Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Which album has the Best sound?

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juls user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 12 Oct 04, 05:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

While writing a thread to the Hot Space ressurection topic, I realised that Hot Space is mixed quite good (the sound, I mean).
So I would like to know of you, what is in your opinion the best sounding Queen album.

I think that "Jazz" is mixed down quite good, hey, for a 26 years old recording! you can hear all instruments very good throughout the whole album - on "Queen II" some parts seems to be overloaded.
The worst mix - sorry for the word "worst" in relation to Queen - is (of course maybe) the first album. Although always critizised, I like the drum mix of Night comes Down.
IMHO: SHA, ANATO and ADATR sound very "full", on some songs a bit too "fat" (White Man), NOTW is very transparent, good mixed. Flash Gordon is okay, for a soundtrack. The Game is clear too, good mix, but sounds very different to all previous albums (thanks to Mack), just like Hot Space, which is very loud in the mix (especially "Side One"). The Works' mix is for me a real disappointment - the "Human fights against the puter"-thing did not work really good IMHO. A Kind of Magic is a very good mixdown, The Miracle too - although I dislike the sound of some instruments, Innuendo sounds fine, very balanced, Made in Heaven has some weak songs (in the mix), I dont really like the drum sound, or the homogenity of the instruments (IMO!)

Now it's your turn :)


Special thanks to Arif Mardin who arranged and produced some hot and spacey horns on "Staying Power" ;-)
Regor user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 12 Oct 04, 07:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Queen: sounds even older than it is, for example steely dan records from the same era (very early 70s) although they had a different musical approach sound much clearer and crispier, more transparent. very early genesis records sound equally old (not bad, but... old) It sounds like Queen in a box.
QueenII: this record of course wasnt supposed to sound thin, or edgy or funky - it is like a creampie, a fat wall of sound and IMHO one if not THE best Queen album. Sound fits.
SHA, ANATO, ADATR: definite Queen-sound of the 70s, atmospheric, multitracked, full of echoes and overdubs but at the same time cristalclear and even light in some cases. with a tendency to sound thicker in ADATR, yes. but still absolutely transparent despite all those multitracked takes.
NOTW: raw, evil, dirty, great. still very clear, the drums kinda creep in your ear.
Jazz: i hate the drums on that album, and in some cases it sounds all too dry, as years later on The Miracle. I DO like dry sounds for some bands, but not so much for (at least 70's)Queen. whereas on
The Game: the songs get funkier so the dry sound fits now - listen to dragon attack with headphones and you think you are with the band in the studio, jamming around. songwise, the edgy sound fits now.
Hot Space: this album is way better than its image but it seems they couldnt agree on an overall sound. very diverse. dunno, really...
The Works: The (few) guitars sound really great, really hard-edged, I do like the basic sound of the album, but it is one of my least favourite in general. but that's not due to the sound.
AKOM: Too much. Of everything. Fits only on a few tracks. Dont lose your head is really atmospheric and pretty much of its time and Princes of course rocks, but in general its just too overflown with thick keyboards. Not as bad as many think, though, cause its sounds that cinematic for obvious reasons...
The Miracle: too dry, not big enough IMHO. Except for WIAWI of course.
Innuendo: Perfect ! Nuff said !
MIH: what sounds naturally atmospheric on Innuendo is IMO too artificial on MIH. Too many delays, echoes and tweeting birds, every effect on the album seems to say: look, he's dead, it has to sound like this...



Guten Tag und Guten Abend !!! We had a great time in Cologne. Drinking beer in the sunshine beside the Mighty Rhein brought back many memories for me..... (Brian May, 2004)
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Posted: 12 Oct 04, 07:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Regor,

I absolutely agree with your statements. The Jazz album is very dry on drums, thats true, but I find the drum sound here better than on some 80s productions. You are right with The Game, which is thanks Mack a very authentic sound. And your MIH statement, thank you for that, you hit the nail on the head... Somehow the MIH album sounds "far", it is not close or tight, and is full of effects (delays, reverbs, synths), which I detest in general.
The sound of old albums isnt always bad, as you said correctly, I love the sound of Deep Purples Machine Head album, or Beatles' Revolver, Led Zeppelins IV,... but Queen I. is very poor. I really like the songs, but I disagree with the engineers, seems they just told the band "record it and go home, we will do everything later on". I even like the Beeb versions more in terms of mix , setup and sound. Although the Beeb isn't good really IMO


Special thanks to Arif Mardin who arranged and produced some hot and spacey horns on "Staying Power" ;-)
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Posted: 12 Oct 04, 07:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

by the way, i almost forgot: keep in mind that Roger tends to change his drum kits setup. He is the only one who is not true to his sound :) While John used max. 3kinds of basses, and Brian plays the Red Special on about 95% of the songs, Roger has used more kits... (oh Sebastian help, you know it!!! *g* )


Special thanks to Arif Mardin who arranged and produced some hot and spacey horns on "Staying Power" ;-)
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Posted: 12 Oct 04, 15:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

A tie between News of the World & The Game, taking into account all the masters I've heard, the 2001 remasters of these two are the very best sounding Queen albums.



