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WD52

Rating the sound quality of boots

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Whenever I see a site/publication that gives an opinion about the sound quality from any given live boot-particularly cd version-I always want the reviewer to add exactly what equipment they are listening through as it massively affects how the cd/recording sounds.  For example listening to something like 'Pigeon Blood' in my car stereo gives a poorer sound rating than if I then play it at work through my computer, which gives a massively poorer sound rating than if I play it when I get home on my high end cd player/amp combination with £2k speakers. Likewise listening via headphones really changes the sound quality depending on the quality of the headphones and the source (and who would want to listen to anything through a computer rather than dedicated sound source is beyond me...and as for using mobile phones....). 

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I think that show in general is unique in weird mono sound and there are not many shows out there to compare it to.  I drive a lot at work and listen in truck.  Cheap work PC speakers I don't see any good quality

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Perhaps my example of Pigeon Blood has blurred the point I was trying to make about the accuracy of bootleg sound quality ratings.

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A date and location would be more helpful, I've never heard of a boot called "Pigeon Blood". Surly it has a more common name us oldies would have heard of.

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Nope this post isn't about rating 'Pigeon Blood' (Tampa 5th May 1973), this is about how people judge the sound quality of any bootleg.  i.e. how the judgments of sound quality are pointless unless you know what equipment they are listening through. 

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Seems like a good topic and true.  I often see majority of people using portable devices and crappy iPod earphones.  I can't really see many Zeppelin shows sounding good on earphones.  I have a pretty decent stereo with nice loud Bose speakers and Zeppelin shows sound amazing to me.  Are there many people today that have component stereo's to listen to music ?   Maybe there should be a poll and list to vote what people listen to music

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Hi TheGreatOne!

 

I am about vinyl when possible. Here is a thread that was done:-) 

 

 

 

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It's not possible to have a universal rating system for the sound quality of amateur recordings. I enjoy the sound on recordings like 1977-04-30 and 1973-03-19 while some consider those shows unlistenable.  Each listener has a unique point where they decide a recording doesn't have listening value. How do you translate that to a rating system?

How an amateur recording sounds on any playback device is a specific personal experience for each listener.

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1 hour ago, Badgeholder Still said:

It's not possible to have a universal rating system for the sound quality of amateur recordings. I enjoy the sound on recordings like 1977-04-30 and 1973-03-19 while some consider those shows unlistenable.  Each listener has a unique point where they decide a recording doesn't have listening value. How do you translate that to a rating system?

How an amateur recording sounds on any playback device is a specific personal experience for each listener.

I agree - I know there is a TON of love for the 1979 Copenhagen shows, but to my ears the Blueberry Hill gig from LA on 4 September 1970 blows the Copenhagen shows away. This is my opinion BTW so please do not jump my shit. I've tried the 1979 shows MANY MANY times. It just doesnt do it for me and recognize it does do it for MANY others. 

Hope we are cool with that POV- thx!

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If you were going to rate the sound of any recording, you would want to use the very best equipment you could.  That's the only way you can tell what's there in the first place.  While a lower quality stereo can hide flaws, you can do the same thing by equalization with with a really good set up.  Most people don't have big stereos these days and they listen with headphones for their highest quality listening experience.  I have a really nice vintage, Led Zeppelin era set up, some Mcintosh amps and big old Infinity speakers, they let me hear everything, good and bad, on the tape.  What kind of gear do you have?

I expected this thread to be about methods of rating recordings.  I listen for: overall clarity, the presence of high and low end, the balance of the  volume levels of the instruments and Plant's voice, tape hiss, consistent and correct tape speed, drop outs, crowd noise, and room echoes from the venue.  Shows like Blueberry Hill or For Badge Holders Only set the bar pretty high for audience recordings!

What constitutes "good sound quality" to you?  Which shows do you think sound pretty good?

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Even swapping from my Klipsch M40 headphones (got them at 70% off, only reason I have them) to my gaming Razer BlackShark pair, the difference is very noticeable. And some boots sound better in one pair and some in the other.

As my stereo is a remnant from early 90's (still going strong!) and my car stereo stock standard, the PC is the only real option I have.

