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Thread: An audiophile ranks and reviews every MM album solely on sound quality. [NERD ALERT]

  1. #41
    fractured Skull's Avatar
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    Also, about the different digital versions of Pale Emperor, you're right as well. Here is a comparison for Warship my Wreck : (the diagram at the top is the Cooking Vinyl download that came with the vinyl, and the one at the bottom is the Amazon one)

    There's is a notable amount of clipping shaved off, even if it's still far from perfect...

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  3. #42
    Man Who Fell From Earth A Gruesome Discovery's Avatar
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    Time will tell; streaming video tends to use its own dynamic range reduction codecs, so this might be a byproduct of that. It's also basically just an advertisement for the album, so they may have clamped down on the peaks to make it sound strong coming through people's laptops and phones. That's my hope, anyway!

    More on my SAY10 take:

    SAY10 and BEYOND

    There's hope. The Pale Emperor sounded great in some of its formats, so the damage wasn't done at the mixing stage. SAY10 will have much of the same personnel involved, so it should be of high quality. And I think people are starting to pick up on this stuff; iTunes is starting to encode loudness information in their audio files' metadata, and a feature called "SoundCheck" will then actually turn down shit that is too loud. It doesn't change anything for songs that conform to a certain loudness standard (similar, but not exactly like the DR values used here), but once a track exceeds this level, it gets the hammer. If this catches on and is fully embraced, it'll end the Loudness War; it will create an incentive to *avoid* aggressive limiting, because all that effort will be wasted when iTunes decides that your program material isn't dynamic enough and cranks the level down. Now your attempt to make "the loudest mix possible" has caused your album to play back quieter than more dynamic stuff. Ha!
    That's what's needed; a standard. And there's a few out there, and they're being adopted; Europe has the EBU R128 standard, where audio for TV can't exceed a value of 23 LUFS (Loudness Units relative to Full Scale), so now there *needs* to be a high-dynamic version of music if it ever hopes to appear on TV. Then there's ReplayGain, similar to Apple's Soundcheck, which leaves your music alone if it's dynamic enough but spanks anything down that tries to be too fucking loud. As CDs continue their slow death and streaming takes over, we'll see a few things: higher quality music (I've seen a couple of albums come out in 24-bit WAV in recent months; YES!) and we will once again have color, impact, excitement, and dynamics in our music. I've already started remixing my own band's music at 16LUFS (which works out to around DR10 depending on the song); I used to go higher against my better judgment, because even I have felt pressure to make something "loud enough to compete" with everything else out there. But no more.
    The future is dynamic.
    Life is all dynamics.
    This space intentionally left blank.

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  5. #43
    Man Who Fell From Earth A Gruesome Discovery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skull View Post
    Also, about the different digital versions of Pale Emperor, you're right as well. Here is a comparison for Warship my Wreck : (the diagram at the top is the Cooking Vinyl download that came with the vinyl, and the one at the bottom is the Amazon one)
    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Fb...=w1920-h901-no
    There's is a notable amount of clipping shaved off, even if it's still far from perfect...
    Oh, thanks for that! I didn't even think to actually look at the waveforms of any of these songs in any of my reviews until the final one, when I needed a way to visually demonstrate just how much clipping I was hearing. Your post makes me feel better about my Pale Emperor assessment; I know I hear a big difference between the CD and the digital download, but this confirms that I'm not imagining it!
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  6. #44
    Hallelujah motherfuckers thatrussianman's Avatar
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    A Gruesome Discovery, you are doing God's work. And that is pointing out to the masses how irrevocably fucked Born Villain is.
    I remember May 2012, lining up my speakers so they were a perfect distance away from me, so excited to hear the new Manson album as I had just become a fan a couple years after THEOL was released, so this was my first new Manson album after I was already a super huge fan. I pressed play on my iTunes track list, and from the VERY second Hey Cruel World opened, I knew something was wrong. I had that same feeling that you put into words so eloquently in your review while I listened to the whole album. I should be feeling something here, but I'm not feeling ANYTHING. I like what's going on in these songs, but something about the way they sound makes it feel like they're stuck behind, well, "a wall of bad."

    To this day I shudder thinking about Born Villain. I loved the clips I had heard previously in the trailer and the i am among no one preview, so my high came crashing down like a fiery plane. I hope that one day the album will be properly remastered, but I'm not holding my breath. It's been long forgotten and is just a shit stain on Manson's otherwise impeccable discography.

    Another thing you pointed out in your review that I've thought while listening as well: To the person who mastered this album, do you just hate us? Or Manson? Or the music? WHY DID YOU DO THIS?

    Let's shout it loud enough for the people in the back to hear:
    BORN VILLAIN'S SOUND QUALITY IS UNACCEPTABLE.
    Last edited by thatrussianman; 01-08-2017 at 03:05 PM.
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  8. #45
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    We can't lay blame at the feet of the mastering engineers; I have utmost respect for these guys. Their job is literally to listen to a piece of music and make it sound the best that it can. They're hired for their ears and their judgment. But if they do their job, and then the client comes back and says, "no, make this much louder", well, the mastering engineer probably has a family to feed so he's going to try his damned best to make the client happy. So while a lot of damage is done during mastering, I think the blame belongs to the guy who signs the checks at the end of the day.

    It should be pointed out that the same guy who mastered Born Villain also mastered Antichrist Superstar and Portrait of an American Family, so the problem seems to be somewhere else... I'm not naming any names, but it rhymes with Cheryl-Lynn Danson.
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  9. #46

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    Wow, I was certainly not expecting GAOG to be that high on the list. Don't take me wrong, there are certain parts in that record I adore. Had the title track been finalized to the level of even HW standards, it'd be one of the greatest songs and greatest sounding songs the man's ever recorded. For some reason that album is just SHHHPPWWBWAAAAAA when I hear it for the most part, little to no contrast, no real 'umph' because it's all 'umph' always. After reading your review, I kinda get it.

