Sony vs. Prince's legacy - Sound Quality Issue

Help Support QuadraphonicQuad:

atrocity

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Jun 14, 2002
Messages
1,866
Location
Sacramento, California
Being involved at the fringes of radio, I occasionally get my filthy little hands on music files supplied directly by the record companies. Most recently, this meant getting the "new" Prince album in WAV format from Sony.

Imagine my surprise upon realizing that at least two songs, most notably "Stand Up and B Strong" are riddled with what my ears tell me are CD read errors. Arguably even worse, the version streaming via Qobuz (and presumably others) has the same god damned errors.

I mean...what the FUCK?!?! We've now hit the point where one of the only remaining major record companies is so lazy, so incompetent and so apathetic that they can't even be bothered not to ruin a major release by one of the most important and influential musicians of our lifetimes.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone with a physical copy. Are the errors baked in or did Sony, which presumably had access to the masters, distribute files half-assedly ripped from a CD by a half-wit infant who didn't know how to do it properly?

I'd also be interested in what others with access to the stream can hear. Am I misinterpreting something intentional? It sure doesn't sound like any effect anyone would want in there.
 

J. PUPSTER

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
QQ Supporter
Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
8,670
Location
CALIFORNIA (CENTRAL)
Being involved at the fringes of radio, I occasionally get my filthy little hands on music files supplied directly by the record companies. Most recently, this meant getting the "new" Prince album in WAV format from Sony.

Imagine my surprise upon realizing that at least two songs, most notably "Stand Up and B Strong" are riddled with what my ears tell me are CD read errors. Arguably even worse, the version streaming via Qobuz (and presumably others) has the same god damned errors.

I mean...what the FUCK?!?! We've now hit the point where one of the only remaining major record companies is so lazy, so incompetent and so apathetic that they can't even be bothered not to ruin a major release by one of the most important and influential musicians of our lifetimes.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone with a physical copy. Are the errors baked in or did Sony, which presumably had access to the masters, distribute files half-assedly ripped from a CD by a half-wit infant who didn't know how to do it properly?

I'd also be interested in what others with access to the stream can hear. Am I misinterpreting something intentional? It sure doesn't sound like any effect anyone would want in there.
Can you attach a small section of that error, is it distortion of some type, like pops, or what?

And Yes, This is some Bullshit!
 

atrocity

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Jun 14, 2002
Messages
1,866
Location
Sacramento, California
Can you attach a small section of that error, is it distortion of some type, like pops, or what?
I've always called them "fft-fft-fft" errors because that's the only way I can think of to spell how it sounds. In my head, it's the sound of the laser hitting the same messed up part of the CD over and over as it rotates.

Sample attached...it's really obvious to me during the word "strong", but it continues throughout the entire brief clip and through much of the rest of the song.

It also sounds to me like the S sounds are a bit...spitty, which is also something I've experienced with bad CD reads.
 

Attachments

J. PUPSTER

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
QQ Supporter
Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
8,670
Location
CALIFORNIA (CENTRAL)
I've always called them "fft-fft-fft" errors because that's the only way I can think of to spell how it sounds. In my head, it's the sound of the laser hitting the same messed up part of the CD over and over as it rotates.

Sample attached...it's really obvious to me during the word "strong", but it continues throughout the entire brief clip and through much of the rest of the song.

It also sounds to me like the S sounds are a bit...spitty, which is also something I've experienced with bad CD reads.
Sorry, don't see your attached sample?
 

winopener

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2002
Messages
4,022
Given how much the sound is processed, i'm more toward intentional. Also, in spectral view, i don't see the typical signs of bad cd reading, the most evident of them (when you magnify at sample level) is that a bad read affect L/R channel not at the same precise time.
 

atrocity

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Jun 14, 2002
Messages
1,866
Location
Sacramento, California
Given how much the sound is processed, i'm more toward intentional. Also, in spectral view, i don't see the typical signs of bad cd reading, the most evident of them (when you magnify at sample level) is that a bad read affect L/R channel not at the same precise time.
It seems like a really, really odd thing to do intentionally. The whole song is on YouTube at
and others comment that they hear it as well (while others don't).

