Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > MK Bowl vs Montreal - I just don't understand.....

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cmsdrums user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 12 Jul 11, 07:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

......how the team responsible for the audio on these two concerts can produce results so massivley differing in quality.  I'm fully understanding that different shows from different eras will sound different, but they can sound different yet still actually be good.  This is not the case with MK Bowl.

Essentially the overall audio on Rock Montreal is superb - the drums are the best live recording of Roger - crisp, clear hi hats, plenty of kick drum, fat floor toms.  The piano cuts through really well, and on Freddie's vocals you even get the ambience and reverb of the room. The bass is also fantastic. The mix is good - everything in it's own space and not competing, everything perfectly clear and audible, and plenty of power and bottom end without any boominess or loss of clarity.

In contrast - the Live at the Bowl drums are appalling; the snare sounds 'flappy' with no snap or presence, the kick drum is woolly with nothing done to help it cut through - the toms are not hugely audible, but sound dull and 'boxy' anyway so perhaps thats no bad thing!  Yes, the bass and Freddie's vox are pretty good, but not to the standard of Montreal.  Overall, the mix sounds lifeless and with no definition, with a lot of parts getting swamped or lost in a jumble.  Backing vocals again are not nearly up enough in the mix.

QPL went ot great lengths to state that both of these shows were remixed fully from the multitrack tapes, so I simply can't explain how when they were mixing MK they got to the point of saying '"yeah, that sounds good" when it clearly doesn't.  I was so waiting for the CD when it came out but even on first play I was so so disappointed with the sound of it.  Yes, the original recording made by Mack of the Montreal show may well have been much better, but I simply don't know how when they have revisited the multitrack masters they could not apply the right mixing techniques, EQs, settings etc.. to make the MK concert come alive in a similar way.

I know some discussion has taken place on this subject in the past, but I just had to vent my spleen on this for some reason today!!!

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Posted: 12 Jul 11, 08:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Surely it's a case of how it was recorded - not mixed.

To put it another way: garbage in, garbage out!!!


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Posted: 12 Jul 11, 08:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You're right to a certain degree, and different drum kits etc.. will sound different, and recordings will be affected by the acoustics in the venue etc...   BUT

because they have remixed the audio from the multitracks rather than just a stereo mix of the whole band, they should be able to make any of the instruments sound markedly different if they want to.

An example is that the original Live In Rio audio is very poor, (along with most shows that have surfaced from that tour).  However, when you listen to Rock In Rio Blues from the A Winter's Tale CD single, the sound on that is fabulous, and a vast improvement on the mix on the VHS - they have put some work into that track (or perhaps the whole show but just not released it yet??) and it really shows.  They could have improved MK to a similar degree.

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Posted: 12 Jul 11, 14:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I agree. MK is really disappointing. Just compare Action This Day to the Tokyo version for example.


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Posted: 12 Jul 11, 14:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I figured it was to do with the recording.   That or else the venue was just bad for recording or something, maybe it had really bad acoustics.

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Posted: 12 Jul 11, 15:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

great topic. I hope someone with technical insight can shed a light on this

if it is largely down to the multi track master, then it's a wonder that MK and Wembley don't sound remotely as good as Queen Rock Montreal

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Posted: 12 Jul 11, 16:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

When it was first shown on The Tube way back in 1982 Brian's guitar sounded like it was coming through a transistor radio in another room. Unfortunately, it still sounds that way on Live at the Bowl. Don't really care for the drum sound. The bass sounds a lot different  -- more funkier -- than on previous shows. Fred sounds good. Nothing can change that :)


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Posted: 12 Jul 11, 18:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The reason I think Montreal has "better" sound quality was because it was for VHS and movie release. And so, it was made as if it was a studio recording. That's why on the WWRY release, you barley hear any audience noise. On the Rock Montreal release, you hear more, but nothing close to that on the bootleg of the first night.


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Posted: 13 Jul 11, 02:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Well I can be wrong, but I think that when you listen to the Montreal recording, you are listening to a perfectly mixed soundboard recording and when you're listening to the Milton Keynes, you are listening to the sound recorded by the video cameras

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Posted: 13 Jul 11, 02:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I could be wrong too Pittrek, but I'm sure I recall comments by Brian and Justin Shirley-Smith at the time that the MK gig was released that they had remixed from the multitracks, therefore meaning NOT just a cleaned up stereo mix from the video feed.  I distinctly remember specific comments about how they looked at in such close details that they did things like lowered the level of the (horrible!) electronic drums.

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Posted: 13 Jul 11, 02:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Definitely a problem with the source, I'd say. Having the multi tracks are no guarantee of good sound.

If the source is bad then there's only so much you can do with EQ and filters etc.. The sound might not be great, but just be thankful they didn't no-noise the life out of it.

I actually don't mind it. Sure it's not soundboard perfect, but I think it gives it a bit of character. If I have any problem, it's that it's far too loud. (.....I'm starting to sound like a broken record!).

