Led Zeppelin II - 1988 Technidisc CD with Different Mastering

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Agora Mike, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    The Mothership remaster is the only one I have (at least with regard to WLL) that's "significantly" different than any others ( various versions of II, Greatest hits/Early Days, etc...) . When I finally convinced myself to put the time into remixing it, I really thought that there may be a better version out there that'd make anything I did redundant. At the time - I didn't find any better sounding version.

    That's what kinda peaked my interest in seeing this thread.
     
  2. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    So this is interesting:


    I'm gonna compare this to the original FLAC's I remixed from. This is from Rhino.

    Note that it has the extra measures of high hat and the extended part at the Ta-Da I mentioned. This matches up to the raw FLAC dump I have, except this fades.. The FLAC's I remixed from don't.

    Also note - no distortion. This is one of the mixes done when they recorded it - prob. mixed by George at Olymipic.

    It appears to be mono which brings me to the following -

    Wow - I wonder who at Rhino dumped that rough 2 track mix and didn't set the azimuth? I'm doing some analysis of this from that Youboob vid - first thing I noticed is that the Rhino rough has azimuth issues...

    Steve (the forum guy) would know what I'm talking about - when you dump a tape from another studio, rarely is the azimuth (ie. tilt) of the heads exactly the same.

    They sometimes have a 10K alignment tone at the head for setting it up.

    But if they didn't include alignment tones, the trick is to pop the 2 track stereo into mono and adjust the repro head for minimal phasey sounding whooshies.

    Did this for years...

    I can see it on the scope - you can hear it by popping it into mono
    See this:
    [​IMG]

    Wow - this is what I mean when I mention them having someone do the actual remix like I did and putting some love and care into it.

    And someone with experience dealing with analog.
     
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  3. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    About 40us delay on the left fixes it up.

    Here's example snippets with it rendered in mono:

    As it is - and I tested live playback in my mix studio:
    http://www.ajawamnet.com/ajawam2/lz-rhino-mono-as_posted_on_youtube.mp3

    With me adding a 40us (microsecond) delay to the left - it kinda emulates setting the azimuth correctly:
    http://www.ajawamnet.com/ajawam2/lz-rhino-mono-with_40us_delay_on_left.mp3

    Wow - I can't believe that a major label subsidiary would do some thing like that... that's incredulous.

    Ya know I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should be the one remixing this stuff..... huh...

    Nah - someone like our forum leader would have caught this. I had heard this before on a link in a Page interview. Thought someone would have caught that before they released it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
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  4. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    So i was right - that Rhino rough mix on Youtube that they just released a few days ago ( with azimuth issue) has the "scratch vox" that made up most of the "Pre-Echo" in the actual final mix - just as I thought.

    Here's a snippet -
    on the left channel is the dive/fluff/lead guitar track from the FLAC multitracks I remixed from - on the right channel is the Rhino rough mix from youtube:

    http://www.ajawamnet.com/ajawam2/where_some_of_the_preecho_came_from.mp3

    Screen shot of the dive/fluff/lead guitar track on the top - the Rhino rough mix at the same location
    [​IMG]

    There's some other stuff that's bleed from the other vox track that's in the FLAC I have.
     
  5. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    One last thing - I promise,

    So here's a snippet that compares - at the A Capella part:

    - Left channel - the backing vox track from the FLAC's I was sent and remixed from
    - Right channel - the Rhino rough Mix

    http://www.ajawamnet.com/ajawam2/bkvox-vs-rhino_rough.mp3

    Screenshot:
    [​IMG]
    This is why I mention in those remix vids that the pre echo is not on any other of the tracks I remixed from - except the dive/fluff/guit track:

    BTW - where the snippet ends - that was an accident... I just noticed that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  6. hvbias

    hvbias Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeast
    Listen to the Davis remaster if you are able to. I am personally not a fan of it, but many people are. The Diament mastering is the one that sounds incredibly close to the RL cut record, I made a needle drop of my RL 1A/1A LP to compare with my friends and hosted a sample here at one point.
     
