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Thread: Why Re-Releases and Newer Rock Could Sound SO Much Better (Audio Samples Inside).

  1. #51
    WeatherWiseCDC
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Yes, but it only benefits those who have the ears - and the experience to tell them - to hear the diff.

    I proved to my wife, who said she'd not be able to tell the diff, that she could, indeed. But without someone to identify it....she would just accept the "norm" of excessive compression as the norm. Her ears would get tired after excessive exposure to excess compression...but she'd never know why.

    So while I agree with toy in principle (of course!!) just looking at the response to Crimson's Live at the Orpheum is evidence enough that a recording that retains the full dynamics of the performance and, therefore, has been accused of being "too quiet' a mix says plenty, I'm sorry to say. Yes, when "The Letters " begins it's very quiet.....but when the middle section kicks in, it's such a dramatic shift in dynamics that, like the original studio record, I nearly jumped out of my chair. Had it been mastered with today's "normal" compression, it wouldn't have been nearly as dramatic....

    But for too many, this is seen as being a flaw rather than an advantage...and reflects everything that's wrong with what the average listener has been trained to accept as the norm....
    It really is just about educating people. It takes a social movement to make people aware of what's really happening. With the internet, you never know what's possible.

    A few more samples (since we're now on Page 3):





    Last edited by WeatherWiseCDC; 01-26-2015 at 12:54 AM.

  2. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by WeatherWiseCDC View Post
    It really is just about educating people. It takes a social movement to make people aware of what's really happening. With the internet, you never know what's possible.
    It's already happened.

    When I was bitching about this stuff here years ago, I had very few friends.

    For example, many people literally were offended that I wasn't gulping down the Genesis remix koolaid. They'd waited years for this. It was a treasure trove of brilliance. How could I have the audacity to say these new remixes sucked? And trying to post even the simplest proof of dynamic measurements in those days yielded an onslaught of "I listen with my ears" comments like you wouldn't believe.

    Now here we are, years later, and it's not uncommon at all to see the Genesis remixes brought up as an example of how not to approach things.

    All you can do is keep spreading the word, don't take it too seriously, and avoid buying into the notion that "audiophile" labels don't also have their own agendas.

  3. #53
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    Well, there are CDs that audiophiles loathe which I find bearable, if not outstanding. But those Genesis remixes are something else. Maybe it's because I'm closer to the material but I knew there was something 'wrong' about the new stereo mixes. I feel that sound-quality on Genesis' classic albums wasn't always what it could have been so I understand the rationale, but the execution...ugh.

    'Trick...', one of their best sounding albums originally, has been turned into a sonic nightmare. Too loud, too shrill, vocals up far too high in the mix, missing elements (listen to the last words on the title track) and the acoustic guitar throughout the instrumental section of 'Entangled' is a total mess! They need to get the originals back out ASAP, I think.

    There have been some remaster campaigns in recent years which have been well-received by audiophiles and I agree- The Beatles/solo, Pink Floyd etc. I also usually enjoy anything done by Vic Anesini at Sony (Elvis etc.), who also has a very good reputation among audiophiles generally. It is possible to tell when these things are done well.
    Last edited by JJ88; 01-26-2015 at 01:43 AM.

  4. #54
    Young people in our studio are becoming very aware of this problem. Most of them don't give a shit about radio. We just teach them if they want it loud turn the volume control up.

  5. #55
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    As for new releases, I don't if I'm honest tend to listen to that many now (too much old stuff to hear for the first time!) but I also began to hear the problems with modern mastering on Paul McCartney's latter-day albums, starting with 'Chaos And Creation In The Backyard'. Listen to a song called 'English Tea' on that; it distorts all over the place, and yet there's not an electronic instrument on it!

  6. #56
    I don't know about all the technical stuff of sound production and recording.

    All I know is that some modern bands are still able to make recordings that sound good - Flower Kings and Transatlantic for example.

    And then there is Rush, who have released some inexcusably-bad albums (sound-wise) like Vapor Trails and Clockwork Angels.

    Is it possible that bands like TFK and TA, because they don't tour extensively, have not suffered the level of hearing loss that the guys in Rush must have? Because how do Geddy, Alex and Neil listen to their albums in the production stage and not hear how noisy and brickwalled they are?
    "Moustache stays right where it's at" - Clutch

  7. #57
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    I haven't looked at the waveforms, but both Transatlantic and Flower Kings both sound heavily compressed to me!

  8. #58
    FK always sounded way over-squashed to me, especially the drums. TA generally better.

  9. #59
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    As for new releases, I don't if I'm honest tend to listen to that many now (too much old stuff to hear for the first time!) but I also began to hear the problems with modern mastering on Paul McCartney's latter-day albums, starting with 'Chaos And Creation In The Backyard'. Listen to a song called 'English Tea' on that; it distorts all over the place, and yet there's not an electronic instrument on it!
    You've got that right. I'm usually not all that sensitive to this stuff, but those 2000s McCartney albums (I haven't heard his last one) and the last Stones album (A Bigger Bang) are among the most ear-fatiguing things I've ever heard.

