Awesome Audiophile Snake Oil

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J0hn D., Sunday, 18 November 2007 01:05 (fourteen years ago) link


J0hn D., Sunday, 18 November 2007 01:06 (fourteen years ago) link

"The very best sound was obtained when I slightly loosened the screws on the Duplex Covers. And they sound great!!.


morris pavilion, Sunday, 18 November 2007 01:12 (fourteen years ago) link


BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Sunday, 18 November 2007 01:15 (fourteen years ago) link

every product on the site is like New Hope for the Ape-Eared

J0hn D., Sunday, 18 November 2007 01:20 (fourteen years ago) link

i love that website! check out this fancy table:

it's supposed to isolate your amplifier from vibrations, "especially the 0 -10 Hz variety produced by Earth's crust movement, traffic, subways, tides, etc. "

how a spring could cancel out waves slower than 1 Hz?

elan, Sunday, 18 November 2007 01:38 (fourteen years ago) link

but the best is this "teleportation tweak"

elan, Sunday, 18 November 2007 01:44 (fourteen years ago) link

everything on there is great but I'm still standing by the Tru-Tone Duplex cover as the most balls-out

J0hn D., Sunday, 18 November 2007 01:50 (fourteen years ago) link

oh wait though codename turquoise is pretty fucking rad

J0hn D., Sunday, 18 November 2007 02:00 (fourteen years ago) link

Brilliant Pebbles is my favorite one on that site i think

ciderpress, Sunday, 18 November 2007 02:13 (fourteen years ago) link

From cidepress' link, this was amusing:

"Where most audiophiles would agree, however, is that tweaks are a minor aspect of system building. Defined by the dictionary in Microsoft Word® as "a slight adjustment or change in..."

italics mine.

Clay, Sunday, 18 November 2007 02:20 (fourteen years ago) link for brains

scott seward, Sunday, 18 November 2007 02:38 (fourteen years ago) link

Somewhere, audiophile dude pushes the leather sofa away from the wall, sees four-socket outlet, shrieks.

bendy, Sunday, 18 November 2007 02:44 (fourteen years ago) link

Well, these are great, but you don't have to spend a lot of money to improve sound:

Mark Rich@rdson, Sunday, 18 November 2007 04:34 (fourteen years ago) link

Holy shit the Teleportation Tweak! We are dealing with <i>balls</i> here, gentlemen. Big, round, shiny balls, of finest brass, lovingly hand-polished to a mirror shine by a taskforce of brilliant Sound Artisans. These balls can be yours for the astonishingly low price of $680 (Big Shiny Brass Balls are not subject to our 30-day money-back guarantee)

Telephone thing, Sunday, 18 November 2007 10:23 (fourteen years ago) link

it doesn't actually take any courage to be a con man, is the thing. you just have to really, really hate everybody.

El Tomboto, Sunday, 18 November 2007 19:55 (fourteen years ago) link

The interesting thing about these tweaks is that they abandon the pretense of scientific support. Whereas w/ feet for speaker stands in Stereophile or whatever they'll be some physicist explaining how the damping works, here's it's just like, Hey, put this magic clock in the room and it'll improve the sound. I love it.

Mark Rich@rdson, Sunday, 18 November 2007 20:36 (fourteen years ago) link

Sorry, maybe I'm Billy-doesn't-get-it, but is this site real or an elaborate spoof?

Matt #2, Sunday, 18 November 2007 20:40 (fourteen years ago) link

I had initially assumed spoof, but I followed some links and poked around and it appears to be real, or at least elaborate enough a spoof to include three or four different sites. Stereophile had an article on some of these tweaks a few years ago anyway:

Mark Rich@rdson, Sunday, 18 November 2007 20:49 (fourteen years ago) link

even if it is a spoof there's certainly enough real snake-oil products with extremely similar purposes/explanations

here's a collection of some more:

ciderpress, Sunday, 18 November 2007 21:36 (fourteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...

i know someone who swears by this ....

zappi, Thursday, 13 December 2007 15:59 (fourteen years ago) link

"extremely flat"

nabisco, Thursday, 13 December 2007 16:10 (fourteen years ago) link

I don't even know what "a richer, fuller sound, with less emphasis of detail" means. it's supposed to be a good thing?

bernard snowy, Thursday, 13 December 2007 16:18 (fourteen years ago) link

My latest tweak = this chair;

Scik Mouthy, Thursday, 13 December 2007 16:21 (fourteen years ago) link

i'm actually buying a glass platter for my turntable. i might even buy that mat for it. i'm a sucka 4 luv.

