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Thread: Reproducing that 80s sound

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mickster View Post
    johndotpizza........we get that for sure........and we understand that you're lack of experience (and terminology) will make the detective job for us a little more time consuming........but that's no big deal.......and we'll get the answers you need I think. So....to begin with....we'll need more examples of what you're hearing that sounds differently between then and now. If you need more posts to upload examples....then make more posts. An A and B example with specific questions or references to differences is best.

    You're not upsetting anyone here. Just remember to keep an open mind about the cause and effect of the "sound" you want to achieve. The answer may not be what you think.
    I appreciate your willingness to help.

    Another good example I can offer is the opening to The Breakfast Club. The monologue given by Brian's character has the quality I'm referring to, though to an extreme degree. The entire movie possesses this quality but not to the extent exhibited in that intro. A major defining attribute of it, to my ears, is that the S's are very crushed and I think it has to do with compression. Ferris Bueller sounds the same. I'm listening to both via the Blu-ray copies I own but you can find the Breakfast Club intro on YouTube.

  2. #12
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    Watched the Night Rider intro. That brings back memories...

    First off, it is a mono recording with very limited dynamic range. The spoken word is almost the 'telephone' effect with a guy that has a really deep voice. Maybe a bit of preamp gain (distortion).

    I don't see a problem reproducing this sound. May be as simple as creating a mono mix and high pass/low pass filters as a start.

    Post a few more. I believe you only need 10 posts to give links to your recording. We can surely help further hearing what it is you have already recorded.

    And yes, you came to the right place. Just kind of desolate here lately, so many members don't respond immediately.

    Cheers!
    PC Win7-64-24G i7-4790k/Cubase 9 Pro 64-bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/ADAM A7x/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne 4 Studio/Other things that don't mean anything if a client shows up not knowing what it wants.

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  4. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by johndotpizza View Post

    Another good example I can offer is the opening to The Breakfast Club. The monologue given by Brian's character has the quality I'm referring to, though to an extreme degree.
    Dead dry narration recording...has some sort of gate or voiceover AGC thing going on, you can hear how the ambience of the spoken phrases is abruptly cut off.
    It's also about the mic used to record that...?...and probably with him very close to the mic and speaking somewhat softly, which adds some of that air/grain to the sound.

    Anyway...can you get that sound today...for sure. You just have to find the setup that can reproduce it. I mean, it's certainly not any analog vs digital thing, even if then they recorded it to analog tape. The tape rolled some things off, maybe added a touch of tape noise/hiss to the background...but those things can be recreated in the digital domain.

    Also...as someone may have already mentioned...there were different production mindsets back then and now...so you kinda have to think about that when trying to achieve a period correct recording. I mean...it's not just the about the gear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmys69 View Post
    First off, it is a mono recording with very limited dynamic range. The spoken word is almost the 'telephone' effect with a guy that has a really deep voice. Maybe a bit of preamp gain (distortion).
    I think the distortion is the part I'm having trouble with. I don't know how to add that element without it sounding terrible.

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    If you have plugins...find one that does "saturation" or maybe "tape"...and then see f you can add some "grain" to the track.
    You don't have to go for *distortion* like you would with a guitar amp....you just want a touch.

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  9. #16
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    Sounds like you’re hearing tape saturation. If your DAW or video software has a “saturation” or “overdrive” tool, try applying a little to the master and see if it gets you a bit closer to what you’re looking for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by easlern View Post
    Sounds like you’re hearing tape saturation. If your DAW or video software has a “saturation” or “overdrive” tool, try applying a little to the master and see if it gets you a bit closer to what you’re looking for.
    I've actually tried multiple "saturation" plugins and effects and it just ends up sounding like bad distortion. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but even in small doses it didn't sound like it was getting me any closer to my goal.

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    Johndotpizza,

    I might disagree with you on the soundtrack of films from the 80s as being drastically different or inferior. Many films for the 70s and 80s are just as clean and clear as those today. I'm referring to movies like the Godfather and Godfather 2, StarWars, Return of the Jedi, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Amadeus. All have wonderful soundtracks.

    This is different from 80s TV shows where soundtracks will be more limited in scope, bandwidth and dynamic range.

    You might have better luck by picking out several examples that have the character you desire, and then research who did the recording if possible (and where). Many producers will have their own distinctive style. It would be like trying to generalize rock music when you have guys like Phil Spector, George Martin, Mutt Lange, Quincy Jones and Trevor Horn. Each had a style or sound technique that is usually identifiable. There's no way to confuse a Quincy Jones production with a Mutt Lange or George Martin work. Can you imagine Phil Spector doing Pyromania?

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    Audio quality from the 60s onwards is surprisingly high, so I wonder if what you are experiencing is just the rather low if recording systems of the video recorders you may be hearing on re-recorded products from the day. Blu-ray is a good example, nice pictures but no guarantee where they got the audio. Have you got access to an old vhs or Betamax recorder? Run your pristine audio onto and back off one of those with auto level and narrower frequency response. Alan parsons first album is 43 soon, and is amazing quality still. You are doing the modern thing and looking for plugins, but you are finding extremes not subtlety. The studios produced night rider in probably excellent quality but what you are hearing is what happened to it after that date. You could be attempting to re-engineer the wrong thing. Perhaps you have a version of history in your head that isn't accurate? That's fine of course, artistically, but probably wrong reality wise. A bit like when people try to recreate the sound of things like the picadilly dance orchestras, with the thin and feeble sound of the old movies, only to discover they really didn't sound like that, and the producers have to either go with the wrong sound or the real one?

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    Y'all are making me feel like I'm crazy. I've watched countless 80s movies (despite not being around in that decade) because I generally prefer them over newer films. It's because they have certain attributes that make them more interesting to me and part of that is the unique sound of the audio. I certainly wouldn't call it inferior, just different in a way that is more appealing to me. No, I wasn't in the theater to watch the original run of any of these films, but I find it hard to believe that none of them were able to retain their original audio quality on the DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming copies I've viewed over the years. It's really not a drastic difference but it's enough to give it a different feeling.

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