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Submarine remastering

New blog post.

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Despite no documentation, there are at least two separate masterings of Pearl Jam's LP "Vs." floating around. One of them is clearly inferior to the other. Simply put, one of the masters was highpassed at around 40hz, with the resulting digital overs clipped, to generate the new master. Such a master suffers from both reduced bass and greater amounts of clipping.

I haven't seen any documentation, either online or on the printed packaging of "Vs." that I just saw at the store, to suggest that this remaster ever took place. Therefore I'll dub it a "submarine remaster".


http://audiamorous.blogspot.com/2009/01/su...t-inferior.html

Submarine remastering

Reply #1
I don't think that a highpass filter by itself is responsible for new clipping (unless there is a lot of ripple).
Are the two plots with the clipping the old and the new version ? They are labeled Orig and Final.
Are the two versions perfectly sync ? If so then it's likely to be a digital (re)mastering from a digital source.
Would you say that the clipping in the remaster sounds worse ? The original looks pretty much clipped to me already.
Mastering is often considered as an art. Many mastering engineers are tempted to always do something to the sound. Perhaps to justify that artistic label (or their hourly rates).
Did you find the differences to be consistent over the whole album or do you suspect a track by track difference ?

Submarine remastering

Reply #2
Would there be an easy way to identify which master a person has?

Submarine remastering

Reply #3
Are the two plots with the clipping the old and the new version ? They are labeled Orig and Final.
"Orig" is from a CD purchased around 1997; "Final" is from a CD purchased in the last few years. We don't know much more than that.

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Are the two versions perfectly sync ? If so then it's likely to be a digital (re)mastering from a digital source.
Yes, we believe they are sample aligned.

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Would you say that the clipping in the remaster sounds worse ? The original looks pretty much clipped to me already.
I haven't tried ABXing the two, and honestly I would probably fail at it, because the low end response on my setup is not great. But the numeric differences between the two records seem fairly cut and dry to me.

I admit that this is a fairly academic mastering difference, which has the possibility to be transparent, but I still think it is worth pointing out.

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Mastering is often considered as an art. Many mastering engineers are tempted to always do something to the sound. Perhaps to justify that artistic label (or their hourly rates).
Perhaps, but if that were true, why didn't Sony advertise the 2004 pressing as being a remaster? When a label spends money on a new back catalog feature you can bet they'll make the customer aware of it on the packaging.

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Did you find the differences to be consistent over the whole album or do you suspect a track by track difference ?
We haven't looked at other tracks (yet).

Would there be an easy way to identify which master a person has?
Nope! Except for looking at the waveform plots on the first drum hit of "Dissident", I have no firm way of distinguishing the two pressings. I stopped by B&N yesterday to see if the new pressing looks any different than the old one; I don't believe it does.

Submarine remastering

Reply #4
I don't think that a highpass filter by itself is responsible for new clipping (unless there is a lot of ripple).
While playing around with various highpass filters in an attempt to recreate a similar later-generation version, I noticed that it did cause digital overs with every attempt.  Because they were even worse than what is present on my disc, I started attenuating prior to filtering.  So, yes, I think the highpass filter by itself can easily be responsible for new clipping.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Submarine remastering

Reply #5
I noticed that it did cause digital overs with every attempt.
I did a bit of reading and you're right that high-pass filters produce overshoot. Linear phase filters do pretty well in this respect, especially compared to "analog style" filters, but there's still overshoot. Good to know, thanks !

Submarine remastering

Reply #6
I noticed that it did cause digital overs with every attempt.
I did a bit of reading and you're right that high-pass filters produce overshoot. Linear phase filters do pretty well in this respect, especially compared to "analog style" filters, but there's still overshoot. Good to know, thanks !
Just to tie a bow on this, the relationship between non-linear-phase highpass filtering and sloped clipping (and therefore digital overs) was covered earlier.

Submarine remastering

Reply #7
You should post about this on Hoffman's board -- the people there could probably help you track down when the new mastering appeared.


Submarine remastering

Reply #9
You should post about this on Hoffman's board -- the people there could probably help you track down when the new mastering appeared.
Already did, two days ago. No replies.



Hmm.. Perhaps you should have given the thread a more explicit name like 'alternate mastering of Pearl Jam Vs?'

Its current title might only attract fans of extremely obscure Genesis b-sides. 

 
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