DCC Archive Does the Concepts box sound like its got noise reduction?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Matt, Dec 15, 2001.

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  1. Matt

    Matt New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Illinois
    I was reading this bit from the Capitol Mastering website, and it's got me a little concerned.

    "The other philosophy regarding audio restoration is to remain true to the original "performance" rather than the recording. Bob Norberg has been perfecting the art of audio restoration and digital remastering since its inception. He has worked on many notable releases such as Frank Sinatra's "Complete Capitol Singles", Nat King Cole's "Complete Capitol Recordings" and Dean Martin's "Capitol Collectors' Series" to name just a few. He believes it's possible to "make an old recording sound as though it was recorded last week." The goal here is to actually eliminate the "old sound" of the recording and to restore the "perfomance". In doing so, some denoising will be required, since tape hiss is common on old recordings and, consequently, a distortion of the original performance. (For that matter, mono is a distortion of the original performance although mono is better left as is rather than try to "fake"stereo."

    There are a number of techniques that can be used to eliminate unwanted noise and the undesirable side effects of the de-hiss processes. For Bob Norberg, it's a two step process in which he "routinely removes about half of the hiss in the analog domain while transferring into the digital workstation, the other half is removed in the digital domain within the computer. Since each of these dehissing methods has its unique side effects, going half way with each renders such side effects inaudible." It's also important not to overdo any of this. Sure, you can end up with a CD that is dead quiet but you don't want to kill the music in the process. It can also be helpful to EQ the program (add high frequencies) to bring back a little "life" that might have been lost in the processing."

    This may not be a bad thing, so I have to ask, does anyone out there with the Concepts box notice anything adverse that could be a result of some sort of processing? It sounds like Capitol Mastering believes they can do some noise reduction without doing anything negative to the music.
     
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Lesson number one on the DCC Forum:

    For music recorded after 1948, it's ALWAYS a bad thing.
     
  3. kim kerwin

    kim kerwin New Member

    Location:
    Agoura Hills, Ca
    Bob Norberg should know better.

    Steve has said many times that the Capitol recordings made in both the Hollywood and New York studios in the 1950's and early 1960's are the best sounding recordings of any studio back then. They have VERY LITTLE tape hiss, if any.

    Why tamper with them at all?

    BOB: LEAVE THEM ALONE! :rolleyes:
     
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Uhhh, too late, Kim. :(
     
  5. feinstein

    feinstein Member

    Location:
    Detroit, MI
     
  6. feinstein

    feinstein Member

    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    Steve and Kim,

    Have you heard Norberg's work on the newly remastered material? I would not take what is written on a website as "gospel". Perhaps you guys could listen to a sample of it and make specific comments of its goodness or badness and comment here. I haven't read anything (except my own comments) during this interesting debate from folks who have actually listened to the new remasters and evaluated them against the Capitol grey labels, etc. etc.

    Fred
     
  7. feinstein

    feinstein Member

    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    One last remark. Please try to listen and evaluate without prejudice as to who did the remasters. Not everything done by Mew might be "bad" and not everything done by Hoffman or Ricker might be "great". Just because you may have prejudices for or against Bob Norberg, simply listen to the material with a "blind eye" toward the remastering engineer. This is not a religion. It's about the music
     
  8. Pat

    Pat Forum Detective

    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    I don't generally subscribe to what someone tells me sounds good or bad...your ears will tell you what you like, plain & simple. One listen to Bob Norberg's work tells me he missed the mark on Steve Miller's Fly Like An Eagle remaster. I've heard some of his other work too and the "breath" is reduced to a "gasp". If you don't like any hiss...he may be what you want though. To each his/her own!

    http://cgi.dhot.com/cgi-bin/ubb_forums/dcc/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=3&t=000620&p=2

    :(
     
  9. feinstein

    feinstein Member

    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    One listen to Bob Norberg's work tells me he missed the mark on Steve Miller's Fly Like An Eagle remaster.

    Yes, but "Fly Like An Eagle" wasn't really great material to start with! (70's transistorized, multi-track, electronically manipulated)... It would be interesting to get your opinion on Norberg's work on the Sinatra stuff. Do you have the "Singles Collection" or any of the Concepts Norberg stuff?

    Fred
     
  10. Pat

    Pat Forum Detective

    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    "Yes, but "Fly Like An Eagle" wasn't really great material to start with! (70's transistorized, multi-track, electronically manipulated)..."

