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Nerd Corner: Taking Another Swing at "Blow By Blow"

Jim the Oldbie

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#1
Howdy folks.

Recently I was having a look at my copy of this title in Audacity. (I have the Sony Music 2014 reissue in the 7" sleeve, catalog # EICP 10001.) I was a bit surprised to discover that the reverse-polarity problem in the rears has not been corrected, as reported in a couple of other threads here. Not only that, but the rears are out of time sync with the fronts - specifically, they need to be delayed by 0.6 milliseconds (600 microseconds) to bring them in line with the fronts. The LFE channel appears to have the same polarity as the fronts, as well as being in sync with them time-wise. The latter is hard to tell for sure because LFE is so bandwidth-limited, but it's probably a safe assumption since the polarity is correct.

The center channel on this release is yet another pointless low-level mono mix of all 4 quad channels (same as Rough and Ready), so I didn't waste any time checking polarity or time alignment - I just deleted it.

I'm passing this along for any of you who might have this ripped to PCM like I have. The improvement after correcting the polarity is obvious. The front-rear time alignment is more subtle, but I think it's also important, especially since this mix seems to have a lot of "dual-stereo" stuff going on. The mix sounds noticeably tighter with the delay corrected.

As always, any questions or comments are welcome.

- Jim
 
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sjcorne

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#2
I had read that AP's 2016 reissue fixed the polarity issue with the rears. I have a european copy from the early 2000s which I assume also has the issue.

Are you going to check out Wired and the orange album (apparently Sony Japan's version has different mastering than Audio Fidelity's) as well? I always appreciate some good analysis.
 

Jim the Oldbie

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#3
I don't make a habit of chasing multiple masters of a given title, but I'm curious enough (and also a big fan of this record) to order the AP release of Blow by Blow as soon as the budget allows, just to hear the difference.

I have looked at the orange album. Not only did it not have any of the aforementioned problems (including that made-up center channel nonsense), but this quad version sounds so damn good to me that I've made a stereo mixdown of it for the car, that I like way better than the original stereo release I've been listening to for 45 years! I'll describe the details of that in another Nerd Corner post. (It's nothing fancy, but a bit more than just a front-rear blend.)

[EDIT] (I have the Audio Fidelity SACD of the orange album.)

I've also had a quick look & listen to Beck, Bogert & Appice, and will post something about it too. (There's that stupid center channel again!) I'm not sure about Wired - that mix is really different to my ear in some places (I only ever heard the stereo version until hearing the SACD recently).

It does surprise me how different these Beck quad mixes are from each other in various ways, technical and otherwise. Each one seems to have its own little quirks. (The quirk with the orange album being that it has no quirks, of course.) :)
 
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sjcorne

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#4
I'm not sure about Wired - that mix is really different to my ear in some places (I only ever heard the stereo version until hearing the SACD recently).
I know in "Come Dancing", Jan Hammer's keyboard solos are mixed WAY down compared to the stereo mix. These kind of mistakes/differences pop up occasionally in old quad mixes...like others I think it gives them some quirky character, but it can be jarring for sure.
 

ssully

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#5
Only the AF version corrected the phase issue., (I don't recall anyone on QQ reporting corrected Sony versions.)

NB AF only corrected rears vs fronts, the major source of the bass suckout. LFE and C were left as is, even though IIRC at least one of them needed phase inversion too ( I'm recalling this from when I did my own correction of the old Sony 5.1 release)
 
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