Grimmest and Most Frostbitten Kvlt of Fool's Gold

Grimmest and Most Frostbitten Kvlt of Fool's Gold (http://fools-gold.org/forum/index.php)
-   Rockin' in the Free World (http://fools-gold.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=35)
-   -   I am duty bound to start a thrad about the loudness war (http://fools-gold.org/forum/showthread.php?t=63326)

Howth Castle and Environs 2011/11/21 07:05:30

I am duty bound to start a thrad about the loudness war
 
I've been putting this off for quite some time, but it's something that pisses me off and deserves to be addressed. Modern music is just too fucking loud. This might sound like a strange complaint coming from someone who listens to metal, so let me explain.

An audio signal is made up of a waveform that bounces up and down between a specified range. The larger the range, the louder the signal. Digital audio is contained within a specific set of ranges - 16-bit audio, the standard for CDs, can faithfully represent up to 96 dB of dynamic range within its signal-to-noise ratio.

Somewhere along the line, audio engineers started to get the idea that louder was better. There is research of dubious quality (which has been refuted by recent studies) suggesting that records mastered to louder volumes sell more copies. This was probably a lot truer before radio stations and other music distribution services started applying their own signal processing that automatically normalises all music to the same volume. Nowadays, the only thing that happens is that the music gets processed twice, making it sound even more like shit.

Don't get me wrong; until a certain point, louder probably is better. A lot of early CDs didn't actually reach anywhere near the maximum amplitude reproducible by 16-bit audio and thus probably didn't represent the signal as faithfully as possible. However, you can only get louder a certain extent until you start hitting the floor and celing of what 16-bit audio can reproduce. And around 1995, this is exactly what started to happen.

The tipping point is generally regarded to be (What's the Story?) Morning Glory by Oasis. While an otherwise decent album, its production was marred by excessive cocaine use by all parties involved, including the engineer. Somewhere along the line it was decided that audio fidelity didn't really matter. Vlado Meller, who has gone on to ruin numerous other albums as well (the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Californication, Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and several albums by Gorillaz being excellent examples) just mixed the album so loud that the tops and bottoms of the waveform were clipped off. For a visual illustration of what a clipped audio signal looks like:

http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__...d_waveform.png

It sounds exactly as bad as you would expect it to. The result is audible distortion on the sound, which affects the sound of the drums particularly negatively.

It just got worse from there. Morning Glory was mastered at about -8 dB RMS; Iggy Pop's 1997 remaster of Raw Power averaged -4. Until about 2008, mastering records as loudly as possible appeared to be an irreversible trend in the music industry. It even affected the Beatles; here's a .gif of four releases of "Something":

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...-something.gif

To be fair, not all releases are clipped. There are a number of more sophisticated technologies that simply force the waveform to adhere to a very narrow amplitude range instead of actually cutting the tops and bottoms off. Here is a comparison of clipping to limiting:

http://www.fools-gold.org/aaron/clippingandlimiting.png

As time has passed, the use of clipping has been replaced by limiting to a certain extent, although there are some artists whose releases are still clipped to this date (Muse and the Mars Volta being two flagrant examples).

The trend got especially bad when it started affecting even bands like Genesis, the Doors, and Joy Division, who had been around for decades. Labels would start reissuing new masters of albums that would have no dynamic range at all.

What happened in 2008 to bring things to a head was the release of Metallica's Death Magnetic. This album was so atrociously clipped that it was completely unlistenable, and it prompted a media backlash. Even engineer Ted Jensen, who himself has been behind no small number of brickwalled mixes, criticised the mix, claiming that the audio was already brickwalled when it came to him. What compounded the media firestorm was the release of all ten tracks from the album on Guitar Hero 3, in which they sounded just fine, with no clipping or (unwanted) distortion whatsoever. This suggested that it was a conscious choice by the band (and Rick Rubin. Seriously, fuck Rick Rubin; he ruins every album on which he's allowed anywhere near the mastering board) to have the audio clipped. The audio was even horribly clipped on the vinyl. There is no small amount of irony to the fact that Metallica, the industry's anti-piracy poster boys, have released an album that can only be truly appreciated via piracy.