  10. #60
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    Sorry if this has already been mentioned : the site Dynamic Range Database. The Flower Kings do not do so well.

  11. #61
    BTW dynamic range is a good indicator, but it's not the whole story. TransAtlantic score consistently worse on the database than FKs but their albums generally sound (somewhat) better anyway, because of the way they are mixed. Fly From Here is very loud but the drums are low in the mix so they aren't compromised. Check out this list from Bob Katz. We actually made his honor roll with the loudest album we ever did- Three Cheers- which is in the same category as Toy Matinee and Shaming of the True. Mastering has to be complimentary to the way an album was mixed. Loud is not bad in certain circumstances...

    http://www.digido.com/honor-roll.htm...n&view=article

  12. #62
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    Fred,

    I've always thought the Glass Hammer stuff demonstrated some of the best recording/mastering out there. I've always liked the sound of Steve's bass, too. I believe he used to use direct injection with a Sans Amp pre-amp? Anyhow, really something for other artists to emulate.

  13. #63
    Thank you! Wait 'till you hear the bass on the next album- Sans Amp + Laser Cannon!

    http://www.premierguitar.com/article...nnon-hd-review

    We worked harder than ever before on drum sounds and mixing this one.

  14. #64
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    The comparison of digital sound to the pixelation in digital photography is apt -- except you have to realize there are 44,100 samples per second, in any of 256 possible volume levels. That's one hell of a lot of pixels.

    Your stereo may act as a magnifying glass, but it's not going to slow down the delivery of those 44 thousand samples every second. You cannot hear the "audio pixels" -- that much has been proven in blind listening tests.

    That's not to say bad engineering can't ruin a recording.

  15. #65
    Yep. Even the much vaunted magnetic tape has a certain degree of "pixelation"- the magnetic particles themselves. Film does too. Everything eventually comes down to a basic unit of resolution.

  16. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    The comparison of digital sound to the pixelation in digital photography is apt -- except you have to realize there are 44,100 samples per second, in any of 256 possible volume levels. That's one hell of a lot of pixels.

    Your stereo may act as a magnifying glass, but it's not going to slow down the delivery of those 44 thousand samples every second. You cannot hear the "audio pixels" -- that much has been proven in blind listening tests.

    That's not to say bad engineering can't ruin a recording.

    The digital supporters have valid arguments based upon logic and reason, but I can't underestimate the power of human sensory perception. Who is to say that our skin, hair, eyes, etc, can't feel frequencies beyond the capacity of the typical human ear? I can shake your shoulders from behind you at 5 hz and one could argue that that frequency cannot be heard.

    When I listen to digital music, something just doesn't sound right. I'm not a scientist, so I'll leave it to them to try to explain to me why that is. If they are doing their job, then they will be able to do so.

    Digital has it's place, I am not going to argue that, but it doesn't need to take over everything in music which I feel it is trying desperately to do.

  17. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post

    When I listen to digital music, something just doesn't sound right. .
    If you can prove that in a blind listening test, fine. If it only happens when you know that what you're hearing is digital, shenanigans.

  18. #68
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    Fred, thanks for that list , some of my all time faves are on it. Funny how I have all of yours except, "Three Cheers", have to remedy that.

  19. #69
    I'm extremely skeptical when people claim they can hear the difference between digital and analog. In the very early days of digital, there was a 'harshness' (Mitsubishi x-80 machines that used 50.4kHz sample rate), but that is no longer the case, even with cheap prosumer interfaces.

  20. #70
    I definitely hear the difference.

    Since I really find CDs so much better to collect unless there is extraordinary artwork involved, I wish I didn't, but I do.

    Hi-res can reproduce analog very well.

    What redbook misses is the resolution. The way sound extends and sustains in analog just isn't quite there on redbook. Acoustic instruments are particularly vulnerable. In addition, even quite decent CD players have a bit of trouble with treble. It tends to sound too crispy. Hi-hats and cymbals in general really struggle. Whereas even a $300 investment in a turntable will typically provide playback which rarely runs into this problem. Mastering obviously plays a huge role, but I find vinyl usually can handle a bit of treble boost better than CD. This may also be down to the type of EQ involved, but I think overall CD just has a heck of a time with top end boost.

    People who don't hear it or don't want to hear it are lucky, afaic.

  21. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post

    Digital has it's place, I am not going to argue that, but it doesn't need to take over everything in music which I feel it is trying desperately to do.
    That I disagree with you about digital is irrelevant. I do, however, want to raise an important point about the single biggest benefit of digital recording: it placed it at a cheap enough price point that was truly responsible for the emergence (good, bad and ugly!) of DIY recording.

    Most folks cannot afford (let alone have the space for) two-inch reel to reel recorders required for multitrack recordings that goe beyond a few tracks...and heck, the tape itself - which when last I was involved and used it, was $200-$300 a pop for a reel that could hold somewhere around 17 minutes (may be wrong on that number, but I am close) - is so expensive that even an LP length album required, if you wanted to record multiple takes, 3-4 reels or more. That, right there, is $800-$1200.

