Fixing Oasis's *Morning Glory* in 5.1

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Dynamic Editor

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Hello! About a year back, I made a post on a different site wherein I attempted to fix up the issues on the 5.1 version of (What's the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis! I was curious as to what you'd all think of it, given that you're all such surround sound aficionados.

In the mix, I noticed a TON of errors, from the center channel being 6dB too loud and in the wrong polarity across most tracks, back channel audio (sans vocal reverb) seemingly being folded into the front channels by accident, and a few more errors constitute a mess that could otherwise be a really beautiful mix, which I tried to create! Feel free to listen to a stereo downmix I created as well as read this HUGE post I made on the topic for details!


  1. Hello
  2. Roll with It
  3. Wonderwall
  4. Don’t Look Back in Anger
  5. Hey Now!
  6. [Untitled 1]
  7. Some Might Say
  8. Cast No Shadow
  9. She’s Electric
  10. Morning Glory
  11. [Untitled 2]
  12. Champagne Supernova
Feel free to compare how those above edits I made to how it sounds if you just try to downmix the project WITHOUT editing it!

(Keep in mind that in the post below, I often have descriptions of pictures below the pictures themselves!)

Intro​

Awful, great, and middling, the 2003 surround sound release of Oasis’s album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? is an odd creature, to say the least. Without the involvement of the band, Sony commissioned mixing engineer Neil Dorfsman and assistant mixing engineer David Swope to create this surround sound version of the album for the company’s newly-created SACD format. An SACD (or “Super Audio CD”) could hold both a stereo mix and a multichannel mix, and Sony intended the format to become a successor to the immensely popular CD format. While sales of this SACD in particular are not known to the public, its failure is likely the cause of Sony axing plans to release a surround sound mix of Heathen Chemistry, and no other studio albums by the band have been remixed in surround sound since.
Despite its sales, this disc remains important not only for presenting the band in surround sound, but more importantly, for its radically different instrumental timbre (the quality of the sound), giving elements a level of clarity that wasn’t present in the original release. This creates quite a different experience for the listener, one that could be arguably better than the 1995 version, if not for the numerous errors that pervade its final release.

The (Potentially) Beautiful Mix​

The beauty of this SACD mix largely stems from its contrast in mixing style to that of original mixer Owen Morris. While Morris was important to the formation of all of Oasis’s first three albums, his hand in crafting Definitely Maybe especially was tantamount to the album’s success, largely due to his Phil Spector-esque “Wall of Sound” approach for its mixes. Phil Spector’s wall of sound technique is not to be confused with the loudness wars that Oasis’s first three albums helped pioneer. The wall of sound is a process for creating a dense orchestral aesthetic that often made elements blend together in a way where individual instruments couldn’t be identified. While these different elements may not be outwardly clear, they are nevertheless important to the mix as a whole.

Morris emulated this sound onto Oasis primarily through a combination of heavily compressed individual elements and reverb, which worked excellently for the band’s debut, giving rather sterile recordings a punk edge. “Digsy’s Dinner”, for example, sounded like wedding music before Morris got his hands on it. In short, power, not the detail, of Definitely Maybe is what makes it great.
Oasis’ next album, however, put a higher emphasis on balladry that such a thick sound served to obscure. A dense and murky in-your-face mix seems perfect for tracks such as “Some Might Say” and “Champagne Supernova”, but acts to hide the melodic beauty of “Don’t Look Back in Anger”, “Cast No Shadow”, and “She’s Electric”, which honestly don’t need to be buried by a thick layer of sound to be fully appreciated.

In somewhat of a necessary transition to surround sound, Neil Dorfsman and David Swope chose to make the timbre of the instrumentation much clearer and easier to distinguish than the original mix. In a 2014 interview with Oasis Recording Info, Dorfsman states,
[Oasis] are famous for their noisy, turned-up-to-11 un-separated sound. And I was a little hesitant about the 5.1 mix because of that, because 5.1 tends to separate instruments out in a way that’s semi unnatural in my opinion, and that’s sort of the point of it all… the Oasis record could’ve been mixed in mono and it would’ve been just as powerful. As you say, Oasis are famous for their ‘wall of sound’ kind of production and it was a little daunting to do this 5.1 because, by its nature, 5.1 mixing separates elements out in a way that isn’t presented in the stereo mix. And I was a little worried about that… I wanted to get a certain clarity but retain the intense energy of the original stereo mix; I found that kind of daunting.
Only in rare occasions does the timbre of instrumentation change so dramatically in a retrospective remixing of an album, especially for one as famous as Morning Glory. This SACD mix is in many ways radically different to the original release, yet faithful enough to the band’s efforts that it arguably stands as the superior of the two versions. That is, however, only if we ignore the numerous errors on the disc that make it a horrendous listen.

The Errors​

There are so many obvious errors on this release that I am utterly perplexed they were not caught in mixing, mastering, or Sony’s approval process for the mixes. Neil Dorfsman himself was present during its mastering, and at no point alludes to technical difficulties in creating the mix, which only raises more questions of when these shortcomings could have arisen.

