King Crimson, Discipline on CD: a blind listening test

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by albertop, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. AndyH

    AndyH Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    I voted E - much trickier to discern the differences compared to the Supertramp comparisons
     
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  2. albertop

    albertop Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Two more days...
     
  3. Rob Hughes

    Rob Hughes Forum Resident

    Hey, I'm away from my better listening gear (such as it is) and have piles of work in any case, but I just found this thread and wanted to thank the OP for setting this up. These are always such fascinating things. I would I could participate, but I look forward to seeing how things turn out. Cheers, RH
     
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  4. albertop

    albertop Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for the support! :)
    I wish I'll get a few more votes during the next couple of days. You know, six votes aren't really enough to draw any meaningful conclusions.
     
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  5. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    I want to give them a listen when I'll have the time.
     
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  6. aphexj

    aphexj Sound mind & body

    Location:
    Toronto
    Definitely will try listening today!
     
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  7. albertop

    albertop Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Looking forward to reading your comments :)
     
  8. albertop

    albertop Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thank you!
     
  9. aphexj

    aphexj Sound mind & body

    Location:
    Toronto
    A couple of notes about this before I begin, just for context:

    Not being familiar with the pre-remastered versions of this album, I'm not sure what to expect; I have the King Crimson On (And Off) The Road box set, and the 30th anniversary remaster & Steven Wilson remixes it contains are what I know best. Maybe an MP3 rip of some older CD edition has crossed my path, once or twice, but I don't remember much about it if so

    I do like this album a lot — but like most of the ''forum favourites" its release date far pre-dates my own conception/birth and chasing down every edition from its long history can be overwhelming! I think the 30th remaster was how I first heard it, some years ago, and there was an unnatural edge to it that didn't sit right with me — and never has; the remix is more pleasant to my ears... though certainly it's more compressed also. I guess what I'm saying is I am ready to be impressed by an alternate presentation of the original mix today!
     
  10. aphexj

    aphexj Sound mind & body

    Location:
    Toronto
    Okay, so my results: I listened on my usual IEM headphones straight out of foobar2k with no processing engaged, and also through the main PA speakers in a 2400 square-foot auditorium where I frequently work (a simple schematic of the relative location for its vintage Meyer UPA cabinets relative to the first row of seats is pictured in my avatar), first with no subwoofer bus engaged, then with the sub just under the sweet spot adding a little extra bump in bass after I had compared and taken more notes with headphones...

    The most immediately apparent takeaway was that the high-frequency noises like crash cymbals and Adrian's "shhhhh" vocalizations were too bright in samples A & E. This was equally true in the auditorium (which is somewhat forgiving of 'hard' percussion because the masking drapery absorbs a lot of that acoustic energy that would otherwise bounce off the hard walls) as it was with the IEM diaphragms sitting right next to my ears! There was a crispness to the bass in A that was quite pleasing, but these occasional high-frequency intrusions took me out of enjoying either one completely because they were so harsh :(

    I really noticed the 'crunch' of the lead guitar effects on "Sheltering Sky" and also the left guitar throughout "Discipline" on these samples, too... which is something baked into the mix, it's not on the SW remix. There was a little more 'cloudiness' to E as well on these moments which effectively smeared the distortion over the entire stereo image instead of being localized to the guitar's focal point on the stereo image...

    B tamed the harshness somewhat, and added a little bass, but at the expense of tonality. There was a 'chime-y' quality to the guitars and vocals in the higher midrange, which didn't seem quite right. Drums sounded okay, but quickly flipping over to sample C they immediately seemed to possess a more natural, well-balanced sound (not an easy feat for the slightly wonky, half-electronic kit Bruford used for this recording). I'm favouring that one, because there was some compression and limiter 'ping' on D, in addition to a sort of hollow, sucked-out midrange in the 1kHz range manifesting as 'woody' snare sound. Otherwise it's okay. Probably my second-favourite, after C, with B in third and the other two off of the podium
     
  11. albertop

    albertop Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks @aphexj for your detailed observations!

    1 more day...
     
  12. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    Hard to choose... The only one I immediatly disqualified was D.

    The other 4 had all some strengths and weaknesses, to the point that one track sounded better to me on one, then the following track better on another one... Argh, hard to keep track.
    I could only listen to on headphones, so imaging wasn't really taken into consideration, sadly.
    Here are a few words I noted while listening:

    A: bass sludge, empty, lack of definition/closed in, but excellent Discipline...
    B: good density (but some compression), a bit aggressive at times
    C: too smooth at times but still detailed, good overall compromise
    D: bloated, dark, doesn't breathe (most compressed), smeared, wonky
    E: good definition, a bit forward and fatiguing in the end

    After (too) much back and forth, I voted for C, but B and E were also to my taste.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
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  13. albertop

    albertop Forum Resident Thread Starter

    gd0, dlokazip, Plan9 and 1 other person like this.
  14. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    Not too surprised to see that the oldest masterings were prefered.
     
  15. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    Just to be clear, these are just masterings of the same mix right? So there is no one in particular that reflects any vinyl releases?
     
  16. albertop

    albertop Forum Resident Thread Starter

    See thread title and post #1
     
  17. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    @albertop and @Leonthepro , if you'd like to hear samples from a good vinyl rip of the 1st UK pressing, I can send them.
     
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  18. albertop

    albertop Forum Resident Thread Starter

    That would be great. I've only heard a bad vinyl rip of the 1st UK pressing. I'm expecting that a good vinyl rip will sound better than the early CDs.
     
  19. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    That would be nice of you, Ill come back and listen once Ive heard the album properly on my own though.
    Im very curious also, do you think the new Inner Knot reissue improves upon the original UK?
     
  20. albertop

    albertop Forum Resident Thread Starter

    That should be based on the 30th AE remaster (IIRC). I've heard mixed comments about it.
     
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  21. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    Safer to go with a first press ya think?
     
  22. albertop

    albertop Forum Resident Thread Starter

  23. Veni Vidi Vici

    Veni Vidi Vici Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I'm confused. Samples A and D got no votes, yet were preferred by some people (eg. see posts #2 and #23). There was a sample F, according to some posts. Oh well.
     
  24. albertop

    albertop Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Sample D was initially preferred by someone who later decided to change vote. That’s allowed.
    Sample A was preferred by another user who posted his comments but didn’t vote.
    Sample F is the remix and is not part of the test. If you read in my older posts, you’ll find a link though, should you wish you listen to the same sample of the remix.
     
  25. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    It does in my opinion.
     

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