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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

Blumlein 88

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True.

Consider a song from Dire Straits like Telegraph Road. It was a featured epic 14+ minute song you'd occasionally hear on the radio, but it a magnificent track. Like Private Investigations- not commercially popular but just fuggin awesome musical art.

There's a youtube video of Bruce Hornsby talking about his hit "the way it is" where he said it was totally unexpected to have a song with two piano solo parts become a pop hit. He's another artist where I never thought he'd 'sold out' to the commercial interests- he kept it real. His music has stood the test of time very well IMO.

Even our own Midnight Oil who I followed and watched live from their pub rock underground days, ended up 'selling out' after Diesel and Dust. All the music afterwards was sadly, a mess. Sure, bands have to evolve, but they went from songs like US Forces, Power and the Passion, Read about it, to love songs for goodness sake. It was just wrong. They were angry young head banging anti-war, anti nuke protesters who suddenly became dads or soft in the head- not sure which. The lead singer ran for parliament, got elected and that was it- the band disbanded.
Who is on the list of bands who disbanded after the lead singer is elected to parliament? And no I don't mean Who is on the list. Maybe there is joke there somewhere like who is on first.
 

dasdoing

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the comparision given is invalid because not loudness matched.
and the graphs are missleading.
wanna see DR fetishists blind test DRs.
btw: it's not compression, but limiting
 
OP
J

Jean.Francois

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the comparision given is invalid because not loudness matched.
and the graphs are missleading.
wanna see DR fetishists blind test DRs.
btw: it's not compression, but limiting
To make the comparison, the 3 versions are adjusted to the same sound intensity -17.7 LUFS. This is important for the comparison of the graphs.
The graphs are not misleading, they show well the difference between each version and the reduction of the peaks.
There is indeed a difference between the three versions which is audible when listening to the excerpts with exactly the same loudness.
Whether we are talking about the DR, or the dynamic range calculated between the integrated LUFS and the True peak, there is indeed a difference between these versions. I had the opportunity to make listening tests with other people between the same song with different dynamics, we hear indeed differences with several dB of difference in the dynamics.
I am not a DR fetishist, it is one of the criteria I use to analyze with waveforms, spectrum and spectrogram, and also listening.


Concerning the vocabulary, indeed, we use the term "dynamics compression" which is generally a brickwall limiter that is used. We should speak more about the limitation or reduction of the dynamics.
 

armoured_bear

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Even our own Midnight Oil who I followed and watched live from their pub rock underground days, ended up 'selling out' after Diesel and Dust. All the music afterwards was sadly, a mess. Sure, bands have to evolve, but they went from songs like US Forces, Power and the Passion, Read about it, to love songs for goodness sake. It was just wrong. They were angry young head banging anti-war, anti nuke protesters who suddenly became dads or soft in the head- not sure which. The lead singer ran for parliament, got elected and that was it- the band disbanded.
Sorry and with respect, but this is complete and utter hogwash. Seems like you stopped listening 30 years ago.
Which love songs did they release post Diesel and Dust? Are you referring to "Outbreak of Love"?
Did you actually listen to albums such as "Redneck Wonderland" from 1998? It's harder than anything from their earlier days.
They just released a brilliant new album (Resist) a few months ago with the same lyrics themes they've been banging on about for many decades.

Sample lyrics

The Barka-Darling River
"Who left the bag of idiots open?
Who drank the bottle of bad ideas?
Who drew the last drop from the bottom?"
...
The sky is a mirror
The sea and the breeze
The sky is a mirror
Of self-interest and greed"

Reef
"It really fits with our brand
Lumps of coal in our hand
Welcome to tomorrowland
Environmental injury
Trashing our ecology
So simply valedictory
Coral reefs are history
Bring on the artillery yeah"

Here is them playing 2 months ago (their final tour) not bad for almost 70 year olds, still seriously rocking hard. (What a performance of "stand in line"!)
 

Juhazi

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Thank you Jean-Francois for bringing up this issue. I'm old enough to have gotten used to vinyl and early CD quality of dynamics! Inflation of sound in pop/rock begun in 90's and is terrible nowdays.

cale wave dr.jpg clapton wave dr.jpg

Comparing quality of streaming services was interesting and new to me. Looked just like I heard... Spotify would be interesting! I abandoned it and use Tidal Master now, sounds much more dynamic and pure!

How do you record streams for analysis? I use Audacity but haven't tried to catch streams.
 
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Blew

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I bought vinyl and CD copies of Brothers In Arms on release. One has the channels revered compared to the other!!!
Wasn't that Love Over Gold?
 

Geert

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Wasn't that Love Over Gold?

One of the Brothers In Arms early release by PolyGram with John Dent mentioned as the mastering engineer has the channels reversed.
 

DSJR

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One of the Brothers In Arms early release by PolyGram with John Dent mentioned as the mastering engineer has the channels reversed.
I'm not intending to buy another copy, but which is 'correct?' - Original vinyl or original CD?
 

BJL

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The CD. It is a digital recording. The version corrected by Bob Ludwig has the channels correct, and that is most CDs other than the very early manufactured UK/European copies. I have a 1985 CD with the corrected channels. It sounds fine. I have never heard the later remastered versions.
 

Geert

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but which is 'correct?' - Original vinyl or original CD?

There were about 5 different early releases of the album, with different ones for the US and EU markets. One of them had the channels reversed, but there's also one that's partly reversed. And there are also level differences between them, altough they seem to be based on the same mastering job. If you have a version with the high-hat on the left you can assume it's incorrect.
 

djamieb

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I was excited to see that this 2022 remaster from Dire Straits' catalog was released; very curious to see what they worked on with these gorgeous original recordings (Dire Straits' catalog of studio work is still a benchmark for stunning and damn near perfect audio recordings, in my opinion).