General errors with the mix:
  • The center channel is 6dB (i.e. 4x) too loud. "She's Electric", for example, is dominated by piano (from its center channel) because of it. Shakers and delayed vocals, also in the center channel, frequently present themselves as fervent, unwanted guests. The few elements that don’t have this issue appear to be the opening vocals and bass guitar of “Wonderwall”, and perhaps the acoustic guitar in “Cast No Shadow”.
  • The center channel is in the wrong polarity across most tracks (no, not out-of-time phase; the polarity itself is the issue), which essentially makes it subtract certain elements from the mix as a whole. “Morning Glory”, “[Untitled 2]”, and “Champagne Supernova” don’t appear to have this issue, and the bass in the center channel of “Wonderwall” appears to be in the correct polarity.
  • Back channel audio (sans vocal reverb) is folded into the front channels across half of the tracks, making the back channels feel unused or underutilized when listening in surround sound. This also makes most back channel elements more present than they should be when folding down the mix to stereo.
  • Clipping is persistent across the release, likely due to mastering engineer Vlado Meller, who previously and infamously mastered Red Hot Chili Peppers' Californication a few years prior. Clipping distorts the audio signal and can introduce artifacts such as hiss to the sound.
  • Vocals definitely could be de-essed a lot better. De-essing is the process of eliminating the excessive prominence of sibilant sounds (s, z, ch, j, and sh). An Oasis example of de-essing would be comparing the UK vs. US masterings of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, with the latter de-essing vocals a bit better. (You can hear this excerpt of “Don’t Look Back in Anger” with the US master in the left channel, and UK master in the right channel to get a sense of what I mean.)
    • While the difference may be subtle, the center and back channels face a rather large amount of plate-reverbed vocals, which serve to exacerbate this issue further. (The reverb itself also seems to be out of sync by a few samples between these three channels.) Quite frequently I was taken out of the moment and towards the back channel reverb when I heard Liam udder an “s” or “sh”.
  • The front right and back left channels appeared to be one sample too early, and the back right channels appeared to be two samples too early. This may be the result of converting DSD (Direct Stream Digital; the format that SACDs play) to WAV, but I thought it was worth noting regardless, as it affects how the channels are edited.
Track-specific issues:
  • “Hey Now!” has a -6.6dB polarity-inverted version of the entire front two channels folded into the center channel, cancelling out much of the mix when folded down to stereo.
  • “Some Might Say” has its vocals fade out about a minute before the track ends.
  • “Champagne Supernova” is missing Liam’s “ah’s” during its final big breakdown.
  • The back left channel of “Don’t Look Back in Anger” and back right channel of “Morning Glory” are missing vocal reverb entirely.
  • “Morning Glory” is missing Noel’s “well’s” in the back right channel during choruses.
  • “Morning Glory” has its LFE (low-frequency effects) channel so quiet that it might as well not exist.
  • “Wonderwall” has its back channels 3dB (i.e. 2x) too loud.
  • The center channel bass of “Wonderwall” appears to be 105 samples early compared to the little bit of it that is in the front channels.
While it is unclear when in the creation of this mix that these issues arose, it seems that the center channel was made 6dB too loud, then reverb was added, then the entire channel’s polarity was flipped.

My Attempts to Fix These Errors​

I attempted to fix these many issues to be the best of my (albeit limited) ability, working with an approach that was moreso logical than artistic. That is to say, I was generally trying to fix the album up to what I think the mixers originally intended. With that, is me listening, listening, and listening, in surround sound and in a stereo downmix to try and make the results the best I can.
Roll with It (Correlometer).PNG


I also used a correlometer to try and make sure everything was in sync. A correlometer checks for the presence of in-phase and out-of-phase elements in a mix. Above is a correlometer used for the front right and back right channels in the opening seconds of “Roll with It”.

For anyone curious about the steps I took in fixing up this album, this is how I edited “Hey Now!”:
01 Hey Now! (original w,samp shift).PNG


I shifted the parking (i.e. when each track starts and ends) between “Hey Now!” and “[Untitled 1]” so the latter began at a more appropriate time. I also I shifted the front right and back left right channels of the song by one sample, and the back right channel by two samples, to make sure all channels were in sync. This is especially important so I could fix the center channel, and properly subtract the back channels from the front ones. You can see tiny black lines on the left side of those channels. That indicates the sample shift.
02 Hey Now (increasing peaks slightly).PNG


I increase the peaks slightly of the front two channels through declipping to try and make their resulting peaks the same level as the center channel, which would minimize audio artifacts when I fix that channel.
03 Hey Now! (-6.6 front fold with result).PNG


These two partially-declipped front channels are folded together and lowered by 6.6dB to match the loudness of the center channel. This result (shown in black) is then folded into the center channel (shown in blue) to create the intended center channel audio (shown in green).
04 Hey Now! (Post-declip, center inverted and lowered).PNG


The declipping process is used to make the front channels as dynamic as they can be. The center channel is also lowered by 6dB and its polarity is inverted. (For reference, red indicates a channel is polarity-inverted.)
05 Hey Now! (Vox and inst extraction).PNG


At this point, I commissioned u/JoshFirefly to extract the vocal reverb from the back channels. This is done for two reasons. First, I wanted to remove the non-vocal-reverb back channel audio from the front channels. Second, I wanted to lower the back channel reverb at the end of the mix.I subtracted back channel audio from the front channels by polarity-inverting the back channel, non-vocal audio from the front channels. This finally creates what I think is the intended front channel audio (shown in green).
06 Hey Now! (front minus back inst).PNG


I took a copy of the non-subtracted front two channels and faded it in for the last 0.5 seconds while muting the rest of the channel’s audio (top). I also faded out the subtracted front two channels from the last step (middle). I folded both of these together to make the transition between this song and “[Untitled 1]” seamless.
06B Hey Now! (fade-in,out of front channels).PNG


I added a -6dB version of the the back-left channel, vocal-only audio (middle) to both of the back-channel, non-vocal audio channels to create the new version of the back channels. (The reason I only used the back-left vocal-only audio was to make sure both of the back channel reverbs were in sync.) This makes the back channel reverb the same level as that played from the center channel.
07 Hey Now! (back plus quieter reverb).PNG


And voila! The final mix! You can see the two versions before and after, level-matched so they can be easily compared. Note the increased peaks of the front channels, the radically-different center channel, and the lowered vocal reverb in the back channels (harder to see, but look at the quieter sections and you’ll notice it).
07 Hey Now! (back plus quieter reverb).PNG


This isn’t relevant to this track in particular, but I sped up “Roll with It”, “Don’t Look Back in Anger”, “Some Might Say”, and “Cast No Shadow” to have them match the speed and pitch of their 1995 stereo mixes. Some other tracks may have used some speeding up, but I refrained from doing so if they transitioned into another song.

