Adventures in fighting Loudness Wars (Yes "Drama" Japanese SACD)

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privateuniverse

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Holy cow Batman!!!! WTF????...you can try !!!!
I know, right? At least with an album like Drama, there are older versions (that aren't brickwalled) that you can always go back to. The Prince album was a 2015 release. You won't find any version that isn't squashed to death. Such a pity as it's a fantastic album.
 

ssully

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I got this SACD because I found out that the HD Tracks version was sourced from a CD master in spite of selling it as 96/24, AND it was brickwalled...
The HDtracks 96/24 of Drama? Um, no, it's not. At least not the one I bought awhile back.

There is spectral content out beyond 22kHz (to about 30kHz...and not brickwall filtered)

Picture3.png



And the waveform is absolutely not brickwalled in terms of dynamic range ...it's extremely natural-looking.

Picture2.png


The HDtracks version is the best-sounding version I've heard., going all the way back to the LP I bought in 1980 the week it came out. It's my go-to 'Drama' these days.

The HDtracks version is, however, perhaps not sourced the original mixdown masters, since the fade out/in to the coda to 'Does It Really Happen?' is present, whereas it's absent from the older CD version that purports to be from those masters ( on that CD version, there's just silence, then the coda comes in at full vollume).

Or else, someone kindly re-created that fade for the HDTracks version...I can't know. Either way, it sounds nice. I highly recommend it. (And fwiw, the HDtracks Tormato is also quite good, and even includes a count-in the 'Future Times' that I hadn't ever heard before.)
 

JediJoker

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My understanding is that most (if not all) of the hi-res Yes downloads (the ones with black WEA borders around the album artwork) are flat transfers, but perhaps not from 1st generation mixdown masters in all cases.
 

Plan9

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Maybe someone with actual knowledge or experience like @Plan9 could chime in here, but it's my understanding that these sorts of "de-clipping" processes are effectively "cosmetic" only. They restore the peaks to waveforms, which fools the DR meter into reporting a higher number (because the variances between the peaks and valleys now look bigger to it) but they don't restore any actual dynamic range - sort of akin to vinyl releases of modern "loud" material, where the DR number for the vinyl edition is higher, but it's just because the needle itself has basically done the same job of reconstructing the clipped peaks present on the master the record was made from.
Yes that's basically it.
You cannot reconstruct a sound once it's been dynamically compressed, with an expander or with the best de-clipper, it's only an approximation. It can be made easier on the ears but some of the compression effects will still be there.
 

Plan9

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My understanding is that most (if not all) of the hi-res Yes downloads (the ones with black WEA borders around the album artwork) are flat transfers, but perhaps not from 1st generation mixdown masters in all cases.
Yes, these were very good, and in some cases better than the subsequent flat transfers of the original mixes on the Steven Wilson remixed editions (I'm looking at you The Yes Album).
 

aludra

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This topic of Hyper Brickwall compression is one that really chaps my ass big time.....

As a recording engineer, when this processing came along in the early 90's I hated it then...I would argue with producers and some mastering engineers who thought this sounded great but I think Brickwalling sounds like total DOGSHIT!!

I really believe its lazy engineering and mastering that has led to this being a common practice and destroys what good music is all about.

Hell even live show engineers use Brickwall processing for live sound! Its absolutely horrible and again, Lazy engineering practices.

I've been hoping for a long time that its just a fad, and in some cases its not as bad as it used to be, but it still sucks.

When you listen to well recorded music with lots of dynamics and well thought out mixes, there is nothing better sounding in the world and it is a real shame that with such wide dynamic range formats available today that it is all ruined by this terrible practice.

Oh well.....Maybe things will get better, but I'm not holding my breath for it!...Thank you all for this thread and letting me vent.....
Mike
 

jimfisheye

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This topic of Hyper Brickwall compression is one that really chaps my ass big time.....

As a recording engineer, when this processing came along in the early 90's I hated it then...I would argue with producers and some mastering engineers who thought this sounded great but I think Brickwalling sounds like total DOGSHIT!!

I really believe its lazy engineering and mastering that has led to this being a common practice and destroys what good music is all about.

Hell even live show engineers use Brickwall processing for live sound! Its absolutely horrible and again, Lazy engineering practices.

I've been hoping for a long time that its just a fad, and in some cases its not as bad as it used to be, but it still sucks.

When you listen to well recorded music with lots of dynamics and well thought out mixes, there is nothing better sounding in the world and it is a real shame that with such wide dynamic range formats available today that it is all ruined by this terrible practice.

Oh well.....Maybe things will get better, but I'm not holding my breath for it!...Thank you all for this thread and letting me vent.....
Mike
Amen to that, Mike!
I would have only added some more cursing.
 

kap'n krunch

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Applied Izotope declipping to one of the worst offenders...
Rush - Clockwork Angels

Here is One Little Victory crushed to death and at -4 dB:
Screen Shot 2020-07-12 at 5.19.17 PM.png


And here it is after declipping it...settings are shown.. I selected a bit at around the 1:00 min mark so it would get the loud part and I clicked on "Suggest":
Screen Shot 2020-07-12 at 5.17.51 PM.png


I´d say it sounds much better..not 100% there, but much better!
 

The56Kid

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Vapor Trails is alright; I like Snakes & Arrows. But I can't get into Clockwork Angels. All have sonic issues with their original releases.
Couldn’t get into any of the last 3 Rush albums. Didn’t like their music, much less the shit mastering.
 