    Going off of that, I'd be interested to get a quick list of what you feel to be the 1-9 based on the vinyls. After reading your PE review, I get you're reviewing based off of compact disks. I'm merely a pissant layman with no knowledge of any of this, but I'll give a loud 'amen' to your mentioning of the fact that the vinyl of PE sounds almost ridiculously different to any other form of the album, to the point where it boggles your mind and sounds almost like a second recording entirely. I noticed that with PE more than any other recent album. So, what would the list look like if we were going off of 'the highest quality officially available'? Because presumably that'd be the version that the artist(s) said 'ok, we're done here' on, before it was fucked in various ways in various methods by largely outside parties.

    BV should always and forever be at the bottom of this list. I didn't think it was possible for an album to sound like a bunch of poorly recorded demos made possible with a rock-band microphone and an iPad, while simultaneously sounding overproduced. There are some decent 'moments' on the record here and there, Vrenna definitely shines, but I'm embarrassed to listen to these songs around people and I wish it never existed. I'm a Manson fanboy as much as anyone here, back in the heirophant days I was the one dude thinking EMDM was awesome while everyone pretended to hate it, but BV is a pile of shit, for so many reasons, starting with the production itself.

    As was mentioned earlier, you're indeed doing God's work Gruesome. I think we all owe you a round of applause and a couple' free drinks man. You've provided one of the most insightful and thought-provoking analyses to be seen in these depths.

    Are you considering possibly expanding to the nooks and crannies? It'd be cool to hear your thoughts on some of the b-sides, remixes, acoustic versions compared to originals, OST songs, live albums, all sorts. You're our professor now, your shit is academic canon.

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  11. #47
    Hallelujah motherfuckers thatrussianman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Gruesome Discovery View Post
    We can't lay blame at the feet of the mastering engineers

    It should be pointed out that the same guy who mastered Born Villain also mastered Antichrist Superstar and Portrait of an American Family, so the problem seems to be somewhere else... I'm not naming any names, but it rhymes with Cheryl-Lynn Danson.
    Right. I read the liner notes on born villain and that puzzled me. I assumed it was him and not Manson because I pictured manson as leaving the mastering process to the pros and not interfering at all with the final stages. After hearing you say that is was Manson, I know this is blasphemous on this website, but is Manson fucking retarded? (or does he not care?)
    Last edited by thatrussianman; 01-08-2017 at 04:28 PM.
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  13. #48
    AudioViolence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thatrussianman View Post
    Right. I read the liner notes on born villain and that puzzled me. I assumed it was him and not Manson because I pictured manson as leaving the mastering process to the pros and not interfering at all with the final stages. After hearing you say that is was Manson, I know this is blasphemous on this website, but is Manson fucking retarded? (or does he not care?)
    Maybe he is retarded or perhaps he is a born villain whose evil intent was ruining the album?
    Last edited by AudioViolence; 01-08-2017 at 04:19 PM.

  14. #49
    Hallelujah motherfuckers thatrussianman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AudioViolence View Post
    Maybe he is a retarded or perhaps he is a born villain whose evil intent was ruining the album?
    Oh that crosses the line for me. Still a fan though. Can't wait for Say10. (I'm manson's bitch).
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  15. #50
    Man Who Fell From Earth A Gruesome Discovery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justsomeguy View Post
    Wow, I was certainly not expecting GAOG to be that high on the list.
    It's actually my least favorite album, as a matter of fact. But I can't help but respect the engineering behind it. As boring as I find the album, it sounds really smooth; a lot of the lower-ranked stuff can be painful to listen to in comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Justsomeguy View Post
    Going off of that, I'd be interested to get a quick list of what you feel to be the 1-9 based on the vinyls. After reading your PE review, I get you're reviewing based off of compact disks. I'm merely a pissant layman with no knowledge of any of this, but I'll give a loud 'amen' to your mentioning of the fact that the vinyl of PE sounds almost ridiculously different to any other form of the album, to the point where it boggles your mind and sounds almost like a second recording entirely. I noticed that with PE more than any other recent album. So, what would the list look like if we were going off of 'the highest quality officially available'?
    Oh, that's a tough question! I only have original pressings Mechanical Animals, Holy Wood, and The Pale Emperor on vinyl (I only wish I had ACSS), but if we were to add those to the mix instead of the CD versions, it'd go something like:

    1) Mechanical Animals (LP)
    2) The Pale Emperor (LP)
    3) Antichrist Superstar
    4) Holy Wood (LP)
    5) Portrait of an American Family
    6) Eat Me, Drink Me
    7) Golden Age of Grotesque
    8) High End of Low
    9) Born Villain

    I actually had to think about this for a while, and ended up just ordering the top 4 from "flawless" to "awesome but has some flaws".


    Quote Originally Posted by Justsomeguy View Post
    As was mentioned earlier, you're indeed doing God's work Gruesome. I think we all owe you a round of applause and a couple' free drinks man. You've provided one of the most insightful and thought-provoking analyses to be seen in these depths.

    Are you considering possibly expanding to the nooks and crannies? It'd be cool to hear your thoughts on some of the b-sides, remixes, acoustic versions compared to originals, OST songs, live albums, all sorts. You're our professor now, your shit is academic canon.
    Haha, thank you very much. I'll probably just pop on here every now and again and complain about everything sounding like shit.
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