Discussion in 'Mastering' started by audiowkstation, Mar 28, 2003.

  1. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Ok, I have had my copy of Pink Floyds "Dark side of the moon" on SACD and I am wondering who has this and your thoughts. I am writing a detailed review of this for an upcoming issue here at recording.org (RO)

    This SACD is presented in 3 formats on the single CD.

    1. Redbook layer 16 bit 44.1K Stereo
    2. Super Audio compact disc (SACD) direct stream digital (DSD) in 2 Channel. Single Bit 2.82MhZ Stream rate.
    3. SACD-DSD 5.1 Surround.

    5.1 surround uses a Left channel/Right channel/Center channel/Left rear channel/Right rear channel/Sub bass channel.

    The Album/Album Quad/CD/CD moFi(mobile fidelity release)/Reel/8track 2ch/8 track 4 channel/cassette of this classic was done using back-up tapes of the original 2 channel Ampex.

    This 30th anniversary release used the original 16 channel master remixed, and the original 2 track tape remastered.

    Those who have it feel free to comment on your overall impression of this.

    I will give a full report of it soon and I would like to here your impressions...especially those of the mastering engineers here that are moderators.

    I am doing a blow by blow of it.

    Go ahead..Any questions, feel free, I will answer basic quiestions but the full review will "Shed some light" on the DSOtM.

    Start of Blow By Blow.

    First of all.

    The files you see were converted from DSD to 16/192 and 1/4 Master tape to 16/192.

    The sound I hear is conducive to the waves you see.

    No transfer error in dynamics or frequency response outside 0.0002%

    My conclusion may come as a shock to many.

    A gentle hint, I can hear the inaccuracies in the monitoring loudspeakers big time for this cherished and holy grail work, for this disc.

    They stick out like a sore thumb. I am hearing an inverse blueprint of their House curve VS the best Vinyl and the masters I have had the luxury to use./

    I want folks to listen carefully to the 2 mix (it was not down-mixed at all from the 16 track, just original 2 track remastered)

    The 5.1 is a new "mix" from the 16tk tape.

    The most important hint, is that modern loudspeakers are uncalibrated from the old professional realm. Alan Parsons knows this, that he was not approached, made the huge difference.

    See, it is like this. We mixed and mastered for the loudspeakers of that day then. Any attempt to try to "fix it" to sound like it use to on modern loudspeakers, will result in problems from the original. The state of the art has been watered down by "audiophile standards of abuse".

    That mastering engineers are using audiophile speakers in the mastering, the true reference is left to be tainted.

    The germs are in my face. Such a nice transfer, only to be equalized to a set of speakers, not many will be able to afford..and even if you could, they are not dynamically accurate to the standards of the recording of yesteryear.

    It is a new can of worms that is not part of the continuation of this great art.

    Now this is 2 track commentary, not a review. The review will encompass time on the CD and certain things that were done with improper EQ curves in listening. Basic calibration.

    You have to calibrate to the standard of the year it was born, not to today for it to travel as it should to todays aspects.

    The blow by blow will be of serious interest. It may not change things, but it is in my face for sure.

    I can hear "ticket to ride" (an out-take from Beatles rehearsals) at the end of eclipse, they re-used tapes at abbey road and the erasure was not complete..even on this disc they missed it...or knew and left it alone for Floridians in the "know"

    Oh. BTW, the master EATS the SACD that audiophiles and engineers feel is "perfect sound forever"

    To bad they are in baby steps.

    More to come.

    OK, I added this..

    Here is side 2.

    Notice the limiting. The top File is the SACD. The bottom is the untouched copy of the master.

    Why the limiting?

    SACD is supposed to mirror the master. Once again, studio electronics got in the way of folks getting to hear how this classic recording "really" sounds.

    Now, I can rest my case about the problems with SACD. It is a wonderful format...but it is suffering the same fate as redbook.

    Anyone so far wants a mastering comparison CD, it can be ava. (I do have the quad setup for reference as well)

    Next, I will post the file of my final mastering of this 2 track wonder. I am not grandstanding but simply making a point.

    I have contacted some individuals on this. It will not change the sacd but I would like to provide a copy of the finest DSOM that is avalable for those who wish it...with clearance.

    The Clearance may be a tough sell as it underminds what the "best" did.

    So far "the point" of this post, some of the "best" mastering enginners are still not paying careful attention to the art.
  2. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Distinguished Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    hey, why 192/16? why not 192/24 or 96/88.2/24?
    who mastered that? i hope it was not the same guy who did KALIFORNICATION
  3. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Looking at that graph it looks like they may have just cut it flat. To get it on vinyl origonally the extra high and low end might have been cut. Is your reference the vinyl? That seems a more likely explanation. Maybe someone decided that the EQ'ed vinyl master was a compromise and they used the previous generation master.
  4. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Hi Paul!

    My reference is a copy of the original master 2 track.

    The one that is the sacd is supposed to be the same tape, first generation.