IMachine

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Rush had a remixed version of Vapor Trails that should be not that brickwalled.
I know that remix and the versions are sometimes different....different takes.....
 

Karonte

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Rush had a remixed version of Vapor Trails that should be not that brickwalled.
I know that remix and the versions are sometimes different....different takes.....
I have both editions. Not miracles but slightly better, imho.

The first waves are from the first Japanese edition (AMCY-10015):
VaporTrails_CovOrg.jpg


VaporTrails_Org.jpg


VaporTrails_SpctrOrg.jpg


And this is the DR:
Code:
foobar2000 1.3.17 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2020-07-14 18:12:05

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Analyzed: Rush / Vapor Trails - Japan (AMCY-10015)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DR         Peak         RMS     Duration Track
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DR6        0.00 dB    -6.96 dB      5:09 01-One Little Victory
DR5       -0.01 dB    -5.97 dB      5:28 02-Ceiling Unlimited
DR5       -0.01 dB    -6.36 dB      5:41 03-Ghost Rider
DR5        0.00 dB    -6.27 dB      5:23 04-Peaceable Kingdom
DR5       -0.01 dB    -6.13 dB      4:28 05-The Stars Look Down
DR5       -0.01 dB    -6.42 dB      4:05 06-How It Is
DR5       -0.01 dB    -6.71 dB      4:58 07-Vapor Trail
DR4        0.00 dB    -5.65 dB      6:35 08-Secret Touch
DR5       -0.01 dB    -5.49 dB      5:38 09-Earthshine
DR5        0.00 dB    -6.24 dB      3:41 10-Sweet Miracle
DR5        0.00 dB    -6.70 dB      4:49 11-Nocturne
DR6        0.00 dB    -6.81 dB      6:21 12-Freeze (Part IV of 'Fear')
DR4       -0.01 dB    -5.67 dB      5:03 13-Out of the Cradle
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Number of tracks:  13
Official DR value: DR5

Samplerate:        44100 Hz
Channels:          2
Bits per sample:   16
Bitrate:           1411 kbps
Codec:             PCM
================================================================================
And these are the waveforms from the Japanese SHM-CD remixed edition (WPCR-14997)

VaporTrails_CovRmx.jpg


VaporTrails_Rmx.jpg


VaporTrails_SpctrRmx.jpg


And the DR:

Code:
foobar2000 1.3.17 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2020-07-14 18:12:40

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Analyzed: RUSH / Vapor Trails Remixed - Japan SHM-CD (WPCR-14997)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DR         Peak         RMS     Duration Track
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DR7       -0.30 dB    -8.05 dB      5:09 01-One Little Victory
DR8       -0.30 dB    -9.35 dB      5:28 02-Ceiling Unlimited
DR7       -0.30 dB    -9.05 dB      5:41 03-Ghost Rider
DR7       -0.30 dB    -9.23 dB      5:24 04-Peaceable Kingdom
DR8       -0.30 dB    -9.26 dB      4:28 05-The Stars Look Down
DR6       -0.30 dB    -8.39 dB      4:05 06-How It Is
DR8       -0.30 dB   -10.37 dB      4:58 07-Vapor Trail
DR7       -0.30 dB    -8.64 dB      6:35 08-Secret Touch
DR7       -0.30 dB    -8.44 dB      5:38 09-Earthshine
DR7       -0.30 dB    -8.88 dB      3:41 10-Sweet Miracle
DR7       -0.30 dB    -8.65 dB      4:49 11-Nocturne
DR8       -0.30 dB    -9.43 dB      6:21 12-Freeze (Part IV of 'Fear')
DR7       -0.30 dB    -9.05 dB      5:04 13-Out of the Cradle
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Number of tracks:  13
Official DR value: DR7

Samplerate:        44100 Hz
Channels:          2
Bits per sample:   16
Bitrate:           1003 kbps
Codec:             FLAC
================================================================================
According to Wikipedia:
"Vapor Trails Remixed
Vapor Trails Remixed is a remixed version of Vapor Trails mixed by David Bottrill. The album was released by Atlantic Records and Rhino Entertainment on September 27, 2013, and entered at No. 35 on the Billboard 200 chart.[25] The band had been unhappy with the original album's overall sonic production. Influenced by the positive reaction to the remixes of "One Little Victory" and "Earthshine" featured on Retrospective III by Richard Chycki, Rush and Bottrill remixed the entire album. In an interview with Modern Guitars, Lifeson remarked that, since the remixes were so good, there had been talk of doing an entire remix of the album.[24]"

But I read somewhere that the remixed was not only for the production or the sound. The band temporary disbanded after the tragic death of Neil Pert's wife and daughter. The guy returned to the band after his musical hiatus in wich he traveled the USA in his motorcycle and even wrote a book telling about the experience. So this is their first album after that "trauma" and they weren't totally happy with end result, so they decided to correct it somehow.
 

jfloftin

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Applied Izotope declipping to one of the worst offenders...
Rush - Clockwork Angels

Here is One Little Victory crushed to death and at -4 dB:
View attachment 53890

And here it is after declipping it...settings are shown.. I selected a bit at around the 1:00 min mark so it would get the loud part and I clicked on "Suggest":View attachment 53891

I´d say it sounds much better..not 100% there, but much better!
(Off topic...) I did that with Porcupine Tree's In Absentia. It was the 5.1 version. When I ripped it, it was brickwalled really bad. Thanks for the tip!
 
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