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Kougar
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Thoughts on FiDef?

Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:40 pm

Anyone come across FiDef before? http://fidef.com/

So a very obscure artist I like finally released a new album after 15 years. As that might imply, they aren't aggressive with online distribution and CD Baby was the only digital source I found. Unhappy with the high price for only MP3s I quickly discovered the artists sell CDs for almost the same amount directly over Paypal. Before pulling the trigger I saw in their description that the album was "recorded in FiDef".

Here's a TEDx presentation from Roger Dumas with a brief clip https://youtu.be/J4eOccE-rEY

It reminds me of some of the arguments I've heard in favor of vinyl recording. Old style vinyl recorded the entire room, including the ambience of the music interacting within that space. Digital recording tends to record the individual instruments via individual mic sources and process out or minimize everything else not local to each mic, losing that overall ambience. Or so the argument goes.

The demonstration sounded better, but considering it was youtube audio in a very brief clip it isn't saying much. I sent them a FLAC track to FiDef and while retroactively simulating the effect isn't the same as recording the music that way to begin with, I figured I'd see how that goes. Anyone can upload a track to try it out. On other levels it seems very snake oil ish. But was wondering if anyone already has bought music originally "recorded in FiDef" and has any opinions on it.
 
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Re: Thoughts on FiDef?

Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:01 pm

Kougar wrote:
It reminds me of some of the arguments I've heard in favor of vinyl recording. Old style vinyl recorded the entire room, including the ambience of the music interacting within that space. Digital recording tends to record the individual instruments via individual mic sources and process out or minimize everything else not local to each mic, losing that overall ambience. Or so the argument goes.

Doing each instrument individually vs. a "live in the studio" sort of arrangement isn't really a digital vs. analog thing; they're orthogonal concepts.

The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper" was one of the first pop/rock albums to utilize elaborate multi-tracking and studio effects techniques, and long-predates the digital era.
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Re: Thoughts on FiDef?

Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:34 pm

Kougar:

If you want to hear a superbly-recorded single-mic all-analog recording with ambience and space not normally heard in "popular music", go grab Cowboy Junkies The Trinity Session. Recorded to a single Ambisonics mic in a Toronto church, the sense of "you are there" is astounding.

JBI, I think Sgt. Pepper was done with 4 tracks, possibly 8. Either way, there were many multiple mixdowns just to get to a 1 channel master (yes, Sgt. Pepper was designed by George Martin and the boys to be heard in mono).
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Re: Thoughts on FiDef?

Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:42 pm

What JBI said about vinyl. Session musicians made a good living "way back" in the 70's, 80's and 90's just popping in at the studio for a half-day's work on their designated parts. Many of these tracks were recorded with the instrument plugged directly into the panel, bypassing any amp/speaker/room interactions. Nothing inherently "digital" or "vinyl" about the process. Recording a full band, live, in one room all at once can be good or bad, depending on the miking, the amps, the monitors, the room, and many other things. Sometimes the band members are miked specifically to avoid ambience effects.

First time I've seen a cloud-based service for mastering. Wonder what the hardware really is?
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Re: Thoughts on FiDef?

Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:48 pm

sluggo wrote:
Many of these tracks were recorded with the instrument plugged directly into the panel, bypassing any amp/speaker/room interactions.

Way back in the '81-'85 timeframe I was using DI boxes as inputs to the 16-channel board the Student Association owned and let campus bands use for free (though they had to pay me, as I was the Keeper). I found that blues/Dead/rock bands wanted their instrument amps in play, while the New Wave bands were OK with DI.
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Re: Thoughts on FiDef?

Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:55 pm

sluggo wrote:
What JBI said about vinyl. Session musicians made a good living "way back" in the 70's, 80's and 90's just popping in at the studio for a half-day's work on their designated parts. Many of these tracks were recorded with the instrument plugged directly into the panel, bypassing any amp/speaker/room interactions. Nothing inherently "digital" or "vinyl" about the process. Recording a full band, live, in one room all at once can be good or bad, depending on the miking, the amps, the monitors, the room, and many other things. Sometimes the band members are miked specifically to avoid ambience effects.

First time I've seen a cloud-based service for mastering. Wonder what the hardware really is?

Here's a fun in-the-studio video of people doing this last week even, let alone the 70s 80s or 90s. It still happens, at least in Nashville.
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Re: Thoughts on FiDef?

Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:03 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
JBI, I think Sgt. Pepper was done with 4 tracks, possibly 8. Either way, there were many multiple mixdowns just to get to a 1 channel master (yes, Sgt. Pepper was designed by George Martin and the boys to be heard in mono).

Yeah, they did multiple mixdowns due to limitations of the recording equipment (nowhere near enough tracks to have a discrete track for everything). My point is, it was very much a studio creation, where the band did not perform those songs together in the studio in anything resembling their finished form. It was an elaborate, multi-layered audio copy/paste project, which was made much more difficult by the lack of what we would today consider to be proper equipment.

Kind of reminds me of Spock's line about "stone knives and bear skins" from "City on the Edge of Forever".
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Re: Thoughts on FiDef?

Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:50 am

Wow, lots of info to digest. I marked the Trinity Sessions thing to find and listen to later, though apparently they did a second Trinity Sessions Revisited album in 2007?

I apparently misunderstood the Fidef material, doesn't appear to have anything to do with multi-tracks or sourcing. Received the flac track back from them today and couldn't tell a difference. Put both before/after tracks in my playlist and mixed up the order before giving a blind listen test, and I singled out the original un-altered track as sounding better... :lol: FiDef is still offering a free conversion to any tracks for the time being if anyone wants to try it, but definitely doesn't seem to work for some types of music.

derFunkenstein wrote:
Here's a fun in-the-studio video of people doing this last week even, let alone the 70s 80s or 90s. It still happens, at least in Nashville.


Very neat to watch, thanks! Amazing to hear the difference just from moving the equipment around, or off the ground an inch. :lol:

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