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Posted: 13 Jul 11, 03:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

cmsdrums wrote:



I could be wrong too Pittrek, but I'm sure I recall comments by Brian and Justin Shirley-Smith at the time that the MK gig was released that they had remixed from the multitracks, therefore meaning NOT just a cleaned up stereo mix from the video feed.  I distinctly remember specific comments about how they looked at in such close details that they did things like lowered the level of the (horrible!) electronic drums.


I know, I read the same comments, I just trust my ears better :-) When I was creating my DVD I was comparing the audio of the "long TV" version with the sound track of the official DVD, and the only difference I could find was that the official DVD sounded LOUDER and CLEANER. Of course the drums sound differently (=WORSE IMHO) and there is this terrible "locality" overdub, but otherwise these 2 tracks sounded similar. But I must admit I didn't listen to the concert for actually YEARS now so maybe I don't remember it correctly.

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Posted: 13 Jul 11, 05:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yeah, the drum quality always baffled me, i know they're different tours, but it still baffles me.


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Posted: 13 Jul 11, 08:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

With one gig being outdoors and one indoors got anything to do with it?

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Posted: 13 Jul 11, 08:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Definitely MK is from a multi-track. No way would a TV camera pick up sound like that, that's if they pick up any sound at all?

But I agree that MK is only marginally different from the original broadcast. And I'll give you my theory.

I think that JSS and Fredrikson are so familiar with the original mix, they almost sub-consciously copy it. I think they've done that with MK, Montreal, and that new mix of Hammersmith '75. Montreal is the most obviously different, but it had to be. Hammersmith '75 and especially MK sound more like remasters than remixed.

Either that, or they sit at the desk with the original mix playing and simply make little tweaks to the original.

The sound is compressed to hell, no dynamics at all. And why is Brians guitar ALWAYS so friggin quiet and buried in the mix?

I like Montreal but I still think the sound is a little 'dead'. It lack's ambience, and sounds like they're playing in a cupboard.

Listen to the power of Brians guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NG1GoKG8m8 
It make's Queen sound like a rock band, and not powder puff, as my mate likes to refer to Queen's live sound. Japan '82 and the SNL performance have a similar sound.

Been listening to How The West Was Won by Zeppelin lately, and that's how you mix a live album IMO, guitars right out in front! Check out Over The Hill's And Far Away on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_ooleghBLw

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Posted: 13 Jul 11, 09:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Ah yes, the topic of "why does this sound like this, but this other one doesn't?!" Simple answer, two different setups, venues, recording techniques, coverage, etc. etc. etc. I could go on.

All you need to know is this - the raw recording will ALWAYS dictate the end product. Although, a recording can be mixed badly, which would make things worse! I refer, of course, to the snare sound that people always mention when talking about the Bowl release vs the bootleg.
Btw, I also remember hearing that Bowl was remixed from the multitrack recording. But really, there's no great mystery here. In fact, because Montreal was specifically designed as a cinema release, there would've been huge attention paid to how it was recorded and treated after that. Think about it. If they hadn't gotten the sound right, that could've been a real disaster when trying to use it for the purpose it was originally recorded for. And while we all know these things get overdubbed at points, it would've been silly to do a lot when it's supposed to show the band in their element.

Anyway, nothing interesting to find out from this as it's just an everyday occurrence. One event would've had plenty of coverage, while the other (Bowl) wouldn't have.

Adam.

P.s. just because Rio sounded lesser than the (remixed) release on the AWT single CD, doesn't mean that everything can magically improve. It could be down to many factors which I won't go into. Too much to try and cover!

EDIT: I wrote a blurb about Bad Seed's idea that Justin and co. copy the sound of stuff they're set to mix. etc.. Unfortunately, it was lost. Meh! Here's a brief summary, instead...

1. As I mention above, the original band and recording dictate how it will sound.
2. Anyone mixing a live concert will stick to the band's sound and not want to alter it.
And 3. It's in the mixer's best interest to improve upon what's already there, rather than altering it to fit some vision they have. The latter would very probably find them removed from the project!

It kinda resembles what I said, but alas, doesn't have the same feel. But I think the point still comes across. In other words, Justin and co. ain't copying anything. They're being given that sound to begin with. It's essentially the blueprint that they stick to.

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Posted: 13 Jul 11, 14:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Listen to Staying Power on the GVH2 DVD and the MK DVD. The former is the original recording. It has a crisp and clear drum sound and John's guitar part never sounded better. He really was a good rhythm guitar player!

Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPl0leypC-M

They somehow always mess up the drum sound, especially the snare. A shame really.

And I agree that Montreal doesn't have a live feeling to it.

Also, the Seibu Lions gig was outside, like MK, and DOES sounds great!


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Posted: 13 Jul 11, 16:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It definetely has to do with how it was recorded with microphone placements etc. If it was recorded in the same way MK could have sounded better as the outdoor show not cause echo back to the microphones. It juist wasn't recorded as well and for several reasons.

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Posted: 13 Jul 11, 21:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

For the Montreal gig , Did they use Mack (producer) to record that gig?