Morning Glory was one tipping point; Death Magnetic was another. The backlash against that album became too great to ignore. Metallica, predictably, didn't flinch in the face of criticism and refused to admit they released an inferior product, but the controversy over that album doubtless caused other artists to re-evaluate their positions. Devin Townsend, with his 2009 release Ki, remarked, "I officially pull my hat out of the loudness wars," and late in 2008 when Bob Ludwig offered Axl Rose three mixes of Chinese Democracy, Rose went with the one that had the least volume compression.

Some helpful resources if you want to learn more or help free yourself from this plague are TV Tropes, Wikipedia, Imperfect Sound Forever,Turn Me Up, and Loudness-war.info. The last of these is a database of dynamic range, in decibels, on a large number of commercially released albums. The higher the score, the more range.

Additionally, there are ways to edit audio to undo the effects of clipping to a certain extent. It is incredibly time-consuming, requires a decent computer, and requires you to know what you're doing, and it still won't sound as good as if the album hadn't been clipped, but it will still sound better than the commercial release. If there is interest I can write up a guide on how to do this in Audacity.

Lye 2011/11/21 22:56:52

Whoosh, over my head.

Howth Castle and Environs 2011/11/22 02:22:21

Maybe an aural demonstration or two is necessary

YouTube Video


YouTube Video

  2011/11/22 04:42:17

I feel like this is your fifth such thread.

Howth Castle and Environs 2011/11/22 04:51:01

I don't remember starting any threads about it before, although I very well may have ranted in other threads about it. I didn't really make a thorough explanation though.

Howth Castle and Environs 2011/11/22 06:14:23

Aaron's Guide to Repairing Clipped Audio with Audacity
 
This was requested at another board, so I might as well poast it here too. :monster:
EDIT October 14, 2012: I have concluded that Adobe Audition CS6's declipper can produce much better results. Specific instructions on how the declipper differs from Audacity's filter can be found here and in the following posts, although it is used similarly. These posts assume you are already familiar with the information in this post.
The first thing you're going to want to do is make sure the album is actually clipped. The best way to do this is by looking at the waveform. If it looks like this:

http://www.fools-gold.org/aaron/runaway-clipped.png

Then it's probably clipped. You can zoom in further to see what the peaks look like. A clipped signal will somewhat resemble this:

http://www.fools-gold.org/aaron/runaway-clipped-2.png

Where you can see lots of signals hitting the peak right next to one another. (Audacity has a feature called "Show Clipping," but this will only work if the signal goes all the way up to 0 dB, and it's not always reliable).

Clip Fix will affect audio compressed with other compression filters, but it will not do so as much. If the audio used a distortion filter, you'll get quite a bit of recovery, though not as much as you would from actually clipped audio. If the audio used a peak limiter, you probably won't get any audible difference. Unfortunately the only way I'm aware of to tell for sure whether distortion or peak limiting was used is running clip fix and seeing how much dynamic range was recovered.

So you've determined you have clipped audio. You're going to want to make sure you have a good-quality version of the album before you start repairing it, because there is no point in repairing bad audio. Ideally you should be repairing from FLAC or some other lossless audio format, because applying lossy compression to audio already sourced from a lossy source results in egregious losses of quality that even non-audiophiles will be able to notice. Unfortunately, occasionally people upload tracks that are converted from lossy formats as FLAC, so you'll want to go to the spectrum analysis, which you can do by clicking the arrow on the top next to the "1.0" in the track view and selecting "Spectrum". Zoom out to 22k. If you have frequencies going all the way up:

http://www.fools-gold.org/aaron/runaway-frequencies.png

Then it's probably legit. (Occasionally, albums are mixed from lossy sources. In these cases, there is no way to get a legitimate lossless rip, unless you happen to have the original master tapes and can make your own mix; in which case, it would be pointless to Clip Fix the audio anyway. Also, with piano music and other instruments that don't have lots of high frequencies you won't see audio extending to 22 kHz, but piano music is rarely clipped anyway). The best way to ensure you have a legit rip is to make your own FLAC rip with Exact Audio Copy. If you don't have the CD, there are plenty of places where you can find rips, but teaching you how to pirate music is beyond the scope of this guide. :monster:

Ideally, the best way to repair clipped audio is to do an entire album at once. This way you can be sure you are reducing the volume of all tracks by the same net amount, meaning that you will not get inconsistent levels from track to track. I would recommend loading the entire album into foobar2000, selecting "Convert", outputting as FLAC, destination "Generate multi-track files." This will embed a cuesheet into the file that will preserve the track listing, and it will also enable you to work on the entire album at once.

