Elvis Costello Early CD Masterings

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by strippies, Mar 30, 2019.

  1. strippies

    strippies Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Netherlands
    It looks like your standalone DR tool produces the same results as the foobar plugin. Too bad that it doesn't show the track times, which would make it easier to check for different indexing or different pauses between the tracks.

    Thanks. All your logs look the same as what has been submitted before except for a few stray values 2 digits behind the dot.
    And except for the the first 19 tracks on disc 1 of your DADC Terre Haute press of Girls Girls Girls. Looks that they are mostly 0.02 dB louder than on this Pitman press: Elvis Costello Early CD Masterings .

    Weird that copying errors could cause this.
    Wow, DR 7-9 for an eighties cd. I don't think that an earlier Columbia mastering for this one exists. For some reason it wasn't released in 1986 together with (some of) the others.
    Try the UK IMP version called Ten Bloody Marys & Ten How's Your Fathers.
     
  2. strippies

    strippies Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Code:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Elvis Costello / Girls +£÷ Girls =$& Girls, D FIEND CD 160, Disc 1
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    DR         Peak         RMS     Duration Track
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    DR14      -2.23 dB   -18.62 dB      3:44 01-Watching the Detectives
    DR11      -1.50 dB   -14.57 dB      3:08 02-I Hope You're Happy Now
    DR11      -2.53 dB   -15.03 dB      3:21 03-This Year's Girl
    DR16      -0.65 dB   -17.81 dB      2:19 04-Lover's Walk
    DR11      -2.64 dB   -15.26 dB      3:15 05-Pump It Up
    DR14      -1.46 dB   -16.23 dB      2:41 06-Strict Time
    DR12      -1.55 dB   -14.91 dB      2:33 07-Temptation
    DR12      -1.91 dB   -16.15 dB      3:10 08-I Don't Want to Go to Chelsea
    DR13      -0.93 dB   -15.96 dB      2:28 09-High Fidelity
    DR13      -1.60 dB   -16.57 dB      2:52 10-Lovable
    DR13      -0.03 dB   -16.57 dB      1:41 11-Mystery Dance
    DR12      -0.92 dB   -14.91 dB      3:10 12-Big Tears
    DR12      -2.08 dB   -15.71 dB      3:23 13-Uncomplicated
    DR11      -2.64 dB   -17.36 dB      3:32 14-Lipstick Vogue
    DR12      -1.35 dB   -15.65 dB      5:28 15-Man Out of Time
    DR13      -1.40 dB   -17.27 dB      3:44 16-Brilliant Mistake
    DR14      -1.06 dB   -18.47 dB      3:48 17-New Lace Sleeves
    DR13      -1.10 dB   -15.88 dB      3:00 18-Accidents Will Happen
    DR12      -4.10 dB   -18.08 dB      2:31 19-Beyond Belief
    DR12      -2.29 dB   -16.75 dB      1:56 20-Black and White World
    DR16      -0.85 dB   -20.11 dB      2:41 21-Green Shirt
    DR13      -1.36 dB   -16.38 dB      2:46 22-The Loved Ones
    DR11      -2.08 dB   -14.75 dB      2:13 23-New Amsterdam
    DR14       0.00 dB   -16.25 dB      2:49 24-(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
    DR12      -1.24 dB   -15.89 dB      3:00 25-King Horse
    DR11      -3.72 dB   -17.43 dB      2:12 26-Big Sister's Clothes
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Number of tracks:  26
    Official DR value: DR13
    Code:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Elvis Costello / Girls +£÷ Girls =$& Girls, D FIEND CD 160, Disc 2
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    DR         Peak         RMS     Duration Track
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    DR14      -2.14 dB   -21.02 dB      3:20 01-Alison
    DR12      -2.49 dB   -16.20 dB      2:18 02-Man Called Uncle
    DR14      -0.59 dB   -18.02 dB      3:22 03-Party Girl
    DR14      -1.57 dB   -18.94 dB      4:44 04-Shabby Doll
    DR13      -2.02 dB   -17.81 dB      2:31 05-Motel Matches
    DR13      -2.89 dB   -18.66 dB      2:42 06-Tiny Steps
    DR12      -5.00 dB   -21.05 dB      2:46 07-Almost Blue
    DR12       0.00 dB   -15.73 dB      3:38 08-Riot Act
    DR15      -0.51 dB   -17.54 dB      3:27 09-Love Field
    DR12      -1.52 dB   -14.95 dB      2:05 10-Possession
    DR12      -2.66 dB   -18.58 dB      4:08 11-Poisoned Rose
    DR12      -3.34 dB   -19.22 dB      4:09 12-Indoor Fireworks
    DR13      -4.69 dB   -22.04 dB      5:50 13-I Want You (single version)
    DR12      -1.78 dB   -15.87 dB      2:58 14-Oliver's Army
    DR14      -6.08 dB   -21.92 dB      3:44 15-Pills and Soap
    DR12      -2.82 dB   -16.66 dB      3:22 16-Sunday's Best
    DR14      -0.38 dB   -16.79 dB      3:00 17-Watch Your Step
    DR16      -0.04 dB   -19.85 dB      3:12 18-Less Than Zero
    DR13      -1.10 dB   -17.31 dB      3:46 19-Clubland
    DR12      -1.34 dB   -15.28 dB      6:26 20-Tokyo Storm Warning
    DR12      -2.81 dB   -19.33 dB      4:52 21-Shipbuilding
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Number of tracks:  21
    Official DR value: DR13
     