    A hard disk recording set up is far less expensive (barring the one time charge for software setup, but that is still way less than a 2" reel-to-reel deck...and a 1/4" reel-to-reel records used for creating the mixed stereo master tape....not to mention all the outboard gear that is available for very reasonable prices as software rather than expensive physical devices.

    You speak of digital "desperately trying to take over everything in music," as if it's (a) some insidious plan by some undefined group of people, and (b) anything more than a logical evolution of recording technology, one that has taken it out of the hands of record companies and big ticket records studios and placed it in the hands of the average musician. It has enabled the creation of quality recordings on a budget, and I cannot see that as anything but a very,very good thing,

    Do you think a group like Porcupine Tree could have emerged, had Steven Wilson not been able make album-quality recordings from his home? There's still a place for big budget studios (pretty hard to fit a choir or symphony orchestra in your living room!) but, for the most part, digital recording has taken over because it has allowed musicians the freedom to make music completely on their own terms. Heck, the first two Sweet Billy Pilgrim albums were made in s shed in Tim Elsenburg's back yard.

    So it's not desperately trying to do anything, especially because digital recording is not some sentient entity with a "take over the world" game plan. It is simply the consequence of it being so inexpensive that it can be acquired by almost anyone.

    And that, IMO, is a very good thing. I'd also love to do a blindfold test with you sometime, taking albums you do not know, and seeing if you could really identify digital recording versus analogue. My suspicion is you would be unable to, as there really is no reason, with today's digitsl technology, to make records that sound anything but better than as good (or better) than analogue recordings of the past. If you could tell the diff, well then, i guess I'd just have to eat my shorts

    But while I will agree there are certain analogue devices that trump digital emulation, with all due respect this idea that advocates "underestimate the power of human perception" feels, at least to me, an unprovable way of saying analog is better. If the sampling rates are sufficient to truly capture the music; if digital to analog conversion has finally reached a point where it's impossible to tell the diff between analogue and digital recordings....then my feeling is that a penchant for analogue is more nostalgic than anything else, with no real support other than how it "feels"....and have you never heard of the placebo effect? Many people can be convinced that something is better simply because they're told it is so. Not saying this is so with you, only that the reasons for this vinyl resurgence have more todo with just about everything but the sound, in my experience,.

    I prefer to vote with my ears which, while nearing 60, certainly ain't what they used to be but are still capable of hearing and feeling a lot of detail in music (with the right gear, of course, and my new Tetra-based setup certainly allows me to do just that).There are some very famous record producers and label owners whose names I will not mention, who believe that if a digital recording cannot trump analogue, and that if CD cannot trump vinyl, then there's something going wrong at the mixing and/or mastering stage. I won't mention names as they now release vinyl because in order to remain viable, they must jump on the current bandwagon and do so...even though they absolutely believe CD and high res digital to be far better media....and if you cannot trust me, I think it's fair to say these guys deserve that trust, because they live their lives in studios and know more about the technology and its impact than most of us relatively armchair critics will ever know.

  22. #72
    Member Nijinsky Hind's Avatar
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    Correct me if wrong but, many digital recording outfits have on board FX that I'm sure many engineers are tempted to use and overuse. I had a very inexperienced hand in engineering two older albums (not BL) and I played with effects like there was no tomorrow. The sound sounds were amplified, echoed, reverbed, chorused to such a degree that it lost all dynamic range and although the effects were cool the recording ended up loud and flat... Clipping, no space, etc. then mastered loudly... What a mess. Im assuming you should best have sussed out your effects on the instrument or amp beforehand and use these onboard effects as frugally as possible.

    The first studio in a box I owned was called cakewalk guitar tracks and it was loaded with FX and samples... This is one of the first messes I made. Its rather embarrassing now but a great example of high compression and overuse of effects.
    Last edited by Nijinsky Hind; 01-27-2015 at 04:29 PM.
    Still alive and well...

  23. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by Nijinsky Hind View Post
    Correct me if wrong but, many digital recording outfits have on board FX that I'm sure many engineers are tempted to use and overuse. I had a very inexperienced hand in engineering two older albums (not BL) and I played with effects like there was no tomorrow. The sound sounds were amplified, echoed, reverbed, chorused to such a degree that it lost all dynamic range and although the effects were cool the recording ended up loud and flat... Clipping, no space, etc. then mastered loudly... What a mess. Im assuming you should best have sussed out your effects on the instrument or amp beforehand and use these onboard effects as frugally as possible.
    Abso-F*ing-lutely. That is generally where the carnage happens Again there are great digital effects, but they must be sought out, learned, and applied with care. Outboard effects can help or hurt- they have to be high-end, probably expensive and you don't really want you signal going from the digital realm to analog and back- better to apply before the signal ever goes digital.

  24. #74
    If there was a cd that I was never able to fully enjoy is Peter Gabriel's SO (not talking about the remaster, just the original) due the volume of this cd is so high that each time I listened I had to run to my amplifier and lower the volume. This has anything to do with the compression that you guys are talking?

  25. #75
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    That is one symptom, for sure! I can't clmment on So sonce I only have it on vinyl.

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