First I am going to run you through how to fix a case of ordinary digital clipping, and then I will run you through a couple of special cases.

The filter we're going to be using is called "Clip Fix." You can access this under the "Effect" menu. Clip Fix advises you to reduce the volume of the track by 10 dB. In my experience, this often isn't enough. If an album is as badly clipped as My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (the record I'm using for my example), you will easily recover much more than 10 dB of dynamic range. We're not going to be keeping all of this, because Clip Fix often overcompensates, but you need the room to work with in the mean time. I would recommend amplifying by -20 dB. If you've over-compensated, you can always re-amplify later. So the first thing you'll want to do is select the entire album, select "Effect - Amplify" and type in "-20." (You can use a different number, but if you do, you'll want to remember it and replace future references to "-20" in this tutorial with the number you use).

After you've got the track volume reduced, you're going to want to make sure the audio maintains a consistent level across the album. Sometimes record companies clip different tracks, or even different sections of the same track, at different levels. I have no idea why they do this, but I can name numerous albums by different artists (Dream Theater - Falling into Infinity, several albums by Moonsorrow, etc.), where different tracks, or different sections of the same tracks, are clipped at different ranges. You will want to zoom in at the peak of the waveform and see if they are clipped at different ranges. Here is Falling into Infinity by Dream Theater:

http://www.fools-gold.org/aaron/fallingintoinfinity.png

As you can see, the second song is clipped at a different level than the rest of the album. So for Falling into Infinity, you will want to start by clip fixing the first song, then clip fixing the second song, then clip fixing the rest of the album approximately twenty minutes at a time. The reason you need to do this is because Clip Fix only addresses audio near the peak of the selection. Since the clipped audio in the second track will mostly not be near the peak of the selection, you will need to address the audio in the second track separately.

(Note: Clip Fix will not work with more than about twenty-five minutes of audio for some reason; add more, and it will process the audio, but it will not alter it. Hence the necessity of doing the audio in segments. It is best to make your selections begin and end in segments that do not approach peak level, to ensure you repair as much audio as possible).

The settings you're going to want to use with Clip Fix will usually be the default. (In cases where faded out audio is clipped, you may wish to adjust the settings; I will address doing faded out audio later). 95% threshold is good. Too much lower than that and you start having the filter alter audio that's not really clipped. That's bad. I would say 90% is the absolute minimum you will want for audio clipped at a constant level. In some cases you actually may need to go higher (98% or 99%) to preserve audio fidelity. I have not actually worked out why this is, or how to identify recordings where this will be necessary, but when I did a 95% clip fix of Petrychor's Dryad I noticed a distinctly audible loss of higher-frequency registers that did not occur when I clip fixed it at 99%. This is the only time I have ever observed this happening, however. (On the other hand, occasionally 99% clip repair also recovers more dynamic range than 95%; the track "Scars of Time" from Chrono Cross, which is not something you would expect to be as badly clipped as it is, is one such example).

Once you've done the entire album, you will have something that looks like this:

http://www.fools-gold.org/aaron/runaway-clipfix-1.png

Unfortunately, Clip Fix isn't a perfect filter; it will have overcompensated in many cases and created audio that will create undesirable "pops" in the speaker. If we've recovered more than about 5 dB of audio (you can tell how much you recovered by going to "Amplify" and seeing how much it suggests adding to the piece; subtract from 20, or whatever number you reduced the volume by, to see how much you recovered), we'll probably have this problem. The best way to deal with this is (strangely, given how much I usually hate dynamic range compression) by applying moderate volume compression to the repaired segments of the audio.

