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Question of Ethics

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by MNicolai, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    A spinoff of the copyright infringement thread, a question of ethics I pose to you.

    Let's face it, those of us that are skilled at audio engineering have a bit of a picky ear when it comes to music. I think it's safe to say that a majority of us have encountered a few songs they really liked, but couldn't stand at the same time because they were mastered poorly and the EQ is noticeably unbalanced. Now many of us also have programs to remaster audio tracks with reverb, normalizers, GEQ's, and all sorts of fun processors. That said, is it ethical for someone to go in and remaster a track to their liking?

    State your answer, your case, and additionally how that does or does not differ ethically than playing a track in a media player, stereo, or PA, behind a processing chain.
     
  2. DavidDaMonkey

    DavidDaMonkey Active Member

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    I don't see anything wrong with this at all. Essentially, anytime you put a signal through an amp and a speaker (at the most basic) you are changing that signal to some extent. Some systems are "flatter" than others, but all will alter the sound. If the sound is being changed anyway, what makes it any worse to chance it with eq's or whatever else?
     
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I don't think altering the two tracks on a CD can be defined as "remastering." As [user]DavidDaMonkey[/user], said, altering the EQ and other parameters of a recording for reproduction is often unavoidable. It would be different if you had access to the studio masters, as with, for example, Cirque du Soliel's LOVE at the Mirage.
     
  4. propmonkey

    propmonkey Well-Known Member

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    im more of a lighting guy but i recently got The Foo Fighter's "Ski and Bones" live concert cd. After watching and enjoying it so much i decided to get the cd. i wish someone would re mix it. the levels are all over the place. vocals get over powered by the guitar often, the crowd is noisy and not compressed, and when the full band comes in thats just a mess. eqing didnt do that much because its more of a balance issue of the mix. i wish i had the ability to re mix but theres not much i can do with out the orignal tracks.

    you will always change the sound in some way to adjust for your liking or for the event. is unavoidable and i believe is acceptable.
     
  5. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    its the same as many things, as long as you don't claim the work as your own and don't publicly release it you should be fine.

    i know bands used to release their songs in garage band format and i think nine inch nails still do that.

    Macworld | Nine Inch Nails releases GarageBand 2 project

     
  6. rdagit

    rdagit Member

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    I don't think there is anythign wrong with EQ'ing a song as long as you are not claiming that it is your own work. I'd say that in all honesty, that's what a lot of people do with a normal stero when they turn up the bass when the song did not orginally ask for it.

    That being said, it would be really cool to have the actual mastering tracks of some songs to help balance and everything... but that's a different topic..
     
  7. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    With 50GB of music, not including my SFX collection, having the tracks to remaster each audio source as it was in the recording studio would mean I would probably never leave my house again.
     
  8. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    You know what would be cool is to have a web site where bands can post their raw multi-track recordings, closet producers can mix the track and post the mix, and the band (and the general public) can select a winning mix. The band will benefit from a better mix, as I'm sure there is lots of great talent out there only a few keystrokes away. And you can end up with a mix you like.

    I'm sure there would be lots of guidelines and restrictions to a setup like this, but Programming Contests, Software Development, and Employment Services at TopCoder does this for software coding efforts and supposedly the results have been great.

    Anybody want to start topmixer.org? (topmixer.com looks like it was taken by a Chinese company ...)

    -- John
     
  9. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    If you're not re-selling it or even giving it away, I don't see an issue.
     
  10. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    I agree with Derek and believe it differs because you used the term "remaster". I think that tweaking the reproduction is fine, look at the processing provided in some car audio systems. Whether that tweaking is done real time or applied in advance, the original work itself is not changed and it is only the reproduction of that work affected, which in no way affects the original work itself. However, if you "remaster" the original recording you are actually changing the original work and creating a new work based on an original.

    Intellectual Property law may enter in here because when you create a new work that inherently implies some rights to that result regardless of distribution or anything else. The issue probably would come down to how much change makes a work new versus derivative and that would likely be subjective.

    The idea of making the raw multi-tracks available is interesting but I think the potential issues over what rights of use are inferred and who owns the end result could be an attorney's dream!
     
  11. soundman1024

    soundman1024 Active Member

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    In my mind it's an easy question to answer. Are you playing the file with your EQ/dynamics/gain adjustments in real time, or are you doing it once and saving it as a modified file?

    If you're making the adjustments in real time it's just like the rock and jazz presets found on thousands of home audio units. Go ahead and get your multiband compressors out.

    If you're saving a file you have manipulated you're creating a derivative work based on another artist's work. Since most audio is copyrighted with all rights reserved you would be violating the copyright. Creative Commons should explain this all pretty well as best as I can tell.

    Sidenote, if the RIAA really wanted this is one way they could complain about one ripping CDs. Since mp3 is lossy you're creating a manipulated version of the original artist's work, therefore violating the copyright.



    Myself I would just listen to something else..it seems easier than trying to remaster something.
     
  12. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    That isn't a form of proper audio, white noise sounds better than anything encoded with mp3:twisted:
     
  13. soundman1024

    soundman1024 Active Member

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    Yet millions of people use the technology daily. The reason is the limiting factor for audio quality usually isn't mp3 when the technology is used properly. If you're listening to 64kbps mp3s, I agree with you, if you're listening to 224kbps or great mp3s, I think the mp3 should sound alright in at least 95% of the environments music is listened to.

    Besides, mp3 is about convenience, not quality.
     
  14. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Agreed; I always rip in 256kbps or 320kbps, usually the latter. If you want to be really touchy though, then you'll have to go back and purchase everything on vinyl records.
     
  15. TWSmith

    TWSmith Member

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    <off-topic> Ahh yes, vinyl... that wonderful warm sound. I recently had a gig with a funk / soul / dance DJ. We gave him two turntables, two CDJs, and a Serato kit. Needless to say, he wasn't on top of the inherent disparities amongst the music formats. He was great, but the poor quality of the MP3s really came through. I tried to even the sound out from mix-to-mix, but it eventually became an exercise in futility.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  16. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    What do you mean "go back and purchase"? Most of what I listen to was originally released on vinyl, and I still (at home) listen to LPs more than CDs.
    Who knows what these are?
    [​IMG]
     
  17. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    45 adapters.

    My neighbor had a record player. In his car. I think it was a Ford.

    I still have 2 TT. Technics 1200s. MKII. I wish I still had my 1100s.
     

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