annoying bass in CD remasters

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by cubemonkey, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. cubemonkey

    cubemonkey Active Member

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    I listen to some of the new remasters like the new Beach Boys 67 and a few others and sometimes the bass is
    (to me) way too loud, and its in that 100-250hz area. And CD's like the remastered Jimi Hendrix Isle of Wight has muddy midrange. I listen on an Oynko Hi-hi CD player, through Sony v506 headphones which are less bassy than alot i hear. I notice this on my home recordings too (Tascam Dp008 and Audicity...monitoring
    through (I know bad) headphone jack -- hey its just a 50 year old hobby. :) and I notice some compressor/limiters will bring up the lower registers, so my questions are:

    1. is it my ears being 62 and should i just stop now :)
    2. Do the people mastering these CD's that are tier1 people hear this too on the monitors? Or they want to be true to what was recorded from the master tapes?

    3. I am listening too loud and bass sounds louder because of maybe hi-end hearing loss? (I'd have to check that)....If its too loud...u too old!

    Just curious if anyone else notices this?

    -b
     
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  2. cubemonkey

    cubemonkey Active Member

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    oh i left out the remasters of Abbey Road, especially Come Together. So this must be a trend. Course the latest White Album/Abbey Road remasters i heard were done to cater to the streaming market.
     
  3. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    I haven't heard these remasters yet, but my guess us that the 100-250 boost is to make things sound more "modern" where the low end is prevalent. I would guess that its in that upper bass range so that its more compatible with phone, tablet, laptop, and ear buds, which all have small drivers.

    I find remasters to be hit or miss, but interesting nonetheless.
     
  4. cubemonkey

    cubemonkey Active Member

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    yes "modern". That sounds right. I have heard some Heavy Metal CD's (not what i usually listen to but hey) with i would have to say MASSIVE...THUNDERING bass...yet not annoying, so they must have notched out some annoying freqs and spent alot of time on it vs. for example Come Together on the 2009 Beatles remasters. After all i have heard I am not going to get the Giles ones -- but if you like them --great.

    I remember some thing in TINY print on the Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers album, something about the RIAA levels and curve...and the last sentence was "if you don't like it, turn it up"....vs on these remasters.....gawd, ya would have to get an EQ for your audio system. your comment about it being "modern" i bet is spot on. Remember the good old days? I'd put a record on, EQ? whats that? Compression? whats that? A suitcase record player with one 4" speaker? heck didnt know better! Its a curse if you do mixes of your own music and you listen to CD's and you find yourself listening to the mix and not the music!!!!!!!! I used to know a guy with a stereo store back in 1980, (he is STILL running the store!), 10k $ or more bucks for his system and he says he would find himself listening to the system instead of the music. :) .


    now not all remasters are bad, most i am quite happy with. King Crimson, Groundhogs, Most Hendrix stuff. It sounds for the Electric Lady (or Land Lady if you were a tape engineer then) sounds like the original CD.. .just louder. :)

    :) :)
    Everyone have a great, relaxing weekend.
     
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  5. AlienOnVacation

    AlienOnVacation Active Member

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    I also hate that frequency range, but a remaster with added bass in that range? I would tend to think it is your hearing, the speakers you have.... as a true remaster would be very true to the original sound. Any master engineer worth his salt would not add muddy bass in those ranges. At 62 you probably can't hear much past 7800 Hz... :( sorry mate.
     
