Not familiar with the concept of “time correcting”? A newbie when it comes to the world of “quantization”? Honestly, same. Luckily, YouTuber Dr Bob is on hand to bring the mysterious world of musical manipulation to the masses via his Musical Surgery channel, and this week, the ills of quantization are on the cutting table.
Quantization is, he says, the process of fixing all the parts of a song to a fixed beat – even if that’s not how they were originally played. It’s complicated, so we’ll let him explain: “Almost every new song you’ve heard in the past 20 to 30 years has been time corrected or programmed, which means every part of the song is in perfect time and locked to the grid or metronome to non-human standards of playing.”
He says this process works perfectly well for most music, but for some genres – rock included – enforcing this level of precision on a song risks stripping out its soul. “Imagine Led Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones perfectly lined up,” he says. “Two of the greatest feeling drummers to ever play would’ve never been heard properly”.
He makes a good point, but to illustrate it further, Dr Bob goes on to “fix” Van Halen‘s 1978 classic Runnin’ With The Devil – a song released before quantization was a thing – and yeah, you guessed it, it sounds horrible. “I know this is going to border on blasphemy, but that’s the point,” Dr Bob ventures apologetically, before pointing out that the “all over the place tempo”, the peaks, the valleys and the groove are what made the song great in the first place. And if you don’t like the intro, just wait ’til you hear what he’s done to Eddie Van Halen‘s solo.
Sure, the video’s just a bit of fun, but it has a serious point: “Don’t kill a groove just because you have the tools to”. Wise.
Dr Bob – who is better known as producer and songwriter Bobby Huff – has plenty more videos about the secrets of production on his Music Surgery channel, including how to write a number one hit, the secrets of a perfect mix and more. You can head to his channel to check them all out.
Louder – Some guy on YouTube has “fixed” Van Halen and it sounds horrible
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March 26, 2021