M@tt He1ges0n, Thursday, 13 December 2007 23:24 (fourteen years ago) link

actually the chair i'm assuming was a joke, but honestly i was suprised how much getting speaker stands and "correctly" positioning my chair i listen in and the speakers in the room made a HUGE difference in how good things sounded.

M@tt He1ges0n, Thursday, 13 December 2007 23:39 (fourteen years ago) link

The chair's totally not a joke; it's expensive and comfortable and easily moved but it's not likely to make me fall asleep in it (no headrest); if I'm comfortable and awake, I can concentrate on listening more. I bought it (almost) with the sole intention of it being a 'headphones' chair.

But yeah, basic physics says position your speakers correctly and sit in the right spot; you simply don't get stereo-imaging without it.

Scik Mouthy, Friday, 14 December 2007 07:52 (fourteen years ago) link

two months pass...

...a coat hanger.

bendy, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 14:56 (fourteen years ago) link

that's AMAZING.
audiophiles are some weird people, man.

ian, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 19:57 (fourteen years ago) link

actually the chair i'm assuming was a joke, but honestly i was suprised how much getting speaker stands and "correctly" positioning my chair i listen in and the speakers in the room made a HUGE difference in how good things sounded.

-- M@tt He1ges0n, Thursday, December 13, 2007 11:39 PM

totally true

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 19:58 (fourteen years ago) link

actually properly treating one's room acoustically would probably do a better job than moving your chair and speakers about

electricsound, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 22:29 (fourteen years ago) link

is there already a company selling audiophile interior house paint?

because if there is, I should start selling audiophile EXTERIOR house paint.

El Tomboto, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 22:30 (fourteen years ago) link


snoball, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 23:36 (fourteen years ago) link

two months pass...

I was much, much less impressed with this enormous fucking Naim set-up than I should have been given how much it ought to have cost. Sure it went LOUD, but sound-wise I wouldn't swap it for my own system, I don't think.

Scik Mouthy, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 15:18 (fourteen years ago) link

Is it just perspective on that first photo, or are your speakers nearly at shoulder height?

Rob M v2, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 15:26 (fourteen years ago) link

Oh, no - is that a Cyrus CD player? Or tuner? And why isn't everything on Mana shelves? That's why it doesn't sound that good. And has it been on continuously for five years? Another biggie with Naimists. (Seriously, that doesn't look like a great room for those huge - and amazingly ugly - speakers).

What's the turntable - Nottingham Spacedek or something? Oracle Delphi?

Michael Jones, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 15:27 (fourteen years ago) link

mp3s out a old marantz amp someone gave me and 15 y/o bottom of the line cambridge soundworks speakers all day babay

although i did love to read sudiophile magazines when i worked at a bookstore just for the lulz

jhøshea, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 15:30 (fourteen years ago) link

The speakers are nearly to chest height - I'm 5'8".

The Cyrus is just a DAC for his wireless streaming thing. Dunno what the turntable is. The room is big but odd; it's a loft that used to be three bedrooms. There's a (low) double bed behind the speakers, plus a desk, which is where I slept (not the desk) (although that picture was taken at 6am so sleeping wasn't exactly urgent and key that weekend).