  6. cubemonkey

    cubemonkey Active Member

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    Oh i have no doubt it could be my hearing. Its only on the bass on Come Together in this instance. When I am EQing my stuff, I can hear (I think) at least 10k+. I do think you have a good point though. I keep forgetting that 62 age thing. :) :)
     
  7. cubemonkey

    cubemonkey Active Member

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    Oh, I can almost sit through McCartney's London Town CD. :) :) No excessive bass there. :) :) Must be age. :)
     
  8. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    Being in a Beach Boy tribute, I'm rather happy they've sorted the bass. When I joined the band I had to learn the bass parts and vocal, and I got the old bass player's part and his vocals and the bass he played sounded a bit odd in a couple of tracks, so I went back to the Beach Boys released material to see if I could check. It was crazily hard on some tracks - there was a 'duh' but it was very poorly defined. I did find a few compilation sourced tracks that had better bass. Clearly Carol Kaye's bass was recorded but during I suspect mastering, it got tamed a bit and then these masters became the 'standard'. I have to say the bass part in many of their songs is far less critical than other bands of their kind. In the Jan and Dean releases, the bass IS more defined. In many Beach Boys tracks, it just isn't. When Brian Wilson played bass he used his thumb, which probably was why the more defined bass recorded in the studio was dulled up - maybe? When I first started playing in the band, I tried to replicate the dull sound, but now, even though it's drifted away from perhaps true realism, I now play many of the songs with my finger nail nit the fleshy part of my finger. The sound guy aproves! Band leader has me low in his ears and hasn't noticed yet.
     
  9. cubemonkey

    cubemonkey Active Member

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    actually its an outtake (not during the actual playing) on the last 67 Sunshine remaster, Which i really like. I will find the track just for FYI. Everything else on that CD and in fact all of the CD's are fine.
    I think Brian also used tapewound strings. I have boots of the Smiley Smile sessions, on Vegetables when either he is running through the bass track/guide track or we are just hearing the overdub, sure sounds like tapewound strings. bit of trivia. :)
     
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

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    it's usually a double bass a P Bass and sometimes a tenor guitar all playing in unison.
     
  11. cubemonkey

    cubemonkey Active Member

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    Went back and listened. Its the Beach boys 1967 Sunshine Tomorrow compilation/remaster. First CD, tracks 12 and 13 Left channel. Picked bass (most likely Carl). Contrast that with track 14, bass in right channel.
     
  12. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

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    Paul - I'm intrigued: How do you manage the fades in Good Vibrations? The major one has the bass un-faded as most of the other parts fade to silence. Do you achieve this through natural fades, or does your sound man manage it for you?
     
  13. Smashh

    Smashh Active Member

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    I remember Come together as really bass heavy back when i listened to it alot as a kid when my hearing was probably at its peak.
    I actually cant imagine it in any other way now
     
  14. cubemonkey

    cubemonkey Active Member

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    As Stephen Desper the FOH mix at Monterrey and the Beach Boys Engineer in the late 60's and Early 70's says, <rough quote> " its [ recorded music] art, anything recorded is abstract, there is no 100% right or wrong". So if you like it..its valid.
    Hey, AT5047, I got my first suitcase "wreck-erd" player in prob '68 and literally wore out "more of the Monkees" one summer. No studio headphones or monitors. :) My dad had a Radio Shack receiver with crap shack speakers in the living room and
    Altec Lansing and EV mismatch tweeters and woofers in the basement. :) and when we started recording we listened on Pioneer headphones, and continued to. Sounds fine today, except -- don't let the drummer mix. :) :) . With phasing and removing
    the "middle" and re-panning with Voxenago MSED and other EQ to fix the hiss as much as i can...considering. sounds passable great memories of my formative years. THATS whats important, As it is to you. I think i should change my name to SM57,
    As Mercenary Audio (out of business now) thought it was the "greatest" mic ever...not genius...not horrible. thats another discussion though. :) :) :) :)
     
  15. John S Dyson

    John S Dyson Active Member

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    Strange bass and woody midrange -- all symptoms of possible EQed DolbyA instead of decoded DolbyA. The other side-defect of EQing the shrill DolbyA from old tapes is that instrums like high-hats become swishy. This all comes from the multi-band compression and the strange effects of trying to EQ out the frequency response imbalances. There are some labels that sometimes do a proper DolbyA decode (e.g. MFSL, a Carly Smon album that I have.)
    This problem is endemic, and even the best listeners seem to have accomodated this defect. (Encoded DolbyA compression is insidiously fast -- at HF is 1-40msec attack time, 40-80msec release time -- it is difficult to hear any compression effects other than a smearing of the highs -- the frequency imbalances come from the independent multi-band compression.)

