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"Fixing" the Jeff Beck Group's Rough and Ready quad (Sony SACD)

Jim the Oldbie

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Howdy folks.

I finally got around to repairing the handful of mastering errors that have been bugging me on this release. I now have a version that sounds a lot better, and I think is probably more faithful to the original quad mix. If there are any others out there who have ripped this SACD into a PCM file format that can be loaded into Audacity, I'd be happy to share the details if you're interested.
 

winopener

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Please do... there's always something to learn.
Just specify clearly WHAT specific release you have worked on, IIRC there are at least two.
 

sjcorne

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What's wrong with this disc? I always thought it sounded great, especially compared to the SQ and Q8.
 
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Jim the Oldbie

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Please do... there's always something to learn.
Just specify clearly WHAT specific release you have worked on, IIRC there are at least two.
Wow, that's news to me. The only SACD quad release I'm aware of is the Sony Music limited-edition in the 7" sleeve from a year or 2 ago. Is there another? (Or were you maybe thinking of Blow by Blow?)
 

Jim the Oldbie

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Thanks for your replies everyone. Here's what I've done:

(The exact title I'm referencing here is The Jeff Beck Group, Rough and Ready (quad mix) on SACD, Sony Music # EICP 10005.)

Rough and Ready is one of my old favorites. I was always a big Jeff Beck fan, and this was one of the first (stereo) LPs I bought as a lad. I think it was also the first quad release I ever heard, hanging out at the local stereo shop as a nerdy teen. I could never afford a quad setup back in the day, so I was excited to hear about these old Beck quad albums being reissued on SACD - I even bought an SACD player just to hear them!

Unfortunately, this title has some problems. I'll do a brief description of each, and what I did to correct it here. Then if anyone needs more info on how I arrived at these figures, or more detailed instructions on how to use Audacity to fix things, just holler.

(As mentioned above, the following assumes that you've ripped the SACD to a PCM file format suitable for editing in Audacity.)

1. The first 2 tracks were mastered at the wrong speeds (too fast). Compared to the original stereo release:

Track 1 ("Got The Feeling") needs to be slowed down to -3.336%.

Track 2 ("Situation") needs to be slowed down to -6.586%.

(Be sure to use the Change Speed effect, and not Change Tempo or Change Pitch.)

2. On the first few tracks (but not all), the Left Front channel is delayed from the others by approx. 1 millisecond. This doesn't sound like much, but it's just enough to blur the soundstage. Most noticeable is how it it puts the front "phantom" center channel out of focus; on some tracks it also has the same effect on the front-rear cohesion. To fix this:

On Tracks 1 thru 5 ("Got the Feeling" thru "I've Been Used"), delay every channel except the Left Front by 1 millisecond, or .001 seconds. (I used the "Insert Silence" feature in Audacity to do this.) This will bring the channel timing back into focus, restoring a nice clear phantom front center image in particular. This is important because:

3. In my opinion, the "derived" center channel on this mix was a mistake, and should be deleted. For one thing, it's nothing more than a low-level mono mix of all 4 quad channels! This alone would make it pointless, but there's more: The channel time delay error described above happened at some point upstream from this mono mix, so it has created a comb-filtering effect that can often be heard fairly clearly as a false, hollow tone in the sound. And because it's already "baked into" this mono mix, there's no way to fix it. My solution:

Delete the center channel on all tracks. Just click the Mute button on the center channel. Then when you go to re-export the project, it will show up as only 5 channels instead of the original 6.

For me, the above changes have taken this quad mix from unlistenable to the definitive version of this Jeff Beck classic. I hope others will find this information useful as well.

- Jim
 
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Frogmort

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Was that really necessary?
Sorry, have a good buzz and I'm listening to Rough and Ready right now. I was just trying to be funny and also just a little confused as to how you came to these findings. Such as specifically, how did you come to the realization that the first two tracks were the wrong speed, the track and channel specific millisecond phase problem, and the comb-filtering center mono summation, etc?
 

Jim the Oldbie

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It's OK man, sorry for jumping on ya. Enjoy your buzz. :phones

I gotta get some sleep for a road trip tomorrow. I'll post some more details over the weekend.
 

Frogmort

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I guess my main question is how did you discover that just the left front channel on only tracks 1 through 5 were delayed by 1 millisecond?

