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Review of the Dire Straits album Money For Nothing with comparison between CD, Cd remastered in 1996, streaming and vinyl of the new 2022 remastering

Jean.Francois

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Hello,

Here's the comparison of album Money For Nothing between CD (1988), CD (1996), Qobuz 2022 remastered ( 24 bits 192 kHz) and Vinyl.

DS - Money For Nothing - Small.jpg


This album is an example of the impact that remastering can have on compression.
The compression increases with each new remastering as shown in the graph below:

Waveform Comparaison Money For Nothing -17.7LUFS_small.jpg


To get an idea of the impact when listening, you can listen to the samples at 3 levels of compression and vinyl, and find all the measurements (DR, Spectrum, waveform...) here.

The original CD remains the best version despite the Qobuz streaming version in 24 bits 192 kHz.
 

restorer-john

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Hello,

Here's the comparison of album Money For Nothing between CD (1988), CD (1996), Qobuz 2022 remastered ( 24 bits 192 kHz) and Vinyl.

View attachment 213572

This album is an example of the impact that remastering can have on compression.
The compression increases with each new remastering as shown in the graph below:

View attachment 213571

To get an idea of the impact when listening, you can listen to the samples at 3 levels of compression and vinyl, and find all the measurements (DR, Spectrum, waveform...) here.

The original CD remains the best version despite the Qobuz streaming version in 24 bits 192 kHz.

What is the software for DR as I have the actual original first release CDs and the compilation Money For nothing original? We found even the first release "Money For Nothing" CD was sonically inferior to the blue/red swirl pressings of Love over Gold (the album), Dire Straits, and an early WG pressing of Brothers in Arms.
 
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Blumlein 88

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There is a little bit of a niche meme in the recording business that mastering is unnecessary. Good mixing is what you need. I've done a little recording, and all that goes with it. Not in the business myself, but that has been my opinion for some time. I've had some interaction with a couple of masterings in the business. They do have skills to improve the sound, and bring out the right details better than joe schmoe or me. But DAMN!, you have to just about stand over them and keep smacking them in the face with a stick while yelling "Don't compress the shit out of my recordings". And one or two smacks won't do it. They do some really useful stuff, and then throw it all away and ruin it with all the heavy compression. I don't know how it got that way, because it is way beyond any useful level of compression. I even agree with nearly all music you do want some compression. But not to the point an acoustic and vocal Christmas hymn becomes DR6 which happened to some of my friends once. Death Magnetic by Metallica was DR7.
 

Jimbob54

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Has anyone in the biz ever stated the reasons why they actually do this? Its obviously intentional . Is it so the recording "pops"/ "punches" on playback on decent systems which they assume people will prefer?

Or is it so people arent having to crank little bluetooth speakers in the quiet parts ?
 

Geert

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Has anyone in the biz ever stated the reasons why they actually do this?

To assure your song isn't blown away by the competition when played on the radio or the typical mediocre sound systems most people listen to during the day. It drives sales. Loudness wins, as you know from (failed) blind test. Most people are not active listeners or don't have a high quality HiFi system and don't care or know about DR.
 
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Jean.Francois

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Has anyone in the biz ever stated the reasons why they actually do this? Its obviously intentional . Is it so the recording "pops"/ "punches" on playback on decent systems which they assume people will prefer?

Or is it so people arent having to crank little bluetooth speakers in the quiet parts ?
Today it is a demand of the majors to "sound loud". The objective, more than 20 years ago was to have a higher sound level so that the song is more appreciated when listening, it is marketing. But it's a never-ending phenomenon, because they always want more. I have talked to many sound engineers, they are aware of the phenomenon and say that it is going too far, but it is the demand of the majors to have tracks that sound loud.
There was the same phenomenon in the cinema with the sound levels of the trailers, but in this domain the regulation was applied.
What is worrying about compression is that an initial study shows that prolonged listening to compressed sound is not good for your health.

The excuse of not being bothered by ambient noise may require some compression, but not with this level of compression. Especially since today more and more headphones have noise reducers, even at prices starting at 20€.
 

Geert

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This is the best illustration of what over-compression does.

As far as I can see this is not over-compression at work, it's mainly brick wall limiting. It increases average level by getting rid of peaks. The idea is that you can do so without much audible impact, although you can take it to far of course. Today there are a lot of DAW plug-ins to do this, and their popularity has increased.
 

KSTR

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This is the best illustration of what over-compression does. Where you show the three waveforms all adjusted to -17.7 Lufs.
waveform-comparaison-money-for-nothing-17.7lufs.jpg
Looks more like hard brickwall limiting/clipping than compression to me. Hard to tell without a zoomed in view (500ms or so). EDIT: cross-posting with @Geert

One can successfully compress a track like this to gain 6dB or so for the soft/medium parts of the signal without breaking the loud / transient sounds too much but that's an art not mastered (sic!) by many.

Sidenote:

Views of a full song's length are not very useful, you don't really see whats going on. I can "uncompress" a limited-to-death recording by using a simple allpass filter and then in the display it looks "correct" again without the peaks cut away anymore, and the DR meters also say that it is way better now... but actually, it sounds exactly as compressed/limited as before. Most DR algorithms are not correct, DR is NOT about Peak to RMS ratio, it's about short-term RMS to long-term RMS (in practice you need a histogram-based approach).

==> Don't judge the sound of a track by looking at its zoomed out waveform.
 

Blumlein 88

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As far as I can see this is not over-compression at work, it's mainly brick wall limiting. It increases average level by getting rid of peaks. The idea is that you can do so without much audible impact, although you can take it to far of course. Today there are a lot of DAW plug-ins to do this, and their popularity has increased.
When you compress something enough it differs little from brick wall limiting. You can see the difference if you spread the waveform out in time. It certainly is true limiting is much more popular than in the past.

Edit to add: I agree about problems looking at zoomed out waveforms of entire tracks.
 

Blumlein 88

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Here are a pair of stereo tracks. One limited only. One heavily compressed in three steps and a very light limiting as the last step. And you can see the difference in the right track. The left not so much. I picked an unbalanced track to show this.

1655627579328.png


Now the same tracks only zoomed into a bit over 5 seconds of the track. Here you can easily see which was compressed and which was only limited. The top two were limited only. They sound very different.

1655627745638.png
 

Geert

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When you compress something enough it differs little from brick wall limiting.

For a sound engineer compression, limiting and brick-wall limiting are different things, for which you use different tools. Especialy brick-wall limiting, which cuts of the top of peaks (a bit like like clipping) and than reshapes them a bit to avoid audible distortion. If you use it wisely, it allows you to increase average level a bit without making it sound compressed.
 

Blumlein 88

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For a sound engineer compression, limiting and brick-wall limiting are different things, for which you use different tools. Especialy brick-wall limiting, which cuts of the top of peaks (a bit like like clipping) and than reshapes them a bit to avoid audible distortion. If you use it wisely, it allows you to increase average level a bit without making it sound compressed.
Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication is probably the best sounding use of these I can recall. I hear lots and lots of music where these tools have made the sound garbage. And no I'm not referring to the musical group Garbage (although it kind of fits their sound too).
 

DSJR

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To any long-term mixing/mastering engineers out there please -

How do NS10's (the 'monitor' one loves to hate) cope in reproducing this kind of compression? I'd have thought the peaky upper mids would have anihilated such heavily compressed sounds. It's also been said that much compression is in the bass, but I have no proof of that.

In any case, I thought this kind of brick wall limiting/compression was in the past now? Obviously not :(
 
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