When all these changes are made, you’re left with a rather beautiful result. Not perfect by any means, but a must-listen for both hardcore fans of Oasis and general fans of this album. As previously noted, the approach in making a lot of elements more clear really helped a lot of tracks shine. “Cast No Shadow” (which itself was hardly flawed before editing) especially feels warm and sweeping in this mix (though its back channels may be a bit overbearing at times), when the original release seemed covered in a thick mud. The drums across all the tracks are also beefed up quite a bit. Whereas the original 1995 release seemed to bury them quite significantly, the SACD version seems to put them more in line with what one would generally expect from a professional mix. It can be difficult to articulate just how great is it to have the entire mix be less mushy and amorphous until you compare the two. I myself can’t find the words to say just how great this mix sounds, perhaps due to being so entrenched in editing it, but it should not be understated.

My Issues with the Mix, Even After Fixing It​

Even though I quite adore this mix, I still have a few things that I am not happy with, whether they be from mixing decisions or my inability to make the edits I want. Most notably, I feel Dorfsman and Swope missed the point a bit in regards to the minutia of the mix and how a lot of it is meant to be buried. Hand-claps, shakers, and tambourine should not be as present as they are here, and somewhat detract from the power that Oasis is known for.

The SACD version “Some Might Say” is especially subject to that, with the force of the mix absolutely failing to live up to its 1995 counterpart. While “Some Might Say” consists of multiple elements, thick roaring guitars are the heart of the song. With the SACD though, “Some Might Say” feels like a box of knick-knack sounds spread across the surround sound space. A sparkly guitar makes itself known in the back left channel, claps alert you to their presence from the back, and some of the worst drumming I’ve ever heard is brought to the forefront. (Honestly, White should have been allowed by Noel to re-record the drums after McCarroll was sacked.) Add upon that the early fade of the vocals and you get a mix that is both unfaithful to the original release and baffling in its own right. I honestly would not be shocked if that track was flat-out missing elements that the mixers intended to have, as the song is notably quieter than the rest of the album.
My other reservations with the mix are much smaller.
  • “Don’t Look Back in Anger” has this mellotron element in the back channels that is not shared with the front ones, so I cannot do the channel subtraction. The final chorus also has doubled vocals that end a little oddly (“Her soul slides away-ay”).
  • There’s this one swishy instrument in the back but not the front channels of “She’s Electric” that I was unable to isolate. (Not a big disappointment, but noteworthy nonetheless). The same is the case for some pewing synths in “Some Might Say”.
  • An odd thumpy sound from the kick pervades “Hey Now!” and “Morning Glory”, which is likely an unintended result of Dorfsman trying to make the kit in general more present throughout the mix.
  • “Morning Glory” I believe is missing Noel’s “well’s” in the back right channel during the choruses. (u/JoshFirefly was unable to extract those vocal elements from the mix.)
  • “Champagne Supernova” focuses on a completely different guitar lead during its final breakdown (compared to the original mix), instead opting to pan the original lead to the far right, which I can’t help but feel bothered by. It is also still missing Liam’s “ah’s” during that breakdown.

Judging this as a Surround-Sound Mix​

While I have mostly been assessing the SACD mix in its timbre, noting its effectiveness in the surround sound space is certainly important as well. Overall, I find myself a bit disappointed in that respect.

For one, the center channel is generally underutilized, mostly serving to house reverb, delayed repeating vocals, shakers, claps, and other minutia. Placing delayed vocals in the center, separate from the lead vocals, is certainly an odd choice, because they complement the lead vocals first and foremost. If someone has their center channel attenuated a bit louder than normal, it only makes this effect more transparent, taking you out of the moment.

The center speaker generally functions to make dialogue clear when listening to films in surround sound, so putting the vocals there should be a natural fit. Surround sound savant Steven Wilson, for example, utilizes this idea by placing dry (i.e. not reverbed) vocals in the center channel with reverb for them placed in the front left and front right channels. While the lead vocals in this mix are placed in the front left and front right channels for the rest of the album, the opening of “Wonderwall” specifically has them in the center channel, swapping to the front two channels after the instrumentation kicks in. Not only does this violate the mix map of the rest of the album, but the switch is incredibly off-putting, taking you out of the experience. (I actually changed this aspect in my edits for that reason.)

Another distracting aspect of this mix is that there is so much vocal reverb that it almost renders this release a complete non-starter. While vocals are nearly always applied with reverb as an industry standard for music, the amount of reverb here is far too much. The level of it from front left and front right channels is itself suitably loud enough to carry the album. Additional vocal reverb to the center and back channels only serves to make Liam sound disconnected from the rest of the band. It seems that the extra reverb was applied to make Liam sound like he is performing in a room, but the lack of this reverb on the rest of the instrumentation makes it sound like they’re not performing with him. (This is one big reason why I lowered the back channel reverb in my edits. I am unsure if the mixing engineers intended there to be this much reverb, but if they did, I think it was a terrible mixing decision.)

In regards to effects, the two untitled excerpts pretty much serve as reverby fluff. It seems that the mixers weren’t actually given the full “The Swamp Song” recording tracks to work with, and the result is that “[Untitled 1]” just consists of reverbed and delayed versions of the original mix spread across the 5 channels. “[Untitled 2]” is radically different from its initial mix, focusing less on the excerpt of “The Swamp Song” and more on the surrounding ambience, but nevertheless doesn’t really rise above its reverb.