    So true...nothing good came out after the 60s! I stand corrected! :rolleyes:

    Can't (and won't) comment on Sinatra CDs,as I don't own those mentioned!

    When a producer uses "certain techniques" (read "no-noise"), it is something you either favor or don't.

    Also, what's wrong with "reverb". Is that a "bad" thing? ;)
     
  11. Kevin Sypolt

    Kevin Sypolt Senior Member

    Location:
    Rocklin, CA
    re: "Yes, but "Fly Like An Eagle" wasn't really great material to start with! (70's transistorized, multi-track, electronically manipulated)... "

    I have both the "remastered" (what a joke) and Steve's DCC version of FLAE. There is NO comparision. Steve's version has the usual "breath of life". Capitol's remashing, er, I mean remastering sounds like it was run over by a Mack Truck. Harsh, no dynamics, the usual no-noise destruction. It sounds worse than the orginal version. Somehow, Steve has the ability to breath life into "lifeless" tapes. That is why he has such a devoted following (and why, as they say, "He Makes the Big Bucks"). I would like to see if Mr. Mew has such a following... More likely a lynch mob...

    I'm off my soapbox now. Sorry 'bout that. I was considering a purchase of the Concepts box, but after reading this thread, me thinks I shall save my money...

    If you don't hear hiss, you probably won't hear the music...
    Kevin
     
  12. Kevin Sypolt

    Kevin Sypolt Senior Member

    Location:
    Rocklin, CA
    Oh, and I don't mean to imply that Mr. Mew destroyed Steve Miller's FLAE. I was just listening to Paul McCartney's Band on the Run Gold DCC today, with a silly, constant smile on my face... The nightmare of what Mr. Mew did to the regular Mac CDs is starting to fade a bit, but he will NEVER be forgiven. Shame on him! He is the king of the shameless no-noisers. I hope the record companies are starting to peruse sites such as these, as they need to understand:

    If I see that a CD was "mastered" by Mr. Mew, or one of his no-noiser buddies (I'm keeping a list), I do not purchase that CD. Period... :mad: I think the legions of Audiophiles will follow suit once they finally figure out who stole the music. It was about 23 months ago, that I found this old scratched-up copy of the DCC Heart "Dreamboat Annie" Gold CD in the used rack at the local CD shop. I assumed it was just another MFSL wanna-be. I now own more than 100+ DCC titles. I am trying all types of music now. If it has "DCC" label on it, I will buy it. To me, that's the definition of quality. :cool:
     
  13. Cousin It

    Cousin It Senior Member

    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    With regards to Mew,is it just me or am I correct in groaning every time I see
    "Digitally remastered at Abbey Road Studios"
    on an EMI CD.

    For Neil Diamond fans,this is what Al Quaglieri said in regards to how the box set was done.

    Q) How did you overcome either dropouts or bright spots on these early tapes ?

    All masters were loaded directly into a hard-disk Mac system via a program called Sonic Solutions. That program features a collection of sophisticated subroutines which, with proper use, can minimize hiss, pops, tics, and other audible anomalies. We never did come across major dropouts; the worst problem were nasty clicks on some Bang masters which we determined to be the product of early "punch-in" technology. The worst of these was a double click at 2:20 into "You Got To Me," which was so huge we couldn't fully fix it (although we did a pretty good job). Listen to your 45 of that and then listen to the CD.
     
  14. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I don't have prejudices against individuals, but I DO have prejudice against the NoNoise process. It's been my experience that digital noise reduction *always* makes a tape sound worse. If it's used subtly it may not wreck the sound as much, but the damage is still there. So, in essence it's hard to be open-minded about Mr. Norberg when I know (from the quotes above) that he is a fervent advocate of NoNoising. If I know the chef likes to throw dirt onto the salads, it's hard to be open minded even if I haven't tasted the salad yet.

    To be fair, I haven't heard the Concepts box cds. But based on my experience of the denoising process, I would state with a high degree of certainty that regardless of how good they might sound, they *could* have sounded better if NoNoise had not been used.
     
  15. Kevin Sypolt

    Kevin Sypolt Senior Member

    Location:
    Rocklin, CA
    re: "...that regardless of how good they might sound, they *could* have sounded better if NoNoise had not been used."
    Amen, brother!
     