  7. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    The Davis 2014 remaster looks really close to the Mothership release - almost identical - with regard to waveform and metering Might be the same...

    All of the ones I've heard so far all seem to come from the same mix. The cleanest sounding official release I've heard so far is the mono Rhino rough mix.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
  9. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    Had a quite a few people ask "Who did/where is the laugh"
    From what I see it's on the lead vocal track that was actually used for the release; it occurs right after the bass guitar thump on track 07.
    Note - the numbering is the individual track names from the original FLAC's I did my remix from. It might be the actual order on the 1" multitrack - dunno...
    [​IMG]
     
  10. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    So then I get the question - "is it a laugh or a cough?"
    I have no idea - but here ya go - the isolated head of track07, processed a bit to bring up the levels.
    You can hear the track go into record mode:

    http://www.ajawamnet.com/ajawam2/laugh-track07.mp3

    Laugh is pretty low in volume - in the red box
    [​IMG]
     
  11. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    A bit of digital forensics - the FLAC's were most probably dumped in the USA - note the 60Hz on the screenshot at a dead area: This would be EMI/hum from the repro head/electronics they used to dump this:
    [​IMG]


    Some info here that supports what hvbias states here:
    http://www.led-zep.info/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=15

    I still wonder who actually dumped those multitracks...
     
  12. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    Someone mentioned that there's someone screaming "Die" right before the lead guitar part.
    It's actually Plant singing "Oh my my my"
    Snippet here of a mix of the raw tracks at that point:
    http://www.ajawamnet.com/ajawam2/oh_mymymy.mp3

    Screen shot of raw multitrack:
    [​IMG]
     
  13. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Excellent. Yes, 8 tracks were heavily in use right up to 1972. Most of ELO's "No Answer" was done on an 8 track. (With a lot of bouncing) But the Move album, "Message From The Country" done the same year was done on a 2 inch 16 track.
     
  14. ffracer

    ffracer Custom Title

    I have the LZII Technidisc CD bought in new at the time it came out. It is pretty rare because Technidisc pressed very few CDs for WEA and were often spot runs to supplement capacity limits at WEA and their other big suppliers like PDO USA, JVC Disc America, and Sony DADC USA at the time.
     
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  15. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    Wow - fascinating story! And thanks so much for your mix of this. As others have said, it's great, and sounds very nice.

    I'm scratching my head a little bit at how anyone could say it sounds the same as the official version, but whatever - this is a real treat.

    It also sounds different than all the fan remixes from about 2012(?) when the digital multitracks for Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker, Ramble On, and The Lemon Song first surfaced. To my ears, those earlier multis sound sonically closer to the official release, for better or worse, than your source.

    Speaking of which, would love to get some insight into what sonic mods you made, in particular:
    • Plant's vocals sound different, especially at the beginning. The difference is immediately apparent from the opening cough and initial verse. In your version, the vocals sound a bit thicker (upper bass or lower-mids more prominent?) and less sharp/trebly than the official version. Also sounds like perhaps a small amount of reverb on his vocals - did you add any? Was there perhaps any initial processing/modification done as part of the abortive Guitar Hero work?
    • Initial Page guitar riff seems mixed differently than original. Sounds very nice, but again seems to lack a bit of the upper midrange "bite" on the official release. Also, on most CD and vinyl versions, his initial guitar riff is pretty much entirely in the L channel, except for the plate reverb, which is all in the R channel. Did you intentionally mix it differently? EDIT: Just saw that you comment on that a bit in your comparison video - still would like to know more though!
    • From around 2:40 to 2:55, near the end of the freakout section, you've got some incredible bass lines from Jones in there - more prominent than in the official version - cool!
    • Plant's vox and Page's guitar seem relatively less prominent in the mix towards the end of the song than the official version - the whole track is an interesting highlight of Bonham's and Jones' work. Was that intentional?
    • Love that you included the final Page guitar flurry and Plant's "and that's the end" bit - have loved that full, non-faded ending ever since the digital multitracks leaked in '12 and folks started doing their own mixes.
    Would be grateful for any insights you can provide into the above.

