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HiRez Poll Meatloaf - BAT OUT OF HELL (5.1) [SACD]

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Rate the SACD of Meatloaf - BAT OUT OF HELL


  • Total voters
    48

keenly

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There is some great stuff on this mix. Vocals sound great. Unfortunately the left rear channel is louder and has more music in it than the right, creating an imbalance which is noticeable most of the time. The exception is the live version of Bat which sounds GREAT! This is how live music should be mixed in 5.1.

Overall i still enjoy this way more than the vinyl or CD.
 

keenly

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In my never ending quest to fix the surround universe, I have taken on Meatloaf's "Bat Out of Hell" and specifically the song "Paradise By the Dashboard Light". I've read the story about the fire that supposedly destroyed some of the master multitracks (how does one destroy some of the tracks?) for the song. Rather than get Ellen Foley back to re-record the missing vocal parts they got singer Karla DeVito instead...Close but no cigar.

Unfortunately, there were other things wrong with the song, too. These problems as Phil Rizzuto's ("The Scooter" and Hall of Fame Shortstop) vocal was just not right and I couldn't figure out why. Also important pieces of the multitrack were completely missing. The pitch also seemed off as well. So, this song became a good mystery to tackle.

The first item I worked was the pitch. I compared the 5.1-channel SACD version to the 2-channel SACD version and sure enough the pitch is off by about 1%. Correcting the time (and therefore the pitch) on the multichannel version corrected the problem and then the editing begin.

PBTDL is an interesting song in that it is not only logically divided into three sections (as the album lyrics show), it appears to have been recorded in three sections. However, the recordings are divided into three different sections than the lyrics. The types of corrections needed to fix the song are different in each section.

Section I (Paradise) :

Lucky the only "wrong" thing with this section is the female vocal lead. Further luck was that the female lead vocal only heard in the center channel. I thought it would be a piece of cake to take the other channels and remove the instrumentation. I planned to do this by taking a mono version of the 2-channel tracks (with Ellen Foley) and then subtract out each of the corner channels using the 5.1-channel mix. That should have left me with just the lead vocals. But, this is where my luck ran out.

It turns out that the 5.1-channel has enough differences in cymbal timing and bass timing (very slight) that it made kind-of in-and-out phasing sound throughout. Also the 5.1-channel is much much sharper (as in higher peaks) than than the 2-channel version. So subtracting again left unlistenable artifacts.

Plan B was to take the original 2-channel version, make a mono mix and then spread the original 2-channel left to the front left, the mono mix to the center and then the original 2-channel right to the front right. The surround channels from the 5.1-mix as well as the LFE channel remained. This also solved the problem of the solo lead vocals (even Mr. Loaf) being somewhat lost coming only from the center channel. By spreading the vocals through the three front channels, the lead vocals stood out more.

However, the result wasn't quite good enough (too much stereo loss) so I then subtracted out the surround left and surround right from my newly created mono mix. I subtracted judiciously rather than attempting to eliminate the reverb (etc) completely. I also compressed and raised the vocal levels. This produced an acceptable center channel.

Section IA (Radio Broadcast):

This was the worst section. It has the feel of a Silverline disc - as if they just gave up after not finding the right parts.

The Scooter's vocals were apparently a different length than on the original disc. It may be the exact same take of the play-by-play but the play-by-play is slower on the 5.1-channel mix.

You and I would probably have taken that vocal and sped it up to be the same speed and time as the original record. The folks who did the 5.1-channel mix decided that they would instead just start Rizzuto's play-by-play a few beats early. It ends at the same time as the original. The rest of the background music is, however, the correct time. Comparing the 2-channel and the 5.1-channel mix was interesting in that at the start of the play-by-play the two Rizzuto's were almost a second apart and then throughout the rest of the vocals they kept getting closer and closer. By the time the "batter" almost reaches home, the two vocals are sync'd. However, the background music is sync'd the entire time.

The biggest problem that I thought I would have was that the "moaning and groaning" was missing. How could this key part be missing?? Luckily it turns out an OOPS of the original 2-channel mix provides basically just the moaning and a little bit of background but no Scooter. That helped!