There are a number of different compression algorithms one can use, but I find most of them to be flawed in some way or another. There is a custom "soft knee" filter that does not work instantaneously and produces some distortion; there are several compressor filters that usually create audible "pumping" in the mix due to their lack of instantaneous attack and release. The best compression algorithm I have found in Audacity is the default plugin called the "hard limiter," though it is actually a hard knee filter.

Remember how we reduced the volume by -20? We're going to start at .5 above -20 and keep periodically applying the hard knee filter. Go to "Effects - Hard Limiter", input "-19.5" as the dB limit, and input something close to 1 as the "Residue Level." I select .840896 because it is the quad root of 0.5, meaning you will cut the amplitude in half approximately every 2 dB, but it is not necessary to use something so pedantic. As long as it is fairly close to 1, the effects will be desirable.

(EDIT: Since I originally wrote this guide, I have decided that starting at .5 dB below the original peak is overkill. I'd start at 2.5 dB instead, meaning that if I were rewriting this guide today you would see -17.5 in this screenshot)

http://www.fools-gold.org/aaron/hardlimiter.png

Now keep increasing the limit by .5 and repeating the filter until you hit the peak of the audio. You can tell what the peak is because it will be specified in the "Amplify" filter. If the value of your last pass through the "Hard Limiter" filter is greater than the value given to you in "Amplify," you're done.

Now the last step is to amplify the audio. I would recommend leaving 0.1 range, like so:

http://www.fools-gold.org/aaron/amplify.png

(If I had done the whole album we would be amplifying by much less than 14.2 dB; "Runaway" is one of the quieter tracks on MBDTF).

Naturally, since we sourced this from FLAC, we'll want to export this as FLAC. If you save as sixteen-bit FLAC, you will actually probably still be throwing away a small amount of audio data, since the volume has been reduced and the amount of data we have is beyond the scope of the sixteen-bit sample rate, but 24-bit FLAC is usually about twice the size of 16-bit FLAC and it is unlikely that the human ear can tell the difference with a clip fix from a 16-bit source, so I would recommend simply exporting as 16-bit FLAC.

That said, certain methods of exporting 16-bit audio result in the introduction of a fair bit of noise into the files. It is probably not audible to most people, but it will make the files larger. Before you export, I would recommend going to "Preferences", selecting "Quality" and setting "Dithering" to "Rectangle". This will eliminate the problem.

And we're done. The result should look something like this:

http://www.fools-gold.org/aaron/runaway-fixed.png

And it should be much more pleasing to the ear than the crap record companies usually excrete these days. Note that we will not have fixed all instances of clipping in the album; Clip Fix is not that good. But we still will have solved enough of them to make a difference.

Two additional last things are worth noting. The first is cases where engineers clipped the audio before fading it out. This is a massive pain in the arse and unfortunately, the way the plugin exists right now, the only way to deal with it is to clip fix a few tenths of a second of audio at a time. This example from Moonsorrow's Kivenkantaja is one such case of clipped fadeout:

http://www.fools-gold.org/aaron/kivenkantaja.png

And here's a zoomed-in view of one peak where you can tell the peaks are clipped:

http://www.fools-gold.org/aaron/kivenkantaja2.png

Unfortunately, you will simply have to bear the tedium of applying the filter several dozen times. Luckily, since you're only clip fixing a few tenths of a second of audio at a time, you won't have to wait long for the filter to execute. You'll also want to make sure you're not selecting near the peaks of the audio, as Clip Fix will not affect audio near the edges of a selection. Make your selection between peaks. Also, with faded out audio it is fine to use a somewhat lower threshold of clipping, although you're not going to want to reduce it too much. Sometimes, if your sensitivity is too low, Audacity won't even recover a lot of clipping. I would recommend using 90% as the threshold for faded out clipping. (Just remember to increase it back to 95% when you go get around to fixing the next track).

