Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
- - - - -

RHCP Stadium Arcadium CD & LP mastering comparison


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
17 replies to this topic

#1 of 18 OFFLINE   Simon Howson

Simon Howson

    Screenwriter



  • 1,779 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 18 2004

Posted January 08 2007 - 11:58 PM

Many people are dissapointed with the sound quality of the last three RHCP albums on CD. In this thread I have provided some MP3s that compare the CD version of Stadium Arcadium, with the the same excerpts taken from the vinyl LP version.

The transfer from LP to digital was performed with a good turntable, and a professional CD recorder. I have WaveGained the files so they are roughly the same loudness (generally we perceive louder sounds to be of higher quality, hence it is only fair to ensure both samples are close to the same loudness when comparing them). However, this means the MP3 samples will be a lot lower in volume that listening to the CDs directly. If you want to compare the samples at the regular CD loudness, turn up your volume control!.

I encoded the files from WAV to MP3 using LAME 3.97, with the setting " -V5 --vbr-new "

REMEMBER: The samples feature 45 seconds from the CD, 5 seconds of silence, then the same 45 seconds from a digital transfer of the vinyl LPs.

1.) DANI CALIFORNIA
2.) SNOW (HEY OH)
3.) CHARLIE
4.) STADIUM ARCADIUM
5.) HUMP DE BUMP
6.) SHE'S ONLY 18
7.) SLOW CHEETAH
8.) TORTURE ME
9.) STRIP MY MIND
10.) ESPECIALLY IN MICHIGAN
11.) WARLOCKS
12.) C'MON GIRL
13.) WET SAND
14.) HEY
15.) DESECRATION SMILE
16.) TELL ME BABY
17.) HARD TO CONCENTRATE
18.) 21ST CENTURY
19.) SHE LOOKS TO ME
20.) READYMADE
21.) IF
22.) MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER
23.) ANIMAL BAR
24.) SO MUCH I
25.) STORM IN A TEACUP
26.) WE BELIEVE
27.) TURN IT AGAIN
28.) DEATH OF A MARTIAN

1.) THE POWER OF EQUALITY

I encourage EVERYONE who is interested in hearing Stadium Arcadium at its best to buy an LP version! Doing this will show Warner Bros. that we care about the sound quality of RHCP's albums, and are dissapointed with the poor quality of the CDs. We are effectively being ripped off, personally, that annoys me!

The vinyl can be transfered to CD if that is more convenient, but it will mean you get to hear the album in the best quality possible.

The vinyl can be bought from several online stores:

AcousticSounds 150 gram180 gram
ElusiveDisc 150 gram180 gram
Amazon (U.K) 150 gram
And of course: eBay

#2 of 18 OFFLINE   Brian Little

Brian Little

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 216 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 03 2005

Posted January 10 2007 - 11:21 AM

Thank you very much for the comparison clips. Once I can afford to I'm going to certainly pick up the LP release. The CD version sounds just terrible.
Brian The Demolition Man Little
Boycotting TDB Ever Since June 2nd 2007

#3 of 18 OFFLINE   Simon Howson

Simon Howson

    Screenwriter



  • 1,779 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 18 2004

Posted January 10 2007 - 04:23 PM

No prob. Here are some waveform comparisons of the song Stadium Arcadium taken from the LP then CD.

Red Hot Chili Pepper's song Stadium Arcadium from LP - Good Mastering

Posted Image

The song Stadium Arcadium from CD - Bad Mastering

Posted Image

#4 of 18 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

Garrett Lundy

    Producer



  • 3,764 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 05 2002

Posted January 11 2007 - 02:48 PM

This has been all over the Steve Hoffman forum for a year, so its no suprising news to me. Now if we could get them to fix the greatest hits album ......
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#5 of 18 OFFLINE   Simon Howson

Simon Howson

    Screenwriter



  • 1,779 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 18 2004

Posted January 12 2007 - 03:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett Lundy
This has been all over the Steve Hoffman forum for a year, so its no suprising news to me. Now if we could get them to fix the greatest hits album ......
Yes, I put the waveform comparisons there.

The big remastering priority for RHCP must be Californication, one of the probably the worst sounding CD I own.

#6 of 18 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

Carlo Medina

    Lead Actor



  • 9,737 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 31 1997

Posted January 12 2007 - 05:39 AM

Makes me wish I had a record player... Posted Image

XBox Live: TheL1brarian (let's play Destiny on XB1)


#7 of 18 OFFLINE   Eric_Connelly

Eric_Connelly

    Second Unit



  • 460 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 25 1999

Posted January 12 2007 - 11:39 AM

Oh boy what am I doing here....so if I were to buy a LP player...is the above example true of ALL LP's?

Meaning in general are they better production than the CD.

Just what I need...something else to invest in...I've avoided buying this CD specifically because of what I read.

