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  • Originally posted by Jeff View Post
    It's already happening.

    Lots of titles released as AAA. More so Jazz than Rock but plenty of rock available and surely there will be more.

    Shop at places like Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc or even Music Direct (who now own MoFi). All analogue is everywhere and it will continue to grow, IMO.

    Plenty of engineers out there still know what they're doing. Guys like Bernie Grundman, Kevin Gray, Steve Hoffman, Krieg Wunderlich ... these guys have been around. Even younger guys like Ryan Smith who studied under George Marino at Sterling.

    Look, I could be wrong, but look at the trends. Like Hendrix (Axis Bold As Love) being announced as a so-called "One Step" UHQR LP. It will be mastered direct from the master tape to the cutting lathe by Bernie Grundman. Pre-orders are expected to sell out the entire limited run of 5,000 Stereo and 2,500 Mono. Each LP costs $100. I can't imagine that this kind of thing won't draw attention from plenty of others sitting on catalogs of classic and highly regarded albums. There's too much money there. Already Santana Abraxas was done like this. I think it sold out the entire 2,500 copies on pre-order and people couldn't get it. And it was also $100 a pop!

    And that's the ultra-snazzy market stuff. The market in the $25-$50 range is already there for stuff mastered analogue. Check out the sites I've mentioned.
    Thank you Jeff. I wasn't even aware of that. Well, there's money in it, so I guess it is likely to come indeed. I didn't find a real definition of "AAA" on the internet, though I do remember I read something like "AAD" or "ADD" on some of my (older) CDs. Does AAA mean that a recording has been recorded on analog equipment, stored on analog tapes and is finally put on an analog medium (like vinyl)?

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Sabbabbath View Post
      Does AAA mean that a recording has been recorded on analog equipment, stored on analog tapes and is finally put on an analog medium (like vinyl)?
      If I remember correctly, the first A stands for analog recording, the second A for analog mixing, and the third A for analog mastering.

      Edit: That is indeed what AAA means.
      SPARS_code (Wikipedia)
      Last edited by southernlord; 12-05-2017, 03:15 AM.

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      • Originally posted by southernlord View Post
        If I remember correctly, the first A stands for analog recording, the second A for analog mixing, and the third A for analog mastering.

        Edit: That is indeed what AAA means.
        SPARS_code (Wikipedia)
        Thank you!

        Comment


        • Yeah, basically AAA means that the sound you get has never touched digital at any stage.

          You'll see a lot of releases dancing around the subject. Sometimes it's not that what they say isn't good but what they don't mention. IE: "Remastered from the original tapes." "Sourced from the original masters." "Audiophile Edition Pressed on 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl." Blah blah blah ...

          What you want (if analogue is the goal) is something taken from analogue, mastered in analogue and cut in analogue. If you have LPs pressed at somewhere like GZ Vinyl, you can bet it is from digital. They might be able to do analogue by now but I doubt that equals 1% of their business.

          More reputable plants in the US like RTI and QRP do analogue all the time. Pallas in Germany as well.
          "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
          -WTB

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Jeff View Post
            Yeah, basically AAA means that the sound you get has never touched digital at any stage.

            You'll see a lot of releases dancing around the subject. Sometimes it's not that what they say isn't good but what they don't mention. IE: "Remastered from the original tapes." "Sourced from the original masters." "Audiophile Edition Pressed on 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl." Blah blah blah ...

            What you want (if analogue is the goal) is something taken from analogue, mastered in analogue and cut in analogue. If you have LPs pressed at somewhere like GZ Vinyl, you can bet it is from digital. They might be able to do analogue by now but I doubt that equals 1% of their business.

            More reputable plants in the US like RTI and QRP do analogue all the time. Pallas in Germany as well.
            Thank you very much Jeff.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Sabbabbath View Post
              Thank you very much Jeff.
              You're most welcome, Linda.

              Btw, when I mentioned RTI, QRP and Pallas doing analog vinyl cutting "all the time" I just meant that it is very common at these plants. These plants can cut from digital, too, obviously. But they specialize in being sent lacquers from places like Bernie Grundman mastering in Los Angeles. As opposed to somebody uploading a hi-res file or even just a CD version to be cut to vinyl.
              "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
              -WTB

              Comment


              • Can't wait to get some MP3s of the AAA recordings.

                Hang on, am I doin it wrong?

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Jeff View Post
                  I have received my box!

                  This set is absolutely gorgeous. The book is fantastic! So many memorable quotes from other musicians. Probably my very favorite was seeing Nick Mason give them so much credit, because of course Pink Floyd (well, mainly Roger Waters) were critical of Sabbath way back in the early days. To see that sort of come full circle was heartwarming, because it made me think about all these guys have been through.

