SH Spotlight People always ask me: What does brickwalled digital compression sound like?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, May 23, 2003.

  1. The Gomper

    The Gomper In Another Land

    Location:
    Geneva
    Right. And the person who I was responding to thought that the mastering engineers actually choose to do that, which is almost never the case.
     
  2. The Gomper

    The Gomper In Another Land

    Location:
    Geneva
    Oh. Yes. All of the Marcussen remasters of the Stones catalog 1971-2016 are absolutely dreadful.
     
  3. Zimbad

    Zimbad Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Idaho
    I noticed on the latest round of The Rolling Stones post Decca remasters one thing that really bugs me about compression. I’ve heard this issue on other remasters, but wasn’t able to put my finger on it until then. I compared the latest sticky Fingers remaster to the mid 90s remaster. In the newest remaster Jaggar's voice doesn’t sound like it comes from it’s own space. It feels like it’s been mashed and spread directly into the bass drums guitar etc. it’s like it’s all coming from the same glob of goo.
    Also, in response to the rush sound issues. I have never been able to get into Clockwork Angels, because it is so loud and in your face the second you push play. I know Vapor trails gets it's well deserved reputation for bad sound due to compression and distortion, but I’ve still been able to listen to it and like the songs despite the bad mastering. I may need to listen to clockwork again.
     
  4. Evethingandnothing

    Evethingandnothing Forum Resident

    Location:
    Devon
    An all pass delay can be used in analogue limiters with the original signal being fed to the side chain of the delayed signal for "look ahead". Also a regular fast analogue limiter can be used and whatever peaks get through can be squashed with a diode clipping circuit. The duration of the peaks will be so short that any distortion from the clipping circuit will be virtually inaudible. Both of these "brick wall" techniques have been used in professional broadcasting since the 1940's. That's what I've read anyway.
     
    bluesfan likes this.
  5. Joy-of-radio

    Joy-of-radio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Skowhegan, ME
    Yes indeed! Oddly, as hot as those ‘60s Motown 45s are, they made vacuum valve jukeboxes of yore really jump, and they sounded energetic and fun! I’m guessing that jukeboxes, which were in restaurants, bars, dance halls, and pretty much everywhere people congregated, were just as effective at promoting records as radio. Motown knew this and cut their records hot to really get the listeners’ attention. In the case of Motown, it wasn’t just the squashing of dynamics, but their records had a unique tonality to them too. Even if I wasn’t familiar with a song, I could almost always identify a Motown record as soon as I heard it.

    I suppose I don’t mind excessive compression if heard in a proper context. 45s from the ‘60s are typically hotter then the LP tracks and they sound cool on vintage jukeboxes.
     
    The Gomper likes this.
  6. gkella

    gkella Let there be songs to fill the air

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I am not just going to explain it, I am going to make them demonstrate it !!!
     
  7. Lownote30

    Lownote30 Bass Clef Addict

    Location:
    Nashville, TN, USA
    Yep.
     
  8. The Gomper

    The Gomper In Another Land

    Location:
    Geneva
    Because it's not digital compression clipping at absolute zero.
     
    Joy-of-radio likes this.
  9. The Gomper

    The Gomper In Another Land

    Location:
    Geneva
    In the case of the Rolling Stones, the original CBS CDs and Virgin remasters are legitimate. The early SHM-SACDs are, too. The Marcussen remasters are horrid. But honestly, the Stones are one of those bands that always seems to sound better on vinyl.

    I know that Rush Vapor Trails was remixed and remastered for a vinyl release that was purported to be a huge sonic improvement over the original digital release. Don't know about Clockwork Angels though.
     
  10. luckybaer

    luckybaer Thinks The Devil actually beat Johnny

    Location:
    Missouri
    Is your copy of Clockwork Angels digital (CD, etc.) or analog (LP)?
     
  11. PJC68

    PJC68 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool UK
    Great idiot proof explanation :edthumbs:, and i hate that "in your face" sound too were the Limiter gets abused
    I think Bob Ludwig calls it "smashed to pieces"
     
  12. PJC68

    PJC68 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool UK
    This is what you call mastering abuse, Listen to the lack of dynamic range, it sounds worse on a good hifi
     
  13. Joy-of-radio

    Joy-of-radio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Skowhegan, ME
    You're right in that it wasn't "digital compression clipping at absolute zero" back in the '60s, but it was abuse of compassion just the same and applied for the same reason of making recordings in-your-face loud. At least we don't have to contend with el-cheapo styrene 45s often presser off-center with wow along with groove distortion.
     