#8 of 18 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

Garrett Lundy

    Producer



  • 3,764 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 05 2002

Posted January 12 2007 - 01:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_Connelly
...is the above example true of ALL LP's?
No. While most vinyl is better than the CD, there are some high profilers that are just as bad (Norah Jones for example).
Quote:
Just what I need...something else to invest in...I've avoided buying this CD specifically because of what I read.
I don't have a turntable yet, but I've started buying LPs, just because I like the art. Get a look at a copy of Birth Control's Operation sometime.
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#9 of 18 OFFLINE   Simon Howson

Simon Howson

    Screenwriter



  • 1,779 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 18 2004

Posted January 12 2007 - 02:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_Connelly
Oh boy what am I doing here....so if I were to buy a LP player...is the above example true of ALL LP's?
No, the magic is in the mastering. I personally think the whole debate between digital (CD) and analog (LP) is pointless. Both formats could sound equally good if the mastering is performed properly.

Sadly, Stadium Arcadium is a case where the CD has been defectively mastered, whereas the vinyl was properly mastered. Hence the vinyl sounds better.

Furthermore, a lot of vinyl these days is cut from digital master tapes that feature the same equalisation and compression as the CD. Hence the LPs sound basically the same as the poorly mastered CDs.

However, Stadium Arcadium was recorded, mixed, and mastered analog. The CD and LP were both made from exactly the same analog master tapes. However, as you can see, the CD has had a heap of compression applied, and has also been equalised (there is LESS bass on the CD, god knows why!). Hence the LP is quite a rarity these days in that it is the product of a completely analog recording, mixing, and mastering process.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_Connelly
Just what I need...something else to invest in...I've avoided buying this CD specifically because of what I read.
Good, I think supporting the CD is pointless too. However, I would suggest that you could buy the vinyl, and have it transfered to CD. Most good hifi stores offer the service for a fee, and it will enable you to have the best sounding digital copy available. Sadly, you can't get that by buying the CDs.

#10 of 18 OFFLINE   Ron Reda

Ron Reda

    Screenwriter



  • 2,281 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 27 2001

Posted January 15 2007 - 12:46 PM

I can't remember what rag I just read it in, but one of 'em was just saying how good the audio on this CD was.

It'd be great if one of the guys that own the vinyl copies could rip 'em to digital files and offer 'em up for download on a website! Of course, we'd have to verify that we own the CD version... Posted Image
"Music is a magic carpet loaded with oils and other soothing potions, it's just what you need when you don't know what you need, when you've got more questions than answers." - Bob Lefsetz

#11 of 18 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

Garrett Lundy

    Producer



  • 3,764 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 05 2002

Posted January 15 2007 - 02:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Reda
I can't remember what rag I just read it in, but one of 'em was just saying how good the audio on this CD was.
Thats because dead-tree publications are all on the payroll of somebody.
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#12 of 18 OFFLINE   TravisR

TravisR

    Studio Mogul



  • 22,191 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 15 2004
  • LocationThe basement of the FBI building

Posted January 15 2007 - 02:36 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett Lundy
Thats because dead-tree publications are all on the payroll of somebody.
Yeah or they actually think it sounds good. Just becase they (mistakenly) think it's good doesn't mean that they're corporate tools.

#13 of 18 OFFLINE   Simon Howson

Simon Howson

    Screenwriter



  • 1,779 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 18 2004

Posted January 15 2007 - 06:49 PM

There are teenage RHCP fans in the official forums that seem to like the sound of the last 3 albums (all mastered by Vlado Meller), but don't like the sound of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, even though it is a very dynamic recording. There are literally people that complain about having to turn up their volume controls when playing BSSM!?

So maybe young music listeners are only familiar with the sound of highly compressed CDs, and thus are now attuned to that (annoying) sound?

#14 of 18 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

Carlo Medina

    Lead Actor



  • 9,737 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 31 1997

Posted January 16 2007 - 05:46 AM

That's because the way teenagers listen to their iPods, they can't hear anything anyway.

Seriously, in about 20 years, the #1 hottest in-demand profession is going to be audiologist. If you are going to college and are contemplating what field to pursue and want something that will be in demand in the near future, that's it.

XBox Live: TheL1brarian (let's play Destiny on XB1)


#15 of 18 OFFLINE   Simon Howson

Simon Howson

    Screenwriter



  • 1,779 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 18 2004

Posted January 16 2007 - 01:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlo Medina
That's because the way teenagers listen to their iPods, they can't hear anything anyway.
I listen to a lot of music on my iPod too, in fact owning an iPod has made me listen to more of my music.

iPods are actually decent quality, better than the tape walkman I used when I was 12, and more convenient than the discman I used when I was 17.

I would also point out that iPods sound worse on heavily compressed CDs. Because the signal can clip even further during decoding from lossy format back to analog.

In contrast, I spend most of my time listening to Jazz. Well mastered Jazz CDs sound stunning on an iPod.

It all comes back to that dictum - garbage in garbage out. If the CD is poorly mastered, then an iPod won't improve it, rather due to the decoding process it will just make those flaws all the more apparent.