Neil Dorfsman and David Swope tended to be rather timid about using the back channels, instead directing most of the attention to the front of the mix. Dorfsman explains in an interview that this is mainly because the band weren’t involved in the mixing process (and may not have been aware of it to begin with), and thus, he didn’t want to go too out there with his mixing choices. Still, I can’t help but yearn for a bit more than what’s present here.

I personally am a fan of surround sound gimmickry, with things sliding across my ears from left to right and front to back. While I can understand why the mix doesn’t lean on that effect, “Champagne Supernova” is a song that I imagined could have used it brilliantly, given that it is such a psychedelic song. Imagine as well if the sliding riff throughout “Hey Now!” panned behind you and towards the center like fingers on a fretboard.

One great time that the album does lean into its surround sound format would be the start of “Roll with It”. The opening guitar hits you in the center of the surround sound space before the drums direct your attention to the front and the rest of the guitars explode into existence. Such an effect would be impossible in a stereo space, and excites me every time I hear it. These moments are few and far between however, leaving this presentation of Oasis in surround sound feeling like a missed opportunity, more often than not refusing to lean upon the strengths surround sound offers over a stereo presentation.

Conclusion​

The 2003 SACD mix of Oasis’s (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? is terrible, middling, and amazing all at the same time. Mixers Neil Dorfsman and David Swope give an excellent timbre for the band presented unambitiously in surround sound, with the entire experience undermined by glaring errors in its commercial release. The disc stands as an odd document in the band’s discography, a relic of executive demands that somehow produced a heartful, albeit flawed, result.
I feel like a broken record when talking about this (as I’ve referenced this in other posts), but the beauty that this mix provides essentially begs Oasis’s album Be Here Now to be newly mixed as well. I would absolute adore the various overdubs plaguing the mix to be stripped, simplifying the album down to the fundamentals that made the band so compelling to begin with.

Acknowledgements​

Thanks to u/swollenfootblues and u/aftermathinmono for listening to my edits before I posted it, u/JoshFirefly for extracting the bass in “Wonderwall” and vocal reverb from the album, r/oasisfan99 for providing a scan of the front cover photo of the album to create edits of, and r/meteorlocked for recreating the album art using the scanned photo! Thanks as well for anyone who has commented or read any of my posts! Knowing that people care about what I do means a lot to me.
Thanks as well obviously to those involved in the creation of this mix to begin with, including mixer Neil Dorfsman, assistant mixing engineer David Swope, and mastering engineer Vlado Meller! Perhaps somebody reading this post can get into contact with any of them to figure out how the heck all these errors occurred!

My Meticulous Notes to Recreate This Yourself​

I have compiled my various notes on my edits here as well as the Perfect Declipper files I used to try and undo the distortion of its compression! Just add "mega" before the period in the links below! If it says you need a decryption key, copy everything after the "#" in the link and use that!
  • My Word Doc with meticulous notes on my edits: .nz/file/yoZAQbbJ#OJsnXaw_AhNXTJxBbuu5VgMcxTbRMrh6izR4yVo-UAc
  • Perfect Declipper files: .nz/folder/OlJilaLC#koxfU6qoXvsTIwmiuGPB0Q
Thank you all for reading this huge post of mine and I hope you love the mix! If you can, let me know your thoughts on my writing and my musical edits!
 
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Dynamic Editor

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Oh, and here's the meticulous notes from my Word Doc I created regarding my edits! I had no idea it would copy and paste over so well! It just doesn't have the pictures in it, which is hopefully alright!

Morning Glory SACD Editing Notes


Understanding the surround sound mix​
Meaning of 5.1​

This SACD version of the album is a 5.1 mix. Here is an example of an edited version of “Wonderwall” I created. The channels from top to bottom are the front left, front right, center, LFE (low frequency effects; this is sent to the subwoofer), back left, and back right channels, respectively.

(Image source: Help Guide | Installing 5.1-channel speaker system)

A 5.1 setup consists of 5 directional speakers—front left (FL), center (CNT), front right (FR), surround left (SL), and surround right (SR)—and 1 non-directional speaker—the subwoofer (SW). (Some people call the two surround speakers “the rears”; I call them “back left” and “back right”.) Each channel is sent to one of these speakers, and the subwoofer plays both the low-frequency effects channel and the bassier elements that other speakers cannot play. The subwoofer in particular is non-directional because it’s generally more difficult to identify where bassier elements are coming from in the sonic space.
Correlometer​
In my edits, I also used a correlometer to try and make sure everything was in sync. A correlometer checks for the presence of in-phase and out-of-phase elements in a mix. To the left is a correlometer used for the front right and back right channels in the opening seconds of “Roll with It”.
Why not a higher sample rate than 44.1kHz?​
My edits are in the WAV format at 44.1kHz, 24-bit (converted from their original DSD). I converted to 44.1kHz rather than a higher sample rate because the frequencies drop off around 22kHz regardless of the converted sample rate, as you can see by the left diagram.



Sample Shift and fixing the center channel of “Hey Now!”​
Sample Shift​
Perhaps this is the result of converting DSD to FLAC, but it seems that a few channels were slightly out of sync with each other, by one or two samples. For the purposes of these edits, it’s important to make sure that these channels are in sync.

When I converted from DSD to FLAC, I did so at 44.1kHz, 24-bit. I thought the 44.1kHz sample rate was most appropriate because the signal’s frequency would not go above 22.05kHz, regardless what sample rate it was converted to. Regardless, these sample shifts are for a conversion to 44.1kHz. If it is sampled at a higher sample rate, the number of samples shifted should be adjusted accordingly.

