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The Cars Unreleased S/T Debut Album DVD-Audio

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Greg Z

Sep 7, 2017
I’ve gotten to hear the “leaked” version, and it’s a fun listen, but rough-edged for sure. A few particular problem points for me:

1) “Good Times Roll” — the climactic “good times roll” at the end of each chorus doesn’t have any of the backing vocals in the rears; they’re all up front. It really deflates the moment for me.

2) “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” — the synth line in the chorus has an echo in the RR speaker that’s literally a beat behind. Majorly distracting.

3) “Bye Bye Love” — the backing vocals in the chorus are in the surrounds, but WAAAAY too low in the mix. The mix is pretty much 95% Ben Orr’s lead vocal, and maybe 5% backing vocals.

4) “All Mixed Up” — Greg Hawkes’ sax at the end is really really buried.

There are a couple of songs where there’s nothing (or almost nothing) in the rears for the first 30-45 seconds of the song, which is weird. “Good Times Roll” and “Just What I Needed” are the examples I’m thinking of.

Even with all that, it’s generally a fun listen — “Moving In Stereo” is probably my favorite of the mixes. But, if this were an official release with a poll, I’d be hard-pressed to give it more than a 7.

I’d be curious to know if the fan-made mix that’s floating around has any of the same issues I mentioned...
I've been playing around with the stems for a little while and made my own version. I don't think it's possible to come up with an official release worthy version using stems but an enjoyable
version is possible. This is how I dealt with the problem points you mention.

Good Times Roll - The climactic "good times roll" in the chorus is part of the same track that has the lead vocals so if
the lead vocals are put in the front then so is that part. The "good times roll" part could be cut out and moved to the back,
but then the lead vocals would move with it. I chose to copy the "good times roll" part and add it to the back so you have
that part in the front and rear speakers.
The first 32 seconds of Good Times Roll doesn't have much going on to add to the rear speakers. It's only guitar and
lead vocals with a low synth pulse in the rears that can barely be heard. I personally like the effect of everything kicking in at the
32 second mark. Just What I Needed has quite a bit going on at the beginning in the rears (at least in my version). I can't
explain why someone would have everything in the front speakers.

You're All I've Got Tonight - The echoing synth line is in the backing track. This is a stereo track. I found that both left and
right tracks are nearly identical and the out of sync echo is only on the right side. I eliminated the right channel and that
got rid of the annoying echo.

Bye Bye Love - I copied the backing vocals "bye bye love" part and added them to the front so they come out of all four
speakers. This raised them to a much more acceptable level in the mix.

All Mixed Up - The sax part at the end is part of the backing track and has some acoustic guitar mixed with it. I copied
the part with the sax solo and added it to the right rear speaker at a level that helped unbury it.
Last edited:


Apr 21, 2008
I tried to change the mix balance only where it was unavoidable.

So I only increased the level of the saxophone part of the "backing" stem by 2.5 dB - doesn't matter if the saxophone comes from behind as long as it is loud enough.

Some backing vocals in the "backing" stem were also too quiet, so I had to raise them here and there, which is critical as they are usually not isolated, but up to 2 or 3 dB won't harm the mix, but I only lifted them as long as they last.

The synth echo of "You're all I've got tonight" doesn't bother me at all, since it's not louder that the synth itself.

I treated the vocals stem with the DTS Neural Upmix plugin to direct the lead vocals to the center and spread everything else not in mono (backing vocals and reverb) over all four channels, so that solves the "Good Times Roll" problem.
I also used the same plugin for the "cymbals" stem - it spreads the drums all over the room which sounds great.