And, since we all love SHF so much :), there are also references to it there as well: Prince - Welcome 2 America - July 30th (new album). The same poster (Tom Schreck) also mentions "1010 (Rin Tin Tin)", which I assume is the same song where I also heard the same issues.
 

jimfisheye

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
2,010
There's a marketing strategy that's been around for decades now. You artificially create an in-between version of a product. When the engineers tell you the cheap version and the expensive version are lowest common denominators, you take the expensive one and "re-skin" it as a new 'medium-end' version and program it to spoof that the high-end version features aren't there. The marking dept has figured out that the extra sales from the 'medium-end' version outweigh the loses from "wasting" 'high-end' version components. You further save by not having to design any actual 'medium-end' components.

I was working as a senior test technician (one rung below manufacturing engineer) for a decade building spectrometers. We had one of these. I wrote instructions for the service manual for a test they had to perform in the field after certain repairs where they had to toggle that software flag to run a calibration test and then put it back after and be careful to never do that in front of the customer. It had the very same main logic board as the 'high-end' model.

I know this sounds stupid but I think this happens with some of these music releases. Because the marketing types are THAT disconnected and THAT uninterested in music themselves. They request a lower fidelity version to leave room for a deluxe edition or 'improved' future release.

I mean, the only other explanation is that these people who literally work in the audio industry professionally are crude clumsy screw-ups.

It's probably, sadly just the latter. Maybe both? Whatever the deal is, unless you as the artist keep your album in your hands and verify ALL final masters before release, someone's gonna screw it all up for you!
 

atrocity

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Jun 14, 2002
Messages
1,866
Location
Sacramento, California
I mean, the only other explanation is that these people who literally work in the audio industry professionally are crude clumsy screw-ups.

It's probably, sadly just the latter. Maybe both? Whatever the deal is, unless you as the artist keep your album in your hands and verify ALL final masters before release, someone's gonna screw it all up for you!
I don't remember ever having a job where the adults didn't have to work around or cover for the people who just couldn't be bothered. What made it even more infuriating was when doing something the right way really wasn't any more work than screwing it up, but they just didn't care.
 

M-D-Z

Well-known Member
QQ Supporter
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
162
Location
Bronx NYC
If you apply the Pareto Principle theory to the actual quality of end results, one begins to make more sense out of why things get so consistently screwed up.

… we have a saying at my job, “well it’s that ole 90/10 rule
… where 10% of the work force produce 90% of the desired results, and 90% of the work force intentionally skate by, to only produce 10% of good results.

 

J. PUPSTER

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
QQ Supporter
Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
8,670
Location
CALIFORNIA (CENTRAL)
While working with some of the 24bit - 96kHz Qobuz files I did notice the sound issues as I dig deeper into the music. 🤬

Here's what it looks like in Audacity for the song "Stand Up And B Strong" blown up at the 3 min. mark. I've also attached a small sound sample of it below.

Prince suabs phtttt.jpg
 

Attachments

ummagumma

Well-known Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
189
Location
Canada
Some of my old cd's are going bad & do stuff like that on playback. Maybe they ripped a cd & their QC ( if they have one? ) missed it?

Did any of Prince's material get lost in the Universal fire?
 

atrocity

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Jun 14, 2002
Messages
1,866
Location
Sacramento, California
Some of my old cd's are going bad & do stuff like that on playback. Maybe they ripped a cd & their QC ( if they have one? ) missed it?
That's what it sounded like to me, but it seems unlikely (or at least very weird) that they'd go through all the work that it takes to master an album only to base the final release on a bad CD(-R?) rip. Unless the only thing they had to work with was a single bad CD(-R?) found in the Prince vault. And even then you'd think they'd do whatever they could to cover up the errors.

There are reports of people hearing the problem even on the vinyl version, which is even more infuriating to me. I'm not a vinyl fan but I assume that someone had to really, really listen while cutting the lacquer (or should have really, really listened!) and either just shrugged it off or, even worse, reported the problem only to be told to sit down and shut up.
 

ummagumma

Well-known Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
189
Location
Canada
Oh, I was thinking that maybe a CD source was all they had, if his masters etc got burned in that fire

*edit* I should clarify I am talking about store bought cd's here, not cdr's. I have a bunch that play back with glitches now
 
Top