Scik Mouthy, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 15:31 (fourteen years ago) link

Yeah, I really wish someone had just given me a peek into my co-habiting/flat in communal block/married-with-kids future when I was handing over the moolah for all my gear in 1996-97. I wish I'd just got something good/2nd-hand with a small footprint (Cyrus CD/integrated, ProAc speakers, something like that; maybe a Pro-Ject record deck, old Marantz cassette deck, NAD tuner, cables from Maplin) and STOPPED there. Think of all the photographic gear I could've bought with the money saved if I'd just contracted that particular hobbyist bug a decade earlier!

(Ah, DAC for wireless streaming; the Naim box-stacking is kinda insane - external power supplies for everything. Makes my Audiolab pre/mono arrangement look positively understated).

Michael Jones, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 15:38 (fourteen years ago) link

The speakers are Naim DBLs. They weigh about 15st each. Retail these days at £15k. When he got them, in 2000, they should have been £12k. He got them for £4k cos they were "shop-soiled" - the band he's in had an arrangement with Naim and they'd been using them as a playback set-up when they recorded an album in a country house, and the guitarist's dog had taken a bite out of the bottom corner of one, or something.

I'm kind of glad I've had a brush with stuff that's seriously high-end because it's warned me off a bit. Our flat's not that small, but it's a flat nonetheless, and, you know, I want stuff on the walls and holidays and a new camera and stuff maybe too.

Scik Mouthy, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 15:42 (fourteen years ago) link

I think my main response to audiophilia these days is that the best way to make your hi-fi sound great is to play better records on it.

Scik Mouthy, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 15:48 (fourteen years ago) link

actually properly treating one's room acoustically would probably do a better job than moving your chair and speakers about

How so?

Scik Mouthy, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 15:50 (fourteen years ago) link

the best way to make your hi-fi sound great is to play better records on it.

b i n g o

Savannah Smiles, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 16:28 (fourteen years ago) link

if anyone is looking for really great speakers that won't break your bank....i bought these about a year ago and couldn't be more pleased with them...they are really surprising given the price and size:

Epos ELS 3 mini monitors:

i run them with a Cambridge Audio integrated amp w/Cambridge phono pre-amp.....

My turntable is a Rega P1 -- one thing on that i would recommend is buying a glass platter and also i replaced the original ortofon cartridge with a Denon DL 160 cartridge which is a fucking amazing cartridge for the price...

For CD player I run a really really old NAD one that I got off craigslist for $ works pretty well, has a hard time tracking CD-Rs but will play them after awhile (it's from 87 though so I guess there weren't even CD-Rs then)

M@tt He1ges0n, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 16:38 (fourteen years ago) link

Post more pics of slobs in garrets seasoned with with ridiculous sound systems and ugly furniture.

Gorge, Wednesday, 7 May 2008 20:18 (fourteen years ago) link

I really like the coffee table.

Matt Armstrong, Wednesday, 7 May 2008 20:38 (fourteen years ago) link

I think my favourite way / place to listen to music these days, rather than the big sofa and NAD / Cambridge Audio / Tannoy / proper rack & stands set-up in the living room, with everything anchored in a nice triangle, blah blah, equidistant from rear walls, speakers toed in, is the hotch-potch system in the back room, with the knackered Marantz CD, 20-year-old Marantz amp, DAC, and diddy Q Acoustics speakers. Cos I have space, peace, my comfy chair, books, headphones, no TV or console to distract.

Scik Mouthy, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:24 (fourteen years ago) link

Those are the kind of speakers you buy to justify having previously bought Monster Cable.

kenan, Thursday, 8 May 2008 18:31 (fourteen years ago) link

What's the sensitivity rating on those things? It might be all show, but they certainly look like they could bring on an involuntary bowel movement.

kenan, Thursday, 8 May 2008 18:36 (fourteen years ago) link

Damon Krukowski has an interesting take on this in his newsletter today:

The many debates provoked by the incident seem to center around an agreed-upon goal: how to get closest to hearing the original master tape of an album? That is what MoFi has been pitching as their mission, and what their buyers have been paying for.

