Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by aphexj, Apr 24, 2018.
Stripped is not in the box
I have all of these albums on vinyl in good condition, except Blue and Lonesome. However, I wouldn't mind getting Goats Head Soup and It's Only Rock'n Roll, if they sound better than my crappy sounding 1980s Canadian pressings. However, I have not interest in records brickwalled by Stephen Marcusson or anybody else for that matter.
You might want to go back and scan the thread for posts on this question.
Sorry if this has been answered but I didn't catch it — what is the best Canadian price (or Toronto price)? Amazon.ca is pretty high at the moment
I sent an email a few days ago to Abbey Road hoping to get some answers on the sources for this new set.
I'm happy to say that Miles himself replied and provided great detail - thank you again, Miles, if you are reading this - and I am so much more looking forward to hearing this set as a result.
He also gave me permission to share the information, so here's my original email:
Can you elaborate at all on the sources Miles Showell used for the new Rolling Stones Studio Albums box set?
I was disappointed that for the last half-speed mastered Exile On Main Street he had to use a dynamically compressed digital master and was hoping that he was able to work from a totally uncompressed hi-res copy of the original master tape, if not the original analogue master tape itself.
The press release say “from vinyl specific original tape transfers designed to get the very best possibly sound from the format” but that’s somewhat vague.
And here is Miles's response:
Lucy forwarded your email to me. Apologies that I was unable to respond sooner as it has been extremely busy.
You are correct, for the first half speed cut I did for “Exile On Main Street” I was tied to the most recent remastered audio. This was a decision taken by the band’s management as it was the officially approved audio at that time. In an Ideal world I would have preferred to have had access to a flat transfer from the masters, but that was not available at that time.
The good news for this box however is that there was a very different approach. While I was not granted access to the original master tapes (some of which are getting pretty worn and should be used as little as possible to prevent further damage) I was loaned an archive hard disk by the management. On this disk were two separate sets of high resolution flat transfers from the master tapes for each album where the source was analogue tape (two or there of the later albums are digital recordings and these were digitally dubbed at their original sample rate to the hard disk). The two archive transfers were DSD and also 24 bit 192 kHz PCM (a few were 24 bit 176.4 kHz). I was told to listen to both and choose whichever one I felt was the best to use. In most cases the DSD transfer won, but not always. Once I had chosen, I was given free range to just ‘do my thing’ which was remarkable freedom. I had no instructions from the band’s management or from Universal other than to do it as well as I could. At no point was any digital peak limiting applied to these albums as this is never good for audiophile releases and is completely useless as a source for vinyl records (full scale digital audio is too loud to cut from, so it is pointless to smash it against the brick wall only to drop the level still further for the cut. Adding limiting would have been the worst of all worlds, increased distortion and “mush” with no level increase). On some songs I did apply some gentle tube compression (I have an analogue tube AT-101, which is a very faithful Fairchild 670 recreation, it sounds wonderful, almost certainly because of the 22 tubes in it). This compression was for artistic effect and feel and not to over hype the music and make it too pumped. I am no fan of extreme compression but like salt and pepper in cooking, a little bit carefully applied at the right time in the right quantity can really improve things.
I was also loaned a set of original pressings for every album which was an excellent reference point as I could play these on the calibrated system on the lathe while also listening to the files. My goal was to make these new cuts at least as good as the originals and hopefully better. This is not as easy as it sounds due to the wear on some of the tapes. Essentially, for the original cuts, the tapes were obviously in mint condition which is a huge advantage for the original pressings, but I have a far cleaner signal path than was available to the original cutting engineers which helped me. I am happy that I achieved my goal. Management and Universal did not listen to anything until the test pressing stage when the decision was taken to proceed, thankfully the feedback was good (had they not liked it, the box would almost certainly not be happening).
I hope all of the above answers your question and if you get a box that you are pleased with it. Just so you know, the latest album in the set was not remastered but all of the others have been worked on by me.
That’s pretty cool of Miles to respond in that way - kudos to him.
Verrry nice. $179 well spent.
Thank you for that. Great to have a clearer perspective on the mastering process, and to know that many right decisions were made.
Also thanks to Miles Showell for elaborating on his work put into these records.
Cool, I may go for the box to get Voodoo Lounge and a different sounding copy of Blue and Lonesome. Blue and Lonesome I happen to love
So has there been any sort of official confirmation that the high-res downloads will not be available to North American customers?
Yes indeed. I'm so happy that I was checking out the forum the day the cheap Amazon price was posted.
It doesn't appear that Blue And Lonesome will be any different from what you have. Note the last line in his email:
Just so you know, the latest album in the set was not remastered but all of the others have been worked on by me.
From the first half-speed EOMS:
Exile On Main Street
4.What was the source for this record?
Miles: 24bit/96khz digital transfers supplied by the Stones made from original ¼” tapes. This album was cut from a high-resolution digital transfer from the best known analogue tape in existence. Only minimal sympathetic equalisation was applied to the transfer to keep everything as pure as possible. Also, as this was an analogue, vinyl only high quality release, I did not apply any digital limiting. This is added to almost all digital releases to make them appear to be loud and is responsible for “the loudness war” and in almost every case is anything but natural and pure sounding.
This was misleading to say the least. Say whatever you want, but that was near false advertising from UMe and Miles played along.
Well, he didn't
Exactly. But is a misleading choice of words which causes to believe that there was no limiting at all, followed by "This is added to almost all digital releases to make them appear to be loud and is responsible for “the loudness war” and in almost every case is anything but natural and pure sounding." What nerve!
And don't get me started about the "very limited" nature of that release. Shame on UMe, it was a scam from the beginning to the end.
Oh tell me about it, I preordered at $50
Thanks for sharing!
You can tell that he loves his job.
Great info, thanks for sharing that and thanks to Miles. It’s always great to know this details from first hand.
Now, should we assume that the transfers are the same flat DSD done at FX Mastering that we’re used for the SHM SACD?
The comments from Showell are encouraging to some degree. Not crazy about the whole adding modest compression to “really improve things” because that seems to be the new trend these days and IMO almost always doesn’t improve things, but we’ll see.
Hopefully his comments can also put to rest the absurd notion perpetuated here by some that the 1/2 speed of Exile was substantially different than the 2010 CD and vinyl (which were, rightfully, almost universally panned). If there was ever an example of confirmation bias on a release, this was it.
Good question. I hope so.
Should be, if they are so cautious to use the tapes they probably wouldn’t do two DSD transfers.
Thank you very much for asking and following up.
And thank you Miles!!
We can only hope that the reissues sq approaches that of the original pressings.
So can I exchange my current half-speed exile for the one in the box? I feel it's only fair as we were short-changed as far as the source is concerned - hehe, Universal would lose so much money if they had to do that...
I wonder if they let him use the DSD mastering of the original UK tapes of IORR, with the regular speed "Fingerprint File" and the long versions of "Time Waits for No One" and "Luxury".
Well, "management" authorized to use those version for the SHM SACD, so probably in this case too.
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