Just saw two kids dressed up, you know in a house. That’s not all I got from that they knocked on the door I enjoyed that song. That’s a song I’d listen to again and the mix I’d like to go back and really kind of think it apart There was a lot of creativity there and it was it was well balanced I could hear everything clearly and there was a lot of layers and kind of weird things that were going on and percussive things It was very dense, but very well done. I like that mix a lot
umu: cool Well, the next group is called Pristen and they are a 10 member group that debuted in 2017 under Pledis entertainment They won actually two Rookie of the Year awards for 2017 And this is the song wee woo, it is their debut song so the very first song they put out it was composed and written by the group’s member Sungyeon so Pristen is actually a girl group called like self composed idols. Meaning they do all the choreography. They write their own music They write their own lyrics etc, etc. The song is supposed to represent the sound of a siren It’s a metaphor to how a girl feels when she’s in love So I chose this one because it’s kind of similar to twice’s TT But there’s this cool Thing about this song where it switches between a more cutesy Style of singing to like a more badass when the rappers come in and they add like a little bit more bass and change that Instrumentation. Okay, so I thought that would be a cool thing to (Prof: interesting) listen to It’s very similar to the last mix there’s a lot going on. It’s very balanced it’s not it’s not fatiguing It’s not a lot of high energy Well, I take that back…that note right there made me wince Something I’ve noticed in all these songs so far is that Pretty much anything rhythmic is right in the center Anything a harmonic is way outside like guitars even like the guitars are also providing rhythm here But they’re mainly in a harmonic instrument way outside delays and things Going every which way but like kick snare.. everything’s just always tight Center There’s a neat synth on the left side right there that’s kinda neat it was like *demonstrates* i’d like to hear that more I wish there was a little more bass.. the bass guitar. It’s a nice part. It’s kinda buried. Yeah, it just seems really tight it’s not as much like as I said ‘ear candy’ as in the last song It’s pretty standard. So yeah closing up on that one. It’s a good balanced mix I just think that there’s certain parts that could be brought out a little bit more. It’s again very very limited But all these are I didn’t really discussed that with mastering and limiting where there’s everything’s kind of pushed up against the ceiling so if it’s over limited, the analogy, I like to use is you take piece of play-doh or something that’s malleable and You form it into a ball and you get it like some depth to it, right? But then if you smash it up against the wall it flattens out and smears and kind of just becomes like a thin piece and that’s what happens to music when you put it up against a compressor that has a a top limit to it. It’s just kind of music is dynamic and then whatever and then if you push it so it’s so loud Everything smears and kind of gets blurry and there’s no transients There’s no definition to the sound and so pretty much almost all these kind of do that there is you know, making me dance and whatever but it’s it’s There’s no excitement. Dynamically. umu: right. I have a feeling that’s a thing with all kpop music yeah, I mean that’s the thing with All American music too
umu: ok umu: all music!
Prof: well, not Not all music. But there’s (umu: just pop?) most most stuff that’s on the radio.
Umu: I see.