But in my experience, that goal is questionable to start with — as questionable as assuming a high-priced record is a good record. Albums are mixed in order to be reproduced. When that process truly was 100% analog — the last of my own records made that way was Galaxie 500’s second album, in 1989 — the master tape was deliberately mixed with more high end than desired, because it was predictable that some of that would be lost in the reproduction process toward pressed records.

In other words, the original master tape is not how those analog albums were meant to sound. The record is.

There is a further irony as we add digital into the picture. Digital reproduction does not alter the master the way that analog does. For many commercial CDs, the final product actually is the original master, and vice-versa. Even when a digital master is higher resolution than CDs can reproduce, it is still possible to listen to them via computers without any degradation at all.

When CDs first came out, many of them sounded awful in part for this very transparency — they were duplicating analog master tapes more or less directly, rather than interpreting how they were meant to sound at the end of the process for reproducing records. Digital was blamed for those “harsh” CDs - but that is also simply how some analog master tapes can sound.

As we all got used to digital, engineers learned to mix differently for the CD — the high end that went into the master was going to stay that way, so you had to make sure it sounded right at the start. You could also load the bass way more heavily than before, because you didn’t have to worry about bouncing a needle out of its groove.

Now we get to a nutty problem about the vinyl revival. If an album was originally mixed with digital reproduction in mind, because it was made in the era of CDs… and you now put that master through the analog reproduction process for vinyl without compensating… you get a muddy sounding record, too heavy in the low end and without sparkle in the highs.

Or is that analog “warmth”?

What this all points to, for me, is the contingency of listening. I don’t believe there is a single ideal for audio, as much of the MoFi-sparked debate seems to presume, because there is no one way to hear a recording. How the recording sounds depends on how we are listening to it, more than how it got there.

For example: our albums always sound one way in the studio, where we hear them through Yamaha NS-10s, a speaker no one loves but many engineers have learned to use as a predictive tool for how recordings will sound after reproduction.

They always sound better — fuller, more spacious — once our brilliant mastering engineer Alan Douches has done his part to prepare them. But they still never sound the same way twice.

When we listen to them in the car, they have no bass because the car has so much of its own.

When we listen to them at home, they sound one way in the dining room where we have small speakers, and one way in the living room where we have bigger ones, and one way in our office where we have a boombox.

They sound different on LP and on CD, and via digital download at full resolution.

And they always sound worst streaming! (Because of lossy compression. That’s a story for another day.)

So here’s my take on the MoFi controversy. Let the mastering engineers do their thing, using whatever technology they find best. Get the reproduced music however you can. And focus on the analog component you are going to have to add to the chain in the end, no matter what. Your ears.

but also fuck you (unperson), Tuesday, 9 August 2022 13:56 (one week ago) link

That's pretty otm. The problem MoFi helped build up with their marketing is the idea that for a vinyl record only an all-analog chain will suffice with the aim of getting close to that original master as if you were playing directly off it - it's strong implied in all the hype arguing for the appeal of their vinyl products. But it's not that simple or doctrinal, it's really just the mastering that makes something sound good, and that can encompass a ton of things, not just a single puritanical approach. Even MoFi's own engineers have said this in the past (but on their own, not on MoFI's behalf), if you hand in a straight copy of a master tape, that's NOT mastering. Doing nothing except making a high-quality transfer is not what a mastering engineer is supposed to do and it's highly unusual for a recording artist to want that.

birdistheword, Tuesday, 9 August 2022 14:06 (one week ago) link

That second sentence probably needed to be chopped into two. (also, strongly, not strong)

birdistheword, Tuesday, 9 August 2022 14:07 (one week ago) link

A lot of the MOFI site isn't loading correctly for me, so I'm not getting product descriptions other than the very basic lists of titles. But as I understand it, these one-step, 45 RPM 'Box Sets' are dividing formally single-LP albums into doubles, which to me is extremely funny when we're talking about Roth-era Van Halen albums which they have in the pipeline and were all 30-35 minutes to start with, so in that case the MOFI audience is paying $125 per title to get the fancy pants experience of listening to two 12-inch EPs and flipping sides every 8-10 minutes just so they can say they hear Dave & Ed & Mike & 'Lex better than ever before.

