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Author Topic: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.  (Read 7058 times)

Level

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A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« on: April 26, 2005, 09:35:15 am »

For topic number 666, we have an excerise to perform.


This track came off of an old tape. The bottom sounds out of phase and the bottom spread is 270 degrees wide. Obviously, the entire song was really not "wired" correctly in production.

This is old.

If you want to take a crack at mastering this, would you:

Change bass phase
Leave it alone and noise reduce, try to tighten it up.
Pass on it.
Do your own thing!

Here it is...

Just an example of restoring.

Anyone got time off to look at it, it could be a fun thing to see what others would do with it.



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chrisj

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Re: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2005, 10:56:20 am »

Damn, Bill. My commiserations. Eek.

I'll fix it- are we supposed to be doing stuff with the crappy mp3 or are you putting a complete file up somewhere?

I can't fix the musical quality Wink

Don't know about the bottom spread (NNTAWWT Very Happy )

I can de-splat it for you some if you like, and un-tapeify that crazy uber-phase-shift-and-head-bump. Yikes. This is not typical of what you have to deal with I hope Bill?

It's a little hard to explain- easier to show. I wonder if Brad (if his server was up) would care to have people publically doing a shootout on a trainwreck this scary? Very Happy

Level

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Re: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2005, 12:31:49 pm »

I do these all the time to stellar quality...go for it..

This is my Niche, see what you think. I am simply trying to educate here...and be educated all the while.

It gets much worse, this one is rather simple.


PS, you will never on a blind test, tell the difference from my MP3's and wav. No one, not even me, has done so.

You get what you got.
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PookyNMR

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Re: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2005, 02:47:49 pm »

Bill, could you give an example of how well you were able to clean it up?

Thanks.

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chrisj

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Re: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2005, 03:54:22 pm »

Level wrote on Tue, 26 April 2005 12:31

PS, you will never on a blind test, tell the difference from my MP3's and wav. No one, not even me, has done so.

You get what you got.



*g* this works out to be a bit over 192K bit rate. Are you joking? I can do about 320K blind given a suitable sound like castanets. mp3's artifacts are pretty characteristic. I do have MacABX handy (I ported it) and could test that assumption for you- but then I think quite a few people could test it for you. I see you're using VBR but it's still mp3- not unlike using a FFT-based equalizer, which also can produce unappealing colorations in subtle ways

So you'd like to see me convert the mp3 into typically a 16 bit file, do stuff, presumably convert it back into mp3 again, and put it up against your stuff done from the original capture?

OK. Won't be able to host the file for long but I'm game. I'm remembering how you objected to the mp3 source on the Vida Loca shootout. Of course that wasn't really higher than 192K bit rate and yours is, for what it's worth.

I'd like to see your result, though Smile

bblackwood

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Re: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2005, 04:17:14 pm »

Level wrote on Tue, 26 April 2005 11:31

PS, you will never on a blind test, tell the difference from my MP3's and wav. No one, not even me, has done so.

Not even you?

Go ahead and post your results, Bill, for the class to hear...
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Allen Corneau

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Re: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2005, 04:59:19 pm »

Ok, here's mine.

I centered up the bass a bit, clarified the vocals a little, and removed a touch of the "fuzz". I tried to do the most I could but still retain as much of the original intentions of the mix as possible.

Not great, but look at the source material! (That's not a slam on the MP3, by the way! Razz )

Allen
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chrisj

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Re: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2005, 01:13:12 am »

I'm a naughty little ME- instead of working I hung out with my fiance, went out for dinner and watched a bunch of South Park episodes on videotape  Very Happy

I _did_ get a start, but I expect I'm going to have to work hard to measure up to Allen's try. One thing: it's hardly fair to mention noise reduction when you don't supply a single second of ordinary noise floor without basses and DX7s and things droning away. However, de-smash did some good.

I was shooting for 'very improved' but am struggling- I can get the spatial qualities rather better but it sounds rather similar to the initial moosh. Tomorrow I'll see what I can finish up, and post something.

I'm very interested in how stellar Bill is making this- not least because I'm curious how much 'bass phase' alterations can help it. In fact I'm wreaking havoc with phase relationships myself, but not in a context of stereo width- so far I'm leaving the stereo image as mixed. We'll see if that's acceptable.

Until tomorrow....

Level

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Re: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2005, 09:29:54 am »

Real busy today. Allen, you did a really nice job there. When I get back to the studio computer, I will post mine. My day is full ..today and most of tomorrow.
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chrisj

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Re: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2005, 05:02:16 pm »

Am I right that you guys like it really rolled on the top? I guess I'm bringing up some noise with this- if I had access to the actual tape I'd have grabbed a moment of music silence to get a snapshot of the background noise, and gated that slightly- like -6db or so.