    I still don't know what/why this his happening, other than PERHAPS the time-cost of doing a true DolbyA decode vs a simple EQ (basically a midrange boost along with sometmies a 1 pole treble boost.)
    The EQ can be undone by consumers to get the raw DolbyA back (a frequenc response dip in the 500-3kHz range, and then sometimes a slow decrease in gain above 3k to 9kHz). The problem when getting a good, raw DolbyA signal again is trying to decode it. DolbyA units are not friendly in a typical stereo system environment.
    (Oh, also, the actual DolbyA compression isn't always done in the ch1->L, ch2->R domain, but instead (ch1+ch2)*1/sqrt(2) -> L, (ch1-ch2)*1/sqrt(2) -> R domain. It keeps the seperate ch1,ch2 compression from causing L/R imbalances.)

    This is a REAL problem, and I can do a myriad of demos about this defect -- it is real, and the strange compression damage is endemic.

    John
     
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  16. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

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    This is M-S domain processing, with the formula applied on entering and on exiting the domain. Much mastering EQ is done this way. I often use it for things like centering bass and kick in a mix by HP filtering the S channel, as well as in frequency-banded compression.
     
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  17. John S Dyson

    John S Dyson Active Member

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    Thanks for clarifying that for me -- that (M+S) had been one of the questions/worries that I had in my undoing the EQed DolbyA mastering (very common starting with CDs.)
    I do have software that reverses the EQ, then does a true DolbyA decode, then producing something closer to what was mixed into the older recordings. It took me a long time to figure out the relatively simple EQ -- I kept on doing things more complicated than what was done. The DolbyA decoder is probably the only full quality decoder also. It isn't really commercial though, but is extremely accurate (no DolbyA decoding 'fog' at all.) Abou every month, I find different ways to improve the DA decoding, which is very tricky considering the original DolbyA HW audio feedback scheme is not possible in SW. (The parametric scheme in the Sony patent for DolbyA is incomplete and not really very good.)

    John
     
  18. cubemonkey

    cubemonkey Active Member

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    Do you mean when the Original recording tapes at the studio? Or they add Dolby on remasters? This is fascinating, i did not know this. I do mid-side when i am "remastering" old cassette tapes when their boards had L-C-R. I didn't know a big time
    studio would do that on a remaster at lets say Abbey Road or whatever.
     
  19. John S Dyson

    John S Dyson Active Member

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    Honestly, I don't know the why or wherefor other than the DolbyA encoding/compression plus EQ happens. Normally, I'd think that they'd use DolbyA for NR like ch1<->L and ch2<->R as common sense would suggest for tape NR. However, whon I start with any of the myriad of CDs with the encoding on them (ABBA, Carpenters, HDtracks Carpenters, The Cars, Queen, Simon & Garfunkel even some classical, eetc.) appear to be compressed with a DolbyA encoding operation, but the ch1 and ch2 are the L+R/L-R combination above. I can demostrate this by doing the inverse EQ needed to recover the original DolbyA raw signal, but when I try to DolbyA decode it, then the stereo gets mangled so that image jumbles. After a lot of experiments, I found that the stereo image doesn't jumble when doing the DolbyA decode with the scaled L+R/L-R operation.

    Here is the weird question: why is the DolbyA compression (encoding) being applied with scaled L+R/L-R, yet on a tape recorder, one would normally use a DolbyA with L for ch1, R for ch2? This is contrary to common sense unless the DolbyA is used in that odd mode for reasons beyond simple tape NR?!?!? To me, using DolbyA compression for the purpose of 'compression' seems to be suboptimal, because the frequency response balance -- even once EQed into the form normally found on CDs (and digital downalods), that balance makes the midrange freq range compressed and 'woody', distorts the bass and makes the highs smear, swish, etc. Lows are actually somewhat distorted, but are recovered once fully decoded because of the hand-in-glove compression/expansion when DolbyA is used for actual NR. However, for the purpose of compression only, it would make sense to disable the LF band, maybe even the MF band because of the bad effects.