  3. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    The interesting thing is that it was tracks 20-26 that had skips. The first 19 were fine. So you're saying that all seven of my skip-free rips (at least, I don't hear any skips) all ended up with ever-so-slightly louder RMS values? Or, if I misunderstood, that those seven are fine but the first 19 are louder? That's really odd.

    Are you certain there was no pre-'89 Columbia Almost Blue, or are you just not aware of one? If any album was going to not have an early CD issue, I could understand it being this one, but even the original Trust didn't have a Discogs page so I'm curious if the people who own the copies aren't aware of these specifics. It's not really a big deal anyway since the Demon CD sounds quite nice (just add some EQ starting at about 11k).

    And I definitely want all of the Demon CDs, especially Ten Bloody Marys, but ever since Discogs implemented their awful new shipping policy, it's just a matter of finding a seller with good prices on a decent chunk of them who has good shipping rates. I don't want to pay $25 per CD due to postage.

    oh, and as for the track times, if you need them, I can drop the files in iTunes or just from the Windows folder viewer thing and it should show the times, although it probably won't match exactly as both of them tend to round up I believe.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2021
  4. strippies

    strippies Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Yes, the first 19 are louder.
    Great track, like everything on the glorious Get Happy!! I also listened again to the Col2 and the IMP Fiend version and I'm a bit bothered by the right-channel bias of Col2, which easily sets them apart for me.

    So I did some more checking and it turns out that the left channel of every IMP track is RMS 3.27 dB louder than on Col2 and the right channel of every IMP track is RMS 1.29 dB louder than on Col2.

    This convinces me that they are both made from the same AD transfer. The question is, which one is closer to the original PCM 16xx digital tape source. My money is on Col2, although it was released years later. It has some DC offset in the waveforms, which isn't there on the 1986 IMP, so they must have fixed this in the digital domain. I thought that digital waveform editors only came on the market around 1987 but this must be incorrect.

    In this scenario the channel dependent digital volume edits on the IMP must have been done to center the stereo image by pulling it to the left.

    And the question remains how the out of sync drifting of the samples was introduced. There's only an around 0.01 second per two minutes speed difference, which provides another argument against a different AD tape transfer.
    I've seen this before, for example on the first press US Columbia box set Shine On by Pink Floyd compared with the EUR EMI version. Both contain the same Doug Sax masters but the samples also lose digital sync when compared.
     
  5. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    By right channel bias, do you mean the right channel is louder, or quieter? Compared to GGG, the left channel seemed a little louder. However, Col2 and IMP basically sounded identical to me. There were no massive differences in channel volume. So either you've got a completely mangled CD, or I'm completely misunderstanding you. :laugh: EDIT: "Temptation" is the only song I compared, so if the bias is not on that song, it explains everything.

    that's so absurd that the 7 tracks that skipped have the same volume, but the other ones that didn't skip are louder. :confused:
     
  6. strippies

    strippies Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Netherlands
    The right channel is louder on all tracks of Col2 compared with the IMP:
    [​IMG]
     
  7. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Wow. That looks absolutely nothing like my CD. Let me get an image made up. What's the matrix of your Col2? EDIT: Never mind, I see it.
     
  8. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Well I'll be damned. Mine does have a right channel bias. Even on "Temptation". I wonder if I maybe, stupidly, loaded the Demon twice in my comparison. I'll do a correct comparison later.
     
  9. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
  10. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Thanks to this thread, it seems that, as of today, there is finally a definitive This Year's Model on CD (with "Big Tears" as a bonus track). I've ordered a copy and I'm eager to compare it to my Col2 once it arrives, but the Qobuz samples suggest to me that it's going to be the winner. Mastered by Greg Calbi. I hope this means all of his early albums will be getting good remastering treatment – we had it with Armed Forces last year, and This Year's Model, uh, this year. I shouldn't get my hopes up, but if they announced a CD box set with his first eleven albums all mastered this tastefully, I would buy it in a heartbeat.
     
    Joseph.McClure likes this.
  11. Joseph.McClure

    Joseph.McClure Forum Resident

    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    I just ordered as well.
     
