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  • Hotsoup
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Amazon MP3 found dynamically compressed
I'm not sure if this is normal practice but I thought it strange enough to post my little finding. Amazon.com has a digital download available of a new (old) album by the Chameleons UK, Script of the Bridge, 2012 Remaster. Here.The disc version is only available in the UK, I believe, but being a huge fan I had it shipped across the pond. In the meantime, I also bought the Amazon MP3's to tide me over.

Anyway, to get to the point, they were touting this as a better remaster than the recent 25th anniversary edition and to be less "loud". I used the foobar dynamic range analyzer to compare the two and I was surprised to find no substantial difference between the new 2012 Remaster Amazon MP3's and my old anniversary edition (lossless rip). Well, I didn't make too much of it since I had the actual CD arriving soon.

Cut to this afternoon, I get the new 2012 Remaster CD and do my usual FLAC rip with dbpoweramp. Just out of curiosity, I run the dynamic analyzer in foobar and I get significantly different values, so I'm not sure what's happening here.
Here's the Amazon MP3 results:
Code: [Select]
foobar2000 1.1.11 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2012-09-17 17:13:25

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Analyzed: The Chameleons UK / Script Of The Bridge (Remaster 2012)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DR         Peak         RMS     Duration Track
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DR9        0.00 dB   -10.72 dB      4:07 01-Don't Fall
DR9        0.00 dB   -11.11 dB      3:58 02-Here Today
DR9        0.00 dB   -12.61 dB      5:17 03-Monkeyland
DR9        0.00 dB   -10.51 dB      6:51 04-Second Skin
DR8        0.00 dB    -9.90 dB      3:58 05-Up The Down Escalator
DR9       -0.09 dB   -11.02 dB      4:16 06-Less Than Human
DR10       0.00 dB   -12.66 dB      5:12 07-Pleasure And Pain
DR8       -0.05 dB   -10.41 dB      3:33 08-Thursdays Child
DR9       -0.01 dB   -10.88 dB      3:35 09-As High As You Can Go
DR9       -0.06 dB   -11.35 dB      5:43 10-A Person Isn't Safe Anywhere These Days
DR9        0.00 dB   -11.49 dB      4:17 11-Paper Tigers
DR10       0.00 dB   -12.40 dB      6:41 12-View From A Hill
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Number of tracks:  12
Official DR value: DR9

Samplerate:        44100 Hz
Channels:          2
Bitrate:           257 kbps
Codec:             MP3
================================================================================

Here's the lossless rip:
Code: [Select]
foobar2000 1.1.11 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2012-09-17 17:12:17

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Analyzed: The Chameleons UK / Script of the Bridge (2012 Remaster)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DR         Peak         RMS     Duration Track
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DR11      -0.64 dB   -13.87 dB      4:07 01-Don't Fall
DR11      -2.02 dB   -15.67 dB      3:58 02-Here Today
DR12      -1.25 dB   -17.14 dB      5:17 03-Monkeyland
DR11      -1.06 dB   -15.01 dB      6:51 04-Second Skin
DR11      -0.49 dB   -14.34 dB      3:58 05-Up the Down Escalator
DR12      -0.10 dB   -15.49 dB      4:16 06-Less Than Human
DR13      -1.24 dB   -17.19 dB      5:12 07-Pleasure and Pain
DR11      -1.42 dB   -14.85 dB      3:33 08-Thursday's Child
DR13      -0.69 dB   -15.33 dB      3:35 09-As High as You Can Go
DR12      -1.39 dB   -15.87 dB      5:43 10-A Person Isn't Safe Anywhere These Days
DR12      -1.63 dB   -16.01 dB      4:17 11-Paper Tigers
DR13      -0.74 dB   -16.95 dB      6:41 12-View from a Hill
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Number of tracks:  12
Official DR value: DR12

Samplerate:        44100 Hz
Channels:          2
Bits per sample:   16
Bitrate:           728 kbps
Codec:             FLAC
================================================================================

I'm not experienced with any other audio tools so I have not ran any other tests. I have also not done any ABX's but would like to when I get the chance. My concern isn't so much about sound quality as it is about my finding--why would the Amazon MP3's be so different? My own VBR V0 encodes of the lossless didn't dynamically compress the lossless at all, so I'm wondering if there was some kind of DSP used in the preparation of the Amazon MP3's?? There were only 1000 discs made of the new 2012 remaster, so I don't think I'm confusing the source. I would expect the Amazon MP3 to match my own encodes in this case right?
  • Last Edit: 17 September, 2012, 09:03:56 PM by Hotsoup

  • 2Bdecided
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  • Developer
Amazon MP3 found dynamically compressed
Reply #1
Do the mp3s match the previous release?

  • Goratrix
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Amazon MP3 found dynamically compressed
Reply #2
Do the mp3s match the previous release?


