Guided By Voices Half Smiles Of The Decomposed mastering comments

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Leppo, Aug 24, 2004.

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  1. Leppo

    Leppo Forum Librarian Thread Starter

    Guided By Voices' fantastic final release Half Smiles Of The Decomposed hit record stores today. Luckily, I found a CD pressing in the used bins during my first visit to Spin-More Records here in Kent where it was recorded last December. Thanks to a SH forum member, I have been previewing the recording all summer and was hoping the mastering would be improved with the official release. But, unfortunately Greg Calbi's mastering ruins this otherwise enjoyable final GBV recording. :(

    Please share your Half Smiles Of The Decomposed comments.

    :realmad: Take a look at this EAC .wav file of "Everybody Thinks I'm A Raincloud (When I'm Not Looking)":
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Brian Cruz

    Brian Cruz Forum Resident

    Location:
    Franklin, TN
    That's disgraceful.
     
  3. Leppo

    Leppo Forum Librarian Thread Starter

    Hi Seckels,

    Yes, I agree. It's yet another modern mastering horror story. :shake:

    Let's hope the LP pressing will be better. :thumbsup:
     
  4. Damián

    Damián Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Spain now
    Leppo, I'm not sure I understand.. you got a used CD of this before release date (and better mastered, to boot)? :confused:

    Edit: could you post a bit of the un-mastered disc for comparison?
     
  5. Leppo

    Leppo Forum Librarian Thread Starter

    Hi Damian,

    No, today I purchased a used CD pressing of the official release and it features the same horrible Greg Calbi mastering as the advance CD that I listened to over the summer. :shake:
     
  6. Cyaneyes

    Cyaneyes Forum Resident

    Although I'm as much against the loudness race as anyone, you have to be careful when making judgements on sound quality solely on the basis of looking at a waveform.

    For example, here is Orion from Steve's Master of Puppets DCC disc.

    [​IMG]

    Looks pretty loud, eh? It is. But it also sounds good. However, I don't doubt your word that the loudness race has affected the sonic of the GBV disc :shake:
     
  7. namretsam

    namretsam Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santa Rosa , CA
    You can't blame Greg. If he didn't make the master slamming' loud,the band ,their producer or the label would have just taken the project away and given it to someone who would.
     
  8. Leppo

    Leppo Forum Librarian Thread Starter

    Yes and take a look at this EAC .wav file of "Sons Of Apollo" which is perhaps the loudest recording:
     

    Attached Files:

  9. CardinalFang

    CardinalFang New Member

    Location:
    ....
  10. poe_man

    poe_man Forum Resident

    Location:
    Basom
    Thanks for posting those waves Lepp. Confirms what my ears heard the second I threw it into my car system. Great songs, but the sound is :hurl:
     
  11. poweragemk

    poweragemk Old Member

    Location:
    CH
    Yep. :shake:
     
  12. Chanty Stovall

    Chanty Stovall Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lincoln, NE
    I have to turn the volume up on my receiver a bit to hear their earlier stuff.
     
  13. CardinalFang

    CardinalFang New Member

    Location:
    ....
    I really wish Steve could tackle some of "indie" rock. There are a lot of great albums out there that deserve the breath of life.
     
  14. Leppo

    Leppo Forum Librarian Thread Starter

    It's just so frustrating because not every track on Half Smiles sounds bad. In fact, "A Second Spurt Of Growth" sounds quite nice or you might say has a breath of life. Take a look at the EAC .wav file:
     

    Attached Files:

  15. markl

    markl New Member

    Location:
    cyberspace
    OK, I have another dumb question (be gentle :angel: ). How do we know what the original master tape looks like? Maybe it's every bit as "saturated" as the CD. What if we were able to run the master tape through similar software and it came out looking much the same? Could a "flat transfer" of a very loud master tape end up looking as clipped as this CD?
     
  16. CardinalFang

    CardinalFang New Member

    Location:
    ....
    Great point. We DON'T know. They could have mixed it right to 2-track (whether on a computer, to analog tape, or DAT) with a compressor in the chain to pump it up. Honestly, that's not uncommon these days. :(

    And yes, a flat transfer could look just as clipped... I think the last Rush album had this problem (judging from interviews given by band members).
     
  17. Leppo

    Leppo Forum Librarian Thread Starter

    Mark,

    We would need to ask producer Todd Tobias and/or mastering engineer, Greg Calbi to answer those questions. I hope to have the oportunity to ask Todd myself during my stay in Kent.

    Here's to hoping the LP pressing sounds better. :cheers:
     
  18. markl

    markl New Member

    Location:
    cyberspace
    OK, I picked this one up and actually listened to it. IMO, it's better than Earthquake Glue, a fine GBV release. Despite how it may look graphically, this CD still sounds pretty good. Not an audiophile's dream, but not a nightmare either. I say, disregard the graphs and let your own ears do the listening, and enjoy guilt-free. It's a fine album. Cheers.
     
  19. Leppo

    Leppo Forum Librarian Thread Starter

    Good news - the LP sounds much better and actually has a breath of life!

    Take a look at this EAC .wav file comparison of "Sons Of Apollo":
     

    Attached Files:

  20. CardinalFang

    CardinalFang New Member

    Location:
    ....
    Thanks Leppo... it's the vinyl for me then. :)
     
  21. shrive

    shrive Member

    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    i agree the vinyl or leppo cd mastering is the way to go for this release.

    not to thread crap, but the new interpol, another matador release mastered by calbi has the same aggressive mastering.
     
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