Checked out the 2022 remasters this morning... 5 seconds into "Sultans Of Swing" I was actually saying out loud, "Oh, no!! What's happened here?!" They absolutely destroyed the sound and integrity of the original recording for that song. It's distorted, muddy, and waaaay overcooked. I can't believe they would put this out there!

Listen to the original version from their self-titled album, and then flip to the 2022 compilation remaster. It's shocking. I didn't listen to the rest of the songs because I didn't want to get upset, lol. Maybe the rest of the songs were more tastefully done? But based on that intro track, I'll definitely stick with previous versions when I listen to Dire Straits.

(By the way, I listened to the 2022 remastered Sultans Of Swing on streaming. I don't know if the 2022 remastered vinyl is any different. Maybe something just went wrong with the files that were delivered to the streaming services.)
 
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dasdoing

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To make the comparison, the 3 versions are adjusted to the same sound intensity -17.7 LUFS. This is important for the comparison of the graphs.
The graphs are not misleading, they show well the difference between each version and the reduction of the peaks.
There is indeed a difference between the three versions which is audible when listening to the excerpts with exactly the same loudness.
Whether we are talking about the DR, or the dynamic range calculated between the integrated LUFS and the True peak, there is indeed a difference between these versions. I had the opportunity to make listening tests with other people between the same song with different dynamics, we hear indeed differences with several dB of difference in the dynamics.
I am not a DR fetishist, it is one of the criteria I use to analyze with waveforms, spectrum and spectrogram, and also listening.


Concerning the vocabulary, indeed, we use the term "dynamics compression" which is generally a brickwall limiter that is used. We should speak more about the limitation or reduction of the dynamics.

what I meant is what you are seeing is not what you will hear. just look at those graphs. by the looks of it the limited version should sound like an AM radio lol.
you can nowadays limit transparently to a certain degree. that's why looking at those graphs is missleading. you can create 2 versions that will sound the same (perhaps not in a ABX, but surely in a AB) with one of them having the transients limited. most of the time these are the transients of the snare afaik. it's a few milliseconds that wont realy make a diference.
so, in other words: those graphs are not a good indicator for the sound
 

danadam

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The graphs are not misleading, they show well the difference between each version and the reduction of the peaks.
There is indeed a difference between the three versions which is audible when listening to the excerpts with exactly the same loudness.
How do you know, that the difference is from reduction of peaks and not from some other mastering decisions?
you can nowadays limit transparently to a certain degree. that's why looking at those graphs is missleading. you can create 2 versions that will sound the same (perhaps not in a ABX, but surely in a AB) with one of them having the transients limited. most of the time these are the transients of the snare afaik. it's a few milliseconds that wont realy make a diference.
Yep. I took the 1988 sample from the page and limited it using some ffmpeg options, that I found on the internet (i.e. someone who knows what they're doing could do it better). This reduced DR from 12 to 7 and peaks by 6 dB:
Code:
DR      Peak    RMS     Duration        Title [codec]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 DR12    -3.22 dB        -17.41 dB      0:30    money-for-notthing-1988.flac
 DR7     -9.40 dB        -17.44 dB      0:30    money-limit.flac
If anyone wants to compare them, the samples are available here. You can judge how big of a difference does it make. To me, almost none, maybe you have better ears. And I'm not saying this justifies it, but it's good to have some perspective :)
There is also a "money-mix.flac" file there, which switches between the two every 5 seconds:
mix.png
 

sweetsounds

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If anyone wants to compare them, the samples are available here. You can judge how big of a difference does it make. To me, almost none, maybe you have better ears. And I'm not saying this justifies it, but it's good to have some perspective :)
Thanks for providing this!
FooBar ABX Test: 14 out 16 correctly identified. The initial kick-drum is much stronger on the non-limited version and easily identifiable.
 

danadam

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Thanks for providing this!
FooBar ABX Test: 14 out 16 correctly identified. The initial kick-drum is much stronger on the non-limited version and easily identifiable.
Continuing the "having perspective" angle, how would you subjectively grade the magnitude of the difference? Just enough to identify the tracks, or night and day? Or in another words, how much delay can you introduce between switching the tracks during the test and still have good results? :)
 

sweetsounds

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Continuing the "having perspective" angle, how would you subjectively grade the magnitude of the difference? Just enough to identify the tracks, or night and day? Or in another words, how much delay can you introduce between switching the tracks during the test and still have good results? :)
I tried both strategies, switching quickly in-track and starting each track with a 1 second delay. Both work, but starting each track was easier than switching in-track.
As my ears got trained to the difference, I didn't need to switch back-and-forth between A-B-X, but it was usually enough to just click on X once to tell, if it was A or B. So memory was certainly several seconds.

I guess, a normal listener wouldn't hear much of a difference. BTW I preferred the higher dynamic version, it had more sparkle.

Try this out: There is an "Absolute Sampler Test CD" available (https://archive.org/details/01AbsoluteSamplerDEMOnTEST). The tracks must have been post-processed with an Expander, at least the wave-forms look like it. So kind of an "anti-loudness war" approach.
At first, I was impressed by the crispiness vs the original CDs. But these artificial dynamics gave me head-ache after a while.
 

dasdoing

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can't analyse @danadam's work atm, I will.
I could try to generate a more transparent file with the same DR reduction with a more professional limiter.
but anyhow @sweetsounds, the real question is: if tomorrow someone plays A or B for you, just one of them, could you identify which one it is?
also if he went for DR8 he might have left the kick untouched.
one could argument that any diference, no matter how tiny, is a reason to not limit, but on the other hand producers have to think about the mainstream listeners in the first place. if you take a sound system with a limited headroom and you want to play the song loud, the more dynamic track will cause distortion much earlier....in other words, it will sound worse.
 
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