I look forward to the book of 78's that will be the next generation of MoFi album reissues.

birdistheword, Tuesday, 9 August 2022 15:05 (one week ago) link

Galaxie 500 guy otm.

When CDs first came out, many of them sounded awful in part for this very transparency — they were duplicating analog master tapes more or less directly, rather than interpreting how they were meant to sound at the end of the process for reproducing records. Digital was blamed for those “harsh” CDs - but that is also simply how some analog master tapes can sound.

This is true to an extent, but early CDs were all over the map. You had what Damon describes -- essentially a flat transfer -- but then you also had CDs that used excessive noise reduction, so much so that on, for instance, the early CD(s?) of Kind of Blue sticks-on-cymbals went missing, as did parts of solo bass passages, and everything else sounded like it was trying to get out from under a heavy blanket. Labels were essentially throwing a bunch of different approaches to mastering at a wall to see what stuck, but in the meantime, selling those trial runs to consumers.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 9 August 2022 16:52 (one week ago) link

also the highly obscure “de-emphasis” flag which was set for tracks where the CD player was supposed to apply a high frequency roll off filter - perhaps to combat the high end “goose” Damon was talking about? I don’t think it’s been used since the early 80s but a rip which doesn’t take that into account can sound godawful.

assert (matttkkkk), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 01:07 (six days ago) link

Pre-emphasis was not compensating for RIAA equalisation, it was for boosting SNR with early ADC gear that was sometimes only 14-bit (Philips originally specced for 14-bit redbook but Sony rounded it up a nice, computer-friendly 2 bytes). 14-bit would have been plenty for playback but less than ideal for ADC, even 16-bit is cutting it close unless proper attention is given to signal levels when recording

obviously there's been no reason at all for using pre-emphasis for over 3 decades now

chihuahuau, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 02:08 (six days ago) link

There are occasional discs from the 90s and probably beyond that have the pre-emphasis flag set on, possibly by mistake in at least some cases. And also some older discs that seem to have been mastered with pre-emphasis while the flag is off.

Noel Emits, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 09:50 (six days ago) link

if the ADC process was never updated beyond the point where preemph is justified then it should still be used even today

it's impossible for a listener to know if it's intended or not without details of what happened in the studio or at least having a different CD pressing of the same master that "sounds right" to compare against

chihuahuau, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 11:08 (six days ago) link

could always compare it to the vinyl I guess

assert (matttkkkk), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 11:23 (six days ago) link

When it should be on and it's left off, the sound is really unpleasant - thin, piercing and shrill. I don't know if there's been a case where it was left on when it should be off, but if that did happen, you'd have an extremely dull sound. Anyway, since the sound quality would be really bad, it almost becomes a moot point of whether the PE flag should be on or off.

birdistheword, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 13:37 (six days ago) link

As matttttkkkkk says, rips generally won't take it into account (there was even something about EAC having to remove support for it?) and I've spotted a couple just by the sound, it's quite pronounced.

Noel Emits, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 14:30 (six days ago) link

Ah, that's right. I recommend SoX if you have a Mac.

install SoX tools first:

Or another way to install is to run in the Terminal app the following:

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"; < /dev/null 2> /dev/null

Press enter/return key. Wait for the command to finish - this took about 5, maybe ten minutes, it could vary depending on your internet connection as it is downloading the appropriate tools.

brew install sox

Then with Terminal still open, type in the right command for each wav or aiff file that needs to be converted.

sox thepath/name/for/your/track.aiff thepath/name/for/whereyou/wanttoput/your/track-withnewname.aiff deemph

birdistheword, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 15:28 (six days ago) link

I do have an old version of EAC that can read the flag. It doesn't apply the EQ, for that I use a plugin in Foobar.