  16. Pat

    Pat Forum Detective

    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    I'll stand up and "Testify" myself!!! It is the process(es) that these mastering gents are using that makes (or breaks) the recording. As I tried to say, some will like "dead silence" (no hiss), others won't. I can tell ya that, usually, there was something "more" than just hiss taken away (with reasonable certainty). Kevin, Cousin and Jason...I'm with you brothers!
     
  17. feinstein

    feinstein Member

    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    I don't think that Bob Norberg is really into noise reduction. The problem is that you people write your comments before you actually LISTEN to the guy's work.

    For a $15 investment, you can actually hear how good or bad Norberg's work was on the Concepts box. Capitol issued a CD with a sample of Norberg's remastering work called "Classic Sinatra" which contains many selections, done in 24 bit remastering, just like the "Concepts" stuff was done.

    Listen to the tracks "Someone To Watch Over Me" or "In the Wee Small Hours" from this CD and tell me that any noise reduction was applied to this remaster. Absolutely not! I've done a lot of comparison listening between the new "Concepts" collection and the original grey label Capitol LPs from the 1950's and the MSFL LP's (and "Swingin Lovers" CD from MSFL) and I can tell you that the new "Concepts" remasters are VERY close to the grey label mono LP's in terms of sound and accuracy. I believe that Norberg went to the correct master tapes used to make the orginal LP's and did a straight transfer.

    I would appreciate any comments from folks who have actually LISTENED to Norberg's Sinatra stuff as I have.

    All of these polemics and pseudo-religous pronouncements from people who haven't even heard this material (interchanging Norberg with Peter Mew????) show what a hocus-pocus business this "audio review" stuff really is.
     
  18. Matt

    Matt New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Illinois
    Just so I've got this right, the "Classic Sinatra" CD has the same mastering as the Concepts box, but not the same as the stand-alone remasters, right?

    I think BMG has it, so I might just pick that up through them whenever I rejoin the club, see how it compares to the older ones.
     
  19. njwiv

    njwiv Senior Member

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I just used Buy It Now to pick up a copy on eBay for $100, and hope to be able to contribute intelligently to this conversation very soon.

    On a somewhat related note, I'm also hoping to get the two just released Dean Martin Bear Family box sets (covering his Reprise and Warner Nashville years) from my wife for my birthday (which is tomorrow) and Christmas. We'll see!
     
  20. Pat

    Pat Forum Detective

    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    FJE Says:
    "I don't think that Bob Norberg is really into noise reduction. The problem is that you people write your comments before you actually LISTEN to the guy's work."

    >So you're telling me that he has changed the way that he masters CDs...He most certainly used it on his PAST work! I've already told you that I HAVE listened to his work (just not the Sinatra you're referring to, and I made THAT clear!)

    "For a $15 investment, you can actually hear how good or bad Norberg's work was on the Concepts box. Capitol issued a CD with a sample of Norberg's remastering work called "Classic Sinatra" which contains many selections, done in 24 bit remastering, just like the "Concepts" stuff was done."

    "Listen to the tracks "Someone To Watch Over Me" or "In the Wee Small Hours" from this CD and tell me that any noise reduction was applied to this remaster. Absolutely not! I've done a lot of comparison listening between the new "Concepts" collection and the original grey label Capitol LPs from the 1950's and the MSFL LP's (and "Swingin Lovers" CD from MSFL) and I can tell you that the new "Concepts" remasters are VERY close to the grey label mono LP's in terms of sound and accuracy. I believe that Norberg went to the correct master tapes used to make the orginal LP's and did a straight transfer."

    "I would appreciate any comments from folks who have actually LISTENED to Norberg's Sinatra stuff as I have."

    >Maybe YOU need to buy Steve Hoffman's (DCC)version of Steve Miller-Fly Like An Eagle and compare to Mr. Norberg's re-Master to see what Kevin and others mean! You would have NO bias comparing these 2, being transistorized multitrack 70s recordings.

    "All of these polemics and pseudo-religous pronouncements from people who haven't even heard this material (interchanging Norberg with Peter Mew????) show what a hocus-pocus business this "audio review" stuff really
    is."

    >I took Kevin's comment as meaning that they share the same philosophy in their mastering styles (NO-Noise). Didn't you catch his "rephrasing" in the statement: "Oh, and I don't mean to imply that Mr. Mew destroyed Steve Miller's FLAE". I think he corrected any misinterpretation!

