Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Quality of early albums

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Makka user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 02 Dec 10, 20:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

One thing that has been on my mind of late is the quality of the first two Queen albums in regards to recording. The first album especially seems very 'muddy' in comparison to some other albums of the day, a good example would be Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon.  There is just so much more 'life' in this album compared to Queen, and even Queen II. 

Would people consider this to be a studio issue (it was a new studio wasn't it) or more the engineering/mixing or just down to plain inexperience in the studio?

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Posted: 02 Dec 10, 21:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Pink Floyd had Alan Parsons.


John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 03 Dec 10, 03:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It may have many reasons, it can have to do with the speakers in the studio when they were mixing it. It may have sounded great there but not on regular speakers. That's why some studios in those days even checked their mixes in a car outside, as speakers in the 70s sometimes were extremely different. 
It may have to do with the fact, that the studio was new and the technical crew was still testing....It may have to do with the mastering.
It may even be, that this was the sound they wanted. Take the original "Deep Purple in Rock" or the original single "Black night" and they also sound horrible. Those have been remixed and remastered and the difference is unbelievable.

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Posted: 03 Dec 10, 14:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I seem to recall Queen recorded their first album at a new studio, working around the schedules of other recording artists and builders.  They were essentially recorded free, or nearly for free, by testing out the studio as they worked.  Floyd on the other hand spent 5-6 months at Abbey Road with Alan Parsons on DSOTM. This was not their first album either and already had a good ide of what they wanted from the sessions.

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Posted: 03 Dec 10, 16:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Trident studios weren't new when Queen first went there: they'd existed for four years and had been visited by artists such as Beatles, Paul Rodgers, David Bowie, Elton John, Frank Zappa, T. Rex, Smile, Rick Wakeman, Genesis, etc, etc, etc.

You may be mixing up your data.


John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 03 Dec 10, 22:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sebastian wrote: Trident studios weren't new when Queen first went there: they'd existed for four years and had been visited by artists such as Beatles, Paul Rodgers, David Bowie, Elton John, Frank Zappa, T. Rex, Smile, Rick Wakeman, Genesis, etc, etc, etc.

You may be mixing up your data.

Probably am.  I thought Queen  was recorded elsewhere.  De Lane Lea studios

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Posted: 04 Dec 10, 05:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

When we listen to Queen II, some tracks avec a quite great sound (in my opinion) : Procession, Nevermore, The Fairy Feller 's Master Stroke, Funny How Love Is, The Looser In The End, fox example.

The others songs have so much re re processing (a lot of guitar tracks & backing tracks...) that the final sound is distort.
I think they may use more tracks than possible in this time of analogical recording and the limit of tape technology.

A remix & remaster can possibly give us a better sound but not a perfect sound (as A Day At The Races for instance).


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Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 04 Dec 10, 06:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

In 1971, Queen went to the De Lane Lea Music Centre, which were indeed rather new, and weren't actually testing their equipment as much as they were playing for the engineers to check isolation between the rooms. The tracks they did there, while not being as good (in terms of sound quality) as contemporary albums (e.g. Nursery Cryme), was way better than on the actual Queen début album. Only Night Comes Down in the released record comes from those sessions.

The rest of the album was laid down at Trident, which had existed since 1968 and whose other releases (e.g. the aforementioned Nursery Cryme) were considerably better in terms of sound quality. I think there's a combination of things:

* Roy was new to producing. By 'Queen II', he was much more experienced, and by 'Opera' he'd already produced loads of things including bands that had nothing to do with Queen. Experience is the best college you can go to, and by 'Opera', Roy'd already graduated.

* Mike, at the time, was merely a tea-boy in Trident and it was around mid-1972 (thanks to Bowie and Ronson) that he became well-known for his mixes. But most of the engineering work on the Queen début album was done by Roy, David (who worked very closely with John Anthony) and Ted. David and Roy became world famous as producers, not as engineers, for a reason. Ted faded out from the spotlight (if he was ever there to begin with). Pink Floyd, on the other hand, had Alan Parsons.

* Queen themselves weren't very sure about what they wanted, and if (since) they had a say in the mixing process as well (and EQ, compression, miking, etc), it's possible they went to extremes with the amount of distortion or processing in some individual tracks, which resulted in a record that's not extremely listeneable (in terms of sound - the songs are fantastic IMO). Not too rare for new bands who self-co-produce themselves... again, by 'Opera' (or even 'Races', where they had no producer but themselves), they already knew a lot more.


John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 04 Dec 10, 10:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think Jazz sound can be considered as a studio issue. I think that's Roger who came toward Roy Thomas Baker wanting him to produce the new album, which would take place in their latest buy, Mountain Studios, which was state of the art at the time : Westlake designed monitors, monster recording room (the one used for all the "Live in Montreux" video's).

endless question : bad use of new technology ? Bad ears ? Bad Mastering ? Drunken RTB ?


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Posted: 04 Dec 10, 12:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Those studios weren't theirs at that time. They bought 'em some months after Jazz.


John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 04 Dec 10, 14:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Those albums have been part of my life for 36 years, i did'nt realise that i had some kinda hearing deficiency, 'cos in all that time i have never noticed anything 'muddy' about them, on the contrary.

Master Marathon Runner.


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Posted: 04 Dec 10, 16:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

master marathon runner wrote: Those albums have been part of my life for 36 years, i did'nt realise that i had some kinda hearing deficiency, 'cos in all that time i have never noticed anything 'muddy' about them, on the contrary.

Master Marathon Runner.
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No harm to you but if you can't tell the difference in sound quality between Queen 1 and Queen 2 then you probably do have a hearing deficiency. As for Jazz, the sound on some songs is a bit buzzy and muddy. It reminds me a little of the murky sound quality of AC/DC's Fly on the Wall album.


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Posted: 05 Dec 10, 00:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The Debute album is great.  One of the best debutes in rock IMO, but I agree the production is lacking.  It really is a shame.  You could understand it though,  it was their debute album. Money and Experience was lacking.  What's the excuse for Jazz?....Roger's best Drum work in his career, and a shit load of great songs ruined (well, not really ruined).  Still a very good album, but could have been great if it wasn't for the production.

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Posted: 09 Dec 10, 12:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The first Queen album does sound muddy,
but a lot of us have gotten used to that sound being part of those songs.
A proper remix/remaster of the entire album would be great.

Jazz is one of those albums which for me works with the sound it has.
Could have used more bass, but the attack in sound is fenomenal.
Wouldn't have worked for any other album though.


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Posted: 09 Dec 10, 18:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I consider Innuendo worse in the terms of the production - especially how they [awfully] mixed bass.


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Posted: 10 Dec 10, 09:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Mr Prime Jive wrote: Mountain Studios, which was state of the art at the time : Westlake designed monitors, monster recording room (the one used for all the "Live in Montreux" video's).
-----------------------

I don't recall Mountain Studios being big or having a "monster recording room", unless you meant to say they used that room to record monsters. Maybe really small monsters. :)

Certainly much smaller than the studio shown in the inner sleeve of the Jazz album, which is huge. Is that Super Bear studios?