The only other thing worth noting is cases where there is "soft" or analogue clipping. The remasters of Van der Graaf Generator are like this. You will see waveforms approximately like this:

http://www.fools-gold.org/aaron/pawnhearts.png

Ideally you're going to want to go back to non-clipped sources (like the original VdGG CD issues) because this is a massive pain in the arse to deal with, but otherwise the only real way to deal with it is by clipping the audio at a constant level. You can do this by using the "Hard Limiter" as an actual hard limiter, with a residue level of 0. You can tell what decibel level you want by selecting "Waveform - dB" in the audio view dropdown menu and zooming in. Ideally you'll want the smallest possible value that results in clipping at a constant level. Pawn Hearts complicates things further by clipping each track in a different manner (some are clipped at a constant level and some are clipped in a more analogue-like manner), so this is one of the rare cases where you will want to handle each track separately. Just make sure you amplify each track by the same amount, or albums that are continuous will have undesirable jumps in volume at track divisions.

You can create your own lossy encodes of the music after you've exported it if you want to put it on an iPod or something, but I'd recommend saving the FLAC (burning it off to disc if you're running low on disk space) so you don't have to repeat the process, because it is an incredibly time-consuming one.

Let me know if you need clarification on any of this and I will try to do so as best as I can.

KaaVink 2011/11/22 06:44:54

How much of a difference would casual listeners be able to hear?

Roger Mexico, Gentleman 2011/11/22 07:01:57

Mainly, you'll notice if you put two versions side-by-side. I've never tried the edit Aaron proposes, but hearing clipped vs. non-clipped drums is the most stunning example of how God awful the practice is.

This isn't the same as kvetching over 192kbps vs. 320kbps (only if you have really good headphones, etc.), but an easily heard distortion and a literal clipping of percussion instruments. Really, listen to the differences in that Nirvana video Aaron posted. Or get your mits on both mixes of Raw Power.

Shit is hella lame.

Howth Castle and Environs 2011/11/22 07:11:52

Have two Radiohead examples. In Rainbows wasn't clipped but you can still notice a huge difference between a properly mixed version and the commercially released version, which was brickwalled to hell.

YouTube Video

here's a side-by-side comparison of the original mix and a proper mix

YouTube Video

Lye 2011/11/22 22:47:33

wow, this does sound pretty dumb.

Howth Castle and Environs 2011/12/12 17:08:51

I am not sure anyone cares, but I introduced a paragraph into my guide for clip fixing audio about the settings one should use for exporting 16-bit FLAC. It reads:

Quote:

That said, certain methods of exporting 16-bit audio result in the introduction of a fair bit of noise into the files. It is probably not audible to most people, but it will make the files larger. Before you export, I would recommend going to "Preferences", selecting "Quality" and setting "Dithering" to "Rectangle". This will eliminate the problem.

zumacraig 2012/06/17 02:48:02

sorry to bump, but i had a question about this process. if i understand correctly, the hard limiter is used many times to get back to the peak amplitude...correct?

thanks!

Howth Castle and Environs 2012/06/17 03:24:48

I'm not sure I understand your question correctly. Do you mean it's used until you reach the peak amplitude? If so, yes. You would start out at -17.5 dB and, if the peak amplitude ended up being at -12 after you have used the hard limiter that many times, then you would stop at -12. (Each time you use the hard limiter naturally decreases the maximum amplitude, so you can't just use the maximum amplitude immediately after clip fixing the recording as your place to stop - well, you could, but you'd be wasting your time - but this will give you a vague idea of where you'll have to stop after you've done it enough times).

I may not have explained this fully, but it's used to fix the fact that Clip Fix, as currently programmed, overcompensates for clipping when the signal is really distorted. This creates gigantic pops in bass drum hits that are ridiculously overpowered and sound horrible. Using the "hard limiter" (which, as I said, is actually like a hard knee filter) reduces the amplitude of these pops to a reasonable level.

zumacraig 2012/06/17 16:18:31

Quote:

Aaron Freed: Punch King wrote: (Post 1583080)
I'm not sure I understand your question correctly. Do you mean it's used until you reach the peak amplitude? If so, yes. You would start out at -17.5 dB and, if the peak amplitude ended up being at -12 after you have used the hard limiter that many times, then you would stop at -12. (Each time you use the hard limiter naturally decreases the maximum amplitude, so you can't just use the maximum amplitude immediately after clip fixing the recording as your place to stop - well, you could, but you'd be wasting your time - but this will give you a vague idea of where you'll have to stop after you've done it enough times).

