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DCC Archive NO-NOISE question for Steve Hoffman

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Sam, Oct 17, 2001.

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  1. Sam

    Sam Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Mr. Hoffman, can you tell us what the positives and negatives are from remastering with the no-noise process that Peter Mew uses with many of the Abbey Road remasters?
    And, if your answer is that there are more negatives than positives to the process, why do these remastering engineers use it? Don't they listen for the positive and negatives of any given process upon the completion of their work? Thank you for your response.
     
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Sam,

    Speaking candidly, there are no positives, only negatives, IMO.

    Now, I'm not speaking of 78 RPM disc transfering, only recorded tape mastering.

    I've said this many times: Tape hiss is our friend. If we don't hear it, something's wrong... If we hear too much of it, something's wrong. In either case, operator error would probably be to blame...

    Some engineers use it because they can. They can charge extra. Goodie, more money (about three times as much in some cases).

    Maybe their monitors are lying to them about the amount of tape hiss that is actually on the tape. Maybe the RECORD COMPANIES are insisting that it be used. Who knows? Some mastering engineers use it FOR EVERYTHING, regardless of type of music, or age of recording.

    I've used it one or two times in 10 years, and that was just with disc dubbing, and even then, just to remove tics, etc. Never straight noise reduction.

    Used gently, it still sounds terrible, and used improperly (what I call "overused"), it sucks the very life out of the music, kills dynamics, makes everything sound false and weird, and drives me CRAZY!

    The worst thing IMO, is when a mastering engineer no-noises the music to death, and then attempts to restore some kind of life to it by boosting the top end. Geez, I hate that sound. It has kept me from buying many, many Capitol/EMI CD's in the past 10 years. (You see, I'm speaking quite candidly today)...

    Another thing I hate, is the sound of BREATHING, when the air is being sucked in and out of the music depending on the volume.

    This is tampering with music in a big bad way, my friends!

    :mad: :mad: :(
     
    goodiesguy likes this.
  3. Angel

    Angel New Member

    Location:
    Hollywood, Ca.
    Thank you, Steve.

    I guess other mastering engineers (like Peter what's his nose) actually LIKE the way no-noising sounds. I can't understand it, but it must be true because most engineers use it. (Though thankfully, not all)...

    Maybe there should be a warning sticker: No-noise used in the making of this compact disc.

    :confused:

    [ October 17, 2001: Message edited by: Angel ]
     
  4. Sam

    Sam Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Thank you for your fast and candid reply. I am very sad to say the least. Such masterpieces are then being "ruined" if you will (such as the latest McCartney "Wingspan" release). Why oh why can't these people hear what you hear? What many of us within this forum hear.

    I was reading a letter to the editor of Absolute sound, I believe, discussing the Sinatra re-releases. This writer was saying how the sound was now big and full but not the way it was originally intended to sound. I could only agree having heard the remaster of "Only the lonely" cd (full, upfront Sinatra) and comparing it to my original Capital pressing LP (mellow and distant sinatra with the orchestra spread out in a more natural way). This writer for Absolute sound DEFENDED the remastering saying it was wonderful and being used as a reference around the magazine. (I think it was absolute sound----maybe Stereophile??) I don't get it Steve. Totally changing the recording. It's like those releases that have been remixed. Sorry, not the original. (Although I do have the stereo petsounds on vinyl.) Yet, many in the industry seem to praise these works. Are we alone steve in wanting the original? Abbey Road needs to hire you (and Stan Ricker). Good day.
     
  5. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    I complained about NoNoise once on the Blue Note board. That's when Chuck Nessa (the same man who runs Nessa Records, which put out many of AACM's music in the late 60's) started accusing me of not knowing how the tools work, etc., etc. There's different algorithms for different kinds of filtering, but Steve's right. Just about any recording professionally made on magnetic tape will only be hurt by it. I always was much more forgiving to hear it or CEDAR used on 78 rpm discs, but I'm not even sure about that anymore; if you have a good, clean 78 rpm disc, it can sound surprisingly good.
     
  6. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Sadly, I think you're right that some people like the way it sounds. Not everyone has good ears. Not everyone has good taste. Maybe ego gets involved, with a person arrogantly thinking they can use their "skill" to "improve" something.

    The trend I've noticed is that NoNoise has slipped out of fashion among many US engineers, but is still used extensively by the European guys. Why, I dunno. I read somewhere a great analogy for NoNoise: It's kind of the modern equivalent of the various awful fake "stereo" techniques used on mono recordings in the 60s. 20 years from now, people will listen to NoNoised stuff and say "I can't believe anyone thought that sounded good."
     
  7. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I sure hope that's the case!

    Funny...it seems like Peter Mew's work is getting worse with time. I still don't mind the Red and Blue CDs that much, but 1 just blows, IMO...
     
  8. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    The first time I ever heard no-noising was when the EMi folks were getting ready for the first CD issue of "Imagine" and "Plastic Ono Band".. I had a sinking feeling then, especially when one of the engineers told me that he thought it was wonderful that one could remove hiss and stuff without hurting the music.

