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Unlimited discussion thread: Discs that have had their dynamics completely compressed (1 Viewer)

Javier_Huerta

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It had to be done...

1st place: Carlos Santana, Supernatural. Need I say more? Can an album be more compressed than this one?

Take it from here, friends :)
 

Kevin C Brown

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The last Rush CD was noted for this too, and even the CD layer of the new DSOTM SACD/CD hybrid has been "limited" more so than prior editions (in Stereophile this month).

The latest Red hot Chili Peppers is also "squashed" like this too.

IMO, who needs the crappy quality of MP-3, when you can just listen to a poorly mastered CD? :)
 

Javier_Huerta

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How could I forget?

I happen to like the Pet Shop Boys. I love their music (and I hate dance & club music). I think Actually, Please, and Introspective are amazing works, while Behaviour captures them at their lyrical peak. The sonic quality of these albums is respectable, too.

But their last albums are so incredibly, amazingly, sickeningly distorted and compressed, they are basically unlistenable. It all started going down with Very, which happens to sound as if someone was shouting in your ear at all times, and it peaks with Nightlife, an *excellent* album that happens to have the most distorted sound ever captured on CD (IMHO). It's not so much peak-limited as completely clipped, from start to finish.
 

Mike Broadman

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Vapor Trails (Rush) is the first time that I listened to a CD and said to myself, "Damn, now this is really compressed." I don't have a great ear for this sort of thing, but even I noticed it. A shame, too- it masks a brilliantly written and performed album, which enables me to enjoy it despite the compression.

Fortunately, most of the new music I pick up isn't mainstream, so since the producers know it won't ever hit the radio, they don't smush the sound.
 

NickSo

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Im fairly new to the technical audio stuff of music, but i got a question...

What does 'compression' sound like? And if it sonuds so bad, why do people still mix it so compressed?

Thanks
 

Javier_Huerta

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What does 'compression' sound like?
I read an article in Stereophile (this month's issue) that describes compression in a great way.

THIS IS HOW A COMPRESSED RECORDING SOUNDS LIKE EVERYTHING IS EQUALLY LOUD AND THERE IS NO SENSE OF TEMPO OR DYNAMICS IT'S AS BORING AS BOTHERSOME AS READING THIS PARAGRAPH WITHOUT ANY EMPHASIS WHATSOEVER

The best example I can think of is definitely the Pet Shop Boys. Have you ever heard "New York City Boy"? That's exactly how compression sounds like. The trumpets, violins, drums and vocals have the same volume: the maximum one they could get into the CD. Supposedly, compression makes a CD sound "better" to FM listeners...
 

Scott Kriefall

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If you want to know what compression sounds like, pick up a copy of Vapor Trails :frowning:. That's definitely the worst sounding CD I've ever heard, at least compression-wise. It's a shame, since the music is quite good... but the compression is so horrid that I can't convince myself to listen to it very often.

Supernatural isn't as bad as Vapor Trails, at least to my ears.
 

Kevin C Brown

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Mike B.: I agree! I still listen to a lot of indie and indie-like stuff, and thank my lucky stars, most of this stuff isn't that bad as far as limiting and compression go...
 

KeithH

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I don't have the CD, but I've read many times that The Who My Generation Deluxe Edition two-disc set is horribly compressed. Another one I've read about is the ABBA The Definitive Collection two-disc set. Based on what I have read, I don't want to own them.
 

Philip Hamm

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Supertransatlantic's "Shuttlecock" is amazingly bad, as is Bruce Cockburn's "Breakfast In New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu".
 

Gordon McMurphy

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Keith, I have My Generation: Deluxe and it sounds like shit.

And thanks to Shayne Judge for that excellet link, it says it all with brevity.


Gordy
 

Tony-B

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That is a great link. Does anyone know of a good waveform viewing program? I have Cool Edit, but I want to look at the waveforms directly off of a CD.
 

Andy Olivera

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Tony, have you tried opening the tracks directly off the CD? Actually, though, I'd recommend extracting them to WAV with EAC to get an accurate copy. I'm not sure how reliable Cool Edit Pro's extraction is...
 

Tony-B

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I'll try ripping them. Plus you can't open the files directly off the CD, because it won't read it properly. Also, some of the CDs I am trying to check are Enhanced CDs, so it will just see PC files.

The program that I am going to use for ripping is CDex.

I'll report my findings later on. By the way, if you want to hear a HORRIBLE sounding album, take a listen to Papa Roach's Lovehatetragedy especially the song "M-80 (Explosive Energy Movement)". I don't know if the band was going for a compressed and muddy sound, but they sure got it.
 

Javier_Huerta

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Check out this link as well:

http://rvcc2.raritanval.edu/ktek9053/cdpage/
GREAT link, thanks! Did you see Ricky Martin's waveform?
htf_images_smilies_smiley_jawdrop.gif
I guess that's the new standard for clipping.

I guess I'd have to add a couple of albums here, but thinking about it, they are all dance / techno and / or rap. I'd guess that, as far as club music is concerned, you do "want" clipping, since there's no way you are ever going to seriously listen (or want to) it. So mentioning C&C Music Factory, Technotronic (I'm old), and Depeche Mode should be out of the question.

Oops.
 

KeithH

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That link is great! I bookmarked it. I would hope that any mastering engineer would look at that web site and decide that enough is enough. I'm sure that is too much to ask for. :frowning:
 

KeithH

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You know, it is very interesting to look at the web site that Shayne pointed out and then consider that many people assume that remastered CDs always sound better than older versions. This is true in some cases, and I have many remasters that beat originals, but it is hardly written in stone that newer is better. This is why I collect first pressings of CDs made in the early days. They were mastered correctly like the Bryan Adams CD mentioned on that "Death of Dynamic Range" site.
 

Javier_Huerta

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I'll try to rip "Nightlife" and post some waveforms.

As to whether old mastering beats new remastering, I've found out that my old CDs do have lower sound levels that the newer ones. The sad thing is, a couple of them seem to have used the master tapes for LP recordings (I have read this was a fairly common mistake back in the 80's), so the RIAA phono equalizer curve was present in them.

Huey Lewis & The News' "Sports", for example, when compared to the 1999 remaster, has so much treble it starts to hurt your ears after a while.

I have a couple of such CD's. I guess it was the most common mastering error of the early days of CD mastering.
 

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