    Thanks again for sharing your story and your wonderful mix!
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
  16. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario

    Before fully automated boards were the thing multiple edits of the quarter inch stereo mix was how it was done. So if Jimmy Page wanted 4 major mix changes in a song. No way he could do all the mix changes without stopping. Certainly not by himself. So he would do four separate mixes. Say one mix until the middle solo part where the whole band goes crazy. And then another mix is made half way through the solo bit. And then another mix is made from after the solo until the end of the song. These 4 separate mixes would be edited together via editing block. (Razor blade and splice tape) You make a mistake with those edits and you are finished. No undo button here! The Who's, "Quadrophenia" has 100 edits on Side Four alone!
     
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  17. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    Location:
    Hyannis Ma
    I have the same disc (CD). Pretty sure mine is Canadian?
     
  18. ffracer

    ffracer Custom Title

    Is the catalog number CD 19127 vs. 19127-2 with the blue letter white spine?

    Usually there is some blurb on the inserts about WEA Music Canada Scarborough, Ontario etc...
     
  19. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    They may have done it to the 2 track mix, dunno...

    I've done this on 2" 24 before and it's fun... not so much. And in most cases I didn't have a safety copy of the multitrack.

    There's a great story I mentioned earlier about Eddie Offord - all those classic Yes tunes are edited section of the mutlitrack - he talks about it here:
    Notes From the Edge - Conversation with Eddy Offord [NFTE #234]
    I recall when I was splicing a multitrack of a session I produced way back in the analog days, talking with an engineer from Mastersound that mentioned talking with Offord about doing the same thing I was doing
     
  20. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    First, thanks so much for that - I'm so glad that people seem to like it. As I've, mentioned numerous times, I'm sure they could get someone to do a lot better than I did, and having Page and Kramer sitting next to whomever would be ideal.

    Well, maybe not - see Bruce Swedien's story of the mix of Billie Jean



    And I ain't no Bruce Swedien

    I'm going to start here and probably add to this as I try to recall what the hell I did. As I mentioned this was not easy. When I realized what these came from, I too also did a cursory listen to some of the other mixes people had done from the Empress release and was about to just say hell with it, and tell the guy that sent them to me , "no, I ain't doing this - too much work"

    But my curiosity got the best of me... Maybe I'll regret it.

    One of the things that I was really striving for was to just clean up the mix without changing what Page and Kramer were going for - and what everyone was used to hearing. The fact that the webmaster at the official site mentioned not hearing any difference was cool. I didn't want to change it much.

    As so well stated in the Godfellas episode of Futurama:
    ""When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.""

    The lead vox I did very little to.The reverb was a convolution EMT plate sample from Lexicon. I used to use the old EMT's back in the late 70's/early 80's and when the Lexicon 224 came about it was the first outboard piece of gear that was even close to those old plate behemoths. Some guy has released impulses of those original 224's and that's what I used. The difference might just be that the mix is a lot cleaner due to the technology. The vox tracks I got were dry - you can hear Plant tapping his foot.You can also hear heavy foot tapping on the lead in to the first percussion part.

    As to Page's rhy guitar, I went for a bit more modern spatial placement. I did a very crude article in dB Magazine in 1988 about head related time based production techniques. For me it allows more room for the vox, bass and kick to sit in the mono field, and is a bit more like how your aural perception of directional information works. There's a great video on youtube from a professor teaching programmable logic where he talks about that subject -
    #25 -- Mandelbrot and sound localization
    #26 -- Sound localization and sound synthesis

    These are college level courses so they get a bit deep... the second one (lecture #26) at the beginning gets more into the meat of head related transfer functions and directional cues.

