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Problems with Tremulant Remaster


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#1 Entity

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 04:51 AM

So I'm starting this here after all that talk was had over in the Antemasque thread about issues regarding the recent Tremulant remasters on Nadie Sound. (page 215 of that thread in Vondelpark)

 

It was brought to my attention that the Tremulant remasters may have been encoded from a lossy format, resulting in inferior FLAC and WAV files, and subsequently all transcodes from the inferior source. This image was submitted to a What.cd forum indicating the severe truncation of frequencies above 16khz, which is a very common marker of digital audio compression (the removal of audio frequencies to reduce file size). The image is a spectrograph (a graph of frequency energy across a whole track, split into left and right channels) of Cut That City, and compares the original release CD version with the recent Remastered copy. The problem is consistent amongst all three tracks on the remaster.

 

YPsJ4Gy.jpg

 

The original WAV files of the Remaster were also discovered to have the same transcoding problems. These are the WAV files that came direct from the Topspin site, prior to it being uploaded to Bandcamp, which eliminates their encoding process from the problem. User ghj9793 did his own analysis on the source WAV files and found the same problem, illustrated in the image below.

 

vAXZ318.jpg

 

The issue here is that lossless files are being bought and sold at the moment, when in fact that is not what they are. Any purchase of the remaster at this stage is only buying a set of mp3's with a very large file size. To add to that:

 

Regardless of whether you can hear content above 16KHz or not, the fact that the master is lossy is a serious problem. It means that anyone who downloaded the MP3 version or converted their FLACs to MP3s, has audio that has undergone lossy compression twice. This significantly degrades the quality of the audio in the audible range and can leave noticeable compression artifacts.

 
Basically I'm not getting what I paid for, and I'd love to hear about any efforts being made to correct this error. I love this EP dearly, I was a huge ATD-I fan and when the first demos from The Mars Volta dropped, and this EP came out, I was convinced it was the second coming of christ. I just want to see this music remastered with the utmost care and dignity, and releasing a lossy master does not cut it, in my books.


#2 Arrakis

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 05:00 AM

Do you like how it sounds?



#3 Entity

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 05:05 AM

That's not really the point, the point is that they are not lossless files, but are being bought and sold as such.

 

Bottom paragraph of this wiki explains the issue better than I can.

 

http://wiki.hydrogen...tle=Transcoding



#4 MixmasterMatt

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 05:18 AM

What software is that you are using? Also, I would like to pointout that the file format here in your spectrogram is 32bit-float, which is not the format that we used, so it has been transcoded by someone else an additional time. Also, you will notice how much more information there is in the actual audible musical information range of 1-10k in the 2014 remaster.



#5 Anbo

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 05:53 AM

I like that your source of information was a torrent site that was probably illegally sharing the fucking thing. Aren't we here for The Mars Volta? Why waste your time with spectrometers? What are you REALLY trying to prove?



#6 Entity

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 05:56 AM

It's Adobe Audition in the first picture, the second is Audacity.

 

The point is not how much more you've audio compressed the signal on the remaster, its quite obvious that you've push it harder into your limiter, but once again, it's not the point.

 

Neither of those images were made by me, the user ghj9793 made the second image, and the bitrate of the wav file will have nothing at all to do with the frequency response of audio file, only its' potential dynamic range.

 

I don't understand why everyone is so hell bent on fighting about this? It's a clearly obvious transcode.

 

 

What are you REALLY trying to prove?

 

Did you read the post? I clearly outline what it is exactly I'm trying to prove.



#7 Discordia

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 06:01 AM

Would be ironic if Omar and Cedric broke up with the Coma over this...



#8 woodwell

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 06:27 AM

It sounds good and it was cheap. I'm sure your listening experience is just fine and if it isn't to you, I'd have a suspicion that your opinion of the audio only changed once this was pointed out to you.
Your points were made, Matt has been made aware of it and it's possibly being looked into. That's that, it's over and probably won't happen again in any further remixes.

#9 patsyinclined

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 06:29 AM

i don't think anyone anywhere has said that it sounds worse because of this

interesting discussion anyway, despite not really knowing much about this kind of thing

#10 deadeye

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 07:29 AM

preface: I haven't actually had the time to listen to the remaster, but i generally trust way Omar and co. handle TMV's production. The only exception for me is some mixing/mastering issues with NOCT. I'm an audio engineer. I think that FTM, Deloused and Amp all sound great, and i've heard all of their albums in many different formats... in mastering rooms with $20,000ea speakers, on ipod earbuds, nice headphones, shitty laptop speakers, vinyl, FLAC, MP3 etc etc etc.  I generally don't give a shit if a song is pushing the limiter a bit, and the images that people have uploaded that show more dynamic range compression in the new masters don't bother me at all.  I am generally annoyed by people who look at spectrographs etc and draw conclusions about how something sounds, or assume that all limiting is bad, etc etc. I know enough about DSP and cognitive listening to know that people who demand to listen to their music at high sample rates and 24 bit are being pretty seriously misled. I've studied confirmation bias and the placebo effect, and how they relate to listening, as well as done my own comparisons on very high end equipment in some of the nicest rooms in the world. 