Road Trip! :SB
 
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Q-Eight

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If it's messing up the phantom center, that's a dead giveaway and very easy to notice. Much like I have a problem with the vocals on Elvis' "Elvis in Memphis" Q8. There's either some minuscule delay or phase issue going on because if you try to mix all four channels to either mono or stereo, the instruments stay clean but the vocals turn into a phasey mess.

Sometimes, stuff like this only becomes noticeable upon many, many repeat listenings.
 

winopener

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If it's messing up the phantom center, that's a dead giveaway and very easy to notice. Much like I have a problem with the vocals on Elvis' "Elvis in Memphis" Q8. There's either some minuscule delay or phase issue going on because if you try to mix all four channels to either mono or stereo, the instruments stay clean but the vocals turn into a phasey mess.

Sometimes, stuff like this only becomes noticeable upon many, many repeat listenings.
That Elvis Q8 issue will be intresting to compare with the Japanese CD4 release, to see if it was a problem in the mixing/mastering stage OR duplication stage.
 

sjcorne

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Unfortunately, this title has some problems. I'll do a brief description of each, and what I did to correct it here. Then if anyone needs more info on how I arrived at these figures, or more detailed instructions on how to use Audacity to fix things, just holler.
Interesting findings...do you think these issues are limited only to the recent SACD release or they're on all versions of the quad mix?
 

Jim the Oldbie

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I've wondered about that myself. It could be a little of both.

The time delay error almost certainly occurred in the digital domain. On the other hand, the pitch errors are more likely to be analog (tape machine set to wrong speed), so it's possible that they could exist on the old analog mix. I'm afraid my sense of pitch wasn't as good the first time I heard this (about 45 years ago!), so I can't help there, heh. Maybe someone here with an old-school setup can weigh in on this.
 

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Thanks for your replies everyone. Here's what I've done:

(The exact title I'm referencing here is The Jeff Beck Group, Rough and Ready (quad mix) on SACD, Sony Music # EICP 10005.)

Rough and Ready is one of my old favorites. I was always a big Jeff Beck fan, and this was one of the first (stereo) LPs I bought as a lad. I think it was also the first quad release I ever heard, hanging out at the local stereo shop as a nerdy teen. I could never afford a quad setup back in the day, so I was excited to hear about these old Beck quad albums being reissued on SACD - I even bought an SACD player just to hear them!

Unfortunately, this title has some problems. I'll do a brief description of each, and what I did to correct it here. Then if anyone needs more info on how I arrived at these figures, or more detailed instructions on how to use Audacity to fix things, just holler.

(As mentioned above, the following assumes that you've ripped the SACD to a PCM file format suitable for editing in Audacity.)

1. The first 2 tracks were mastered at the wrong speeds (too fast). Compared to the original stereo release:

Track 1 ("Got The Feeling") needs to be slowed down to -3.336%.

Track 2 ("Situation") needs to be slowed down to -6.586%.

(Be sure to use the Change Speed effect, and not Change Tempo or Change Pitch.)

2. On the first few tracks (but not all), the Left Front channel is delayed from the others by approx. 1 millisecond. This doesn't sound like much, but it's just enough to blur the soundstage. Most noticeable is how it it puts the front "phantom" center channel out of focus; on some tracks it also has the same effect on the front-rear cohesion. To fix this:

On Tracks 1 thru 5 ("Got the Feeling" thru "I've Been Used"), delay every channel except the Left Front by 1 millisecond, or .001 seconds. (I used the "Insert Silence" feature in Audacity to do this.) This will bring the channel timing back into focus, restoring a nice clear phantom front center image in particular. This is important because:

3. In my opinion, the "derived" center channel on this mix was a mistake, and should be deleted. For one thing, it's nothing more than a low-level mono mix of all 4 quad channels! This alone would make it pointless, but there's more: The channel time delay error described above happened at some point upstream from this mono mix, so it has created a comb-filtering effect that can often be heard fairly clearly as a false, hollow tone in the sound. And because it's already "baked into" this mono mix, there's no way to fix it. My solution:

Delete the center channel on all tracks. Just click the Mute button on the center channel. Then when you go to re-export the project, it will show up as only 5 channels instead of the original 6.

For me, the above changes have taken this quad mix from unlistenable to the definitive version of this Jeff Beck classic. I hope others will find this information useful as well.

- Jim
Umm wow that is pretty freaking awesome Jim - way over my head but wow nice :love:

This place never ceases to amaze on how awesome QQ is :QQlove
 
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