clipping on fox confessor?
October 24, 2008 11:37 AM   Subscribe

Do you hear Neko Case's voice clipping when you play her "Fox Confessor..." on vinyl? Especially the inner songs on both sides?
posted by ArcAm to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
 
Response by poster: sounds bloody terrible to me. i'm disappointed. it doesn't seem to be my 'table as other records sound great.
posted by ArcAm at 11:38 AM on October 24, 2008


I haven't heard the album so I can't be sure but I will say that it may have something to do with the mastering process.

The tweaking that is involved with mastering (levels, peaks, compression, frequencies, stereo spectrum, etc) are a bit different depending on what your taget medium is. Vinyl, as I understand it, is a whole different beast and requires much more discerning ears and equipment to do it properly. Because vinyl died out for a while, those who were really good at mastering vinyl have retired or died as well and the old high quality equipment that was used to do it has been tossed out or fallen into disrepair. Now that vinyl is making a bit of a comeback, those mastering skills are a bit harder to comeby and those who do it really well are in high demand and can command top dollar. Take that into account along with the fact that vinyl releases are often just a "vanity product", (don't misunderstand me, I love a great sounding vinyl record), many record labels or artists will cut corners by taking the cheapest deal they can get. This usually means that quality id the first thing to suffer.
posted by chillmost at 12:21 PM on October 24, 2008


Shorter chillmost: It might just be a bad pressing.

Take it to a friend's and check it on their equipment.
posted by rhizome at 12:39 PM on October 24, 2008


I know the CD sounds just fine on some semi-decent equipment, and I'm pretty sensitive to clipping, so it probably isn't the mastering overall, but perhaps for vinyl. Test it out elsewhere. This is probably an issue with your record player, particularly rough handling with the tone arm. At any point, did the needle touch down on a semi trailer?
posted by adipocere at 1:06 PM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is probably an issue with your record player, particularly rough handling with the tone arm. At any point, did the needle touch down on a semi trailer?

Other records play fine on the OP's equipment which tends to lean me toward a vinyl problem. On vinyl, the inner tracks are more susceptible to distortion due to the audio being packed into a smaller space (radius), and the cartridge being aligned in a way that doesn't account for inner groove problems.
posted by rhizome at 1:14 PM on October 24, 2008


Seconding Chillmost - I noticed, as I digitized a bunch of LPs and 7"s a few months back, that the quality varied wildly, and with one exception, was tied to time. The earlier vinyl (early 90's indie rock, like sebadoh) sounded pretty good. The recent vinyl (a Damien Jurado/Dolorean split, for example) sounded really bad - clipped, nasty sibilants, just horrible sound, overall. The single exception was a Styrofoam 7", mastered at D+M, which was immaculate. My theory is that, since they're mostly an electronic label, they've been mastering it consistently for the last 30 years or so, and have never "forgotten" how to master vinyl correctly.

And yeah, seconding rhizome that if it's getting worse on the later tracks, it's likely the mastering job. You've really got to master perfectly to make the inner tracks sound good, especially on standard weight vinyl.

I don't want to be too hard on Damien Jurado and Dolorean - one of those sides was like 6.5 minutes, which is just begging the track to sound bad.
posted by god hates math at 2:00 PM on October 24, 2008


These days, a vinyl pressing often means that the CD master disc, which is usually mastered (i.e. EQ'd, compressed, etc.) to within an inch of its life already, will go to ANOTHER mastering stage for the vinyl master.

If someone doesn't know what they're doing, that vinyl mastering stage can push audio which was already on the edge right over into the ugly zone.

If it turns out not to be your disc or table, that would be my best guess as to what's going on.
posted by Aquaman at 2:34 PM on October 24, 2008


Response by poster: This is probably an issue with your record player, particularly rough handling with the tone arm. At any point, did the needle touch down on a semi trailer?

nope.

Other records play fine on the OP's equipment which tends to lean me toward a vinyl problem.

rhizome is right. it is not my 'table. other records sound like they usually do. rhizome is also right about inner tracks usually being worse than outer tracks. hence some regular length albums on double or triple LPs.

what a shame that this album wasn't put out properly on vinyl!

/queues up shellac
posted by ArcAm at 5:11 PM on October 24, 2008


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