Noel Emits, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 15:41 (six days ago) link

How often was this flag used? Never heard of it. Is it well supported by CD players?

maf you one two (maffew12), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 15:54 (six days ago) link

I think it's standard for all CD players. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it's baked into the standard authoring of CD's, even when it's not used - there's basically a data set that specifically addresses it - so even though it isn't picked up by a computer when creating files that are supposed to duplicate the audio data, it's not something that can be dropped from standard playback on any standalone CD player.

birdistheword, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 16:01 (six days ago) link

So I guess whenever they had to cut vinyl from DSD transfers, it would have been DSD64 from 2011 to January 2014. More details here:

It's too bad they didn't say this from the start because I think a lot of people would've been sympathetic. I was surprised when they got Dylan, Miles Davis and other Sony owned titles because Sony rarely licensed any of their titles to audiophile labels - like if people knew that was the "catch," it wouldn't have been a huge problem because at least they finally got those titles on audiophile reissues. Hiding that fact just created this looming thing that snowballed over time.

birdistheword, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 19:17 (six days ago) link

(The "catch" being they needed to create DSD transfers as the master tapes could never leave Sony's facilities.)

birdistheword, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 19:18 (six days ago) link

check out this record cut straight from the Universal masters

marcel the shell with swag on (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 19:55 (six days ago) link


birdistheword, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 20:31 (six days ago) link

that Damon post is very good!

brimstead, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 21:14 (six days ago) link

What's the benefit of the of the DSD multiples? With DSD128/256/etc you can push the quantisation noise further out of the audible band? Cos that's the thing with 1-bit, right - shedloads of noise, that has to be shaped somewhere. Also, according to Lipshitz et al, you can't dither it, so the noise remains correlated with the signal, therefore A Bad Idea as an archive medium. But I really don't remember the back and forth on that, it was 20 years ago... Team PCM here ;)

Quite agree with the idea that MoFi should've just got ahead of this, and owned it. What a terrific tool to have at your disposal as a maker of boutique editions of LPs - the ability to go and make a completely transparent clone of a precious original master (set up and calibrated by yr expert tape-op) on site, and take it away on an SSD, and do what you like down the line. I wonder if the agreement was "delete that file in one month".

Michael Jones, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 22:04 (six days ago) link

This didn't get mentioned - and at this point it's too late - but people could point out the Steve Hoffman masterings for DCC Compact Classics as an example of reissues that were often mastered from copies (typically analog copies if it was for a gold CD). The company never mentioned it, and it ceased to exist 20 years ago anyway. It's not really a secret anymore, but those gold CD's still fetch a good deal of money and to be fair usually sound great.

birdistheword, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 22:26 (six days ago) link

yeah the absolutist "every atom on the master tape intact" attitude is absolutely smoked by the right EQ choices and attention to phase etc. But it remains hilarious how banal the records are which are subjected to this degree of fetishisation.
I would buy some good Throwing Muses remasterings in a heartbeat - those records are tangled and dense, and some of the CDs sound like absolute crap. Thinking of looking into the vinyl but I have a great digital setup which is so much easier to navigate.

assert (matttkkkk), Thursday, 11 August 2022 00:43 (five days ago) link

I don't know, stuff like the Muses LPs and Husker Du - they sound the way they do because of how they were recorded. No remastering is going to change that.

Oh and "House Tornado" is glorious in its opaqueness.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 11 August 2022 01:36 (five days ago) link

My dream reissue project would have been Hüsker Dü at DCC Compact Classics. Restoring the bass and bringing in some warmth via vacuum tubes would probably have done wonders, especially given how it was recorded. Hoffman's masterings never used additional compression, but they typically went for a BIG sound.