  12. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Okay, let's correct this. I accidentally compared the Demon to itself, hence why it sounded "basically identical". On "Temptation", Col2 is quieter and heavily favours the right channel. To balance them, I dropped the Demon by 3.5 dB and panned the Col2 25% left. After doing this, they sound basically identical to my ears. I don't hear a difference in EQ when I toggle between them, and they play at essentially the same speed. They don't match up perfectly, being several samples out of sync by the end. I've noticed this happens a lot with older CDs – would transferring a U-Matic or DAT potentially cause this extremely minor speed issue?

    So, my conclusion is that the Col2 was supposed to be the same as the Demon, but somebody screwed up. I would really like to hear the original Columbia CD (if anyone has a copy they'd like to sell, hint hint). ;) I don't recommend Col2 – it sounds pretty good once you correct the channel imbalance, but you could also just buy the Demon CD and not have to correct anything.

    It does seem strange that most of the Columbia "secret remasters" are similar to the Demon CDs, but Almost Blue is a completely mangled mess. Part of me wishes we could get explanations for all this stuff, but at the same time, trying to figure it out is so much fun!
     
  13. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Doing some more Almost Blue comparisons.

    "Why Don't You Love Me Like You Used To Do?" – The Columbia, compared to the Demon, has its waveform inverted, is 6.7 dB louder, and runs slightly slower. Oddly, the Demon seems to be weighted to the left channel slightly; the Columbia has a more pleasing stereo balance. It's much brighter (and harsher, and shriller), but judging by the spectrogram, there appears to be some kind of noise reduction present, as there's a lot of white space between drum hits starting at around 18 kHz. Too bad all the tape hiss in the 10-15 kHz range is goosed! The Demon sounds a little bit dark, but it's a nicer listen (once you pan it 10% right, anyway). No noise reduction on the Demon, for the record, although there is a 20.5 kHz cut-off typical of early CDs.

    [​IMG]

    "Sweet Dreams" – Basically the same as the first song. Columbia has inverted polarity, is 6.75 dB louder, significantly brighter, runs slightly slower, and has high-frequency noise reduction. The Demon is kinda dark and airless, but it doesn't sound bad. The stereo balance is again not perfect, but this time it sounds like the Columbia is weighted toward the right channel. I'm not sure which is correct, but I prefer the balance of the Demon.

    "I'm Your Toy" – Columbia is 7 dB louder, the rest is the same. Again, the stereo balance seems slightly off between the two, but this time I don't have a preference. The Columbia sounds exceptionally shrill on this song; the darkness of the Demon suits it nicely, in my opinion.

    "Sittin' And Thinkin'" – This is one instance where the brightness of the Columbia actually works in the song's favour. One thing that really jumps out is the rattle of the snare, which sounds like it has a towel thrown over it on the Demon. The looseness of the band shines through on the Columbia. However, during the denser passages, the lack of dynamics becomes obvious. Toggling between the Demon and the Columbia during "I am nobody's friend" reveals a jarring volume jump, with the Demon sounding much better.

    The Columbia loses by default for its reduced dynamic range, noise reduction (which doesn't sound like noise reduction, probably because the disc is so hissy, but it still shouldn't be there), and shrill harshness on most songs, but the Demon isn't perfect either, lacking in treble and clarity. I'm confident that this is made from a completely different tape than the Demon, unlike many other Columbia "secret remasters". If there exists a different Columbia mastering that pre-dates this one, I'd be very interested in hearing it. As it stands, the version I have is an oddity in the world of early CD mastering.
     
    strippies likes this.
  14. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    I know this thread is intended for discussion of the older CDs, but I am stunned by the quality of this remaster. Apart from some tape damage on "Big Tears" (and, to a much lesser extent, "Chelsea"), this is a fantastic remaster which apparently comes from the never-before-used original tapes. No compression whatsoever, a nice EQ balance (that often errs on the flat side), and a presentation that doesn't interfere with the uniqueness of the original production. I'm very happy with it. Less so about the quality of the 2020 Armed Forces remaster, but I've only given that one a cursory listen thus far.
     
    Joseph.McClure and Lance LaSalle like this.
  15. Joseph.McClure

    Joseph.McClure Forum Resident

    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    They to do all of the albums exactly like this one!
     
    Lance LaSalle likes this.
  16. strippies

    strippies Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Why impose strict rules upon ourselves?

    On those 'never-before-used original tapes', are they the same mixes as those on your Columbia2, some of which are different on the 93 Ryko?
     
  17. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    I don't have the Ryko, but the mixes sound the same as the Rhino. Just way smoother on the ears. I'll compare to the Col2 later.
     
  18. arcamsono

    arcamsono Forum Resident

    Location:
    MN
    Same here
     

Share This Page

molar-endocrine