David Bowie - Five Years box - Is it supposed to be this loud?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Tripecac, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. Tripecac

    Tripecac Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    I recently bought Five Years (and Who Can I Be Now) from eBay. Since I live in New Zealand, I went for the cheapest shipping, which was China.

    I've already bought many of the CDs individual before (sometimes multiple times), so I have multiple copies on my hard drive. I also am comparing against Spotify.

    I find the CDs in [my copy of] Five Years to be very loud compared to the individual CDs.

    At first, I thought that maybe I got ripped off, but then I compared some of the tracks against the Five Years tracks on Spotify and it sounds like my levels are similar to Spotify.

    But what is so strange is that the "remastered" Ziggy tracks sound so much louder than the "2003 mix" tracks.

    For instance, "Moonage Daydream" is REALLY LOUD in Spotify and on the first Ziggy disc, but on the 2003 remix is it much softer?

    So can someone please clarify: are the Five Years CDs mastered really loudly, and is the first Ziggy CD significantly louder than the 2003 remix CD?
     
  2. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    Not on my rig. Others may say differently.

    I enjoy the set.
     
  3. SinnerSaint

    SinnerSaint Forum Resident

    Location:
    SF CA US
    Proverbial DRD link:

    Dynamic Range Database ratings:
    Album list - Dynamic Range Database
    [to be used only as a guildline]

    Generally posting, the newer the Bowie mastering, the worse it is [LOUD].

    "The Rise... " specifically:
    Album list - Dynamic Range Database
    The 2015 using the 2003 Ken Scott rates well in comparison w/the other rated issues of that title.

    So... you should re-evaluate & investigate your purchase.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Tripecac

    Tripecac Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    For you, is "Moonage Daydream" on the 2003 mix not significantly quieter than the remastered original mix (both within the Five Years box)?

    If my CDs (except for the 2003 mix) are indeed "too loud" does this mean the Five Years box I bought is probably a fake, and uses a different (and much louder) source?

    How can I measure the DRs of my CDs? I have them all on hard drive, so it's just a matter of finding a tool that uses the same metric as that DR database.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
  5. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    You needed a new thread for this?
     
  6. Tripecac

    Tripecac Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Yes, I'm trying to establish whether there is something wrong with my Five Years set, or if it's the same as everyone else's.

    Is there another thread which deals with that topic?
     
    Man at C&A likes this.
  7. scobb

    scobb Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    IMO just about any CD or box set sold from China will be a counterfeit so I would assume that yours is!

    Some CD's in the Five Years and Who Can I Be Now sets have extensive clipping and are loud, others are very very good! I would have thought the Chinese counterfeit would just clone the original CD masters, which specific CD's are you referring to?

    Buying from China to save shipping??? Have you not tried Amazon UK? it's something like 4 pounds to ship from them, you get the VAT off and you know you're getting an original!
     
  8. scobb

    scobb Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    The Ziggy Stardust CD is known to be the loud master and the Aladdin Sane is also VERY loud (As are the live albums if I recall correctly). The 2003 remix CD IS much quieter.
     
    Plan9 likes this.
  9. Tripecac

    Tripecac Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    I usually buy single CDs (and blu-rays) from Amazon UK because their shipping to New Zealand is cheaper than from Amazon US.

    However, box sets tend to be really expensive on Amazon UK (both in terms of price and shipping), so I shop around. Usually the cheapest prices and shipping end up being eBay. Most of the time I'm happy with what I get from eBay but occasionally I get something which seems like it might be counterfeit... and when that happens it sucks because the sellers almost always want me to pay return shipping, which is often more than the box sets cost in the first place.

    Thanks for the clarification on the volume levels!

    I found a way to get the DRs using foobar. It's enlightening!
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017
    klockwerk likes this.
  10. Tripecac

    Tripecac Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Is there a page somewhere which shows which masterings are included in the Five Years and Who Can I Be Now box sets?

    Also, is there a page which ranks the various masterings, not just in terms of DR, but in terms of overall sound quality (clarity, lack of aggressive NR, etc.)?
     
  11. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Location:
    Berlin



    "To be played at maximum volume"
     
    BobFan115 and crp207 like this.
  12. onlyconnect

    onlyconnect Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    What did you pay? If it was cheap, it was a pirate copy and might be different masters (though probably a clone).

    Tim
     
  13. Tripecac

    Tripecac Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    It was about $35 or $40 US per box, with free shipping.

    I just listened to some older CDs of Space Oddity and Hunky Dory. I had to turn them up, but once they were playing (in the background) I was struck by how engaging they were. More dramatic sounding. I never had that feeling when listening to my more recent CD copies (especially the Five Years CD). I assume that's because the older CDs have a higher DR?

