PETITION: Red Hot Chili Peppers CD Remastering, Reduce compression & no clipping!

Discussion in 'Music' started by Simon Howson, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    The petition is located here:
    http://www.petitiononline.com/RHCPWBCD/petition.html

    After wide spread annoyance at the poor audio quality of the Rush album Vapor Trails, it seems that their record company is soon going to release a remastered version of that album.

    In that spirit, I have created a petition to try and get Warner Bros. to re-issue some of the Red Hot Chili Peppers later albums. Some of these, such as Californication, and to a lesser extent By The Way, are notorious for being very loudly mastered CDs. Californication features extensive clipping, and other artificats from the compression.

    The band has a new album coming out in April 2006, so it is possible that Warner will revisit their back catalogue soon. I have created this petition so that the band, and Warner are aware that many fans, and others interested in audio feel the current CDs and even vinyl copies contain serious technical flaws.

    Read more about bad RHCP CD mastering here:
    http://rhcp.infopop.cc/groupee/forum...67/m/533102047

    The text of the petition is as follows:

    To: Anthony, Chad, Flea, John / Warner Bros. Records

    This petition promotes the re-issuing of the Red Hot Chili Peppers back-catalogue from their Warner Bros. period (1991 - Present).

    We feel it is necessary for all of the music to be carefully re-mastered, and possibly re-mixed, under the close guidance of the band members, and a suitable engineer such as Steve Hoffman (http://www.stevehoffman.tv/).

    The main objective is to release new versions of the albums that do not contain excessive compression, and are free of digital distortion (clipping) that is sadly prevalent on current CD, and even LP copies. (For more details on excessive CD loudness and digital distortion see: http://tinyurl.com/96eh7 and http://tinyurl.com/3jak)

    The band's 1991 album 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik' represents the highest sound quality of any Red Hot Chili Peppers album. It features wonderfully written music, superbly produced, arranged, performed, recorded, mixed, and mastered. The current CD communicates impressively the outstanding performances of the band members during those memorable sessions.

    Unfortunately, later albums such as 'Californication' and 'By The Way' do not live up to the exacting standards of that earlier album. The later albums feature extensive mastering deficiencies that significantly detract from the performances of the band, and ultimately make the albums sound overly processed. The current CDs, and LPs, do not accurately reflect the talent, skill, and spontaneity that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are renowned for during live performances and studio sessions.

    We hope this petition influences the mastering choices made for the forth-coming album, and feel its impending release presents an ideal time for Warner to revisit the band's back-catalogue in order to present it, for the first time, how it was meant to be heard.

    Each song should be mastered in a way that enhances the varying qualities of the different styles, and musical techniques used by the band. Proper mastering should reflect the variations, and dynamics, that exist both between, and during songs. The music should not be mastered simply to make all of the songs sound as loud as possible when broadcast on radio.

    We encourage Warner to release the complete albums, and all non-LP tracks as previously issued on various CD singles. We hope Warner will release the material on CD, high resolution (192 KHz 24 bit) DVD-Audio, Direct Stream Digital sourced Hybrid SACD, and vinyl LPs cut from analog, rather than digital tapes. It may be possible to include multi-channel versions of the albums on SACD and DVD-A, however the main objective must be to present properly mastered stereo mixes.

    Re-issuing these albums after careful re-mastering will prove profitable for the label and the band, and crucially, it will provide the music loving community with the best possible copies of this important music.

    Thank you

    Sincerely,

    The Undersigned

    The petition is located here:
    http://www.petitiononline.com/RHCPWBCD/petition.html
     
  2. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    While I support the idea behind this petition, the problem is so widespread and affects so many artists that I feel it is too limited in scope to be really effective.

    Personally speaking, though, I find By The Way absolutely atrocious in the sound-quality department - so much that I haven't listened to the album in quite some time. Vocal clipping in particular is extremely evident.
     
  3. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Signed
     
  4. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Signed. The Rush CD and the last 2 Peppers CDs stand out in my mind for rotten production, mastering, something, whatever. I agree that there is the general trend of too much limiting, compression, etc, but these three CDs are in an entirely different league IMO.
     
  5. DustinTaj

    DustinTaj Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree. These albums don't get much listen from me anymore due to their poor sound quality.
     