                  The reproduction of the '78 Tour Book is sensational! And the reprint of the '78 Promo Press Cartoon Magazine is a real gem! I used to own a copy of the real thing many years ago, but at some point I think I sold it or put it away somewhere, but now I have it again for sure. That magazine is a real treasure. Sabbath's PR Team were clearly trying to convert some non-believers in the late 70s. Who can blame the band for being on board after so much criticism by ignorant, musically inept writers. They wanted to survive and expand their reach. And whatever some people think of TE and NSD, they did survive and even thrived.

                  To have Mint copies of all the UK covers is a real joy. I am not going to get into debates about sound on this set. I don't expect it to replace my favorite vinyl pressings, but I don't even care about that.

                  My limited number is 2561. It was worth the wait. Even this set arrived with just a very minor nick, but no big deal. I am happy.

                  I want to again thank Doc for being so generous. It was a great contest! Thanks to everybody. Truly!

                  Sabbath Forever!

                  -Jeff
                  That's awesome Jeff \m/
                  Post some cool pics

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by ronn View Post
                    That's awesome Jeff \m/
                    Post some cool pics
                    I figured since there are now unboxing videos everywhere nobody would care about pics any more!
                    "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
                    -WTB

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Jeff View Post
                      You're most welcome, Linda.

                      Btw, when I mentioned RTI, QRP and Pallas doing analog vinyl cutting "all the time" I just meant that it is very common at these plants. These plants can cut from digital, too, obviously. But they specialize in being sent lacquers from places like Bernie Grundman mastering in Los Angeles. As opposed to somebody uploading a hi-res file or even just a CD version to be cut to vinyl.
                      Thanks again Jeff. How about Reel-to-Reel? Would it not even make much more sense for AAA to be released on R2R rather than vinyl? I just read this article:
                      https://www.theverge.com/2015/10/5/9...ro-audio-trend

                      Comment


                      • Here is a new and quite interesting interview with Andy Pearce on 'The Ten Year War' box set remastering process ....
                        https://theaudiophileman.com/black-s...ox-set-review/

                        TALKING TO ANDY PEARCE

                        Freelance mastering engineers Andy Pearce and Matt Wortham worked on this new box set, “Years ago, reissues where produced along the lines of ‘This is the budget, here’s the stuff, get on with it’,” said Pearce. “A bare bones approach. Nowadays, we like to do more bespoke productions, getting the best tapes, strict A-B tests, finding the earliest generations and that kind of detail”

                        Pearce calls this approach “Drains up”, which is a familiar term in his sector of the industry. This is a housing metaphor, when a house is thoroughly repaired and improved from the very bottom (the drains), upwards to the very top. That is, the best job you can possibly do. This approach has been applied to the Black Sabbath, Ten Year War box set.

                        A host of tools were used to get the job done, “I used a Studer A820 master recorder which has a ” and ” rig set up,” said Pearce. “The A820 was the last real professional model that was manufactured. It’s in particularly good order, still looks brand new. I’ve used Ampex machines in the past – which sound great – but the transport of the Studer is so kind to the tape.”

                        And its the original master tape that was used during the creation of this box tape. In fact, while using the tape as a source, Pearce took nothing for granted and paid careful attention to every note. One note of welcome OCD-like focus arose when Pearce and Wortham attended to the LP, Paranoid, “There’s a real dirge-like section in there. We were not sure if this was the music itself or damage. We’ve remastered this album on at least four occasions in the past but we had more license to address this remaster in fine detail. I talked to the label and asked for another source to compare. I had to see if the tape had been damaged in the past or if it was meant to be like that. “I went over to the management office and picked up an early copy of the album from the vault which had not been previously seen by me. Chances are that it was less used and less chance of damage. I signed a loan form (while the archive manager commented that, if I didn’t return the disc soon, they’d have my legs off.) Which I found quite…amusing. I quickly ran over to the studio, transferred the disc to my studio and ran it back. Legs intact.”

                        BLACK SABBATH’S TEN YEAR WAR - THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

                        And, would you believe it, this dark section was actually meant to be dark and brooding. It wasn’t damage after all. That said, any Black Sabbath fan would applaud Pearce for caring enough to find out in the first place.

                        “I wanted to check this because of the dubbed nature of some of the tape around that time and the fact that some tape of the era shed oxide. Ampex in particular, where the binder would absorb water resulting in flaking on the heads.”

                        Some of Black Sabbath masters from the later 70s decade did suffer from oxide shedding but Pearce managed to conserve the tapes before any aural damage could be heard.