I changed the parking for a few tracks, including it for “Hey Now!” and “[Untitled 1]” to make them start at more appropriate times. (Parking is when each track starts and ends.) For “Hey Now!” specifically, it’s important to change the parking before going further. Take 0.323 sec of audio from the start of “[Untitled 1]” and append it to the end of “Hey Now!” (for all channels).

Samples are adjusted as follows for every track:
  • Add one sample of silence each to the start the front right channel and back left channel
  • Add two samples of silence to the start of the back right channel
Fixing the Center Channel of
“Hey Now!”​
“Hey Now!” is important to edit early on because it actually has a -6.6dB polarity-inverted portion of the front two channels folded into it. If you try to make major declipping (more info on that definition later) first, then fixing the center channel would result in some substantial and odd sounding kick hits being present in it. The edits that I’ve found best fix the center channel are as follows (after doing the sample shifts and parking shifts):
  • Copy the front two channels of “Hey Now!” and put them aside. They will be used for later edits.
  • Declip the front two channels (the definition of “declipping” is in the next section) with the setting “Champagne Supernova (0,7) and fold them into a mono track. Lower this mono track by 6.6dB. This minor bit of declipping is accomplished to make the peaks between the center channel and the folded mono track (that will be used to fix it) are the same level.
  • Fold the aforementioned mono track into the center channel. This should make the center channel what it is meant to be.


Declipping Info​
What is declipping?​
Declipping is the process of trying to take a clipped or dynamically compressed signal (not to be confused with data compression, which concerns MP3s and such) and attempting to make it more dynamic where such compression occurred (and often removing the hiss caused by the clipping/compression). I use “Thimeo Perfect Declipper” (version 3.01 as of the creation of this) to declip what I am listening to and listed below are the settings I used on the channels of each song. (These settings are also attached in this folder, if you are curious.) All of these settings both declip the signal and lower it by 6dB. Channels with (N/A) and the LFE (4th channel) have the declipped settings off and are lowered by 6dB.
Setting for…​
Channel 1 and 2
Channel 3
Channel 5 and 6
01 Hello
Champagne Supernova​
Hello (ch 3)​
(N/A)​
02 Roll with It
Roll with It​
Roll with It (ch 3)​
(N/A)​
03 Wonderwall
Champagne Supernova​
Roll with It (ch 3)​
(N/A)​
04 Don’t Look Back in Anger
Champagne Supernova​
Hello (ch 3)​
(N/A)​
05 Hey Now!
Champagne Supernova​
(N/A)​
Champagne Supernova​
06 [Untitled 1]
(N/A)​
(N/A)​
(N/A)​
07 Some Might Say
Some Might Say
[For fade beginning 5:08.602, use Some Might Say (Fade)]​
(N/A)​
(N/A)​
08 Cast No Shadow
Champagne Supernova​
Hello (ch 3)​
(N/A)​
09 She’s Electric
She’s Electric​
Hello (ch 3)​
Hello (ch 3)​
10 Morning Glory
Morning Glory (first two channels)​
(N/A)​
(N/A)​
11 [Untitled 2]
(N/A)​
(N/A)​
(N/A)​
12 Champagne Supernova
Champagne Supernova​
(N/A)​
(N/A)​