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Posted: 12 Oct 04, 15:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

$1241.60 wrote:

A tie between News of the World & The Game, taking into account all the masters I've heard, the 2001 remasters of these two are the very best sounding Queen albums.



One question, is there a remarkable difference between the Remastered Albums of 2001 and the "original" albums of 1993/1994?


Special thanks to Arif Mardin who arranged and produced some hot and spacey horns on "Staying Power" ;-)
brENsKi user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 12 Oct 04, 16:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

would love to hear II in dvd-a then we'll know just how magnificent Freddie's Side Black was

but for now i think Races will shine on DVD-a1


go deo na h√Čireann
Penis - Vagina user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 12 Oct 04, 16:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I can't compare them with the U.K. masters of 93/94 since I never heard those.

I'm basing those on 3 versions:

1991 Hollywood (NOTW is quite good but still pales in comparison to 2001, The Game is very weak and 'thin' sounding)

1998 Mini LP sleeves (both suffer a flat, dull sound due to the noise reduction)

2001 Japanese remasters (stunningly clear and dynamic, a world of difference)

But I think it's safe to assume the U.K. remasters don't hold a candle to the 2001s in regards to these two.

**link deleted, needed the space, sorry if it's quoted**

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Posted: 12 Oct 04, 17:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

$1241.60 wrote:

I can't compare them with the U.K. masters of 93/94 since I never heard those.

I'm basing those on 3 versions:

1991 Hollywood (NOTW is quite good but still pales in comparison to 2001, The Game is very weak and 'thin' sounding)

1998 Mini LP sleeves (both suffer a flat, dull sound due to the noise reduction)

2001 Japanese remasters (stunningly clear and dynamic, a world of difference)

But I think it's safe to assume the U.K. remasters don't hold a candle to the 2001s in regards to these two.

http://members.cox.net/myedits/2001.mp3>

Thank you for your information! It's a pity that there are so many releases and remasters, and I remember that the Hollywood records have lots of little errors (cuts, missing parts). I live in Germany, so I guess the UK series you mentioned is the same as here available with the sleeve and CD printed in the Netherlands :) The ones that are remastered in Abbey Road...
Where the heck did they remaster the Japanese editions, or who was the engineer? Would be funny if the Japanese and the UK remasters are the same...
Well anyway, thanks a lot again for your help!



Special thanks to Arif Mardin who arranged and produced some hot and spacey horns on "Staying Power" ;-)
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Posted: 12 Oct 04, 17:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

$1241.60,

just listening to the Fight from the Inside...
Hell this sounds very crisp :) Is this the Japanese one?


Special thanks to Arif Mardin who arranged and produced some hot and spacey horns on "Staying Power" ;-)
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Posted: 12 Oct 04, 18:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

In 1998 the first 8 studio albums were remastered at Abbey Road using this no-noise crap. Those were released in Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. as card sleeves. Each title separate in Japan, in two sets of four in the U.K., and in one boxed set in the U.S. called 'The Crown Jewels'

The 2001 remasters (this time for all albums) were also done at Abbey Road, this time without the no-noise and by Peter Mew who also did the Freddie solo collection. They were released as regular CDs in Japan that year. The studio albums from these remasters were released as card sleeves, again in Japan earlier this year (and also mass-imported to the U.K. for sale there)

Going back to the Hollywood remasters, the two discs which had missing bits (SHA and NOTW)were mastered by Kevin Metcalfe, who has been one of Queen's own masterists for worldwide releases... so it wasn't Hollywood's fault. And they quickly replaced them with corrected versions. Kevin is also to blame for the legendary Fat Bottomed Girls glitch on the 1994 'Jazz' remaster which emerged again on 'Rocks' and even on CD singles, all without being caught and corrected. The guy is obviously a moron.

Yes, that's a combo of Fight From the Inside & Dragon Attack, both from the 2001 remasters.



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Posted: 13 Oct 04, 00:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I always thought Jazz sounded really great on VINYL, but definitely lost something in the transition to CD. Mustapha in particular (I know Lisa J Goodrich agreed with me in that there was a big difference in that track).

The Game is probably my favorite, if unconventional, sound - I'm a Mack fan - give me ELO, Billy Squier, After The Fire (!!!) and the Queen LPs from that era any day!