                        “When we receive a tape, the first thing we do is smell it – you can smell the damp on it. We’ve even seen mould on tape. Once you start to move the tape, the damp becomes airborne so you have to wear a mask. You don’t know what’s in that stuff. We do a test on a blank piece of non-music tape to see how it bears up. If it starts to leave a residue on the head then its into the oven for baking.”

                        The baking removes the moisture in the tape and fixes the oxide to the master tape itself. If done carefully and gently, the tape itself can enjoy many more years of use.

                        “Before we remaster, we listen to many of the early LP releases as possible as well as the tape. To get a feel for the music and the levels, EQs and the like. These are used as references.”

                        BLACK SABBATH’S TEN YEAR WAR - THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

                        From there, the music was transferred to 24bit/96kHz for editing. Fortunately, in terms of the actual editing, there was nothing dramatic required although, “We did ‘topping and tailing’. This is getting rid of noise in the gaps between tracks or the leader track,” said Pearce. “I didn’t de-noise or de-hiss the actual music, though. I don’t think that the technology is there yet to get rid of this in the music itself so I left well alone. There’s always a danger of forgetting about the music and concentrating too much on the noise. Which results in damage to the music itself. The music is priceless. I’d rather hear a bit of third generation hiss than something that sounds unnatural and squeaky. You need to treat the music with respect.”

                        ANDY PEARCE ON…
                        Never Turn Your Back on a Spooling Tape

                        “I did that once when I was younger to have a cup of tea, only to return to see the floor full of one inch bits shredded all over the floor. You make one mistake like that and you never do it again. The engineer, who had gone down to the pub, leaving me to do a few bits and pieces came back and said, ‘You can edit that all back together.’ I was about 18 at the time. I was horrified! He was joking but he apparently enjoyed the look on my face that moment, though.”

                        Reel-To-Reel ‘Others’

                        “I do have other machines for other tasks. I have a collection that comes in handy. For example, a Bang & Olufsen which I use to transfer tapes. Mainly because you could use two tracks in one direction and then turn the tape over and have two tracks in the other direction. The machine was used domestically to make demos and, sometimes, I receive tapes in that format and on varying tape speeds (tape was expensive then). I also have a Akai 4000DB for similar reasons.”

                        SOUND QUALITY
                        I tested the new vinyl with a host of original pressings to see how the box set measured up in sonic terms. After cleaning all discs with an Audio Desk’s ultrasonic Pro Vinyl Cleaner (www.audioconsultants.co.uk) I compared the debut, Master of Reality (1970) with the (now rather expensive) Vertigo original. The most important part of this record is the overall feel of the music: that dirge-like, wading though mud-type rock progression. The new cuts retain that feel of enclosure and claustrophobia. What is different, though is the clarity. There is much more available on this new remaster. Right from the stereo channel-spanning cough at the beginning of Sweet Leaf, you can hear great intonation and detail. Osborne’s own vocal performance is far clearer, allowing more emotion to seep through the rock meat. You can hear nuance and more effort in his singing. Percussion is similarly clear, treble-based cymbals are sweeter and retain an extra splashy nature. Iommi’s guitar is notably more intricate but the big winner here is the bass guitar which emerges from the depth of the rock pit to become a bigger part of the overall mix.

                        BLACK SABBATH’S TEN YEAR WAR - THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

                        On the original Vertigo issue of Vol.4 (1972) now and Wheels of Confusion as was surprised to hear a much wider and broader soundstage on the remaster. There was far more air and space here which allowed the drums and cymbals to manoeuvre, combining the power of the bass with the delicacy of the drums. Osborne’s own vocals, rather pinched on the original, now had a fuller and richer quality on the remaster. Most startling of all was the lower volume. I assume the original has a touch of extra compression, the remaster removes that, allowing you to up the volume and access even more detail.

                        I then moved to a later album release, Technical Ecstasy (1976) and Back Street Kids. This one would be interesting because the remaster had to cope with shedding oxide and baking to allow processing. The result is a triumph! The new sense of clarity brings this track to life, adding points of detail were none previously existed. Cymbal work is fresh and offers delicate responses, while the guitars have been brought forward to the ear instead of being squashed into the rear of the mix. The vocals, meanwhile, have been lifted a touch, to separate them a little from the band itself.

                        I tried something a little different with Paranoid (1970) and the track Warpigs by playing the original Vertigo issue then comparing that with the later NEMs reissue (1976) and then the new remaster.

                        BLACK SABBATH’S TEN YEAR WAR - THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

                        In comparison to the original cut, the NEMS reissue lifts the midrange, adding a slight compressive edge which does highlight the detail and adds pace and life to the music but also adds a slight clinical vibe to the LP. The remaster also lifts the detail but does so in a completely different way. Adding a spacious and airy midrange, it increases the richness and the size of the soundstage, opening up the detail and removing the veiling that could be heard on the original release.