Notes for editing (after declipping)​
General Notes​
  • I first want to note that while I did make substantial and noticeable edits, most of the credit for this surround sound mix (and stereo downmix, by extension) goes to Neil Dorfsman (the main mixing engineer) and David Swope (the assistant mixing engineer) of the SACD release. I merely attempted to fix what I believe to be were unintentional errors in the final surround sound mix of this album.
  • Additional credits for these edits and the credits for the original release are at the bottom of this document.
  • In general, this surround sound mix suffers from a multitude of easily fixable issues that I’m surprised weren’t caught by either the mixing engineers or the mastering engineer. I really am confused what could have happened here
  • The 3rd channel is in the wrong polarity
  • Most of the tracks appear the have either their 3rd channel in the wrong polarity compared to their other channels. This will cause many frequencies that are shared between the center and other channels to be cancelled out from the mix as a whole.
  • The 3rd channel is around 6dB too loud.
  • The polarity issue noted previously is exacerbated further by the fact that nearly all of the audio in the 3rd channel appears to be around 6dB too loud (except perhaps in “Cast No Shadow”, and the opening vocals and bass guitar of “Wonderwall”). This is noticeable especially in “She’s Electric”, where the piano nearly dominates the mix, and in “Morning Glory”, where a shaker is loud enough to qualify as a lead instrument.
  • A duplicate of the 5th and 6th channels are folded into the 1st and 2nd channels (sans the vocal reverb)
  • Across most of the tracks, it appears that most of the info in the back channels are also folded into the front channels. This I believe causes a loss of the surround sound image and can sometimes make elements of the mix sound abrasive, along with the fact that certain elements are much louder than they should be. This is especially apparent in “Some Might Say”, wherein there is a shimmering guitar that is (in my opinion) annoying present in the left channel if you try downmixing the surround sound mix before editing it.
“Hello”, the two Untitled interludes, “Cast No Shadow”, “Morning Glory”, and “Champagne Supernova” are the only tracks that don’t have this issue. “Don’t Look Back in Anger” may have this issue to an extent, but has a mellotron in the back channels that does not appear in the front channels. “Roll with It” also has Noel’s post-second-chorus “ahs” in the back channels that are not shared with the front channels, and the same is the case for one swishy instrument in “She’s Electric” and pewing synths in “Some Might Say”.
I note more about this in the “Back Channels Subtracted from Front Channels” section.
  • Vocal reverb is incredibly present across the mix as a whole
  • While vocals are nearly always applied with reverb as an industry standard for music, the amount of reverb here is far too much. The level of it from front left and front right channels is itself suitably loud enough to carry the album.
  • It seems that the extra reverb in the center and back channels was applied to make Liam sound like he is performing in a room, but the lack of this reverb on the rest of the instrumentation makes it sound like they’re not performing with him.
  • I note more about this in the “Reverb Extraction” section.
  • Keep in mind that certain songs I amplified as a whole to make them more in line with the original mix, namely “Some Might Say” and “Champagne Supernova”. These specific edits are noted in their respective track’s sections.
  • Downmixing to stereo was completed through Audacity’s “Mix” function in its Track tab. Before downmixing…
  • Channels 1 and 2 are made into a single stereo track, and channels 5 and 6 are made into a single stereo track.
  • The 3rd channel is lowered by 3dB
  • This is important because the center channel plays quieter than Audacity treats it. Audacity treats it as a mono track played in both the right and left speakers, when in practice, it should be half as loud (hence lowering it by 3dB; that makes it half as loud).
  • Remove the 4th channel. Since this is a channel that is already meant to be sent to the subwoofer, it need not be present in a stereo downmix.
  • Downmixing through other programs may lower the 3rd (center) channel, 4th (LFE) channel, and 5th and 6th (back) channels differently, so keep that in mind.
Reverb Extraction​
I had the vocals extracted from the back channels by u/JoshFirefly for a few reasons. First and most importantly, the back channel info that is also present in the front channels does not include the vocal reverb in the back channels. Having a version of the back channels without the vocal reverb would allow these edits to be done better and more cleanly.
Often, I changed what I did with the back channel reverb based on what was extracted and how I feel it suited the song overall. This sometimes included lowering the back channel reverb by 6dB to make it match the level of such reverb in the center channel. At times, I made the reverb between the center and back channels in sync. When I say “sync reverb”, that means the back left reverb is moved earlier by 21 samples, and the back right reverb is moved earlier by 63 samples. The elements that do not include the vocal reverb in the back channels are called the “non-vocal back channels”.
Back Channels Subtracted from Front Channels​
Across half of the tracks, it seems that the back channels (sans the vocal reverb and a few exceptions) are folded into the front channels. I try to fix this by removing the non-vocal back channel info by taking an inverted version (use the “Invert” effect in Audacity) of the back channels and folding it into the front channels, essentially subtracting this back channel info from the front channels. I call this process “subtracting the back channels from the front” in my edits.
Track-Specific Notes​
01 Hello
  • Invert channel 3, lower it by 6dB
  • Extracted vocal reverb exceptions
  • Anything before 1,351,699 samples and after 7,448,424 samples (add it to the non-vocal back channels)
  • Sync reverb in back channels, lower reverb by 6dB before adding it back to the back channels.
02 Roll with It
  • Invert channel 3, lower it by 6dB
  • Extracted vocal reverb exceptions
  • Everything before 1,019,614 samples (add it to the non-vocal back channels)
  • 4,821,699 samples to 5,910,457 samples (these are Noel’s vocals, and are added back to the back channels after the back channels are subtracted from the front)
  • Take the section from 5,905,921 samples to 5,910,457 samples and create an adjustable fade in Audacity with these settings:
  • Fade type: Fade Down
  • Mid-fade Adjust: 0
  • Start/End as: dB Gain
  • Start: 0
  • End: -6
  • Handy Presets: None
  • This is done so Noel’s vocals transition well to the back channel reverb, as they overlap a bit.
  • Subtract the back channels from the front.
  • Sync reverb in back channels, lower reverb by 6dB before adding it back to the back channels. Add the Noel vocal section to the back channels (do not lower this by 6dB).
  • Use Audacity’s “Change Speed” function under Effects to speed up this track by 1.6% (this affects both tempo and pitch). This will make the track the same speed and pitch as its 1995 stereo counterpart.
03 Wonderwall
  • Invert channel 3, lower by 6dB
  • u/JoshFirefly extracted the bass guitar from the back channels. Generate silence in that extraction for everything before 46.281 seconds.
  • (What we’re trying to do is both add the bass to the front channels and make sure it is the correct polarity. For some reason, the bass in the center channel seems to be in the correct polarity, while the rest of the center channel info is in the wrong polarity.)
  • Subtract (i.e. invert and add back the bass) to the center channel to remove it. Also take the inverted version of the extraction and move it later by 105 samples. Make the first two channels a stereo track and fold this inverted and shifted bass into it.
  • Extracted vocal reverb exceptions
  • Everything after 9,940,892 samples (add it to the non-vocal back channels)
  • Lower everything in the back channels (included the extracted reverb) by 3dB
  • This is done because the back channels appear to be 3dB too loud to begin with
  • Subtract the lowered back channels from the front.
  • Sync reverb in back channels, lower reverb by an additional 6dB (and make two copies of the synched and lowered back left channel reverb; these will be used in a bit), before adding it back to the back channels.
  • Take the first 40 seconds of one copy of the synched and lowered back left channel reverb and subtract it from the center channel.
  • (What we’re trying to do here is take the center channel opening vocals and move them to the front channels, while still retaining the correct level of reverb across the track.)
  • Copy the first 40 seconds of the newer center channel into a separate track and amplify that track by 6dB. Make sure the first two channels a stereo track (this should already be done) and fold that excerpt into it. Generate silence for the first 40 seconds of the center channel.
  • Fold the first 40 seconds of the other copy of the synched and lowered back left channel reverb into the center channel.
04 Don’t Look Back in Anger
  • Invert channel 3, lower it by 6dB
  • Extracted vocal reverb exceptions
  • Everything before 504,696 samples and after 12,054,265 samples, 4,085,381 samples to 4,549,099 samples, 5,212,029 samples to 5,268,412 samples, 5,342,215 to 5,413,726 samples, and 8,080,448 samples to 9,727,351 samples (add it to the non-vocal back channels
  • Do not sync or lower back channel reverb, but duplicate back right channel reverb and add it to the back left channel (as it is missing reverb).
  • Use Audacity’s “Change Speed” function under Effects to speed up this track by 0.55% (this affects both tempo and pitch). This will make the track the same speed and pitch as its 1995 stereo counterpart.
05 Hey Now!
  • Keep in mind the steps at ‘Sample Shift and fixing the center channel of “Hey Now!”’ before editing this track.
  • Invert the previously-edited (see the top of the document) channel 3, lower it by 6dB
  • Copy the two front channels (we will use them in a bit)
  • Subtract the back channels from the front. Create a fade-out for the last 0.5 seconds of the resulting front channel.
  • Take the copied front two channels and generate silence for everything but the last 0.5 seconds. Create a fade-in for the last 0.5 seconds of the copied back channels and fold them into the other set of front channels (the one with the fade-out).
  • (This is done so “Hey Now!” can transition seamlessly into “[Untitled 1]”.)
  • Duplicate the extracted vocal reverb from the back left channel and use it for the back right channel as well, lowering them by 6dB before adding them to the back channels. (Dispose of the back right channel reverb)
06 [Untitled 1]
  • Keep in mind the steps at ‘Sample Shift and fixing the center channel of “Hey Now!”’ before editing this track.
  • Invert channel 3, lower it by 6dB
07 Some Might Say
  • Invert channel 3, lower it by 6dB
  • Extracted vocal reverb exceptions
  • Everything before 1,587,737 samples and after 12,697,634 samples
  • 5,460,765 samples to 6,680,621 samples
  • (Add both of these sections to the non-vocal back channels)
  • Subtract the lowered back channels from the front.
  • Use Audacity’s “Change Speed” function under Effects to speed up this track by 1.05% (this affects both tempo and pitch). This will make the track the same speed and pitch as its 1995 stereo counterpart.
  • Amplify entire track by an additional 1.5dB
08 Cast No Shadow
  • I did not lower the 3rd channel at all. I personally thought it sounded better that way.
  • Invert channel 3
  • Use Audacity’s “Change Speed” function under Effects to speed up this track by 1.25% (this affects both tempo and pitch). This will make the track the same speed and pitch as its 1995 stereo counterpart.
09 She’s Electric
  • Take 0.305 sec of audio from next track and append it to the end of this song (all channels). This is done because a noticeable portion of “She’s Electric” plays when “Morning Glory” starts.
  • Invert channel 3, lower it by 6dB
  • Remove reverb from back channels entirely
  • Subtract the lowered back channels from the front.
10 Morning Glory
  • (See notes on the previous song before proceeding)
  • Do not invert the 3rd channel
  • Lower channel 3 by 6dB
  • Amplify channel 4 by 16dB
  • For everything after 4:40.263, amplify it an additional 3dB and create an adjustable fade-in of that area with these settings:
  • Fade type: Fade Up
  • Mid-fade Adjust: 0
  • Start/End as: dB Gain
  • Start: -3
  • End: 0
  • Handy Presets: None
  • (Note: This adjustable fade-in is created to allow “[Untitled 2]” and “Champagne Supernova” to be 3dB louder while still having a seamless transition between the tracks.)
11 [Untitled 2]
  • Do not invert the 3rd channel
  • Lower channel 3 by 6dB
  • Amplify entire track by an additional 3dB.
12 Champagne Supernova
  • Do not invert the 3rd channel
  • Lower channel 3 by 6dB
  • Amplify entire track by an additional 3dB.


