Luke has written some good and accurate stuff here so I will add within the quote just so it makes some sort of sense to the reader.
Well, there's two basic reasons why many CDs sound bad:
"1) The use of poor source tapes. Many early CDs were mastered from tapes meant for the production of LPs. These tapes were copies of the masters (sometimes a few generations down) that had additional EQ to facilitate the cutting of LPs (rolled off bass, for example)."
Agreed. And I might add alot of the tapes were stored improperly and have degraded. Acetate and rust do not last forever. The RIAA curve is the biggest detriment ever to be invented. It actually was only needed because commercial vinyl was so crappy in the 70's due to the petroleum scare, that it was the only way to get decent playback. Not good or excellent, decent. Most record companies in an effort to push things out for fast $$$ did nothing but pull the common LP master and punch a CD. It is good things have changed a little in the record world. As far as Pat goes, I have a feeling Sound of Music used some of the LP eq'ing in it's production in the Studio and was originally only on Cassette tape. You take a tape mastered for eventual cassette/lp only production and theres your answer.
"2) Many mastering engineers don't know what they are doing. LPs are somewhat forgiving and can mask bad mastering. CDs, on the other hand, will basically reproduce what you give them. Feed in a bad master and you'll get a bad sounding CD. Also, there was a tendency to jack up the treble, which caused things to sound thin and harsh."
I disagree here. Lp's have the sound there, your equipment changes what you get as an end result. CD's on the otherside sound the same no matter what you do. I personally master things off my large LP colletion (6,000 +) and get great results. Better than CD's purchased later that are the remastered, super duper versions. A local note. I just recently mastered all my Couch Flambeau LP's to one CD. Since Jay Tiller is a lazy bum, and won't put his stuff out on Cd, or let anyone else handle the masters he has, this is the only way you get it on CD is to do it yourself. With care, and brians you can get a nice quiet good sounding CD all on your own. Never depend on the record Companies to do it right. They did jack up the treble though to get that clarity out of an LP, Rap guys do it too but on both ends. Boom Siss Hiss Boom [/quote]
"Then of course there's the issue of using poor digital processing and noise reduction. Lots of people seem to dislike tape hiss, but the fact is that removing it via digital NR actually makes things sound *worse*. Also, while most mastering engineers don't do it, you generally get better results by doing your mastering (ie, EQ) in analog and not going digital until the very last step. While you you don't loose any information (ie, sound quality) when doing a digital *copy*, the same can't be said about digital processing. Every time you adjust something digitally you're doing a floating point calculation, and stuff gets rounded off. Before long those round-off errors start to add up..."
I agree again here. The digital process is best saved for the end. where you want your end result perfect. Digital NR and such is a non forgiving medium and does not allow for human touch, which of course is what it is all about. Music is a feeling and digital has the inherent logical quality of being non-feeling. Like a robot. But now we digress to the Flux Capacitor theory.[/QUOTE]
And last my opinion on the Pat CD collection,
The Good Life- A very 80's local sound. hissy, but I bought for the music. I would rather have the Cd, then try to get something good out of the cassette version.
Memorial Day - this was a bit better, and I have to forgive any album slapped together quick. This has some good Pat writing and preforming and if you don't have it, get it. It is worth it and never mind the quality of sound. You won't notice it.
Sound of Music- like I said, low levels mastered for lp/cassette release. Remaster it on your own, it will sound very good. The source is a loose dry mix and was Pats early work. But look how many songs you still hear Pat play off it and the requests off it? again worth your while despite the sound.
PIP 1 - this was my first Pat CD. The sound here is good for a live CD, production was not all that good and sound is a live preformance. If you are looking for serious listening here, forget it. This is a Car CD and a party CD. But the songs her, you may not hear ever agaim. Note: "michael stipe"
Showtunes - good crisp prodiction. Te internal angry Pat is full force here. No 60's reference to the sound, and very moderen sounding. "Me" in fact was too loud. Distortion on the cymbals. But, the vocals are very clear, you can hear the man breath. It is one that gives you serious listening pleasure and I was very surprised it did not sell better back in 1995 when it came out.
Perhaps it was too expensive or two angry, or Pat didn't play enough stuff off it like he did for Fainting. Any comments?
Big Bright World- I call this the "post Popular Pat" cd. Screw you, Goofy Town, ect is here and the Studio stuff is well recorded. No distortion, but does have a slightly hollow sound at some points. Sittin in Church, and I don't come From No Monkey have this present. The live stuff breaks thing up too much and should have been saved for PIP 2. More studio stuff would have been nice here instead of Screw You, and I Was High.
PIP 2- Lots of live favorites here. It again is a good car or party Cd, and the recording is advanced over PIP 1. Still a live recording though. I usually go to a Pat show over listening to this CD and bring it along for Pat Virgin friends to hear as we drive to the show. 9-out of 10 times "ruin my life" and "Sex And Beer" gets played and they have a song they are familiar with and can sing along.
Fainting With Hapiness- The stand out song here is "Antiques". The rest are good, but midway through you find yourself thinking "isn't that the solo from umm that beatles song.. umm there are places... no wait! in my life" I got it the first time though being a big Beatles fan. But mimic is the highest form of flattery and Pat does flatter the Beatles in his effort to mimic on Fainting while still maintaining originality. Sound is like Luke said, echo'y and wet, and drowns alot of detail. I also found the mix punched which doesn't work well with a wet sound. But I think this was in an effort to get that early 60's feel to it. In any case, good writing and if you don't have theses all, get em..
MP3's on web site- for poor compressed mixes off a sound board, surprisingly alot of these are good. "It's All About Me"(sometimes)", Started Out With a Bang", "I'm Yours", "Be Free (it's up too you"," Sittin On A Hill" all on one CD. D/L them all and judge for yourself, but none of them beat the live preformance.
Bootleg CD's- These are great and worth the price, but don't expect studio quality. They are boots off various shows. But buy em. Little plug for the masters there lol
Thats it. Phew! I better go to work, get drunk and go to sleep.