    At the head of the tune I went for a compromise of it not blaring your face off (due to the more modern sounding mastering we now have) so it wouldn't offend listeners that are used to the original mix and without having to resort to dynamic manipulation (see Katz book on mastering) which is one of the things that kinda bothered me with the original release . I prefer that the listener be able to enjoy the dynamics of the player. And with experienced players like these guys it's really nice to not muck with that.

    As I mentioned the drum pair - well... even the original tracking engineer in the WSJ article mentions the mic'ing he used being a bit of a stretch. As the technology got better, things like When Levee Breaks became possible to do and allowed Andy Johns to get that great stairwell drum sound.

    The theremin part - wow, that was not easy. That took a week of looking for and trying every plug in, every plug in combination I could find to get it to do the wooshy thing. As someone earlier in this forum post stated, the original seemed to be lacking in spectral nuances. When I heard the raw track I recall thinking, "Wow - that's some really cool stuff..." and trying to imagine what he was hearing, what he was striving for as he was tracking it. I'm guessing that what he and Kramer ended up with was sort of limited due to the technology and the time Page/Kramer had to spend on mixing it.

    As to near the end, I really just left the band's dynamics carry the tune - on the released versions, by the end the two or three level increase (I point out in the comparison) that occur earlier really smashes the drums/cymbals and the bass into a wash of (nasty - in my opinion) overload mix bus distortion of that 12 channel console - where the vocal; with more peak info and sitting in a bit of a spectral hole - makes the lead vox appear to sit above the mix. This is what I really wanted to fix - to try and make it sound more like a band.

    So at the end, as they're really cranking, and now with a lot less distortion, the bass and drums appear to sit higher in the mix; esp since Bonham is now really bashing out the fills - and groaning while doing it.

    Also - at the end, Page is doing this "wooo hooo" thing that leaves a little more space in the guitar part - here's an example:
    http://www.ajawamnet.com/ajawam2/wooohoo.mp3

    Also note that earlier in this forum topic, I mentioned that I did a quicky mastering of this to sort of match the RMS/LUFS of the Davis remaster at the mid/end. Note I mention this in the comparison vid. So as the processing is getting hit with more drums and bass it reacts to it. Also note that the vid audio has some artifacts in it - the lossless version is a bit more dynamic.

    The bass - yea... one thing I noticed in the original release was that after the second chorus, before the orgasm/fluff/freakout part, you lose definition of the bass. So as it progressed thru that fluff part the bass sits where it was and eventually is more prominent. I initially was gonna adjust that, but after hearing it, I sort of wondered if that's what Jones was looking for.

    One other thing - the dives - I went back and forth left to right Also take notice that right before the A Capella part on the released version - now slammed on the 12 channel console's mix bus - the dives are chopped off. On my remix it came out as I think Page wanted it - nice and clear. Again, I'm guessing at his intent but it seems to make sense.

    I hope I was able to answer some of your questions about this. I put a lot time into this and hope that people enjoy it. The VU meter thing was an afterthought, a great way to see how limited the technology they used was, and just how amazing they are as musicians. It's obvious that even today, with today's technology, that the years Page and Jones put in as session players was apparent. And Bonham, well what can you say? Just amazing. And being able to hear Plant's vocals in the verses is just great.

    And yea - that ending - wow. That really shows how good those guys are - how well they interact when playing together. Just magic.

    As Quincy Jones stated :

    "So you're always waiting for those special moments, trying to produce chemistry between people in whatever situation is right for them. Some artists need to be uptight to really perform, with their adrenaline at it's peak; others need to be relaxed, yet in the end there's no guarantee that 28 or 29 takes will necessarily produce that magic.

    In fact, the entire entertainment industry is about trying to "bottle lightning". There's also a saying we have in the studio that goes: you have to leave space, after you've done you homework, to let the Lord walk through the room."

    ~~~ Quincy Jones, "Making Music - edited by George Martin ISBN 0 330 26945 3
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
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  21. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    I at least have to get the Quincy Jones quote correct:

    "So you're always waiting for those special moments, trying to produce chemistry between people in whatever situation is right for them. Some artists need to be uptight to really perform, with their adrenaline at it's peak; others need to be relaxed, yet in the end there's no guarantee that 28 or 29 takes will necessarily produce that magic.