I may not have explained this fully, but it's used to fix the fact that Clip Fix, as currently programmed, overcompensates for clipping when the signal is really distorted. This creates gigantic pops in bass drum hits that are ridiculously overpowered and sound horrible. Using the "hard limiter" (which, as I said, is actually like a hard knee filter) reduces the amplitude of these pops to a reasonable level.

thanks for the response. i'm just a bit confused :) so i clipfix a track and the amplify shows 17.8. so i run the hard limiter from -17.5 until i hit +18 or -18? i'm a newbie at this, so thanks so much for the help. c

zumacraig 2012/06/17 16:37:44

[QUOTE=zumacraig;1583095]
Quote:

Aaron Freed: Punch King wrote: (Post 1583080)
I'm not sure I understand your question correctly. Do you mean it's used until you reach the peak amplitude? If so, yes. You would start out at -17.5 dB and, if the peak amplitude ended up being at -12 after you have used the hard limiter that many times, then you would stop at -12. (Each time you use the hard limiter naturally decreases the maximum amplitude, so you can't just use the maximum amplitude immediately after clip fixing the recording as your place to stop - well, you could, but you'd be wasting your time - but this will give you a vague idea of where you'll have to stop after you've done it enough times).

I may not have explained this fully, but it's used to fix the fact that Clip Fix, as currently programmed, overcompensates for clipping when the signal is really distorted. This creates gigantic pops in bass drum hits that are ridiculously overpowered and sound horrible. Using the "hard limiter" (which, as I said, is actually like a hard knee filter) reduces the amplitude of these pops to a reasonable level.

okay here's what i did...
amplify track -20
clipfix
amplify shows Amplification: 17.7 and New Peak 0.0
hard limiter -17.5 increasing .5 increments until i hit o.o?

thanks so much for your help!
c :-)

Howth Castle and Environs 2012/06/17 19:45:57

Nah, you don't need to do it until it hits zero. If the amplifier shows it increasing by +17, then you only need to keep using the hard limiter from -17.5 to -17. But honestly, if it only recovers 3 dB of dynamic range then I usually don't even bother with the hard limiter. There won't be any real audible difference apart from the finished product being slightly louder. If it recovers more than 5 dB then it's worth using the hard limiter step, but if it doesn't then I just skip it.

zumacraig 2012/06/17 20:15:21

YES! i think i got it. thanks so much for your help!
C

zumacraig 2012/06/17 20:18:17

Quote:

zumacraig wrote: (Post 1583102)
YES! i think i got it. thanks so much for your help!
C


btw-i'm trying to salvage the new rush album. what a sonic mess. you'd think these guys would give a shit about how their music sounds. so frustrating!

Howth Castle and Environs 2012/06/17 20:19:39

The one from this year? I haven't grabbed that one yet but I'm not that surprised it was mixed atrociously; the two that came before it were mastered pretty badly too. I am kind of surprised though, since they recognise what a pile of shit the mastering for Vapor Trails was and have already remastered some tracks at proper levels (and have confirmed that the entire album will be remastered).

Anyway, glad that helped.

zumacraig 2012/06/17 20:33:47

yeah, rush's new one clockwork angels. the DR=7 for most songs. after doing some clipfix, i got it up to 8. i clipfixed a few dream theater songs form their most recent (dramatic turn of events) and i got those up to DR=16! so who knows. rush definitely has some mix issues too, so that could be the problem. it's not actually brickwalled, but muddy. so many potentially good albums have been ruined by this war. i bet it's some marketing ploy so the record companies can re-release all these albums remasterd for dynamics in the next 10 years :-)

thanks again for your help.