So, for this section, the newly created left, right and center was used from Section I but the surrounds had to be thrown away (just for this section) since they wouldn't match. Throwing away the surrounds really didn't bother me since I always thought Scooter's vocals should sound like an AM radio broadcast and that would be in the center channel only. By throwing away the 5.1-channel surrounds, which had Scooter's vocals in them too (!) it moved the play-by-play squarely to the front. It wasn't quite the center only I wanted, but it worked.

New surround channels were created which contained the mono OOPS of the 2-channel mix for just this section. Since the fronts also used this mix, the effect is the moaning and groaning coming throughout the 5.1-channel soundstage with the play-by-play front and center. Just the way it should be for this song.

Section II and III (Let Me Sleep On It & Praying For the End of Time):

This section was done very similar to Section I (Paradise). The only difference is that I had to make a new reverb track for the surround when Ms. Foley says, "What's It Gonna Be Boy...Yes or No". The vocals of the doppleganger were sufficiently different at that point that the different reverb is distracting. Otherwise having Ellen Foley sing in the front with the reverb from the doppleganger in the rears sounds OK.

Bottom line to all this, is that if I could do this why didn't the 5.1-channel engineers do this instead of the mess they made. The song really can be salvaged and sound good (just like "Heaven Can Wait"). Even if they felt a need to rerecord, the least they could have done is to get it right and make sure the timings were correct and *all* the parts were included in the new mix. No excuse...

One more thing I almost forgot. The surround channels can still overpower the fronts with the current mix. I brought the newly created Front Left and Front Right to within 1.5dB of the Center and then dropped the Surrounds down 2dB.

So, can anyone confirm that all the multichannel tracks were found? Any chance of a correct mix being released on a DVD-V? Any chance that Ms. Foley and Mr. Loaf are not good friends and that is why she didn't record the overdubs?

Back to fixing the rest of the surround universe...

Andy
I would like to hear this!
 

keenly

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After listening to this more, I realize what a mess it is. The vocals have a weird echo after them, which I only just noticed. If I had the PCM files I could improve the album via Audacity. I feel the vocals in the center need bringing up and maybe adding a bit of treble would help.
 

JanBakker

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After listening to this more, I realize what a mess it is. The vocals have a weird echo after them, which I only just noticed. If I had the PCM files I could improve the album via Audacity. I feel the vocals in the center need bringing up and maybe adding a bit of treble would help.
I tried to improve the sound by boosting the bass a little but I think I don't have enough experience with Audacity to make it sound better, the bass guitar is to loud now and I still don't hear the kickdrum well enough. Could you make a short description of what you did and pm that to me?
 

fredblue

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There's lots of guides online with useful EQ tips and info on things like where the most musical energy is to be found in the audio frequency spectrum among a host of different instruments and how to improve your mixes.. even if you boost say 150hz to boost a kick drum, 1khz to give vocals more presence, or 16khz to add brilliance to a mix, you can and will alter other instruments in so doing with a stereo mixdown or Quad/5.1 mix but even with individual multitrack stems (surprisingly lots floating about online) there's often more than one instrument or element recorded on each multi you're tinkering with.. but it can be a lot of fun experimenting and no harm when you can just reset everything as it was I guess.. just my layman's two pennuth :)

image.jpg
 

JanBakker

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There's lots of guides online with useful EQ tips and info on things like where the most musical energy is to be found in the audio frequency spectrum among a host of different instruments and how to improve your mixes.. even if you boost say 150hz to boost a kick drum, 1khz to give vocals more presence, or 16khz to add brilliance to a mix, you can and will alter other instruments in so doing with a stereo mixdown or Quad/5.1 mix but even with individual multitrack stems (surprisingly lots floating about online) there's often more than one instrument or element recorded on each multi you're tinkering with.. but it can be a lot of fun experimenting and no harm when you can just reset everything as it was I guess.. just my layman's two pennuth :)

View attachment 16927
That's exactly what I did :yikes I'll try the web for more detailed info, sometimes it can be useful if someone can push you in the right direction though :eek:
 

fredblue

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That's exactly what I did :yikes I'll try the web for more detailed info, sometimes it can be useful if someone can push you in the right direction though :eek:
Spooky! :D Yet a bump @150 didn't help.. the kick could I suppose need boosting anywhere from say 50 to 500hz to bring out the best in it..?

