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About SteveZ98

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    Zep Head

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  1. JJ Jackson doing a promo for the Eagle Rock Festival, which was later cancelled: German ad for the BBC Sessions: TV ads from 1976 for The Song Remains The Same: Remasters TV ads:
  2. The hard part about working with recordings is they're all impacted by the system through which they're played and all systems are different. If you ever look at a picture of a professional sound studio you'll see they have a bunch of different speakers. The reason for that is so they can hear how a song sounds on a variety of speakers. If it only sounds good on expensive speakers then they need to work on it some more because most people are listening on less expensive speakers or cheap headphones or in their car with all the road noise. One of the most common speakers you'll see in a studio, at least older ones, is the Yamaha NS10. Apparently they sound terrible, but the thought was that if you could make a song sound good on them, it would sound good on anything. https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/yamaha-ns10-story
  3. I sent you a PM about my system. One of the things I struggle with is that I can never know what one of my remasters will sound like on another person's system. The biggest issue is the bass. I'm trying to make it have a big impact without being bloated and that's a fine line to walk. My solution to that problem is to listen to each remaster I'm contemplating releasing in my car and on our home theater system, in addition to the system I use during the remastering process. The car stereo is the stock unit that came with the car and isn't great, but it's good at telling me if the bass is overwhelming. And the home theater is good at letting me know how it will sound on a conventional stereo (as opposed to the desktop system I use for remastering.)
  4. It can take a lot of time. For me, one of the main reasons is the "bootleg ears" phenomenon where your hearing adjusts to whatever you're listening to. I've got dozens of versions of each show I've remastered that I thought were great only to listen to them later to realize they weren't even good, much less great. Another issue is that it's very easy to make something sound different, but determining whether the change was an improvement or not is hard. What would help is having some sort of standard to measure against. The official live albums seem like they'd work for that, but which one? If you go with The Song Remains The Same, do you use the version from 1976 or one of the later ones? And they sound different than How The West Was Won, which also has an original version and a later one. Not to mention Celebration Day, which sounds radically different than the other two. And then what about the audio from the official DVD, which has performances from a variety of years that all sound very different from each other? I gave up on using any of them, probably to my detriment, unless I'm working on something that is from one of those shows or right near them in time. Luckily, most of remastering is a blast. My consistent experience is that the better you can make a show sound, the more it makes you appreciate how good the performance was. In the case of the '75 and '77 shows in particular, bringing out the low end really gives you the ability to hear much more of what Jonsey and Bonzo were doing and understand just how great they were as individual musicians and how well they worked together as a rhythm section. I think a lot of shows, especially the ones from later tours, are judged solely on Jimmy's playing, not just because he's the guitarist in a form of music that's guitar-based, but because his instrument is pretty much the only one that was adequately captured in the recordings we have from those shows. When you remaster them and give everyone in the band a chance to shine, you get to appreciate just how great the band was, and that even in the latter years which might not be held in as high esteem as the earlier ones you still had three world class instrumentalists giving it their all each night, playing at a level that most musicians could never dream of. Which makes all of the headaches that come with remastering totally worth it.
  5. Wow, tmtomh did a really nice job of explaining the details. I do use an exciter on each remaster, although I'm trying to use it less than I did when I first started out because it definitely solves some problems and causes others. The main thing that determines a lot of the final result is what the person who is doing the work is trying to achieve. Some folks want to bring out the best of each tape, particularly for audience recordings where a lot of time and effort was put into tracking down the master or low gen copy. Because of that, they'll limit their efforts to trying to fix problems with the tape without totally changing how it sounds. This is relatively straightforward when you're working on a single tape. However, it can get complicated when multiple sources are merged together and you need to fix different problems on each one while also giving them a sense of cohesion so the sound doesn't change radically from one source to the next. I work primarily on soundboards. My goal isn't to improve the sound of the source but to fundamentally transform it so the final result gives some tiny fraction of a hint of what it would have been like to be in the arena the night of the show. It's an impossible goal, but it's what I'm shooting for and it calls for a much more radical approach than I would use if my aims were different. And a lot of my results are dependent on the tour the soundboard was taken from. For example, the '75 and '77 shows are pretty easy to work with. The ones from '73 are harder but not impossible. Most of the ones from the very early '70s (Orlando '71, etc.) don't sound too good, although I am happy with the 9/29/71 remaster I'll be releasing soon. And the 1980 shows just don't come out well at all. I'm not sure why, but no matter what I do to them they never sound much different than they did before I worked on them.