    When taking all of these things into consideration, it seems like the DolbyA effectively being used as a compressor is an oddity, perhaps a tradition started when CDs were originally released? But that doesn't make sense either. My guess is that the L+R/L-R usage of the DolbyA must have been for the obvious reason -- to avoid any exaserbation of stereo image shifting perhaps in the transport to the vinyl creation facility?

    I have lots of questions WHY this nasty DolbyA compression is done in the way that it is -- I even have very close access to recording experts, but the answers always appeart to be unclear, obfuscated or maybe they simply do not know.

    Bottom line, I have lots of existence proof of the procedure. If you tell me by private messaging, I can give access to some vinyl vs. CD vs. properly processed/decoded CD for the 1970 Carpenters album CD. I can just as easily give the examples for numerous CDs made for material in the past, EVEN the HDtracks releases that I had purchased for download have this compressed DolbyA and EQ characteristic. I have some ABBA decodes/mastering (one of the few materials that I will actually master) that sound totally surprisingly BEAUTIFUL.

    Hopefully, tomorrow or day-after, I can provide a Windows command line program that does the corrective EQ and DolbyA decoding (true DolbyA decoding) that recovers a CD into the form that reminds of the original VINYL sound. I am just about ready to release the SW -- but the purpose here is not really to talk about the software, but more 'WTF' why is it happening?!?!??!

    I know WHAT is going on, but have ZERO, NO, NONE reason why it happened. I can guess, have guessed, etc -- but don't have a 100% strong answer WHY/WHATFOR?

    John
     
  20. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

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    It's an interesting topic, John, and you and I have had some detailed discussion in the past about certain aspects of it. There are a couple of points I would like to make.

    Firstly, it's important that we keep in our heads that the various stereo Dolby encoding schemes were used in an attempt to deal with what were seen as shortcomings in the recording and distribution media of the day. At the studio level, increasing the dynamic range achievable with a tape machine both by reducing tape noise and by a degree of frequency-dependent amplitude compression could be done knowing that channel crosstalk was minimal. The upper and lower tracks on a tape could be assigned to control room L and R channels without worrying about leakage, or there being any need for mono compatibility (until final mix and mastering).

    Secondly, regarding vinyl LPs, the way the stereo signal is applied to an LP groove is a mid-side (M-S) scheme, where the horizontal (H) stylus movement gives the M signal and the vertical (V) movement the S signal. The replay stylus transfers the H and V movements to a small magnet in the field path of two orthogonally-positioned coils, but instead of these being in the H and V planes, they are at 45 degrees either side of vertical. When you write the sum and difference equations for the resulting output, you find that these are identical to those of an M-S decoder, so the cartridge is performing a mechanical version of the M-S decoding matrix to deliver L and R electrical outputs. Using mechanical M-S in this way allowed mono cartridge compatibility (H axis only) to be maintained. Although old mono cartridges soon destroy a stereo LP through lack of vertical compliance, it did mean that a stereo cartridge could play a mono LP without further signal processing.

    One part of the mastering for LP transfers involves reducing low-frequency S signals (as well as applying RIAA or similar frequency pre-emphasis) ahead of the cutting lathe in order to reduce vertical excursion. I've never managed to find out whether there ever were disk cutters with their cutting drivers mounted H and V that could receive pre-emphasised M-S directly.

    Regarding your experiments getting better results when performing Dolby A decode in the M-S domain, that's much harder to explain, assuming it's not a simple mistake in the production process. Releasing material in which to replay you need to go LR -> MS -> Dolby A decode -> MS -> LR is all very well if you advertise it as a speciality version, but to keep it secret is to no-one's benefit.
     
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