Remaining Issues with the Mix/Room for Improvement​
General Reflection​
While I am quite proud of what I was able to do with these edits, I still feel there are aspects to this editing that could be improved upon, if anyone decides to do so as a personal project or professionally remixing the album entirely. Some of this stems from me being unable to make the edits I most prefer, and some of it stems from oddities in the mix itself.
The Case of “Some Might Say”​
The force of this SACD mix absolutely fails to live up to its 1995 counterpart. While “Some Might Say” consists of multiple elements, thick roaring guitars are the heart of the song. With the SACD though, “Some Might Say” feels like a box of knick-knack sounds spread across the surround sound space. A sparkly guitar makes itself known in the back left channel, claps alert you to their presence from the back, and some of the worst drumming I’ve ever heard is brought to the forefront. (Honestly, White should have been allowed by Noel to re-record the drums after McCarroll was sacked.) Add upon that the early fade of the vocals and you get a mix that is both unfaithful to the original release and baffling in its own right. I honestly would not be shocked if that track was flat-out missing elements that the mixers intended to have, as the song is notably quieter than the rest of the album.
Other Minutia​
  • “Don’t Look Back in Anger” has this mellotron element in the back channels that is not shared with the front ones, so I cannot do the channel subtraction. The final chorus also has doubled vocals that end a little oddly (“Her soul slides away-ay”).
  • There’s this one swishy instrument in the back but not the front channels of “She’s Electric” that I was unable to isolate. (Not a big disappointment, but noteworthy nonetheless). The same is the case for some pewing synths in “Some Might Say”.
  • An odd thumpy sound from the kick pervades “Hey Now!” and “Morning Glory”, which is likely an unintended result of Dorfsman trying to make the kit in general more present throughout the mix.
  • “Morning Glory” I believe is missing Noel’s “well’s” in the back right channel during the choruses. (u/JoshFirefly was unable to extract those vocal elements from the mix.)
  • “Champagne Supernova” focuses on a completely different guitar lead during its final breakdown (compared to the original mix), instead opting to pan the original lead to the far right, which I can’t help but feel bothered by. It is also still missing Liam’s “ah’s” during that breakdown.
Rather Lame as a Surround Sound Mix​
The center channel is generally underutilized, mostly serving to house reverb, delayed repeating vocals, shakers, claps, and other minutia. Placing delayed vocals in the center, separate from the lead vocals, is certainly an odd choice, because they complement the lead vocals first and foremost. If someone has their center channel attenuated a bit louder than normal, it only makes this effect more transparent, taking you out of the moment.
The center speaker generally functions to make dialogue clear when listening to films in surround sound, so putting the vocals there should be a natural fit. Surround sound savant Steven Wilson, for example, utilizes this idea by placing dry (i.e. not reverbed) vocals in the center channel with reverb for them placed in the front left and front right channels. While the lead vocals in this mix are placed in the front left and front right channels for the rest of the album, the opening of “Wonderwall” specifically has them in the center channel, swapping to the front two channels after the instrumentation kicks in. Not only does this violate the mix map of the rest of the album, but the switch is incredibly off-putting, taking you out of the experience. (I actually changed this aspect in my edits for that reason.)