    On the other hand, I think the more recent CDs sound crisper at times (particularly on the snares in Hunky Dory).

    Is there such a thing as a version of Hunky Dory that is both crisp-sounding and has a good dynamic range?
     
  14. scobb

    scobb Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Half price items (CDs) from China ARE counterfeits (I guarantee it)! I see no reason to buy a counterfeit for any reason as no one other than the nasty counterfeiter benefits (at the artists, labels and consumers expense)! You're better off just stealing it for free as a download or buying something official!
     
    lv70smusic, onlyconnect and jsayers like this.
  15. stagnation

    stagnation Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bridlington UK
    Can you not post some pictures of the disc (preferably the playing side) and we can compare the matrix areas of the disc?
     
  16. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Unfortunately your question is irrelevant as you bought a counterfeit so we have no way of knowing the source they copied when making it so it's ridiculous to compare it with anything else.

    You are saying this boxset is loud but you haven't bought this boxset, you have bought a counterfeit that could be sourced from whatever.
     
  17. Tripecac

    Tripecac Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    So, it looks like I might have gotten ripped off, which could explain the loudness issue.

    Sigh. It's like buying those cheap tablets for my girls... they work fine for a few weeks but then the ads start popping up, and the battery life tanks, and the things become coasters. And yes, those tablets are from China too.

    Those of you in the US and UK are very lucky to be able to build your collections for a fraction of what it costs those of us in NZ (and other remote countries). Your shipping is cheaper, you spend less time dealing with damaged or missing items, you can return items for cheap (which means you're not "stuck" with counterfeits and end up buying CDs twice like I did for Led Zeppelin), and you get paid a lot more per hour when you factor in the exchange rate. Each CD (or LP) costs you a lot fewer work-hours than it does us.

    I can see why so many people pirate music and movies here in NZ. I am in the tiny minority of people who actually bother to pay to build my collection. Sigh. Looks like I have "sucker" written all over my [digital] forehead.
     
  18. onlyconnect

    onlyconnect Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    Yeah, but we have all that pollution, crowded cities, crime and traffic jams to deal with. My niece in in New Zealand and hardly wants to come home...

    Tim
     
    scobb likes this.
  19. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Decent rugby team though!
     
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  20. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    $40 for a set thats close to $150 is a too good to be true purchase. BOOTLEG!!!
     
  21. Tripecac

    Tripecac Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Okay, this is REALLY weird...

    I just found that Foobar is playing some tracks at louder volumes than other tracks... But if I look at the waveforms in an audio editor, they are the same... And if I use Windows Media Player, the volumes are the some.

    So, for some reason, Foobar is performing its own volume adjustments.

    Any idea why Foobar uses louder volumes on some files than others, even if the waveforms within those files are the same? And, most importantly, how to prevent these volume adjustments?

    This is very alarming, because I am now worried that I have been deleting files for CDs that are "too loud" or "too quiet" when it may have been Foobar tampering with the volumes...
     
  22. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Turn off replay gain?
     
  23. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Forum Resident

    Location:
    Haren, DM
    Do you have an official version of Foobar ? ;) Anyway that's a whole different thread.

    Plus of course, everything you've ever wanted to know about the box set can be found in the original thread:

    David Bowie: Five Years 1969-1973 - 2015, 13 Vinyl Box Set
     
    ODShowtime likes this.
  24. Tripecac

    Tripecac Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Okay, I think I figured out my problem!!! (and yess, Hymie, you're right!)

    It's not the source material, it's Foobar.

    Foobar has a "ReplayGain" feature which is turned on by default. That feature adjusts the volume of a track based on certain volume-related tags in the track's metadata.

    This explains why the CDs I ripped recently might have different ReplayGain values from tracks that I've had on my PC for a long time.

    I think at some point in the past I used MediaMonkey or another tool to analyse the volumes of my entire library, and that tool probably automatically added volume tags to all my files. Any CDs I've ripped since then haven't had those tags added.
    So I think this explains why recent CDs (such as those Bowie sets) sound so much louder than the CDs I've had for a while.

    Sheesh!
     
    Hymie the Robot likes this.
  25. GlobalObserver

    GlobalObserver Well-Known Member

    Tripecac. You should contact the seller and complain about being sold a counterfeit CD set that doesn't play correctly. Ask for a refund. If they give you any problems, contact ebay's customer service and report the seller for selling poor quality counterfeit merchandise. Ebay should refund your money.
     
    Dennis Metz and robtodd like this.

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