SH Spotlight Steve's Mastering Secrets, Part II

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by salleno, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Many times, yes. I'll only give you one example (OK, two):

    Ramble Tamble/Creedence
    Can't Get It Out Of My Head/ELO
     
  2. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Can you elaborate on "Ramble Tamble". I know that song has different segments which sound quite different. Did you have to apply different EQ to the different segments?
     
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host


    Well, yeah.:)
     
  4. LouReed9

    LouReed9 Village Idiot

    Location:
    Philly Burbs
    Steve, it's my understanding, and correct me if I'm wrong, that you prefer a flat transfer of the original tape. I'm just curious as to why, and when you apply EQ. Thanks
     
  5. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

  6. LouReed9

    LouReed9 Village Idiot

    Location:
    Philly Burbs
    Thanks!
     
  7. nin

    nin Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    Steve, do you cut the bass in mono when you(& kevin) cut vinyl or do you cut the bass in stereo?
    I hope this have not been asked before, sorry if it have.
     
  8. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    It all depends on where the bass is in the stereo spread and it's intensity. Every song is different.
     
  9. Metoo

    Metoo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Spain (EU)
    Thanks. :)

    Why do you think this usually happens, differences in takes when multitracking or something gone amiss at the mixing stage?
     
  10. nin

    nin Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    Thanks Steve :)
     
  11. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Well, a song like CAN'T GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD needs a little mastering "help". The song starts with voice, etc. When the drums come in, an entirely different sound starts happening.

    Same with Creedence. I mean, these are subtle changes but I assume people who are paying 30 bucks for a CD of music that is out there for 10 deserve the best sound. I want everyone who has a stereo to get a chance to hear the best sound possible. Even if you have a Sanyo receiver and a pair of little speakers you can enjoy this mastering. And some day you might trade up. When you do, the stuff I master will be ready for you to enjoy at a different level..
     
  12. DjBryan

    DjBryan New Member

    Location:
    USA
    Steve when you remaster a cd, do you choose where the access point for the start of a song? I was listening my Venus & Mars Dcc, skipped past "Call me back again" for "Listen what the man said" The disc started right with the music, I think the my other cd started with Paul talking. Btw, This cd is one I'm very very pleased to own, and happy you gave it live it deserved.
     
  13. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    I just follow the instructions on the old mastering notes as to songs beginning. Usually the second does the PQ stuff after I leave.
     
  14. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY

    Steve - who/what is the "second", and what is PQ?
    thanks
     
  15. Mal

    Mal Phorum Physicist

    [Steve, correct me if I'm mistaken.....]

    I believe Steve is referring to the second engineer who will programme the PQ subcode that defines such things as track start points etc. needed for your player to know how to play back the audio encoded on the disc as intended.

    Here's some more info on the infamous PQ subcode:

    http://www.digitalprosound.com/Features/2000/Sept/RecCD5.htm

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Subcodes

    What the heck are those "PQ" things you keep hearing about all the time? Read on, O Fearless One, and ye shall gain understanding...

    Besides parity bits and EFM codes, subcode data are another type of extra information that ride along with your audio whenever a CD gets made. Every frame of CD data has an 8-bit subcode byte attached to it (which of course becomes 14-bits after EFM encoding). There are eight subcodes on a CD -- P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, and W. That means that with the 8 bits that make up a subcode byte, the first one is the P-bit, the second one is the Q-bit, the third is the R-bit, and so on. The Red Book standard only defines the P and Q bits. Subcode bits R-W are undefined under the original Red Book standard, so they're not even worth worrying about for now. (Phillips has recently been advocating a feature called "CD-Text," by which textual information is stored in the normally unused R-channel. The text can be displayed on a properly-equipped player. Most players are not equipped to read CD-Text, and simply ignore the information.)

    Now, a P-bit or Q-bit all by its lonesome can't convey much information. After all, it's just one little bit! So what the CD does is to collect 98 consecutive frames together to make a sector. A sector contains 98 bits of related subcode of each type, P through W (collectively referred to as subcode channels) and 2352 bytes of encoded audio data (24 bytes * 98 frames), commonly referred to as a user data block or simply a block. One block represents 1/75 of a second of audio information. You will often see the terms "sector" and "block" used interchangably. To needlessly confuse matters further, some software manuals will refer to an CD-DA block as a PQ frame, a CD frame, or simply a frame.

