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What makes music in Ready Player One- the movie- sound so good?

NiagaraPete

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Well whoever produced her music is.
That was pretty standard fare for the day. If you wanted high quality you’d have bought the the 45 rpm LP.
Further have a listen to Kate Bush’s 50 Words for Snow. It’s probably one of, or the best mastered album of modern time. Then her live album Before the Dawn is brilliant. It includes her son on vocals as well.
 

abdo123

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I would love to get the Ready player one ‘World of pure imagination’ trailer version.

It’s a really awesome rendition, incase some has a high quality version on this thread.
 

KMO

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This is an interesting theory. Are they really mixing the music for todays gear? Or are they doing something like BBE or a type of 3D sound to the mix?
Absolutely they often will be upmixing using something like Penteo - that's quite routine, if it's important music. Why use a flat 2-channel render using only 2 speakers in a full surround final mix?

Sometimes they may be using an existing real multichannel mix of the song - looking at the list above, I know at least Everybody Wants To Rule The World, and Can't Hide Love had previously been released multichannel.

And I can imagine filmmakers even commissioning a new multichannel mix from the original master if one doesn't exist, and the music is really important to the film.

I kind of suspect some of people on this thread are not used to hearing proper multichannel music, or good upmixes, because they've been a bit too stuck in their 2-channel ways, and films are the only place they end up hearing it.
 

mcdn

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At least part of this has to be that we tend to listen to movies at higher volume. I use the same 2 channel system for music and movies and there‘s no way I get to play music at the same level the whole family is comfortable with for movies.

That said, I do suspect there is also some basic remastering going on. After all movies are generally mastered with a much higher dynamic range than CDs, so it would make sense for the soundtracks to use music tracks that are remastered, even if the mix is the same.

Finally, in some cases it’s clear the track has actually been remixed. So there‘s three obvious reasons: loudness, remastering and remixing.
 

Mart68

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I've always assumed that they just EQ it a bit to make it more punchy but I really don't know for sure.

I believe @MattHooper works in motion picture sound design maybe he will know?
 
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Marc v E

Marc v E

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I ordered the soundtrack cd. Let's see if it's anything like the film experience. I also want to compare some songs with original versions I have.

Another thing I could try is playback through streaming and maybe compare two versions if I'm able to download them.

Iirc Audacity is a free program that has the ability to compare two music files.
 

tmtomh

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Sure it doesn't ;).

The only thing that sounds good in that mix is her vocals. If that's the only thing that matters to you then that's a different matter.

Did you hear the 2018 remaster?

I don't quite share the level of negativity you - and @restorer-john - have for the original mastering (John in particular is over the top with his criticism, as usual) - but I do agree with you both on the whole: the original mastering of Hounds of Love is mediocre and overrated, one of many 1980s CD masterings whose reputation has been boosted by folks over at the Hoffman forums and elsewhere who prize dynamics over and above everything else, including frequency balance, clarity, and so on. I'm not saying this is the case with Hounds of Love, but a shocking number of the most prized 1980s CD masterings are basically digital LPs, in that they were made from EQ'd LP cutting masters, meaning they often had attenuated and/or mono-summed bass, they were at least one gen removed from the original master tape, and they often sound rather soft compared to what the artist and producer actually created.

As for the 2018 remaster of Hounds of Love, I got it a couple of years ago, and as soon as l listened to it, I sold my original mastering on the Hoffman forums. The 2018 is IMHO excellent - same basic character as the original, but per John's complaint it has far better bass, and it has more clarity and presence overall, without being excessively compressed. I know we're all stuck in the Circle of Confusion, but I am convinced the 2018 sounds much closer to the master tape than the original 1980s CD does - IMHO the clarity and punch of the 2018 does not sound additive - it sounds mainly like it just uses a better source than the original CD.

As for Ready Player One, it seems most of the music in it is far more than remastered - it's remixed and/or supplemented with additional sound. The Depeche Mode clip in the trailer, for example, is most definitely not the version that appeared on the 1990 album Violator, and I don't think it's a 1990 band-authorized remix either. I think it's a new remix, with added elements, made for the movie.

It also sounds like all the music in the trailer has been run through a pretty vigorous compressor. What sounds amazing for a single listen, accompanied by exciting visuals, does not necessarily sound as amazing as an audio-only experience over repeated, long-term listening. If the Ready Player One official soundtrack includes the same compressed, reworked versions as in the trailer and the movie, I suspect that the soundtrack would prove disappointing and fatiguing when listened to as audio only in a hi-fi setup.
 

Mnyb

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It’s likely so that they remaster for 5.1-7.1 to make it more enveloping use the Center for vocals ?
And also makes it more punchy . Many 2ch mixes are pretty bass shy I think they boost here and restore some kick to kick drums etc as you’re suposed to have subs ? I speculate wildly :)

Interesting topic .

I have a lot of 5.1 music in DVDA for example and a good 5.1 mix can do that for you if your ht system is good , so it does not mangle music in other aspects.

I think you can hear this in Tarantino movies , he uses a lot 60’s music that ought to sound crap but doesn’t in the movies ? Wonder what’s done to it .

On the theme .Guardians of the galaxy?
 
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Marc v E

Marc v E

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I just received my cd and have some first impressions to share.

The first song from prince is clear but highs and lows seem boosted compared to the original I have (judged by ear).
The second from Tears For Fears seems clear and a general improvement over the original
Bruce Springsteen seems almost unrecognisable from what I'm used to; it sounds catchy but compressed.

All taken together, assuming all have had the same treatment, it appears that all have been remastered (clear) and compressed to 2022 standards compared to the originals. Imo for some songs this is an improvement (Tears for Fears ) for some certainly not (Prince).
In the next step I will see what Audacity says and if I'm right about the high compression.
 
