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Author Topic: What is this stuffed ear thing ?  (Read 2946 times)
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PeterSt
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« on: September 10, 2016, 11:51:32 am »

PS: There is something else I noticed yesterday which could even be more strange, and tonight I am going to check that for its merits (better). If I can confirm what I noticed already, I will open a new topic for that tomorrow.

So ...

If you search for "Machine Head" you will find a few posts from me about the "stuffed ear" lacking highs on that album.
And now this has suddenly changed ...

I was playing a track from Animals (Pink Foyd) and that too has miserably failed for the highs. Maybe with the exception of one remaster of it I found the other day (I think I put that to the forum as well) but still far from on par. Thus, day before yesterday I played that track, checked whether it was from the original mastering (it was) and thought that something must have changed somewhere regarding the highs output. This readily made me look for the Machine Head album which is always THE example of way way lacking highs and such a shame (because an album from my really younger years).

Into the second track I seemed to be sure ... where are those lacking highs now ?
Then dinner was ready and I had to stop.

So I played it again yesterday and I have been wondering for 40 minutes in a row how this can be. The album sounds the best "on par" as can be, and beyond.
It is also the best version I heard ever and I can really talk about "beautiful". I actually never heard a thing of what's on it, as it now appears.



If you search for "stuffed ear", you also find a couple of posts from me and a few of them are from lately (2016). This is because I start to notice that albums can quite explicitly exhibit the stuffed ear encouraging feeling and this happens with albums which did not exhibit that before.
Of course, we can envision what all can happen (without really understanding it) to cause such a thing. But in the very same physical setup/environment it now also works the other way around.

HOW ?

So the one album exhibits a roll off suddenly and the other has completely removed its even super huge roll off.
I don't get it.

Maybe people have hints for what to look into or try. Maybe people have failing examples themselves which I could try over here and possibly we are able to reason out what is happening. Mind you, the failing as such can also be at the other end of the spectrum : way too lean and too much highs. Regarding this, the example of Year of The Cat which only until just over a year was way to lean for me (from computer playback). But listen to it now - all in perfect balance and unbelievable lows. So yes, that too adds to the strangeness - the one album receives way more of the lower frequencies (which should kill the highs, theoretically) while in the same setup a next album lifts the highs like crazy.



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- And a set of amps/speakers of which I'm quite sure it won't matter for this "issue".


The least this post/topic can do is serve as reference for later.
Peter
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« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2016, 01:30:05 pm »

Peter,

This reminds me of a download I made not even one month after I subscribed to Phasure (it was in July 2011).

At the time, I was buying some high resolution files, in a “discovery mode”.

See this:
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f13-music-downloads-and-streaming/scandal-brewing-high-resolution-downloads-7735/index7.html#post93808

It is about Deep Purple “Machine Head”. The sound was surprisingly good for that album and I was stunned by the amounts of HF that had always been lacking before. Would I never have heard that album before, I would have not thought that HF were lacking.

But there was something else and this was really annoying: the “mixing” of the recording was done in such a way that some instruments were arriving from nowhere and disappearing, as if there was a missing channel. It was so weird that I think I ditched the album finally, because it was almost unlistenable from what I was used to hear from that album.

Alain
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PeterSt
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« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2016, 02:30:28 pm »

Quote
the “mixing” of the recording was done in such a way that some instruments were arriving from nowhere and disappearing, as if there was a missing channel.

Alain, I noticed that on the "normal" (?) version I played yesterday just the same. But I don't pay attention to it because I am used to it ... (I forgot about vinyl).
But with the more clear sound this also now is more apparent ?

Regards,
Peter
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« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2016, 02:58:30 pm »

Peter, I can't answer your question for the moment. I may be back home somewhere today (still morning here) and for sure I will play Machine Head under 14393 to check what is happening, after listening to 10586 for comparison purposes.

I am aware that talking about my experience with the high-res version was kind of OT, because this is not what you are interested in. I do have a few other albums with muffled HF, but I suspect they would be so because either the tapes used were worn out or there are no good original tapes.

Do you know Charlie ? They had a few albums like "No Second Chance" and "Lines". They are awful to listen to on CD, but were quite good on vinyl. I got rid of my TT and my vinyls also a few years ago, but have kept those albums to ask for a needle drop. For these two albums, the SQ is definitely better in analog. It does not make me happy, because of the surface noise (and the state of the vinyl is unknown), but it should be better than what I am hearing with the remastered CDs. The worse by far is "Lines". Steve Gadd was the drummer on these albums by the way.

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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2016, 09:24:17 pm »

Listen to the original mastering of "Crosby Stills and Nash" and then listen to the Steve Hoffman remaster(both in rebook BTW). I played them back to back for a non-audiophile friend of mine and he commented, without any prior information or prompting from me, "where did the highs go?"

A professional recording engineer/producer friend of mine tells me that Altec Lansing monitors were used for mixing the album at Wally Heider studios. He goes on to tell me that those particular monitors were deficient in high frequency output, therefore, the mixing engineers were effectively going to work with one arm(or ear!) tied behind their backs. Given the original master tapes and better balanced speakers, Hoffman almost could not fail to come up with an improved remastering.

At least up until the Jimmy Page remasters, many Led Zeppelin fans would seek out the Barry Diamond remasters of LZ and LZ II.