EDIT: Hah, was just about to post this before Gerald's above. I know what he means, but tubes in a mastering chain can do wonders for hard-sounding solid state recordings.

birdistheword, Thursday, 11 August 2022 01:42 (five days ago) link

xxp I've never heard anything up to House Tornado on CD aside from the "In A Doghouse" reissue! which ones would you say sound bad, and is the aforementioned reissue included in that assessment?

thinkmanship (sleeve), Thursday, 11 August 2022 02:52 (five days ago) link

GMBB House Tornado is the album I was specifically thinking of - I love the opacity and density, but the overall sound of the CD is like when I used to set a graphic EQ aged 13, with the treble and the bass pushed up and the midrange scooped out. I love that album so much I am almost willing to take a punt on an LP in the hope it would be less tiring of a listen.
I quite like the CD of the debut, but Hunkpapa has horrible 80s production flourishes so I'm not sure it would ever sound natural. Real Ramona is better and pretty much everything after is fine to good, The Curse excepted. The 2003 self-title is an example of how to nail the complexity with a good master, despite being scraped together on weekend sessions via Pro Tools iirc. And having had a poorly pressed EP of Chains Changed I was so happy they did it justice on the Doghouse comp.

assert (matttkkkk), Thursday, 11 August 2022 03:11 (five days ago) link

I'd be happy to do a "needle drop" (as the young ppl say) of my House Tornado LP, at 16/48k-PCM (I think that's what my Pro-Ject Phono Box USB V does), but I bought it 33 years ago and I played it to death for at least the first decade ;) And the first few years were on a late-'70s Crown music-centre :/

I have to admit, the last time I listened to songs off that record were through streaming services, but it did visit the turntable through the audiophool years, so I guess it must sound ok?

(For want of a longer USB cable, I can never be bothered digitising vinyl).

Michael Jones, Thursday, 11 August 2022 09:55 (five days ago) link

To my great embarrassment I have a Sire promo LP I bought years ago when I didn't have a working turntable, and since I've had a working turntable the LP has been at my ex-wife's house, so I need to get my shit together and reclaim my vinyl ... thank you though!

assert (matttkkkk), Thursday, 11 August 2022 11:11 (five days ago) link

Needledrops are funny. I was thinking of upgrading my table until I downloaded some well regarded needle drops that I couldn't distinguish from my table when A/B'ing. My digital chain is no slouch neither.

maf you one two (maffew12), Thursday, 11 August 2022 13:17 (five days ago) link

Matt - we're on the same page as far as assessment of the Muses catalog. I even sold "The Curse", it's just an irredeemable bootleg. I guess I just adjust to the sound of things I love, though it's true I can sort of "hear what's missing" if I really think about it, but it doesn't bother me much. The Chameleons debut, "Script Of The Bridge" was remastered once, and then Mark Burgess did it himself, and I really can't tell the difference. That just points to the weakest link in the digital chain - our ears!

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 11 August 2022 13:50 (five days ago) link

Ha, this reminds me of my very earliest internet encounters - mentioning how terrible I thought The Curse sounded on in summer '93 and getting "flamed" for it. Also singing the praises of His Name Is Alive's "heavy metal" set at 13 Year Itch and being told it didn't happen. And here we are.

Michael Jones, Thursday, 11 August 2022 14:06 (five days ago) link

Yeah I've read an interview with Kristin where she expressed bafflement that 4AD wanted to released a bad recording of a pretty average show. At least the cover is beautiful!

assert (matttkkkk), Thursday, 11 August 2022 22:31 (five days ago) link

oh and to anyone 4AD sympathetic interested in sound quality, avoid the Cocteau Twins remasters, they sound comically bad under the sure guidance of "tin ears" Guthrie.

assert (matttkkkk), Thursday, 11 August 2022 22:32 (five days ago) link

His Name Is Alive's "heavy metal" set at 13 Year Itch and being told it didn't happen. And here we are.

are there recordings of this?

brimstead, Thursday, 11 August 2022 22:42 (five days ago) link

assert (matttkkkk), Friday, 12 August 2022 01:13 (four days ago) link

Hurrah! Metal might be overstating it but, skipping through that, there’s a bit 13-14min in where I thought “well, this isn’t like the records”. I think it was also Unrest and Muses that night. A lifetime ago.