...gonna use my prisoners, gonna give 'em the business...
Regor user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 13 Oct 04, 02:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

juls,

thanx for your comments. I could go on for hours about MIH, not only about the sound but the album in general. I think it must have been discussed here several times before but maybe I'll start a thread about it someday...

Anyway, back to the sound-thing: yeah, Mack really was at the right time at the right place. The Game sounds magnificent.

And after also contributing to the Hot Space discussion I have to explain my aforementioned statement: I always liked it in the first place. I am an album-fetishist, and I want to listen to an album and get sucked in by it. Some albums after a proper mix and mastering can really capture you with a certain common atmosphere created by the overall sound-"coating" for the respective songs. Some albums just can't (The Works IMO). Hot Space sure can. The songs really do work in their context and the atmophere is quite steamy, clubby, if you like. So what I was refferring to was the very dry synthetic sound of Staying Power compared to the more open sounding Back Chat (the tight bass is contrasted by the reverb on guitar and some of the percussion-elements) or the jamsession-mood of Under Pressure as examples for different types of songs with very different required basic-sounds. But it is actually tied together by the mastering and sounds like an evening in a club or something. Even the more rockorientated songs sound pretty intense, perhaps mainly due to Freddies Vocal-Work. So Hot Space for me falls into the category of albums with a certain atmoshere from the first bar to the last, its just very diverse in itself. On other albums this diversity leads to sounding like a compilation. Here it fits.

I would also really like to see a list of the different sets Roger used. Especially why the very early ones sounded that crappy ! I mean, John Bonham already had the big sound in the late 60s...


Guten Tag und Guten Abend !!! We had a great time in Cologne. Drinking beer in the sunshine beside the Mighty Rhein brought back many memories for me..... (Brian May, 2004)
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Posted: 13 Oct 04, 05:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

$1241.60,

thank you very much for your information! I have to admit I never spend a thought on the different remaster series, because I have the vinyls - most of them original ones - and just bought the CDs from time to time, to complete the CD collection and to rip them on my PC. I think I will have to buy the NOTW and Game, maybe Jazz as a Japanese remaster, because that's stunning :) Thanks a lot again for your help!!


Regor,

correct! Steamy club :) That's absolutely right, the atmosphere on the album fits to the smell of porn, steam and sweat, and I dare to say that on vinyl the sound (nearly of all albums in general) was better. Hooo, some ppl. think I'm mad, but CD sound is always compressed, flatened, normalized, voluminized, misses the ambience. I am vinyl fetishist. And the Side 1/Side 2-thing works on vinyl!
You know that a MIH-discussion will polarize as much as a Hot Space-discussion?! :)
I remember the "last track"-thread, where some people thought it is blasphemy to critize *g*
About the drums - well, Sebastian had a nice list of kits on his page before, unfortunately this is not longer online. I remember BM on GVH1 CD2 - Making of Rhapsody saying, that they used direct microphoning on the first tracks, which means they mic'ed the bass drum, snare, each tom and a overhead - and to add the reverb afterwards, to gain the ambience. Later on they used some ambience mikes which were around the drumkit, too. Well I'm no drummer, but what you say is right, John Bonham or Ian Paice have a very big drumsound, and even recorded in the same studio!
I will do some research on that.


Special thanks to Arif Mardin who arranged and produced some hot and spacey horns on "Staying Power" ;-)
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Posted: 13 Oct 04, 08:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The Miracle for me...
And Jazz...
And ADATR...

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Posted: 13 Oct 04, 11:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I personally like the "live" sound of The Game. By far John's best album as a whole. This started Freddie's strong, rough rock vocals. This is, however, probably Brian's least interesting album. But mix and sound, it's probably my favorite for the rock sound.


"You Can Be Anything You Want To Be"
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Posted: 13 Oct 04, 18:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It's "A Night at the Opera" for me.


Freddie Mercury.

A wonderful human being and simply the greatest singer,performer and composer of our times.
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Posted: 14 Oct 04, 04:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

i'm very curious for those 2001 remasters! when they're a lot better than those hollywood ones i'd like to replace them.

but in the end...........vinyl...it bangs through your speakers like nothing else..............

