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I really hate some remasters

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Julia343, May 23, 2011.

  1. Julia343

    Julia343 Member

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    I mean I really hate them. A lot. I put together a CD for car trips. I didn't "normalize" the CD because I've heard what that does unless you do it manually -- distortion city. So I'm driving and this one song comes on and almost blasts me through the door. The songs are all remasters.

    So I decided to rip my CD burn into CD Architect and take a look. They brickwalled Ella Fitzgerald!!!:bitch Why? Why would the do something like that? Okay it's 2002 remaster and the Sinatra songs are 1996 and some of the others 1992. Oh we can make it louder!

    So I get to even out the levels now, figuring this is a good way to learn how to use the program. Do I bring everything else up? If I lower the volume on Ella, it will sound like sh*8 because everything comes down and the transients (whatever are left) get buried.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  2. DGTCrazy

    DGTCrazy Moderator de Emporio Staff Member

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    Humm....I have a friend who works for Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. I'll have to ask him. I know there are some issues surrounding Remastered music, especially for cutting records.

    But my time at Mo-Fi as a ME, there was never any standard any one studio used. Subsequently, our 2-Track Masters were all over the place, and needed some help.
     
  3. Julia343

    Julia343 Member

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    Okay I'm going through this remaster. They used some multi-band compression and hyped a particularly harsh range to give brilliance. I found the frequency at 4100 Hz. So I did a narrow Q on it -15 dB. They also added a high shelf with what sounds like a +4 dB level. I lowered it -3 db. Now it sounds more "period" for the recording. So I ended up dropping the entire song -1 dB in addition. This now makes the song listenable and it sounds like Ella again. I pulled up the phase meter and it's showing some phase issues in spots, and I think this is one of the problems on some of these remasters.

    I don't think you were being facetious. I believe it. I guess they were going for the retro song grouping for people's iPods and Bose systems. It was the sheer volume that got me in the car. I played it on the home system and you have got to realize how difficult it is to make Heil AMTs sound harsh. It did. That's why I decided to do some EQ work.

    I remember my dad bought a Basie record back in the late 1960s that I now know was compressed to hell. It sounded loud and horrible. Sad. Good songs on it.

    Next track. Still I'm getting almost tempted to do a little more lo-fi stuff on this for fun and make this entire compilation sound "older". Maybe I'll make a copy like that for fun. You see I heard all these during my formative years on the original vinyls and I don't remember them being this bright. Now if I could only find a "tube radio" vibe plug-in. ;)
     
  4. Julia343

    Julia343 Member

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    I appreciate that. I would like to know more about what they typically do on these remasters.

    One thing I'm learning going through this process is that it all depends upon the engineer, and that it's not an easy process. There is a lot of personal preference, and I'll also guess there's management involved in the process which can sabotage about anything.

    The brickwalling of Ella is unforgivable. Letting something go with audible clipping is unforgivable. Fortunately I was able to repair it.
     
  5. jmoose

    jmoose Member

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    Its not the mastering engineer, at least 98% of the time its someone else driving the level up. Clients... yes, they ask... often its the label at the root of it. Could tell many many a story about labels going over the artists head and asking for a hotter cut.

    Like the last Maroon 5 record... it was handed in and the label sent it back, asked for another 3dB even though nobody who was actually involved in the production wanted that.
     
  6. chronowarp

    chronowarp Member

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    I love loud music. Sounds good.
     
  7. Julia343

    Julia343 Member

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    Of course. Mastering engineer has a boss, the label. Management is all about being louder for that 30 second snip on iTunes. During the 30 seconds the louder sounds better, but it is fatiguing after about 10 minutes, but then they've already got your money which was the idea in the first place. And like many I fall into the trap of blaming the person doing the work and not the ones ordering the work be done that way.

    Yes, I like loud music, too. I just happen to like dynamic range and don't like audible clipping when I listen. I can always turn up the volume knob to get loud.
     
  8. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    lots of articles on the loudness wars labels compete in

    my partner at an audio post facility recently had a problem with one of our automotive clients who said that a particular commercial wasn't loud enough on tv; this after the thing had been mixed at the limit of broadcast specifications, with music, voice-over and sfx...

    something's gotta give
     
  9. zestystrat

    zestystrat Member

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    :facepalm So thats why records aren't selling...not loud enough.
     
  10. KidArchitect

    KidArchitect Member

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    Lolol.

    Yeeeah. Trust me, the ME's are just as disgusted as we are with this whole "loudness war" thing. They understand its killing the dynamics.

    :mob

    I just really wanted to use that mob smiley haha.
     
  11. Julia343

    Julia343 Member

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    Oh the irony of this post. That's the song that got brickwalled. It clips right out the gate. I only have Soundforge Pro 10, and the meters were popping 0 and holding.

    I hear you about the commercials. There's a limit for commercials, but then every once in a while one gets in, typically on a local broadcast, that just slams everything.
     