    Do you think they may have has a post RIAA copy to work with? If so, that would explain why the SACD needs what I had to do to mirror the copy I have.
    As a matter of fdact, the OMC I have is so close to the post vinyl and even the Mobile fidelity CD, that I know that something happened on this SACD that is rather "odd" and "improper"

    Meanwhile, all the audiophiles are grandstanding this 2 track of the SACD and it simply contains too many artifacts of bad eq and bad dynamic consistancy.

    It ever has some M-S on the bass tracks, especially "money" ,that has solid imaging on my copy and the LP's, compared to the bass spread of the SACD. Also, my playback system for DSD is highly calibrated so their is no mistake of choosing the incorrect layer for the dub.

    Any more questions??
  5. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Hi Alecio!

    I could have transfered it to 16/24/32/40/or 64bit float and any frequency from 44.1 to *768K PCM.

    Staying in the same word length for this comparason to redbook was the objective. Doing it at 192 gives no doubts to the range of harmonic extention.

    Realise, changing the word VS the samples, consists of less math problems for the computer to deal with.

    Hope this helps Alecio

    *768 to 1536 KBS in PCM is only possible for special video authoring software *converted* to audio use via ®Silicon graphics®.


    It is an experimental adaptation I use in calibration and testing only. Render times are way too long for practicality on a studio level. It is for lab work only.
  6. lowdbrent

    lowdbrent Guest

    What monitor system do you have Bill? Who designed and built your room? Do you have any software besides Sound Forge?
  7. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    It's still possible that MoFi decided that the vinyl was the benchmark and mirrored the vinyl eq in their release.

    This could be from not using an elliptical EQ on this release which fits nicely with my theory of a flat cut from the origonal masters. I would guess that the record company was scared of this type of criticism. Especially since they cut Alan Parsons out of the loop. So they cut flat in an attempt not to screw it up. Oh well.
  8. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Sounds logical to me Paul..

    Lowdbrent asks..

    I have 9 different reference systems here at the studio; which one would you be interested in?

    This Room was built in 1925, I did all the acoustic engineering myself to reach an absorbtion coeff. of 0.83 The other rooms are typical home environment for referencing anything an almost any format. I did do away with the umatics and the elcassette long ago.

    At the office, their is a large room with 12 power amps and 21 different types of speaker systems. It also has multi format capability. From ceiling speakers to concert systems, that room has one of every type of system from consumer to professional to theater speakers to higher end.

    The answer to you last question is yes.
  9. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Oct 17, 2001
    321 West 44th Street Suite 1001
    Home Page:

    Thanks for the in depth info. This is a classic case of doing the wrong thing to bring attention to a new format. What I mean is this, If the project is not recorded to DSD than you cannot sonically take full advantage of the format.

    Just like when CD came out and the record companies were salivating at the thought of re releasing there catalog on another format. People heard some bad recordings just transfered to a different medium and wondered why it didn't sound better.

    I'm afraid this is going to confuse people again with this new format. Dark Side... is a great recording but the issues you bring up from the transfer are far to common.

    So my advise to everyone out there is don't judge SACD until you listen to something that was done from start to finish in DSD.

  10. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    This is very true. DSD recordings through the process to SACD are fabulous.

    I am just afraid that the calibration standards in loudspeakers used for mastering is "shifted" toward audiophile standards and not that of what the finest speakers of yester-year, bring to the table.

    My system is so reveiling, a 0.2dB in L/R balance moves the image almost a foot.

    I cringe at the bottom that the egglestons and the dunlavys (out of biz now) have. In a room, it can be as much as 12dB at 40hZ, making the mastering engineers do "thin bottom"

    Also in a room, typical, the 3K cut of 4 to 6 dB these speakers exibit from dynamic inconsistancys when used at the 90dB level, cause the engineers to put "pain" into their work..that is unacceptable. ....And also, the bright top of 13 to 16 K to be "audiophile approved", causes them to roll off the highs.

    Of the 5 mastering engineers doing most of the mainstream SACD's I have, so many of these have the associated problems.

    I for one, do not want to turn up my bottom to enjoy "flat"

    I am not being a hard head. Of the thousands of CD's and vinyl and masters I have, I truly see a changing pattern. Ity is not a good one. Dynamics and FQ are all out of whack, based on what I hear.
  11. cjenrick

    cjenrick Active Member

    Nov 15, 2002
    Bill, how was quadraphonic decoded from vinyl? Always curious about this...
  12. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Oct 17, 2001
    321 West 44th Street Suite 1001
    Home Page:
    I don't know what egglestons you heard but the Savoys I have in my room are very flat. 20Hz to 20kHz +/- 1dB, 16Hz to 40kHz (-6dB). Not that specs tell you everything you need to know about a monitor.

    I wasn't questioning your monitors (or anything else yo said for that matter) And I'm surely not hear to argue specs with people.
  13. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    I agree. Specs can be very misleading. Moving a speaker one foot can change everything. We all know the room is the underlying factor in how a speaker will (or will not) behave! :)

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