    The P-channel's job is simple -- to indicate where there is program material on the CD, to indicate where individual tracks start and stop, and to tell where the CD ends. All "0"s in the P-channel indicates that the current sector contains audio material. A 2-3 second section of all "1"s in the P-channel means that a track start is coming. The lead-out section at the end of the disc (where no audio is contained) is indicated by sections of all "1"s, then all "0"s, then back again, alternating every half-second.

    It's really the Q-channel where most of the exciting (and complicated) stuff happens. The data contained within the 98 bits in each Q-channel will differ somewhat depending on exactly where on the disc the particular sector is located. While a precise accounting of the Q-channel subcode exceeds the scope of this article, let it suffice to say that it is here that information is stored about the number of tracks, the absolute start time of each track, the current track number, track time and length, index locations within tracks, disc catalog and UPC numbers, IRSC track information, copy-prohibit and pre-emphasis, and the like. Q-channel information that appears in the lead-in area is used by the CD player to build the TOC -- a "table of contents" which the player needs to create the familiar display you see when you insert a CD into a player, such as number of tracks, total time, and so on.

    Because the documentation in CD mastering software often refers to setting track starts and indices as "PQ editing," it's often mistakenly thought that PQ information only appears at those points. Not true! It's important to understand that subcode information appears throughout the CD from beginning to end, one subcode channel per block, 75 blocks for every second of audio.


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  16. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    Thanks Mal. Nice web site, I've got some reading to do.:thumbsup:
     
  17. Zowie

    Zowie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Left Coast, Canada
    Mal .... I know "we" all have this thing about being overly "loud" ... but I need my reading glasses to read that post!!! :mad:







    :laugh:
     
  18. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Sorry, all. I didn't mean to be obtuse. The "second engineer" takes care of the loose ends during some mastering sessions (rewinding the tape or "slow-winding" it, placing the PQ codes that tell your player where a song begins and ends, etc. and a bunch of other stuff that needs to be done like writing out the code sheet, labeling the boxes and all that). This leaves me free to concentrate on the sound I'm trying to get. Less stress for me.
     
  19. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    thanks Steve
     
  20. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    I'm not sure excactly with thread I read it on, but somewhere Steve posted that the Warner Bros reissue of Sweet Baby James he recently did was worth picking up, and to get it while you can. So I did...

    I STRONGLY second that suggestion. This was a mindblowing listening experience.:righton: Talk about being in the room, in the middle of the music, I was stunned by the warmth and clarity of the the instuments, the soundstage, and just how effin good this thing sounded. You are there. The only other listening exp. I can think of to compare it to is the Mofi Gold Cd and 2000 gram long player of the Getz ~ Gilberto with Girl From Ipanema, when that horn comes in and it is there, in your face, in the room...I've a few pressings of Sweet Baby James, US pressINGS, before and after the adding on of the "hits" blurp on the cover, and a Uk, or German pressing from the 70s, but this version stand alone.

    Next time I've company over, and I want to show them how good a record can sound, i'm putting this one on and cranking it. Stunning, simply stunning...

    If you have not taken the man's advice yet, GO OUT and buy this while you can, you will not regret it, its a keeper... can wait for the next batch, due when?


    PSssss: Did Steve do Icky Thump?, I LOVE the sound of that album as well...
    :righton:
     
  21. Mal

    Mal Phorum Physicist

     
  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Sure, no prob.!
     
  23. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    Location:
    The OC
    Try reading it on a screen set for 1600 x 1200. :eek: :laugh:
     
  24. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Steve, how about Dion's "The Wanderer", Nancy Sinatra's "Boots", and The Rascals' "Groovin'", off THE ITALIANS compilation. Anything you can share?
     
  25. johnny33

    johnny33 New Member

    Location:
    usa
    The Italians is probably my favorite comp that Steve has done.
     

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