I still wanted a lot of that stereo bass, but I toned it down quite a bit, manually turning the track into mid/side and going after the bass separately in side. In mid I kinda turned up the bass, but with a hell of a steep notch somewhere around 200 hz. Could have done with my usual habit of EQing to a turn and then setting the range to half what it was- there was no room for further tailoring in my own software, and there could have been. I hit the dense tapey saturation with 'remap' and expansion, and shifted the group delay around with nefarious intent (woofy midbass forward, ironically, because I couldn't get any body on the voice- super highs forward, mids and super lows back)

I'm sure there are even more stellar things to do with this trainwreck but this is what I was up to, today. And I'm curious if I'm driving people up the wall with the highs. I just could not resist bringing them out  Very Happy if it sucks, somebody say so. I thought the track was horribly dull and rolled-off.

Lee Tyler

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Re: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2005, 10:14:51 pm »

Here are my unproven, untested, detested "skillz".  Rolling Eyes This exercise has definately increased my "shits and giggles" factor for a bit of time this evening. Thanks!

Lee the Impaler
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Allen Corneau

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Re: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2005, 09:57:54 am »

I just sat down and listened to all four versions so far, and here's my critique (read: personal opinion! Twisted Evil )

CJ: You've got the best mono compatibility of the bunch, but perhaps to the detriment of the original intent. The mix seems to be changed the most out of the three.

Lee: Yours still has a lot of out-of-phase bass, but the eq seems like a good compromise between the source and what it "should" sound like (whatever that is!?!) It seems to have a bit of comb-filtering going on, but not sure where.

Allen (aka: me): I think compared to the others I could have gone a bit farther with the eq'ing, but I feel like I stayed closest to the original 's intent.

Now, I know it's biased to critique your own work compared to others, but I think it was an interesting exercise. I'm looking forward to hearing y'all's critiques, too. (Did I mention I'm from Texas? Very Happy )

Allen
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chrisj

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Re: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2005, 01:25:17 pm »

I'm still waiting on Bill Roberts' version, naturally. To me it seemed not like 'this is the intent' but 'this mix was crammed onto a poor quality tape, too hot by mistake, and then the azimuth on playback was completely off' (Bill, did you run the tape or were you presented with this as a digitized version?)

I dunno, Allen, I thought yours seemed mighty mono compatible too, but I admit I didn't actually check any of this with my mono switch- just did what seemed right.

Lee- alright, someone else who thought it seemed rolled! I R TEH vindicated Wink

The reason mine has that much treble boost but doesn't seem comb-filtered (_as_ combfiltered?) is, I had some very serious phase shift dialed in at the frequency where the treble was. It shifted forwards a bit going into the upper midrange and again, forwards quite a lot, way up top where there almost isn't any content. Understandably I'm very interested in whether people are liking that- it's unorthodox although you get an uncontrolled version of it with 'colored' analog EQs. This is strictly in the box though. Again, this is EQ with intentional phase shift pushing bass 'back' and treble 'forward' in time.

The alterations in mix character are mostly differences in EQ on side vs. mid, and a variety of different slight expansions, including the dreaded 'remap' (dreaded, because on a lot of content I can't touch it because it makes things crunchy). I'm also interested in whether it got crunchy on me too much. What happens is the voice 'stands out' too much and projects in a peculiar way in the midrange. That's what's separating the vocal from the background, which was almost impossible, let me tell you Very Happy

Allen Corneau

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Re: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2005, 02:54:37 pm »

Yeah, looking back I guess I approached this project as a "restoration", and to me that means do the best you can, but not at the price of something being changed for the worse.

Perhaps that's been a running theme through my mastering work as well, although I'm trying to break out of that. Confused

Allen
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chrisj

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Re: A cool exersize of skills and opinions.
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2005, 04:05:23 pm »

Hey, it's a valid approach- your take on it did not sound anything like bad. I'm only saying that at least for me and Lee, what we got seemed like 'the worse' already, and screamed 'change me radically'. I didn't percieve that as mix decisions, it sounded to me like a relatively normal mix that had been dubbed onto cassettes 1000 times with the azimuth off. I understand that this changed it a lot, and if it was meant to sound like that, woopsy  Twisted Evil

I'm all the more interested to see what Bill does, now. Does he go minimalist and treat the presentation as a set of mix choices, or does he do what me and Lee did, decide that it's a drum machine, bass, DX7 or something and voice- that he knows what those sound like- and break out the chainsaws and oxyacetylene torches to render the thing in a wildly different way?

That's certainly what I was doing when I chose to EQ that radically (had to be 20 db of notch in a narrow spot in the midbass) and apply the expansion stuff. I was like 'this is a drum box, and a keyboard, and I know what this stuff sounds like' and I tried to dig that out from the mud of the source.

Makes me wonder what would happen if we got some other posters to try their hands on this. Would they try to smooth the grunge out of the existing presentation, or re-imagine it into something more characteristic of them? In particular I'm curious how it strikes Brad, because the way the mud is shoveled onto this, it's like the Anti-Brad, it really is. Not only is it massive mud and no definition, it's phasey as hell and just about the opposite of his sound in every way. What would he do? I could see his take being closer to Lee's than mine or yours (Lee got some good clarity there), but without anything comby about it- but some of that is in the recording itself and has to be removed. Hmmmm...

Bill? Same goes for you- are you preserving the presentation of this track like it was intentional, or are you treating it like it's covered with a ton of mud and making it strikingly different?
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