Sylvie 2012/06/17 22:31:43

Zumacraig is one of Aaron's alt accounts made to make himself feel validated and helpful

zumacraig 2012/06/18 00:20:55

actually, i have absolutely no idea what this forum is about :-D

something to do with game of thrones? :-P

The Nefarious Neobum 2012/06/18 00:23:02

HAHAHAHA! xD

Howth Castle and Environs 2012/06/18 00:25:23

It used to sort of have a topic but it's just devolved into a general chat board. :monster:

And no problem :monster:

Matt-2 2012/06/18 01:05:29

I've been reading about these loudness wars for some time, but I cba (:monster:) doing anything about my audio files.

zumacraig 2012/06/18 04:04:17

so i'm trying to 'fix' some of my 'bad sounding' CDs with the Audacity ClipFix. thing is, there are some really shitting sounding CDs that don't clip, but are still compressed. they're still brickwalled, but not to the hilt. i guess they're unsalvagable. the other thing is that i'm finding that some of my 'easier to listen to' music (acoustic) have DR=6-8! what the hell?

Howth Castle and Environs 2012/06/18 04:13:08

Yeah, there is really nothing I'm aware of that can always fix albums that are brickwalled with non-clipping methods. Sometimes there are other releases that are less compressed. Sometimes the vinyl mixes are less compressed; other times they're exactly the same mix as the CDs. I recently mixed down the 5.1-channel mixes of several Porcupine Tree albums to stereo. Some channels of those are still compressed (notably the main left and main right channels), and you can tell that some sort of compression was applied to the drums, but the overall mix ends up being much less compressed than the CDs - I ended up recovering around 7 dB of dynamic range on In Absentia, around 10 on Deadwing, around 4 on Fear of a Blank Planet/Nil Recurring, and around 3.5 on The Incident. (I also had to clip fix In Absentia before mixing it down. Really, Lava? You thought it was a good idea to clip a freaking DVD-A mix? The plus is that the fixed version sounds amazing, probably better than the other mixdowns I did or any of my other clip fixed recordings).

But yeah, for albums that aren't clipped and don't have other releases, there usually isn't much you can do. Sometimes clip fix still will recover enough DR to make a difference even when the recording doesn't appear to be clipped, but I haven't determined a sure-fire way of telling which recordings these are short of just running it and seeing what it does.

Matt-2 2012/06/18 17:47:44

This zumacraig guy sounds familiar.

zumacraig 2012/06/19 02:17:39

Quote:

Aaron Freed: Punch King wrote: (Post 1583120)
Yeah, there is really nothing I'm aware of that can always fix albums that are brickwalled with non-clipping methods. Sometimes there are other releases that are less compressed. Sometimes the vinyl mixes are less compressed; other times they're exactly the same mix as the CDs. I recently mixed down the 5.1-channel mixes of several Porcupine Tree albums to stereo. Some channels of those are still compressed (notably the main left and main right channels), and you can tell that some sort of compression was applied to the drums, but the overall mix ends up being much less compressed than the CDs - I ended up recovering around 7 dB of dynamic range on In Absentia, around 10 on Deadwing, around 4 on Fear of a Blank Planet/Nil Recurring, and around 3.5 on The Incident. (I also had to clip fix In Absentia before mixing it down. Really, Lava? You thought it was a good idea to clip a freaking DVD-A mix? The plus is that the fixed version sounds amazing, probably better than the other mixdowns I did or any of my other clip fixed recordings).

But yeah, for albums that aren't clipped and don't have other releases, there usually isn't much you can do. Sometimes clip fix still will recover enough DR to make a difference even when the recording doesn't appear to be clipped, but I haven't determined a sure-fire way of telling which recordings these are short of just running it and seeing what it does.

those pt mixes sound awesome. Steven's last album was very well mixed and mastered. i bet he'll go back to some of those PT releases and remaster them. i didn't know even his most recent PT releases had been jacked up.
well, at least the clipfix helps with some listener fatigue. i'm not recovering much range with the new rush and others, but have really helped the two recent dream theater releases. or, this all could just be a placebo effect8-)

Howth Castle and Environs 2012/06/19 05:00:31

Fear of a Blank Planet and The Incident aren't that bad, but In Absentia and especially Deadwing are atrocious. Hopefully he does remaster them.

I doubt it's a placebo. Anything that is that easy to ABX probably is not a placebo.


All times are GMT. The time now is 17:34:34.

Powered by vBulletin®, copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.