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Posted: 14 Oct 04, 04:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

juls wrote:



Regor,

correct! Steamy club :) That's absolutely right, the atmosphere on the album fits to the smell of porn, steam and sweat, and I dare to say that on vinyl the sound (nearly of all albums in general) was better. Hooo, some ppl. think I'm mad, but CD sound is always compressed, flatened, normalized, voluminized, misses the ambience. I am vinyl fetishist. And the Side 1/Side 2-thing works on vinyl!
You know that a MIH-discussion will polarize as much as a Hot Space-discussion?! :)
I remember the "last track"-thread, where some people thought it is blasphemy to critize *g*
About the drums - well, Sebastian had a nice list of kits on his page before, unfortunately this is not longer online. I remember BM on GVH1 CD2 - Making of Rhapsody saying, that they used direct microphoning on the first tracks, which means they mic'ed the bass drum, snare, each tom and a overhead - and to add the reverb afterwards, to gain the ambience. Later on they used some ambience mikes which were around the drumkit, too. Well I'm no drummer, but what you say is right, John Bonham or Ian Paice have a very big drumsound, and even recorded in the same studio!
I will do some research on that.


I'm a Vinyl-fetishist as well ! The first european digital remasters were awful, so I kept most of my vinyl at the time, luckily ! Yep, the album sounds like the Body Language video looks... ;-)

I know that a possible MIH-discussion will polarize, but I cant get the album out of my head for various reasons... but MIH is not the holy grail, the real last album and swansong was Innuendo IMHO, but I'll stop it here... have to start it someday, when I have the guts ! :-)

Sebastians list was great - I understand his reasons for the new site, but it would've been great if he had at least kept the old one online... anyway: I tend to think it can not only be the mic'ing, as the basic sound of the toms on "Queen" is just so different, with a long natural reverb from the shell, making it sound like a deep, bended tone - and Rog was very perfectionist in terms of tuning, so it's strange that his personal taste was to become so different within a year (fuller sound, but less reverb from the shell itself) - but I could be wrong. Sounds interesting as a topic, looking forward to the outcome of your research.




Guten Tag und Guten Abend !!! We had a great time in Cologne. Drinking beer in the sunshine beside the Mighty Rhein brought back many memories for me..... (Brian May, 2004)
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Posted: 14 Oct 04, 05:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Okay, I found one hint on the drum miking - for all who remember Roy Thomas Baker: an interview with him, about the recording sessions to Bohemian Rhapsody.

----

POSITIONING & MIKING
How were the Queen band members positioned in relation to each other for the backing track?

"Roger Taylor sat behind his drum kit at the live end of the studio and John Deacon was against the wall, with his Marshall bass stack on the right-hand side as you looked out of the control room window. Brian was in a portable isolation booth and Freddie was at the piano, close to the window.

"We weren't into multiple snare miking back then, so there was just a single mic on the snare. We tended to use mostly condenser mics at that time and generally Neumann U67s or U87s on the toms and overhead. The transformation between U67s or U87s was going on at that point and studios usually had one or the other. An AKG D12 was used on the bass drum. They were the days before the D112, which seems to be the standard now. John's bass was DI'd. Studios tended to make up their own DI boxes then, because no manufacturers appeared to be making them. They weren't active DI boxes either; people would make them with a transformer sticking out of the end with wires going all over the place. There was always a slight sound loss when you plugged them into the amp, so we had to compensate for that. We also used an Electro-Voice 666 and sometimes a Neumann U67 condenser on John's cabinet to pick up a bit of air.



"I was standing at the back of the control room and you just knew that you were listening for the first time to a big page in history. Something inside me told me that this was a red letter day, and it really was."


"Freddie's piano was miked with two Neumann U67s and we also set up a Shure mic for his guide vocal. He didn't sing all the way through the backing track takes, just the first couple of words of each line as a reference for the band."

But, as ever, much experimentation was undertaken before Brian May's guitar sound was perfected. "We used to have a few different types of mics set up, from which we would choose or blend signals for any one given sound, and it's a technique that I still use today. Brian's Vox AC30 amps were backless, so we also set up some mics behind them and near the wall, to capture some ambience and the full spectrum of the guitar sound. There was always a lot of experimentation going on during our sessions. Brian generally used AC30s but John Deacon had also thrown together something like a Tandy Radio Shack speaker with a 3 Watt amplifier, and we tried that with a treble booster. We tried putting microphones down metal and concrete tubes to get more of a honky sound, and it all seemed to work. It certainly all stands up today when I hear it all again."

"On Queen II and some of the big Queen themes, especially 'Bohemian Rhapsody', the generation copies caused so much distortion on Roger's drum tracks that it became a trademark sound in itself -- which people have since tried to copy with outboard equipment. Even today, people are still trying to recreate that in-your-face distortion with machinery! So by accident we started a trend without even knowing it, in the same way that with an electric guitar, if you turn it up to 10, you'll hear distortion. But that became the band's sound."


-----

You can find the whole, very interesting article on http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995_articles/oct95/queen.html

Have fun!



Special thanks to Arif Mardin who arranged and produced some hot and spacey horns on "Staying Power" ;-)