Esau

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PeterSt
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2016, 11:40:14 am »

Hi there Esau,

Which Crossby, Stills and Nash would that be ? and sorry to be thick (language thingy) but which version would be the better one with more highs ? I think you say the Hoffman one, right ?

Quote
many Led Zeppelin fans would seek out the Barry Diamond remasters of LZ and LZ II.

This one is interesting for me, because where comon talk is indeed about "the Barry Diament remasters", I'd say that only one person mastered for CD (at first) and it was Barry. So for CD, for me, one version exists as "original" and this is Barry's.
Of course he did not do the original like those which ended up on vinyl. But I tend not to call any mastering for CD (a first time) a "remaster".
Still another original for CD can exist. So please enlighten me because I would hunt it down. Happy

Regards,
Peter

PS: I once asked him directly which LZ albums he actually mastered for CD and I still don't have a clear answer. Maybe you recall my stipulation of him NOT doing Houses of the Holy any more because from there on things started to sound different. But the man always feels attacks from every possible angle and answers went like "I can't change the master tapes !". So it is all super vague to begin with.
Btw, I just looked, all of the LZ CD's I have (dozens in the various versions) are all "Produced by Jimmy Page".
Still I recall BD appearing somewhere on the back (cover) and this must have been my own early purchases. Point here is : I only scanned the front cover of the CD's I ripped myself, and the phycial CD's (thousands) are stowed away somewhere. So I can't really check it and maybe I am not correct at all.
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Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2016, 07:40:10 pm »

Hi Peter. I'm referring to the Crosby Stills and Nash album that begins with "Suite Judy Blue Eyes"(that is, the album with the three of them on the cover sitting on an old sofa outside a house). The Hoffman version has the better highs. It can be found at www.audiofidelity.net and also likely on Amazon.

Yes, Barry did do the original CD masters for most if not all the LZ albums. A listing of his masters can be found here: https://www.discogs.com/artist/389175-Barry-Diament?sort=year%2Casc&limit=250&page=1.

And, yes, he did master Houses of the Holy for CD. It is what it is but at least Barry did not use compression in any of his masters. I don't have a Diament master of HOTH so I can't otherwise compare with anyone else's.

You would need to check the back covers to determine who did the CD masters for each disc. As you know, different versions have appeared over the years, usually with the release of boxed sets.

Diament masters turn up here and there on ebay. I have the first LZ album and Physical Graffiti in Diament masterings(the latter having been picked up on ebay).

Jimmy Page takes producer credit for all versions of all LZ recordings. The 24/96 hi res remasters were credited to Page though I'm not sure who the engineer(s) was/were and to what extent Page was actually involved. The Page hi res remasters were, per Page, all treated with some degree of EQing.

If you really want to make a trip down the rabbit hole start reading various forum discussions of which were the best Hendrix CD masters!
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« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2016, 07:45:16 pm »

Alain, this is totally off topic but if you haven't experienced listening to the Beatles' "Love" recording made for the Cirque Du Soleil production then you should give it a try. I can enjoy it now but the first few listens were almost excruciating, what with sounds coming out of all sorts of unfamiliar places!
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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2016, 08:24:10 pm »

Thank you so much, Esau.
Best regards,
Peter
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XXHighEnd Mach II Stealth LPS PC -> Xeon E5 2640v4 with Hyperthreading On (20 cores) @~720MHz, 32GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = *30*/-/*1*/*1*/*1*/ Q1Factor = *40* / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = *15ms* / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = *0.90*  (max 120) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Use Remote Desktop / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / *OSD Off* / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = 43 / Nervous Rate = 100 / Cool when Idle = n.a / Provide Stable Power = 0 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Optimal / Time Stability = Stable / *Custom Filtering Highest for 705600* / Always Clear Proxy before Playbck = On -> USB3 from MoBo -> Lush USB 1m00 -> Phisolator 24/768 Phasure NOS1a/G3 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (*8ms*) -> B'ASS Current Amplifier -> Blaxius Interlink -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

For a general PC :
W10-10586.0 - May 2016 (2.05+)
*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2016, 12:18:12 am »

I'm back at 14393 with Intona, its my preferred to 10586 now. When I remove Intona the sound stage shrinks somewhat but all the detail is still there and it is more dynamic in presentation. The Intona does seem to open up the treble but it does take something away or mask it.
This is much more noticeable with 14393. I did prefer Intona with 10586.

I have tried Peter's suggested new settings and they do work for the better but the Hires issue comes back with very low SFS(stops playing after one track for me).

It would appear the latest Led Zep remasters are from the original Master tapes which Jimi Page has personally got(He has never verified this but does say he has always had ownership of Led Zepp music/tapes etc). Barry Diament replied to me on a CA forum when these were about to be released May 2014.

Quote
If this in fact is the first time they have been mastered from the original tapes, I'm surprised there was no press about *finding* the original tapes.
When I mastered the original CD releases while at Atlantic (except for IV, which was the first one released and was done out at Warner Brothers in LA), I asked about the original tapes and was told they were "missing" B Diament



Anyway we are left with what we have and I'm over buying different editions. I had the vinyl then CD's then Barry's remasters CD's and now remastered downloads. And now the remastered BBC sessions which I'm not bothering with.

Robert
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