    In fact, the entire entertainment industry is about trying to "bottle lightning". There's also a saying we have in the studio that goes: you have to leave space, after you've done your homework, to let the Lord walk through the room."

    ~~~ Quincy Jones, "Making Music - edited by George Martin ISBN 0 330 26945 3
     
  22. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    So I went looking for the fan remixes on yoouscroob - good lord... lots o' dance remixes. I did find the Fuller one:


    But it's in mono. I even went as far as going to the link he provided to see if maybe that was different. No, his mix is still mono.

    There was another guy on there I can't find anymore. Again basically mono if I recall. I think most fans that tried this ran into the same issues I did. It took my quite a while to convince myself to try it, and to figure out what the hell was going on in those 8 tracks. And the fact that one channel of drums was 8us off and sounding so dull is a real curve ball. As I mentioned I thought it was M/S.

    For reference - my remix vid with the VU's -
    http://www.ajawamnet.com/ajawam2/lz-wll-vu1.mp4

    As I mentioned before, what Kramer and Page got out of that back in the day on the 12 channel console is a testament to how good they were as engineers and producers. I know I kinda slam it in my comparison, but really with what they had, it's amazing they got what they did.
     
  23. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo No music, no Life

    Makes you wonder about all this "brick walling" talk, doesn't it? We feel inclined to buy the new remixes every time they come out, yet myself I have no complaints about the original CDs from the 80's.

    I just keep getting sucked into the new Zeppelin & Beatles releases.... :drool:
     
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  24. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    Location:
    manassas va 20109
    If you mean brick wall as in limiting, one thing I didn't do on my remix and quicky mastering was to brick wall limit it - I felt that the people that like this kinda stuff really are not into low crest factor. In fact, what I did to match the Davis remaster was beyond what I normally do for remixes and mastering of this vintage.

    As to the original, as I've mentioned the nasty distortion and level increases never sat well with me when I listened to it on a large system. see my comparison vid here:

    http://www.ajawamnet.com/ajawam2/lzcompare_0006.mp4

    At the head, the levels of that Davis remaster are around -17 LKFS and go to about -14 LKFS at the first verse when the drums start. By the time it gets to the verse after the solo it's a -10.3 LKFS and the distortion notably increases on the drums. At the end, it's pretty much shot, with the cymbals sounding quite nasty right before the fade,
     
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  25. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    There are a number of very good mixes from when the multis originally leaked, but they were done by folks at Royal Orleans and as far as I know were never upped to YouTube. My favorite - albeit not for daily/regular listening - is a "guitar down" mix, which mixes everything except Page's guitar (and some of Plant's chorus vocals), bringing the guitar up only after the band returns from the freakount/breakdown. It's a fascinating listen and really highlights just how much this seminal "hard rock" track swings because of Bonham and Jones.

    As for brickwalling, the ironic thing about Zep II, including Whole Lotta Love, is that measured dynamic range does not necessarily correspond with sonic quality.

    For example, the famed Robert Ludwig LP cut is distinctive precisely because it was cut very hot. Doesn't mean it can't have dynamics too of course, but it's pretty maxed out (hence the narrow deadwax).

    Similarly @ajawamnet 's mix, while it does not use digital limiting, registers DR8 on the DR meter, while the official versions are DR 12 ('80s Diament), DR11 ('90s Marino) and DR9 ('14 Davis). And of course there's tons of compression on at least some tracks of the original multis.

    I would guess some of the reduced DR on ajawamnet's mix is a result of the phase corrections he did - the out of phase bits on the official version/mix probably increase the DR meter readings. Also, ajawamnet's version has the most solid bass and (at least perceptually) less treble - and more bass/less treble also reduces DR meter readings (just as more treble/less bass increases them). And finally, differences in the soundstage can impact DR readings, with a narrowed stereo image (like for example the drums on the official mix) slightly upping the DR reading.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
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