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The Compression War rages on

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@Chris A has been explaining this for years.

 

Based upon the NYT article, I just listened to Shallow on Spotify.  I believe it is a live recording of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.  I haven’t yet seen the recent incarnation of A Star Is Born so I don’t know if what I listened to is from the soundtrack.

 

In any event, I enjoyed it.  There was dynamic range.  The quiet parts were quiet, which allowed the louder parts to have some impact.  

 

My small sample unscientific survey suggests to me that live recordings seem to suffer less from compression than studio recordings.  Two of my favorite, let it play to conclusion, albums are the deluxe HD versions of Clapton’s Unplugged and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.  Both include live performances, including several takes of the same songs.  The silence between notes is palpable when listened to in balanced mode with a Pono player through good Sennheiser headphones.

 

 

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I believe what Neil is referring to is this thread:

 

and a follow-up thread on demastering your music to at least correct the poor mastering EQ placed on the distributed stereo tracks (CD, phono records), where you can see the effects of Loudness War practices:

 

Chris

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22 hours ago, DizRotus said:

@Chris A has been explaining this for years.

 

Based upon the NYT article, I just listened to Shallow on Spotify.  I believe it is a live recording of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.  I haven’t yet seen the recent incarnation of A Star Is Born so I don’t know if what I listened to is from the soundtrack.

 

In any event, I enjoyed it.  There was dynamic range.  The quiet parts were quiet, which allowed the louder parts to have some impact.  

 

My small sample unscientific survey suggests to me that live recordings seem to suffer less from compression than studio recordings.  Two of my favorite, let it play to conclusion, albums are the deluxe HD versions of Clapton’s Unplugged and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.  Both include live performances, including several takes of the same songs.  The silence between notes is palpable when listened to in balanced mode with a Pono player through good Sennheiser headphones.

 

 

The Blu Ray sound track was pretty good.   We watched it last night.

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20 minutes ago, CECAA850 said:

The Blu Ray sound track was pretty good.   We watched it last night.

 

We watched in the theater and liked it a LOT. They actually recorded and filmed the music live, just like a real stage performance. Pretty impressive. No big low end special effects, so for some it might not have been enough. Crystal clear and a lot of dynamic range.

 

Bruce

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I'm going to brag a bit... I took an old reel to reel tape I have, actually made by some friends and I in the early '70s/ I pulled it onto the computer and made an mp3 from it. Sent it to our friend Dave Mallette to have a listen and he was flattering me some. I thought he would like the genre, but he said " That’s a great recording and one of the better quality compressed ones I’ve heard".

 

There's a reason... I set the level at -18db LUFS. This gives the mp3 encoder a lot of room to remove bits with less obvious artifacts. Or when it is mastered. More folks are doing a better job with it.

 

Here's some tips:

https://www.masteringthemix.com/blogs/learn/mixing-and-mastering-using-lufs

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On 2/23/2019 at 7:56 PM, Marvel said:

 

We watched in the theater and liked it a LOT. They actually recorded and filmed the music live, just like a real stage performance. Pretty impressive. No big low end special effects, so for some it might not have been enough. Crystal clear and a lot of dynamic range.

 

Bruce

 

On 2/23/2019 at 7:33 PM, CECAA850 said:

The Blu Ray sound track was pretty good.   We watched it last night.

 

On 2/23/2019 at 7:45 PM, jimjimbo said:

Bohemian Rhapsody is not bad.

 

Kick drum is very real sounding in both of these films (as seen/heard in our HT on Blu-ray).  From the very soft, 360 degree (with only 5.1) crowd sounds at the very beginning of A Star is Born to the full tilt kick drum and other instruments during the first song was an incredible range -- I should have measured it.  Jersey Boys had pretty good sound, as well.

 

For fans of percussive sound there is the bleacher stomping at the beginning of The Greatest Showman, Blu-ray.

 

"I often find music in the very heart of noise" -- George Gershwin

 

I don't think they screw around with movies on Blu as much as they do on music only CDs or even a few SACDs.  But with a little bit of luck ... I'm listening to Mahler's 2ond on SACD Channel Classics right now.  IMO, this was not compressed or screwed around with, unless they shaved off a little bass during some climaxes. 

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Blu-Rays in a general sense (and with my unscientific observation) are MUCH more dynamic than the music counterparts. It reminds me of the early CD days when we figured out that VHS Hi-Fi VCRs were actually better than most cassette decks. We would record music for parties from various sources on VHS hi-fi and just let 'em run on playback. Why? Because it was more convenient as well as really great sounding. We had a TON of vinyl we would record onto VHS tapes, with high end machines that had audio input level controls, as well as a BUNCH of Grateful Dead and other live material that we would move over from Nakamichi cassette to VHS when we needed "The Long Form" or wanted to "mix it up".

 

But we could do that effectively when the original recordings were worthy. Now, they aren't. So even if we used Blu-Ray, as an example as a way to record music it wouldn't matter when the studios don't care about the recording and mastering of the originals.

 

It's much like CD: There's NOTHING wrong with the CD format - it's the recording and mastering. The R and M IS the "limiter".

 

Then there's the matter of what happens in the studios with recording and mastering. The money is in live concerts now, not so much in selling music releases. So the studio effort gets shorted/done on the relative cheap in comparison. Then add to it the "mp3" format and the idea of listening to music on your phone (UGGGGGHHHH) and it's easy to see how the mass production of music for portables has pretty much done in the industry, because people who listen to music on smartphones don't really care much or even know about dynamic range. I pick the brains of the "younger set" on these topics all of the time, and on occasion a few of 'em end up in my house where they end up soiling their underwear when they hear what music CAN sound like.

 

OTOH the film industry in many corners WILL put the effort into good sonics. In film, the movie IS the product. In music, the CONCERT is the product and the music file is the "advertisement". When you see concerts by big/popular artists getting hundreds if not thousands of dollars per ticket, and spotify can be had for free by putting up with ads, it's easy to see why little effort is placed on music file quality.

 

One of my upcoming projects is figuring out a way/component/setup for these digital files and streams. I refused to sink any real money into that stuff because I figured it best to let that all settle out some. It's really putting the "hurt" to my newer/recent music library because I won't spend money on bad recordings, so I just quit buying the stuff. but I intend to do a research project of sorts to see just how this stuff might be overcome on some level, given that the "file" world is standard now.

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