Michael Jones, Friday, 12 August 2022 08:17 (four days ago) link

I remember being in Australia while people on the 4ad-l mailing list were going to those shows, it was very weird.

assert (matttkkkk), Friday, 12 August 2022 09:51 (four days ago) link

I should sell the Curse CD I have but it's so pretty I'm not going to. Also then there would be a Throwing Muses release I didn't have, that's no good either.

Jaime Pressly and America (f. hazel), Friday, 12 August 2022 16:02 (four days ago) link

Yup "The Curse" was disappointing to me, mostly because the vocals are way too low in the mix and the guitar is way too loud in the mix; BUT I wouldn't call it irredeemable - the "Hunkpapa" tracks are more raw than the de-clawed studio versions, for example. Oddly, the usually superb Guy Fixsen mixed the album!

I remember those days (and the 4AD-L list) and the reports from "The 13 Year Itch"! I have vague memories of someone saying that in addition to the HNIA sets, Karin Oliver did a short a cappella set too (or am I remembering that incorrectly)? And indeed the "heavy metal" HNIA was controversial (like the "Mouth By Mouth" version of "The Dirt Eaters") for fans! I love it all.

I also remember around that time on or 4AD-L, when someone posted about having HNIA stay at their place and then photographing them when they slept! And then years later, there's some interview with Warren Defever where he mentions that...

Thanks for the YouTube link, assert! Hadn't heard that before. That same account also posted HNIA's second set at *The 13 Year Itch*.

ernestp, Friday, 12 August 2022 22:41 (four days ago) link

nice that we were on 4ad-l at the same time, iirc it was about 500 people? One time I dropped my lengthy Muses discography beefed up with quotes etc on the list, and felt like I was their official biographer or something.

assert (matttkkkk), Friday, 12 August 2022 23:45 (four days ago) link

Was it maybe even 4ad-l I was on? I can't be sure now; a long summer as a postgrad with a Liverpool University email address and access to WWW. Four years later, when I had web access at home, it was the Usenet groups I subscribed to.

Michael Jones, Friday, 12 August 2022 23:53 (four days ago) link

Ok wow digging into my memory banks now - yeah maybe it was the 4AD-L mailing list rather than a Usenet newsgroup, because regarding Usenet I think I only religiously checked (?) and (Kate Bush board) back then. Good times.

ernestp, Saturday, 13 August 2022 00:21 (three days ago) link

For what it's worth a bit of googling suggests that the group was rather than rec.etc:

Searching for "the curse sounds terrible" is unhelpful. Google Groups is pretty poor. It'd be great if you could sort the messages by reverse chronological order, for example. But you can't. I remember posting on Usenet but I can't find my own messages, although I remember that I could in the past.

You'd think that the total contents of Usenet wouldn't be too hard to archive. It was text, which compresses well. If you ignore the binaries groups the entire contents of Usenet from the 1980s to the early 2000s can't have been that large.

Ashley Pomeroy, Saturday, 13 August 2022 21:08 (three days ago) link

The 4AD-L mailing list was different from the Usenet group. The listservs generally had a moderator somewhere who could rein in the spammers/bad actors, not so for Usenet. Looking back over the last 25% of the Google Groups archive of r.m.4ad, you can see the spam/off-topic posts/noise increasing until everyone just gives up.

Jeff Wright, Saturday, 13 August 2022 23:58 (three days ago) link

tbh the same thing happened to 4ad-l, at least for me in 1997

assert (matttkkkk), Sunday, 14 August 2022 06:01 (two days ago) link

You'd think that the total contents of Usenet wouldn't be too hard to archive. It was text, which compresses well. If you ignore the binaries groups the entire contents of Usenet from the 1980s to the early 2000s can't have been that large.

Don’t get me started on this. Google bought it (from Deja News?) then just let it decay. It’s almost unusable as an archive. I actually once asked someone I know from Google about it being broken and he looked into it and basically reported back “Yeah, sorry - it’s fucked more fundamentally than I realised and I can’t see it being fixed”.

Alba, Sunday, 14 August 2022 07:26 (two days ago) link


Tracer Hand, Sunday, 14 August 2022 07:58 (two days ago) link

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