 

What i am trying to say is that I think i'm coming at this from a pretty non-bias and reasonably educated perspective. I'm not a "meter queen" or anything. I use my ears more than anything, but i also know the science pretty well.  I'm not picky and don't give a shit if a recording doesn't have ultrasonics, i don't keep my music collection in FLAC, and i dont care if someone listens to my mix on ipod earbuds or beats. 

 

All that being said, the evidence here is pretty damning. At some point in the chain, this audio went through a lossy compression algorithm. There is absolutely no denying that. Analog gear doesn't cut off frequency content in the linear way that the spectrographs show. If the tape machine were the culprit, it would look more like a smooth roll off. Actually, there is NOTHING in a studio that can make a cutoff that strong. here is a great link that someone posted in the other thread that shows the frequency response of a few classic tape machines.  

 

 

 

I'm not questioning the creative decisions that went into the new master (i'm sure it sounds great), but this is NOT one of those decisions.  This is obviously a mistake and needs to be addressed. Its not even a question of "use your ears". People are paying for something (FLAC or source audio) and getting something entirely different. They are expecting files that haven't been changed from the original in any way (whether or not that makes an audible difference doesn't matter). The other major issue is that anyone listening to this on MP3 is hearing a track that has been converted TWICE. I listen to 320kbs mp3 about 90% of the time, and i know that basically no one can tell the difference between a properly encoded mp3 and a FLAC in an ABX test. But this is double the compression... it seems like at that point you would get real, audible changes. 

 

THATS the issue IMO. Whether or not the mastering engineer actually made the thing sound better or worse to you or anyone is completely irrelevant, and complaining about it is missing the point.  I realize i sound really douchy in this post, but it makes me sad that TMV are trying to do cool stuff for us and it isn't going as well as it could be.



#11 Deni

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 08:42 AM

oh stfu and just enjoy these gift that o+c gave us! >:(

#12 A.N.Other

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 08:52 AM

oh stfu and just enjoy these gift that o+c gave us! >:(

I guess you would also enjoy it if you bought a ticket to The Mars Volta show and saw a cover band instead. Even if this cover band is really good.



#13 nardo

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 09:15 AM

I'm not questioning the creative decisions that went into the new master (i'm sure it sounds great), but this is NOT one of those decisions.  This is obviously a mistake and needs to be addressed.

I'm with this guy. It would be great if this was looked into, something's not right. I really like how Concertina sounds but CTC and especially Eunuch Provocateur I can't get fully into. There is some mild (but annoying) crackling going on during Eunuch, it's especially noticeable during the quiet beginning, say first 30 seconds, it's almost as if it was amplified too much. It's not like that in the original mix. Anyone else hear this or is my download messed up? (listening with quiet headphones it doesn't take much of an effort to notice)



#14 A.N.Other

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 09:31 AM

 

There is some mild (but annoying) crackling going on during Eunuch, it's especially noticeable during the quiet beginning, say first 30 seconds, it's almost as if it was amplified too much. It's not like that in the original mix. Anyone else hear this or is my download messed up? (listening with quiet headphones it doesn't take much of an effort to notice)

 

Yeah, haven't noticed it initially but now I definitely hear it.



#15 9705

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 09:41 AM

 

There is some mild (but annoying) crackling going on during Eunuch, it's especially noticeable during the quiet beginning

yes



#16 Maury

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 11:03 AM

please do NOT moan about petty shit such as this on the eve of the unveiling of tha OBELISK

 

DON'T piss em off



#17 nardo

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 11:47 AM

please do NOT moan about petty shit such as this on the eve of the unveiling of tha OBELISK

 

DON'T piss em off

Just stop kissing ass already. If someone pointing out little mistakes in a quiet manner like we are doing here is pissing someone off... well, then all hope is lost.



#18 Mataxia

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 12:06 PM

Yeah I don't think any disrespect or negativity is meant here whatsoever.  Just genuine concern about the quality of the music.



#19 9705

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 12:30 PM

need explanation from Matt



#20 Kazza3

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 12:46 PM

Matt's talked about it in the Antemasque thread. More or less seemed to think the importance of this was being overstated a bit, but was going to look into it.




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