..I fear, however, for this record EQ tweaking might be as pointless as polishing a turd.. and almost as messy.. it strikes me as a pretty poor recording, I don't think I've ever heard it sound particularly great on any format/mastering.

I will say this though, earlier in the year I A-B'd the first Stereo-only SACD of this album (which is said to be a flat DSD transfer of the mixdown master) with the 5.1 and after accounting as best I could for volume level disparity (I used my partner's SPL on front L&R on the first track on both mixes, can't remember the result now but pretty sure 5.1 was louder now I think about it) anyway, I was blown away how much more detail was so readily apparent in the surround mix, absolutely bags full of it, the proverbial "veil" was lifted I tell you! :p
 

skherbeck

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Fidelity = Fershtunken (compressed and lacking bass; overall sounds kind of tinny. Me no likey.) - 1/3
Surround Mix = Some songs are discrete (Bat Out of Hell, For Crying Out Loud); others not. - 2/3
Content = It's Ok (was never a favorite of mine... but I guess it's a classic (?) from what I've read?) - 2/3
1 Bonus point for food reference (I do enjoy a good meatloaf and I'm kind of hungry right now)

I vote 6.
 

sjcorne

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I was always curious to hear this one. I found a decent price on it a few months back and must've played it once or twice, but then it got lost in the confusion of all those great November releases (White Album, Electric Ladyland, This Was, etc). I finally got a chance today to give it a few more spins and take apart the mix on my PC.

I'll preface this by saying I don't really have any history or familiarity with the album, so the re-recorded bits didn't really stand out to me. I actually thought the surround mix was pretty good, with the exception of the upmixed "Heaven Can Wait". It's a lot like Frank Filipetti's other 5.1 mixes: vocals hard in the center channel, drums/bass in the front, backing vocals in the rears, and other guitars/piano/keyboard/organ spread around the room.

I enjoyed reading all the above comments regarding "Dashboard". I gave the stereo version a spin as well to see if the surround mix is indeed so radically different. The 5.1 sounds like most of the basic instrument tracks and lead vocal are correct, but the overdubbed elements/added effects are either different or missing entirely. The replacement female vocal seems close enough for me, but I can understand why those who are more familiar with the album are disappointed. I think they made the best of the situation and I enjoyed the 5.1 version nonetheless. All those moments with layered vocals ("...glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife", etc) really benefitted from the surround mix.

The big issue with this disc is the fidelity, but I think a lot of that may come down to limitations of the original tapes. It sounds to me like the whole album was intentionally recorded "in the red". You can hear occasional distortion on the vocals even on the stereo mix. It doesn't sound very dynamic either. I ripped the disc and the waveforms pretty much confirmed what I was hearing.

"Paradise By The Dashboard Light":
Screen Shot 2019-04-14 at 4.16.23 PM.png

"Heaven Can Wait" (it looks like it's just the stereo mix upfront, the center is a sum of front L&R, and the rears are some kind of unwrap effect):
Screen Shot 2019-04-14 at 4.35.38 PM.png

"Bat Out Of Hell":
Screen Shot 2019-04-14 at 4.41.45 PM.png

I'd give it a 7. If you like the album, it's worth tracking down, just not for the crazy prices it usually goes for...
 
Last edited:

JonUrban

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Now this thread is one of the best examples of why I started these polls in the first place. Someone who just got this disc, 15 years later, could read this thread and probably find the most info about the title in one place than anywhere else on the web.

We don't need funny pictures, shipping play by play, or other stuff in the poll files. And this thread is a great example of why.
 

Elad

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I like this CD and recall how excited I was that it came out in multichannel and then reality set in the multichannel is a complete and utter mess and it is a shame. I consider this one of my worse multichannel I have and for the life of me I can't understand how they could of screwed up the mix.
I guess you can call this when when surround sound goes south.
 
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