#16 of 18 OFFLINE   ChristopherDAC

ChristopherDAC

    Producer



  • 3,729 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 18 2004

Posted January 16 2007 - 01:33 PM

Quote:
Furthermore, a lot of vinyl these days is cut from digital master tapes that feature the same equalisation and compression as the CD. Hence the LPs sound basically the same as the poorly mastered CDs.
Well, the overmodulation and clipping seen in that graph look like they would throw the needle right out of the groove if cut on a record. Actually it would be hard to cut that at all, although direct metal mastering might do it.

This is what I always say — CD doesn't have the limitations vinyl does, so there's no need to respect them. The sound ought to be better (on average, not referring to some of the truly exotic vinyl pressings), but instead the recordists get sloppy and do nonsensical things, because there's not a physical barrier to stop them. It's sad, really.

#17 of 18 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

Carlo Medina

    Lead Actor



  • 9,737 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 31 1997

Posted January 16 2007 - 02:42 PM

Simon, I should have been more clear. I too own an iPod and it's my primary listening device.

What I meant was that at the loud volume kids today listen to their music, they're mostly deaf or on their way to it. You can't really hear the difference between overcompressed and well mastered music when it's going at 110 decibels into your ears, which is the volume most kids who wear in ear buds (most commonly associated w/ iPods but can be used with any portable player) are listening at.

Didn't mean to denigrate the iPod, I love mine. But this will be known as the Deaf Generation in future years...

XBox Live: TheL1brarian (let's play Destiny on XB1)


#18 of 18 OFFLINE   Simon Howson

Simon Howson

    Screenwriter



  • 1,779 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 18 2004

Posted January 16 2007 - 11:48 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristopherDAC
Well, the overmodulation and clipping seen in that graph look like they would throw the needle right out of the groove if cut on a record. Actually it would be hard to cut that at all, although direct metal mastering might do it.
Of got Californication on vinyl, and it sounds the same as the (terrible) CD. You get to hear an analog reproduction of digital clipping, why I record company allowed it to be released on vinyl in that state I have no idea.

(For what it's worth, only the drums for Californication were recorded analog, the rest was recorded digitally, and the mix was digital. In contrast, Stadium Arcadium was recorded and mixed entirely analog)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristopherDAC
This is what I always say — CD doesn't have the limitations vinyl does, so there's no need to respect them. The sound ought to be better (on average, not referring to some of the truly exotic vinyl pressings), but instead the recordists get sloppy and do nonsensical things, because there's not a physical barrier to stop them. It's sad, really.
Yes, very sad, especially when the music is good...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlo Medina
Simon, I should have been more clear. I too own an iPod and it's my primary listening device.

What I meant was that at the loud volume kids today listen to their music, they're mostly deaf or on their way to it. You can't really hear the difference between overcompressed and well mastered music when it's going at 110 decibels into your ears, which is the volume most kids who wear in ear buds (most commonly associated w/ iPods but can be used with any portable player) are listening at.

Didn't mean to denigrate the iPod, I love mine. But this will be known as the Deaf Generation in future years...
Yep, you make good points. I jumped to conclusions a bit. I guess because I'm wary of people who say, "well it doesn't matter, it is only music for teenagers anyway". Or who say, "well it is only going to be listened to on iPods, so what does it matter." A good encode to an iPod sounds better than so many previous portable (and non-portable) formats that it is sad that CDs don't make use of the excellent reproduction capabilities of the device. I mainly listen to Jazz, and I consistently find $9 Jazz reissues, that were originally recorded analog in the 60s or 70s sounding much better than latest release CDs.

But you implicitly make an interesting point, the way people listen to music has changed a lot. People don't sit down at the hifi and put on a favourite LP while reading a book. They want music on the go, so record companies now seem to think music must be slammed at us, else we won't take any notice of it.


/wild rant on

This may seem a peculiar analogy, but it reminds me of editing patterns in contemporary Hollywood films. Basically films are edited either fast (by historical standards) or EXTREMELY fast, about 2 - 5 seconds per shot average is about the standard. The disappointing thing is in the 1950s or 1960s, there were films edited at all different rates, sure there were some that were sub 6 seconds average, but you could also find directors like Preminger, Minnelli, Wilder, and Cukor who opted for longer takes. My point is, there was variety, where as now there is such a narrow band of what is considered acceptable that film makers are just constrained to doing basically one thing.

Of course the reasons for this are many and varied, but one major reason is perhaps the fact most people watch films at home on relatively small displays, and often while somewhat distracted. Sure, there are home theatre people who visit these forums that pay close attention. Yet there are others who will stop half way to get a cup of coffee, or to answer the door or the phone etc. So film makers are responding to this by cutting films so fast that we are constantly bombarded. I feel this is the visual equivilent of the loudness race in audio.

/wild rant off


Back to Music & Soundtracks



Forum Nav Content I Follow