    >Remember, that NO ONE is disputing your opinion of the Sinatra CD. What we are trying to enlighten you to is his "past" Track Record!
    :rolleyes:
     
  21. Kevin Sypolt

    Kevin Sypolt Senior Member

    Location:
    Rocklin, CA
    I'll simplify the intent of my message:

    if (BOTR(mew) || FLAE(Norberg))
    {
    printf ("Both sound like crap!\n");
    }

    if (BOTR(Hoffman) || FLAE(Hoffman))
    {
    printf ("Ahhhhhhhhhh\n");
    }

    if (Concepts(Norberg))
    {
    printf("Dunno...\n");
    }

    In all seriousness, I have not heard this, but I might be willing to give it a try given your recommendation. I have the "Best of the Capitol Years" mastered by Larry Walsh, and it makes my ears bleed. This was why I was a little (!) hesitant about this new release. I also have the "Sinatra Reprise: The Very Good Years", which I think sounds pretty good. I've no idea who mastered that one. With my luck, I will probably find out it was mastered by Peter Mew! :)

    No, I just call them as I see them. Most of the Capitol remasters that I have had the misfortune to hear (Heart - "Dreamboat Annie", Steve Miller, "FLAE", etc., etc.) sound simply awful. Steve just seems to possess the ability to make most artists sound great. Simple as that.
     
  22. Pat

    Pat Forum Detective

    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    Kevin Writes:
    I also have the "Sinatra Reprise: The Very Good Years", which I think sounds pretty good.

    Talk about your "false advertising'...shouldn't The Very Good Years sound ...err ah...very good, rather than just pretty good?

    :D
     
  23. Kevin Sypolt

    Kevin Sypolt Senior Member

    Location:
    Rocklin, CA
    Dear Frederic,

    re: "I would appreciate any comments from folks who have actually LISTENED to Norberg's Sinatra stuff as I have."

    I just received my Classic Sinatra "His Great Performances 1953-1960" CD. I have listened to it in its entirety, and would like to present my observations:

    1) First off, this CD beats the pants off of the Frank Sinatra "The Capitol Years" CD by a long shot. Much less shrill, and it actually has some bass!

    2) Having said that, it is clear from my listening that Bob Norberg did use noise reduction. Your comment "...produced a clean, clear, non-reverb'd version of it" when describing "High Hopes" is a perfect description of what I do not like about this CD in general. There is little/no hiss evident. It is too "clean and clear" (sterile) for my tastes (IMO). It lacks the overused adjective "breath of life" that gives the music soul. I do not have the desire to listen to it over and over again. It was not shrill (like FLAE), but at the same time it simply lacks the warm, gooey yet detailed sound that I crave. In contrast, the MFSL "Songs For Swingin Lovers" Gold CD does give me what I crave... Yum!

    Now I must admit this judgement was not completely fair, as I had just received my Nat "King" Cole Greatest Hits DCC Gold CD on the same day, so I was forced to hear them both at the same sitting. Hey Steve, Wow! You have outdone yourself!!! The opening track "Unforgetable" (the non-Natalie version) put goose bumps on the back of my neck. Yeow, thanks! I almost had to clean my shorts out after listening to that! :) I could listen to that CD over and over again, as it has the "sound" that "I Get" (even though it is music that my father listens to). Kudos Steve!

    Anyway Frederic, I will admit this Sinatra was MUCH better than the older Capitol version. But I still have a strong feeling that it could have been SOOOO much better. It is simply too sterile for my taste and did not give me that certain, indescribeable thrill that much of Steve's work (and to a lesser extent MFSL) provides IMHO.

    Thanks for listening,
    Kevin
     
  24. Unknown

    Unknown Guest

    You realize this is from the wrong master?
     
  25. FabFourFan

    FabFourFan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Philadelphia
    I had the same reaction to that exact track the first time I played it!

    I bought the CD expecting nothing special, never thinking that it would stop me in my tracks!

    I actually put "Unforgettable" on repeat and slow danced by myself around the listening room for about a half hour, just transported by the sound of the music. :)

    Until that day, I had simply been unaware of the power of that amazing recording...

    So, thank you again, Mr Hoffman, for doin' that thing you do!

    [ December 28, 2001: Message edited by: FabFourFan ]
     
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