  6. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    Just a note to say RHCP's latest album "Stadium Arcadium" has been mastered for vinyl in a manner that will retain the dynamic range on the master tapes. i.e. it will not be hyper-compressed like the CDs.

    This is in contrast to the last few RHCP albums on vinyl, which have been cut from digital tapes, and thus suffer the same hyper-compressed and clipped sound as the CDs.

    I encourage everyone who likes this album to buy a vinyl copy, have it transfered to CD if need be. But let's show Warner Bros. that we care about the best sound quality on our CDs.
     
  7. Jeff_CusBlues

    Jeff_CusBlues Supporting Actor

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    And this vinyl remaster was done by Steve Hoffman which normally means a mastering free form all of the complaints aired in this thread.
     
  8. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I personally don't understand why they don't use the SH master for CD too. Only people who listen to vinyl care about good sound quality?
     
  9. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Just to clarify something - an overcompressed/loud/clipped album is not that way because it was recorded using a digital format. It is overcompressed/loud/clipped because the label/engineer/musician decided to do that to the recording.

    Unfortunately digital technology does allow for much more compression & really nasty clipping than analog ever did, but it's not the digital format itself that is causing these things to happen.

    I really wish they would make the CDs/sacds/dvd-audios sound better because while I bought a new turntable three years ago and think vinyl can sound very good, to get good sound I do not want to be trapped into buying music on just one format (and one which can be a bit of hassle to use, and definitely a hassle to record onto other more portable & durable formats).
     
  10. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    If he had the opportunity to do a digital format he would need the tapes all over again.

    But I agree with your point, why the hell does Warner Bros. have this philosophy as lowest common denominator mastered for no-fi audio equipment for the CDs, then master the album properly for vinyl?
     
  11. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Which format is more diffcult to copy/upload to the Internet? [​IMG]

    Just food for thought...........
     
  12. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    But most people who download stuff off the internet don't care much about sound quality. [​IMG]
     
  13. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    I thought I had read that this was an all analog recording, and that SH worked with analog tapes.

    Brian
     
  14. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Real Name:
    Nick So
     
  15. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Kind of off topic, but I finally saw the full length "Dani California" video. I just got a video iPod and needed something to feed it!

    I just about pissed my self at all he the various homages to bands gone by. Personal fav....Nirvana "Unplugged", and I think maybe "The Misfits"?

    Anyway, highly recommended if you like the track and the band.

    Brian
     
  16. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    OK. Then it's a simple matter of A to D for a CD release. But why not? [​IMG]
     
  17. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    He would have to get the tapes back from Warner Bros. Again...

    I assure everyone this is a straight analog tape to LP transfer. Hoffman never does his vinyl transfers by passing them through a digital stage.

    In fact, I would speculate that the only reason Warner OKed the premium vinyl transfer is because this album was entirely recorded and mixed on analog tape. It has been given the good mastering treatment to keep the entire project analog for the vinyl version.
     
  18. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    FWIW, a few folks have commented that the CD sounds muxh better than you might think from the early wave forms that were posted.

    I agree 1000%.

    I played back disc one at lunch, and what stuck my ear is the worst sounding track seems to be Dani California. When the band gets loud, it really does sound bad. But the rest of the stuff sounds pretty good, considering.

    Kind of odd that the lead-off single would be the turd of the bunch, sound-wise. Maybe they were trying to throw Tom Petty a curve? :)

    I am really interested to hear what that track sounds like on vinyl.

    Brian
     
  19. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Its true the CD doesn't sound HORRIBLE. Yes clipping is noticeable, but its not clipped the entire way through (only in certain places, as you mentioned). The most noticeable place, for me, is the guitar intro in Snow (Hey Oh). A shame, that is one of my favourite songs. And that section isn't even loud, yet they've gone all Clippy McClipperson on it.

    It is however compressed to hell, leaving it sounding lifeless.
     
  20. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    You keep saying this, but it isn't true. [​IMG]

    Once the analog master is done, it's done, whether for vinyl where it just stays in the analog domain, or for CD where that analog master gets run through an A to D converter for PCM (and CD). In the early days of CD, this is exactly what happened: the analog masters were used for lps, and those very same masters were also used for CDs.

    I finally figured out that this is the exact same reason why a lot people over at Steve's forum prefer older CDs, specificaly because they were the least "messed" with masters. No limiting, compression, etc, used for a typical CD release today. Simple transfer from the original lp analog masters.
     

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