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Marc v E

Marc v E

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Another observation purely by ear is that the soundtrack list on youtube music sound less loud than the cd, less tiring too. In fact it sounds more alike the bluray than the cd on first compare.

Could this be a different level compression or in case of the bluray 24 bit vs 16 bit?
 

tmtomh

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Another observation purely by ear is that the soundtrack list on youtube music sound less loud than the cd, less tiring too. In fact it sounds more alike the bluray than the cd on first compare.

Could this be a different level compression or in case of the bluray 24 bit vs 16 bit?

It could be that the YouTube version was taken from the Blu-Ray mastering - if that is a different mastering with less compression (which we don't know).

However, my immediate suspicion would be that the YT soundtrack could be taken from the CD, but could perceptually sound different for one or more of a few possible reasons:

- YT applies lossy compression to the audio. Lossy compression alters the data and one of its effects is that it somewhat randomizes the uniform peaks in a "buzzcut," highly compressed source. I don't know how audible the difference is, but if you look at the online DR Database, it is common to see lossy versions of CDs where one or more tracks reads 1dB higher on the DR Meter than the original uncompressed CD version.

- If you are watching the video while listening to the YT source, that can have a perceptual impact - I find that most YT videos sound better to me when I first watch them than they do when I extract the audio and play just the audio on my system.

- Apologies in advance if this is a dumb question, but are you listening to the YT soundtrack on the same equipment, at the same volume, using the same signal chain, as when you listen to the CD? I usually preview music on YT on my computer setup, and I find it always sound better/more promising there than when I listen on my normal stereo setup. Matching CD vs YT volume, even on the same system, can also be a little tricky, as the YT version might have a different level, and the lossy compression applied to the YT version can also result in small, variable level changes compared to the original CD.
 
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Marc v E

Marc v E

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(...)Apologies in advance if this is a dumb question, but are you listening to the YT soundtrack on the same equipment, at the same volume, using the same signal chain, as when you listen to the CD? I usually preview music on YT on my computer setup, and I find it always sound better/more promising there than when I listen on my normal stereo setup. Matching CD vs YT volume, even on the same system, can also be a little tricky, as the YT version might have a different level, and the lossy compression applied to the YT version can also result in small, variable level changes compared to the original CD.
I'm listening to the premium version of youtube music (different from youtube video, comparable to spotify) on the same equipment. The only difference is that I stream youtube music via chromecast digital out to the dac. And the cd via the bluray player into the dac.
Maybe I should add that a cd played on the bluray player sounds the same to me as a ripped cd played via Nas to chromecast audio.

Same volume on the dac/pre.

My impression is that the sound level from both bluray movie and youtube music is way lower than the cd. Turning the volume dial by ear I estimate it to be at least 5, maybe even closer to 10 db. (!)
Youtube music sounds like an mp3 version of the bluray soundtrack and the cd like it has the same remastered version as the bluray but way more compressed.
 
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raest

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how about this as an alternative theory: the movie is so terrible the good music in it stands out more, making it sound even better :p
 

Inner Space

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Also, the tracks are probably re-mastered, EQ'd etc. by the movie sound engineers, plus they may have access to a master.
You bet. So-called needledrops for film and TV are massively reworked, all the way back to the stems if the engineers can get them. Mostly extensive EQ, to make the sonic "shape" consistent with the rest of the production, and to match the audio mood of the scene, which tends to match the visual mood, i.e. "warm" or "cold" or whatever. Virtually guaranteed is a big level boost on the vocal, and plenty of extra reverb. Generally a lot of work - I just did some for a big US streamer, including a 39-second snip of a commercial release, allegedly playing on a juke box in a hot, sweaty bar, and it took me 14 hours to do the 39 seconds. Lots of money in TV right now, happily!
 

phrwn

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As per the title, can anybody explain to me why old hits in new movies tend to sound so good? The bluray compared to the original cd release I mean.

I noticed this with ready player one (but also many pixar movies.)
It has many 80's hits in it, so I thought it's a good example. https://m.imdb.com/title/tt1677720/
Could be at least partly because you're comparing hearing it now, on presumably better audio equipment than you heard it last time. So the audio comparison going on here could be as different as a memory of a recording played back on a car stereo on the one hand, and a remastered, loudness boosted, actual sound coming out of a (since you're here) decent home theater system or headphones or stereo. If you're finding yourself thinking, wow this sounds better than I remember it, that is likely all it is.

If, on the other hand, you're doing a blind test with whatever boombox you had in the 80's and whatever the blu-ray is connected to, then I guess just recording quality and playback device, minus the memory factor.
 
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Marc v E

Marc v E

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Could be at least partly because you're comparing hearing it now, on presumably better audio equipment than you heard it last time. So the audio comparison going on here could be as different as a memory of a recording played back on a car stereo on the one hand, and a remastered, loudness boosted, actual sound coming out of a (since you're here) decent home theater system or headphones or stereo. If you're finding yourself thinking, wow this sounds better than I remember it, that is likely all it is.

If, on the other hand, you're doing a blind test with whatever boombox you had in the 80's and whatever the blu-ray is connected to, then I guess just recording quality and playback device, minus the memory factor.
I'm comparing cds from the original release (which I also ripped to my NAS) to bluray and cd with the same songs on the same equipment. Not from memory but by quickly switching between inputs on the dac.

Not blind, but I did do a quick sound level measurement, which seems to confirm my first impression. And I will compare the two in Audacity, the cd files that is.
 
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Chr1

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I think that this remixing/remastering for film and television is real and from my perspective, can often improve on the original source tracks sound (dynamics, EQ etc). Might be interesting to start a list of films/shows, the tracks involved and the observed subjective/objective changes to the original source material.
It would be great to hear from anyone who has experience doing this kind of thing professionally or otherwise too...
 
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