I have the 1995 release (this one) and they don't match either:

Code: [Select]
foobar2000 1.1.10 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2012-09-18 13:15:34

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Analyzed: The Chameleons / Script of The Bridge
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DR         Peak         RMS     Duration Track
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DR12       0.00 dB   -13.61 dB      4:06 01-Don't Fall
DR11       0.00 dB   -12.69 dB      3:58 02-Here Today
DR12      -0.09 dB   -15.87 dB      5:18 03-Monkeyland
DR11       0.00 dB   -12.23 dB      6:51 04-Second Skin
DR11       0.00 dB   -12.27 dB      3:58 05-Up The Down Escalator
DR11       0.00 dB   -13.36 dB      4:13 06-Less Than Human
DR12       0.00 dB   -14.85 dB      5:11 07-Pleasure And Pain
DR11       0.00 dB   -12.74 dB      3:33 08-Thursday's Child
DR11       0.00 dB   -12.86 dB      3:36 09-As High As You Can Go
DR11       0.00 dB   -13.68 dB      5:44 10-A Person Isn't Safe Anywhere These Days
DR12       0.00 dB   -13.97 dB      4:17 11-Paper Tigers
DR13       0.00 dB   -15.54 dB      6:40 12-View From A Hill
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Number of tracks:  12
Official DR value: DR11

Samplerate:        44100 Hz
Channels:          2
Bits per sample:   16
Bitrate:           911 kbps
Codec:             FLAC
================================================================================


Also I can confirm the log for the real 2012 remaster that the OP posted... looks like Amazon screwed this up.

  • Hotsoup
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Amazon MP3 found dynamically compressed
Reply #3
Do the mp3s match the previous release?

Here's the log for my rip of the 25th anniversary release.
Code: [Select]
foobar2000 1.1.11 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2012-09-17 21:12:29

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Analyzed: The Chameleons UK / Script Of The Bridge (25th Anniversary)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DR         Peak         RMS     Duration Track
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DR8       -0.20 dB   -10.17 dB      4:07 01-Don't Fall
DR9       -0.20 dB   -10.44 dB      3:50 02-Here Today
DR9       -0.20 dB   -12.61 dB      5:25 03-Monkeyland
DR8       -0.20 dB   -10.28 dB      6:51 04-Second Skin
DR8       -0.20 dB   -10.29 dB      3:58 05-Up The Down Escalator
DR8       -0.20 dB   -10.62 dB      4:12 06-Less Than Human
DR9       -0.20 dB   -12.58 dB      5:12 07-Pleasure And Pain
DR8       -0.20 dB   -10.85 dB      3:33 08-Thursday's Child
DR9       -0.20 dB   -10.28 dB      3:35 09-As High As You Can Go
DR9       -0.20 dB   -11.58 dB      5:43 10-A Person Isn't Safe Anywhere These Days
DR9       -0.20 dB   -11.62 dB      4:17 11-Paper Tigers
DR9       -0.20 dB   -11.15 dB      6:41 12-View From A Hill
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Number of tracks:  12
Official DR value: DR9

Samplerate:        44100 Hz
Channels:          2
Bits per sample:   16
Bitrate:           792 kbps
Codec:             FLAC
================================================================================

  • ojdo
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Amazon MP3 found dynamically compressed
Reply #4
Visual comparison:

(http://snag.gy/vRpty.jpg)

  • gymnos
  • [*]
Amazon MP3 found dynamically compressed
Reply #5
My own VBR V0 encodes of the lossless didn't dynamically compress the lossless at all, so I'm wondering if there was some kind of DSP used in the preparation of the Amazon MP3's??


Any evidence of the dynamic range of mp3 rips from the cd at Amazon settings?

  • Hotsoup
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Amazon MP3 found dynamically compressed
Reply #6
Any evidence of the dynamic range of mp3 rips from the cd at Amazon settings?

I didn't write that clearly in my original statement. The Amazon downloads were, at least according to foobar, LAME 3.97 VBR V0. When I encoded my own MP3's from the new 2012 Remaster disc, they had the same DR values as the disc at V0 and V2, etc. Not accusing Amazon of doing anything (who knows what they were provided and by whom), just surprised to see their MP3's--clearly marketed as the 2012 Remaster--to be so different.

  • zipr
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Amazon MP3 found dynamically compressed
Reply #7
Did you ask Amazon about it? In my experience, they are fairly helpful and responsive to questions....

  • Hotsoup
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Amazon MP3 found dynamically compressed
Reply #8
Did you ask Amazon about it? In my experience, they are fairly helpful and responsive to questions....

I did pose the question to Blue Apple Music, but I got the feeling whoever was helping me did not really understand the issue. As for Amazon, I've also found them to be quite helpful in the past. I will see if they get back to me tomorrow.

  • slks
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Amazon MP3 found dynamically compressed
Reply #9
Given that the RMS numbers from the Amazon MP3 match so closely to the "25th anniversary edition", my first thought is that they accidentally uploaded MP3s of the 25th anniversary release, rather than the new one. It could be that Amazon uploaded the wrong release, or they were given the wrong files by the label.

I suppose it's possible that some twisted mind ran the Amazon MP3s through a compressor... but IMO it's much more likely they just uploaded the wrong remaster.

  • Hotsoup
  • [*][*][*]
Amazon MP3 found dynamically compressed
Reply #10
I suppose it's possible that some twisted mind ran the Amazon MP3s through a compressor... but IMO it's much more likely they just uploaded the wrong remaster.

That's my feeling too. Admittedly I have a man-crush for this band so when I noticed the issue, my first reaction was "GWAAAARGH, WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS". Amazon was kind and refunded me (even though I didn't ask to be) but I'm not sure if they'll pursue it any further. I've been exchanging emails with a rep at Blue Apple Music so I'm hoping it may get fixed by one or the other. On the other hand, and not to imply conspiracy, I would be surprised to find they WERE purposely compressed.
  • Last Edit: 19 September, 2012, 02:03:04 PM by Hotsoup