I personally am a fan of surround sound gimmickry, with things sliding across my ears from left to right and front to back. While I can understand why the mix doesn’t lean on that effect, “Champagne Supernova” is a song that I imagined could have used it brilliantly, given that it is such a psychedelic song. Imagine as well if the sliding riff throughout “Hey Now!” panned behind you and towards the center like fingers on a fretboard.


Credits:

  • Additional fixed SACD mix credits (for all the info noted above):
  • r/oasisfan99 – provided a scan of the front cover photo to use for editing
  • r/meteorlocked – recreated the album art using the scanned photo
  • u/JoshFirefly – bass extraction from “Wonderwall”, vocal extraction from back channels
  • Jasmine Dean (u/TopConcern) – All other edits else noted above
  • Original album credits
  • Oasis
  • Liam Gallagher – lead vocals, tambourine
  • Noel Gallagher – lead guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Don't Look Back in Anger", piano, mellotron, E Bow, bass (on "Cast No Shadow", "Wonderwall" and "She's Electric"), production
  • Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs – rhythm guitar, piano, mellotron
  • Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan – bass (all tracks except "Cast No Shadow", "Wonderwall" and "She's Electric")
  • Alan White – drums, percussion (except on "Some Might Say")
  • Tony McCarroll – drums (on "Some Might Say")
  • Additional musician
  • Paul Weller – lead guitar and backing vocals on "Champagne Supernova"
  • Additional personnel
  • Owen Morris – production
  • Neil Dorfsman – multichannel mixing (SACD version)
  • David Swope – assistant mixing (SACD version)
  • Barry Grint – original audio mastering at Abbey Road Studios
  • Vlado Meller – mastering (SACD version)
  • Michael Spencer Jones – photography
  • Brian Cannon – artwork, design
  • Mathew Sankey – assistant design
 

impetigo

Active Member
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Mar 4, 2019
Messages
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Nice to see another Seattlite here. :cool:

What you've done here appears to be amazing (I was going to write "sounds" but I haven't listened to it yet... will the linked files work in a 5.1 system?). I remember being so disappointed in this SACD when I got it many years ago and the thought that you may have rehabbed it so that it actually sounds good is exciting. Well done!
 

Dynamic Editor

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Nov 26, 2022
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Seattle
Nice to see another Seattlite here. :cool:

What you've done here appears to be amazing (I was going to write "sounds" but I haven't listened to it yet... will the linked files work in a 5.1 system?). I remember being so disappointed in this SACD when I got it many years ago and the thought that you may have rehabbed it so that it actually sounds good is exciting. Well done!
The stuff I linked is actually the Word Doc and the Perfect Declipper files!
 

fetchmybeer

Well-known Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
122
Location
DFW
Wow. Definitely a different experience. Thanks a lot for posting this.

The original stereo mix, as most here are well aware already, really suffers from overkill. It's gloriously LOUD and ROCKS, but ear fatigue sets in pretty quickly. Listening to the downmix of the original 5.1, some odds and ends have been mixed louder into the surround mix to make it more interesting, but I think it comes at the expense on a few of the tracks (notably Some Might Say, Morning Glory, and Champagne Supernova) of the LOUD ROCK element. I am fairly certain that the original mix had something like 4 million guitar tracks which have been cut down to just a few for the surround mix. It helps with the ear fatigue, but takes away a bit of that oomph.

Taking off the vocal reverb was a big plus. The vocals and drums are big beneficiaries in this mix, drums perhaps a bit too much in Some Might Say, or at least the crash and shaker. What's with the weird warbly guitar in the background of Morning Glory? Very distracting in the original downmix, but I didn't even notice it in your fixed downmix until I listened to it a second time. Don't Look Back In Anger has louder handclaps and things like that, but I really like that mix. Cast No Shadow has the strings turned down and the dobro/slide a bit too loud for my tastes. I actually like the ascending synth part after the first chorus being more prominent in the mix, but if they had done that in the original, it probably wouldn't have been a hit. Funny how little things like that make a difference.

Overall, much more clarity in this mix and that's a plus. Less ear fatigue (honestly, there is none in this mix) is also a plus. It may sound like I'm complaining at times, but I'm not. I love hearing new parts of this album, or enhanced parts, and you're working with source material/stems and not the original 4 million tracks. Nice work and thank you.
 

par4ken

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I've always liked Oasis they actually remind me a bit of the Beatles, but that compressed "bickwalled sound" is very fatiging. Sadly unlike the "classic rock" of which there are non brickwalled vinyl versions to compare with, we don't have that luxury with this release.

Very cool how you have been able to clean up and improve the mix! I haven't yet read the full text of all of your posts but realy admire the thought and hard work that you have put into it!
 
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