  14. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    Why make it loud? Because the old version is so quiet increasing volume on low voltage devices (cellphones, boomboxes, etc.) sounds REALLY BAD! No clarity. Vocal harmonies turn into a roaring mush.

    So what I've noticed being done on some volume boosting of old titles as far back as 2002 remastering is to make the quiet version louder as if it was made to be louder on a high end system. This does not rule out subjectivity by the remastering engineer especially if the original quiet recordings have tape delay style reverb or any reverb for that matter. Reverb is an artificial effect that attempts to sound as if you're listening to the band in a big place like at a live concert. Whether it's done by the engineer with an EQ adjust or by applying compression/limiter, the reverb becomes amplified as well. Reverb is an emulation of air/space/that thing that hangs in the air making it sound like you're in a place that has air. There's no real sound adding to the musicality of the song. A lot of songs have this effect to make it sound BIG and balance out each instrument and vocal when playing it louder.

    Listen to the cowbell and tape delay style reverb effect of Brewer's lead vocal in this 2002 remaster of Grand Funk's "We're An American Band". It's FREAKIN! LOUD!

    https://www.amazon.com/Were-America.../ref=tmm_msc_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

    I have the much quieter version from their Greatest Hits CD that shows the three on the cover. If I raise the volume on my MacMini with Sony Studio Monitor headphones the bass roar is the first thing that overwhelms the clarity of the vocals. The reverb that's suppose to separate the vocal harmonies singing the title of the song so they can be heard on the left/right channels gets drowned out in the roar. The louder Amazon 2002 remaster sounds much better as a song that has been made louder but I have to reduce volume listening on my headphones because the reverb is like someone blowing air into my ears.

    I'm sure it'll sound just fine and better than the quiet version played on my home speaker system. There's no solid kick drum on the quiet version that I have to make a bass adjust that never delivers.

    I wouldn't know if a compressor or limiter was at fault from just a bad EQ adjust.
     
    Murph likes this.
  15. 389 Tripower

    389 Tripower Kids can still rock!!

    Location:
    Moline, IL USA
    Agreed!
    That’s why I needledrop my 45’s.
     
    Joy-of-radio likes this.
  16. Zimbad

    Zimbad Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Idaho
    CD. I haven’t heard the LP.
     
  17. luckybaer

    luckybaer Thinks The Devil actually beat Johnny

    Location:
    Missouri
    The LP isn't too bad. Definitely better than original or even remixed Vapor Trails. It s up there with Snakes & Arrows and Test for Echo LPs that I own.
     
  18. Omron

    Omron Forum Resident

    Get a copy of Led Zeppelin Mother Ship and listen.
    It’s still one of the best examples of how bad digital compression can be.
    It’s a crime against music.
    They got the spelling wrong on Ship.
    It should have been it not ip.
     
    David del Toro likes this.
  19. Ricky Lampoon

    Ricky Lampoon Forum Resident

    Location:
    Switzerland
    Strangely, I was just thinking and comparing this CD to the 90s Remasters (the one with the crop circles), and wondering which one to purchase.

    Thanks for the post. It confirms my suspicion that new is not necessarily best.
     
    Omron likes this.
  20. Omron

    Omron Forum Resident

  21. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    That's quite a long list. An indication of how good he is?

    Could you point to a YouTube sample that highlights his skills and a before version to compare against? I know I could do this but I've found so many versions of any particular title that don't list who mastered it. IOW a lot of vinyl vs CD stuff.
     
  22. George P

    George P Gonna Wait It Out

    Location:
    NYC
  23. Joseph LeVie

    Joseph LeVie Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Florida
    When did Barry die? Was he ever forced to conform to current mastering practices? I love all my CDs of his work.
     
  24. Joseph LeVie

    Joseph LeVie Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Florida
    How would you be able to tell from listening to a YouTube sample?
     
  25. George P

    George P Gonna Wait It Out

    Location:
    NYC
    He's very much alive and well.
     
    Joseph LeVie likes this.

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