  12. DaBlizzardofOz

    DaBlizzardofOz Member

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    I tried to listen to some of that album & just couldn't because it was too loud and harsh. It's annoying to have to worry about someone else ruining your album like that, but it's the reality
     
  13. 2leod

    2leod Re-Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I feel your angst, but I think it's unfair to blame the ME. It annoys the snot out of me that one of the up sides of digital media was the increased dynamic range it brought to the party - 96 dB for CDs and 144 for DVDs as opposed to 60~70 dB for cassettes and commercial vinyl with a considerable noise floor. All that dynamic range was sacrificed for a trend of stuffing everything into the last 3 dB for reasons that don't have much currency in my economy - many got used to hearing music over FM broadcasts that rarely reached 50 dB and which were compressed mightily to boost signal strength. The other thing digital media opened up was the ability to be mobile with 1000s of compressed MP3s needing to rise above the noise floor of the audibly crowded world we live in - I don't see these things changing soon, but if consumers demand different standards (like the vinyl crowd does) there is hope.
     
  14. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    The Nirvana Greatest Hits album is an entire exercise in brickwalledness.
     
  15. blood5150

    blood5150 Member

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    What are some good examples of modern rock music that hasnt been brickwalled?
     
  16. chronowarp

    chronowarp Member

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    The thing I've found is that, generally, music sounds better louder. Too much dynamic quality in a recording gives it this weird...unpunchy airyness that I don't like at all.

    It makes sense to me if you want to crank something with a lot of dynamic range so you can experience every part of it at a listenable volume, but most modern music isn't played that way in the first place. Maybe like Dire Straits or something. It's not the Classic Rock era anymore. Most stuff is composed and played loud, and so you have to communicate that in the recording process.

    Digital clipping is bad, ya, but I don't think in most cases it's common place to intentionally clip the master really hard. I also don't think it's primarily a marketing ploy to make an impression, I've never been moved by something because it was glaringly louder than something else - so I don't understand the motivation behind that argument at all.

    When I mix my bands stuff...and I don't throw a limiter and multiband compressor on the master it just doesn't have the clarity, punch, or presence anymore...I dunno.
     
  17. Julia343

    Julia343 Member

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    Thing is I don't listen much to modern stuff. Well, not metal anyway. It was the screaming that turned me off. The stuff I'm complaining about is the remasters of jazz classics, and some more modern remasters of classic rock stuff. If insufficient dynamic range is left in the mix I get ear fatigue, and I turn it off.

    One of the problems today is that decent hi-fi equipment costs a ton of money. Yes you can get a 5.1 system pretty cheap, but come on, you just don't get good sound out of it. Then there's the average person's crapola system that just doesn't have enough power to get any kind of volume on some 20 yr old CDs without diming the volume. Basically they're making and selling consumers crap, and people still buy it. It's one reason I absolutely resisted selling my old stereo because it can produce dynamic range with punch. Yet every time people I know come over I get asked "when are you going to get rid of these and get something smaller and newer like a Bose system?" "NEVER!!!" Why? I still have vinyls.

    I also know the tricks engineers use on recordings for the cheap crap... like Waves RBass. I have that one myself. Cut the mud down because the cheap systems can't reproduce the bass fundamentals, and build up the bass by blending harmonics until you get the punch you want, and the brain fills in the blanks with a psychoacoustic effect. Also multi-band compression. I've got this stuff too and know how to use it.

    Yes I use the multi-band compression and use a limiter to give the mix some punch. I just don't take it to the extremes that some people like. I like to have a -9 dBfs to -14 dBfs range, although some parts will drop to -6 dBfs. That's as low as I go. Then I consider my "mastering" craptastic. I do my stuff more as a hobby than any business idea. If you're making money you've got to deliver what the customer wants.
     
  18. funkycam

    funkycam Member

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    I haven't checked in reaper, but I bet sky blue sky by wilco was not slammed.
     
  19. chronowarp

    chronowarp Member

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    You know better than I do - I haven't heard a lot of these remasters and I'm too young to know what they sounded like when they were released on vinyl back in the day.

    Give me a couple to listen to so I can see what you mean.
     
  20. phillygtr

    phillygtr Member

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    I agree with the highlighted text below. A lot of music today has almost zero dynamic range as performed. The Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, Gaga, etc. everything is very amped up. Even when they do a "quiet" ballad, it's still performed with limited dynamic range. People are so used to hearing the up front vocal, wall of sound that yes, they'll even f*** with a Ella Fitzgerald album to push it into that territory. It's sad to me because I feel something is lost. Lost performance, lost engineering skill (they spend time doing it another way), and a lost musical culture that used to appreciate dynamic range in recordings.

    As to your first paragraph I think I understand what you're saying, but I think there are ways to make a recording sound, big, impressive punchy without sacrificing dynamic range. There has to be right?
     

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