  6. Although definitions vary, to me a remaster is just changing the sound characteristics of an existing record (more bass, less treble, adding reverb, etc.), while remixing is changing the layout of the instruments in the stereo field (e.g. moving the guitar to the right channel.) Within the past couple of years, software has been released that can analyze a recording and create an individual track for each instrument. Those tracks are called stems, and once you have them you can remix the instruments into any positions you want. For a straight-forward rock song (e.g Sick Again), it allows you to move Jimmy's guitar from the center in a mono soundboard recording to the right channel, which creates a stereo recording. If you stopped at that point, you would have a recording that sounded exactly like the original mono recording, but with the guitar off to the right. It's interesting, but not much better than the mono recording from which it came. However, that's also the point at which the fun begins. After you move the guitar in to the right channel, you can also add some of that same right channel guitar into the left channel. That gives the guitar a much fuller sound, although it's still mostly in the right channel. It's also pretty much of a necessity because if the guitar isn't in the left channel at all, the recording sounds unnatural. You can also add reverb to the guitars without making the other instruments sound far away. Or you can run an invert on the guitar signal in the left channel, which creates the sound of the guitar moving slightly in the 3/21/75 sample below. You can also do things like reduce the cymbals without impacting the vocals, or or add more bass guitar without making the kick drum overwhelming. Basically, you can do the same mixing that would be applied to multi-tracks, because you now have the instruments in their own tracks. All of that would make for a much more exciting listen than the mono recording, but for it to sound really good you need to remaster it. In this stage, you're impacting all of the instruments simultaneously, trying to put a final polish on the song. In true multi-track recordings which might have been recorded in different studios, this step would also see you trying to make each of the songs on the album sound similar so you can't tell they were recorded in different places. For a soundboard recording, that's not an issue because it's a single performance. However, soundboards have problems of their own that need to be addressed in this stage. They typically do not contain any of the reverb or other effects that would have been added before the sound was sent to the PA. That's why soundboards are typically referred to as "dry" (the sound also reverberates through the arena, which reinforces the mechanical reverb and is one of the reasons why well recorded audience recordings can sound better than soundboards.) Soundboards normally have a bunch of other issues too, so remastering them takes a much firmer touch than would normally be applied to true multi-tracks. Here are some examples of what's described above. All of them have been remixed as described below and remastered: 3/14/69: Guitar moved to right channel and a little of the right channel guitar mixed into the left channel: 3/21/75 - Copy of right guitar put in left channel and Invert function run on left channel: LA '75 - The software that created the stems put the theremin in the same stem as the vocals. Because of that, the swirling freakout effect was created by varying the volume in the left and right sides of that stem:
  7. It must have been stunning to experience in person, with the light show going and the sound bouncing around the arena and Jonsey's bass hitting you in the chest.
  8. Here's a sample of WLL from the stereo remaster of the L.A. 1975 soundboard I'm working on. This is still a work in progress, so I don't have any links for it. The theremin and Robert's voice ended up in the same stub so it made creating the ping pong effect relatively easy, although I did it by manually adjusting the volume instead of automating it, which was kind of a pain. A good rotating speaker effect would have been helpful, although I like the randomness of doing it by hand. Also, I made no attempt to replicate what's on the audience tape, just went with whatever sounded right when I was doing it.
  9. For me, although I think metric is better for most things, it's not as good for the temperature range in which humans live. I saw a humorous post a while ago that illustrates the point, but can't find it so I'll paraphrase: Celsius: 0 - Chilly 25 - Nice 50 - Dead 75 - Really Dead 100 - Really, Really Dead Fahrenheit: 0 - Too cold to snow 25 - Snowing 50 - At least it's not snowing 75 - Time to put the snow shovel away 100 - I wish it was snowing
  10. Chris Cornell covering Thank You on Howard Stern in 2011. This was posted here back then, but that version is no longer available.
  11. I'm not real familiar with what is being done at Abbey Road, but assuming they are extracting individual tracks from mono recordings they should be able to modify a singer's levels compared to the rest of the band. I did some preliminary work on the 1/11/69 show and it definitely is possible to put Robert's vocals inline with rest of the band. The downside to early Zep in particular is separating Robert's voice from Jimmy's guitar during the "duel" they did where they mimicked each other. The software has a hard time separating the guitar from the vocals. For this kind of thing to work, the software has to be able to recognize the sound it's trying to extract. An extreme example would be the 8/8/69 show where it sounds like the recorder was stuck inside Jimmy's amp. It won't be able to figure out what Robert was singing while Jimmy was playing because too little of the vocals were captured for it to have anything to work with.
  12. Understood. I know not everyone will like this type of presentation but I really do, especially for the '75 and '77 shows where I think it helps fill out the "guitar army" songs. I used the more traditional arrangement you described on the 3/14/69 radio broadcast I recently released and on the upcoming version of 9/29/71 that will be out soon. I'll probably continue using it for the earlier shows, and use the more "artistic" arrangement you mentioned for the later shows.
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