                        The improvements continued throughout this box set, confirming the superiority of the sonics from this box set, even when compared to the referred original Vertigo cuts. The dynamic reach has been enhanced, detail now rolls towards the ears in tidal waves while loudness and compression are not part of this package. A brilliant and impressive suite of vinyl remasters that form part of a superb set. Highly recommended for any fan of heavy rock and an absolutely essential purchase for any Sabbath fan who wants to hear what really going on in these classic albums.
                        Last edited by IRON-MaN; 12-13-2017, 03:34 AM.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by IRON-MaN View Post
                          Here is a new and quite interesting interview with Andy Pearce on 'The Ten Year War' box set remastering process ....
                          https://theaudiophileman.com/black-s...ox-set-review/
                          Thanks very much, IRON-MaN, for posting this! Very interesting indeed!

                          I just read it. Did I overlook anything, or does the author really not mention WHEN exactly the remastering process took place? The whole article makes it look like it was a recent remastering specifically for the Ten Year War box, while in fact it happened in 2012 and the same mastering was already used on multiple (2012 vinyl, 2014 hi-res, 2016 redbook CD, 2017 Ten Year War) releases. Again, it is an interesting article for some of the details on the mastering process given by Andy Pearce. But the way it deals with the date issue makes it advertising rather than journalism.
                          Last edited by Sabbabbath; 12-13-2017, 05:35 AM.

                          Comment


                          • Thank you for the great read IRON-MaN.
                            "Without Black Sabbath there never would have been an Ozzy, and without Ozzy there never would have been a Black Sabbath"
                            "If there ever was a band whose voice is so significant and distinct, that band is Black Sabbath and the voice is Ozzy Osbourne"
                            ________Sabbath Forever, Forever Sabbath!______OzzyIsDio_ (YoY)

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                            • Has anybody checked if the vinyl discs possibly contain a new remaster?

                              Hey folks,

                              I have another question regarding the Ten Year War box vinyl set: Did anybody compare the sound of the vinyl LPs to the sound of the MQA-FLAC files included? Or the sound of the Ten Year War LPs to the sound of the 2012 Vinyl Collection LPs? Since this article seems to imply that the TYW is from a fresh&new remaster, there is maybe a (very slight) chance that they used that remaster for the vinyl but the older 2012 remaster for the digital files?

                              To be sure, that sounds not likely of course. I just want to be rule it out based on evidence. I don't have the vinyl set since I don't really collect vinyl, I just have the official 24/96 download version <http://www.qobuz.com/de-de/album/the-ten-year-war-2009-remaster-black-sabbath/4050538337839>. I also tested some of the MQA/FLAC files included in the vinyl set (same mastering/sound as the 24/96 download).

                              The TYW digital files are DEFINITELY the same mastering as the 2014HDtracks hi-res downloads and the 2016 Warner-Rhino redbook CDs (which are based on the 2012 remaster). In this respect, I can fully confirm Alex' and Jeff's findings above. (Many tracks even have exactly the same dynamic range (DR) values.) Since the PR around the TYW box set makes such a fuss about the allegedly 'new' remaster, I think we should check if possibly at least the vinyl contains a new mastering.

                              If it doesn't (and that's what I expect), this id probably the most misleading PR campaign for a Sabbath remaster ever. I mean, on the one hand the TYW digital download download release claims to be sourced from the 2009 remaster, on the other hand this article and many other sources claim it is a fresh remaster, while in fact everything seems to be from 2012 - seriously?

                              Any help from you vinyl guys would be appreciated.

                              Best,
                              Linda

                              Comment


                              • Linda , truth be told , it's not what you call a "fresh" remaster ..... but it's a gorgeous sounding vinyl set ..... furthermore , in today's world of accurate transfers through digital ,,,, triple A and reel to reel are not as "easy" to work with , though they (triple A and RTR) sound significantly more life like ..... people make the mistake that "volume" and "clarity" are somehow superior to the original sound ,,, when more times than not it's a backwards move. Please also understand you can "remaster" without truly remastering , so A will ALWAYS sound like B - no matter how many times you "remaster" as just a digital "cleaning" tool - takes literally seconds to accomplish , hence here you have your remaster.

                                Linda , two other points from this read ..... Paul is incorrect , not a matter of taste , a matter of playback ..... what I mean is , as nice as the new product sounds , original pressings are all over it - in terms of EVERYTHING! ,,,,, And proper playback makes this obvious.

                                Talking about playback , you can have the EXACT same digital transfer on vinyl as you do CD as you do any other software - and it sound "diffetent" based on the equipment used to transfer it and the playback system / room used to hear it.


                                God Bless

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