    Well, that guy (who actually meant well), just chose not to listen to the damage the thing was doing to the sound. Similar to the solid state rage in the early 1970's that replaced all of those noisy, hot vacuum tube mixing and mastering consoles in the studios. People were so happy to get a cool, quiet console, that they forgot to listen to the sound, and how the life seemed to go out of the music...

    Just remember one thing. We got along fine without no-noising in the old days. Some of the best sounding LP's from the 1950's through the 1980's, and some of the best sounding CD's from the early 1980's on were made WITHOUT the evil no-noise program.
     
  9. Unknown

    Unknown Guest

    Yeah Steve... put these damned no-noise machines in the trash!
     
  10. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    Tom Daly, who has mastered CD's for ERIC Records hates tape hiss so much that he uses noise reduction but his mastering isn't bad at all. I've actually heard some of his stuff. We all have our own tastes :)

    [ October 17, 2001: Message edited by: Bradley Olson ]
     
  11. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Well, I'll admit to not hearing an Eric CD (yet), but I *have* heard some stuff he's mastered "on the side", and it's NOT good. The Stones tracks he did were swimming in digital artifacts.

    Ahh, well...
     
  12. Grant

    Grant Just chillin'!

    Location:
    United States
    I agree. Tom's work sounds very close to those FDS CDs of the 80s. The life is sucked out of the music.
     
  13. Unknown

    Unknown Guest

    FDS?

    [​IMG]

    [ October 17, 2001: Message edited by: Patrick M ]
     
  14. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    ****in' dumb ****?

    Sorry, I couldn't resist... :D

    I have no idea...
     
  15. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    FDS is the Waring process used on the Oldies But Goodies 1980's CD reissues, many Priority comps, etc.
     
  16. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    Location:
    South Plymouth, Ma
    "Full Dimensional Sound"

    The deoderant spray is more effective, I'll betcha.
     
  17. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    FDS??? Ah, the legendary Frequency Destruction System that promised one day to be able to isolate and remove instruments so that stereo could magically be extracted from mono sources - guess that never happened! Talk about sucking the life and joy out of music, it almost makes me long for No-Noised stuff... :D
     
  18. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Guess you haven't been to the BSN board much...
     
  19. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    Howdy Luke - actually, I've been checking in at BSN every day - I don't have any of those digital extractions or Frankenstein stereo creations, and have never downloaded an MP3 (my poor old dinosaur of a computer plods along to slowly for me to tie up the phone line). I have the feeling that the digital artifacts imprinted on the finished songs would drive me nuts. I liken those stereo wanna be songs to someone who walks up to a cake, sticks their finger in and takes a swipe of icing, then spreads the remaining goo around the missing icing spot; it's still a frosted cake, but there's not as much there and there's something left behind that hopefully wasn't there before(pesky germs). Now, if you can burn me off a cd-r of some well done DES tunes I'll listen with open ears - I'd like to be proved wrong cause I L-O-V-E stereo!
     
  20. J Epstein

    J Epstein Member

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    It's been my impression (based mostly on OLD jazz disc transfers like early Ellington & Armstrong, not stuff that was originally matered to tape by any means) that CEDAR is much more musical than NoNoise. I know a guy (Doug Pomeroy) who does disc transfers and has a full blown CEDAR setup and he seems to get some pretty lively sound out of that setup. He has a very light hand with it, that seems to be the key.

    Sometimes there just is NOT a mint disc extant to start with so it's not an option to use that!

    Whoever invented NoNoise should be shot. (It's sorta the opposite of Spandex. That guy's my hero ;) )

    Pumping distorted crackle is not my idea of fun. For a lesson in the worst of what NoNoise has to offer, I nominate the Ellington Blanton/Webster 3CD set - some absolutely killer music with just horrendous overprocessed sound.

    -j
     
  21. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    J,

    Have you heard any of the transfers on the Centennial box set?

    They use CEDAR, applied with a lighter touch from the sound of the surface noise. The one thing that annoys me a bit is an occasional high pitched sound on some of the 20's material on the first 7 discs.

    The Blanton-Webster material is a huge improvement, though there's an occasional spitting sound on some tracks that others have noticed as well.

    Do you suppose these defects (the high pitched sound, the spitting) is inherent in the recording, or is it a result of the source material? Perhaps damage on the metal pressing parts or just a 78 that was not manufactured very well?

    [ October 19, 2001: Message edited by: Camarillo ]
     
  22. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Jon Astley uses CEDAR - I'd take Peter Mew's NoNoise over that any day of the week...
     
  23. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    Whoa, Astley uses CEDAR? I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but for a tape recording, that's just wrong...
     
  24. Grant

    Grant Just chillin'!

    Location:
    United States
    Indy Mike,
    Even the creators of those "DES" creations admit that they are not to be taken seriously but many in the crowd at BSN do.

    If you don't mind the "fun" factor, go for them. Otherwise, stick to real the stereo or MONO.
     
  25. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Not only is Astley a Cedar user, he's an AWARD-WINNING Cedar user. Cedar helped him remove all those awful "scratches, clicks, crackle, and hiss" from All Things Must Pass. Check this out if you have a strong stomach: http://www.cedar-audio.com/news/2001awards.html
     
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