Then there is sourcing the boots. Most stuff available is mp3. Some good FLACs are sometimes out there. So there are lots of variables obviously.

So rating boots....

I have not heard a great many, but if the recording quality is below what could be cleaned up and released, I struggle with them. Listening to muffled and lower quality recordings I can't take.

Thankfully, I am constantly amazed at how some recordings sound like (close to at least) a freakin official release! It's truly amazing.

I often wonder if Jimmy, or the estate years from now, will end up releasing a lot of the live stuff that is of really great quality. I damn well hope so!!!!

So how to rate them? Good question, and when someone comes up with a simple but effective rating system, and rates all the boots, I'm on it!!! :drool:

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2 hours ago, henrybonzo said:

does anyone here use KODI?

Yes, but only for a week or so, I've not managed to watch anything without major buffering, most of the links to say "Sky Sports" don't work same goes for movies. Pain in the arse actually, I wish I'd never bothered.  I should have left the "Fire Stick" that I got as a present (not needed 'cause I already have two smart TVs) sealed in it's box it would have been more saleable that way .

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My only criteria for quality is how well I can hear the band, and then the individual instruments. I used to listen through  a fairly high end system- Musical Fidelity Nu Vista CD + Nu Vista Amp + Lumley Lampros 100s speakers+ matched bi-wire and interconnect cable (at £250/metre *wince*) Have downsized cd player to Musical Fidelity A5.5 and the amp is now a Vincent SV 233. Same speakers and cabling. Headphone listening is done via Musical Fidelity 200's and headphone amp. So when I see a bootleg sound rating I am deeply sceptical as to how it will sound through my system. Usually you get much more clarity and definition, which can work against some boots-especially those that are very 'toppy'- but helps dig out detail and crowd ambiance. 

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1 hour ago, JTM said:

Yes, but only for a week or so, I've not managed to watch anything without major buffering, most of the links to say "Sky Sports" don't work same goes for movies. Pain in the arse actually, I wish I'd never bothered.  I should have left the "Fire Stick" that I got as a present (not needed 'cause I already have two smart TVs) sealed in it's box it would have been more saleable that way .

if you go to the music section and go to concert file, there are A TON of downloadable bootlegs

 

so far i have

Central Park 69,Bath 70,Alexandra palace, a few Us tour 1975 La Forum etc, year of the dragon, listen to this eddie, earls court 25 may (really good sound) some 77 shows from the forum, Seattle and some 80s germany shows but there are so many more! 

 

https://superrepo.org/kodi/addon/plugin.video.concertarchive/

 

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1 hour ago, henrybonzo said:

if you go to the music section and go to concert file, there are A TON of downloadable bootlegs

 

so far i have

Central Park 69,Bath 70,Alexandra palace, a few Us tour 1975 La Forum etc, year of the dragon, listen to this eddie, earls court 25 may (really good sound) some 77 shows from the forum, Seattle and some 80s germany shows but there are so many more! 

 

https://superrepo.org/kodi/addon/plugin.video.concertarchive/

 

Cheers HB, that's good to know. I'm alright for downloadable boots though. I have got all I want from torrent sites (Dime/TTDetc)  over the past ten/ twelve years or so, plus a few as mp3 from the early days of "napster/audio galaxy etc"............Folk have it easy these days with all these streaming services, not like in the pre broadband super slow dial up days when your connection would drop every two hours.

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7 hours ago, JTM said:

  "audio galaxy etc"  

 

You are the only person I have seen in the last 15 years who has mentioned Audio Galaxy. I have mentioned it at other music sites and no one ever knows what I am talking about. AG was a good program and turned me on to music and artists I would never have heard about.

Glad to see I'm not the only one who was familiar with that prog

 

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On 2/4/2016 at 8:31 AM, WD52 said:

My only criteria for quality is how well I can hear the band, and then the individual instruments. I used to listen through  a fairly high end system- Musical Fidelity Nu Vista CD + Nu Vista Amp + Lumley Lampros 100s speakers+ matched bi-wire and interconnect cable (at £250/metre *wince*) Have downsized cd player to Musical Fidelity A5.5 and the amp is now a Vincent SV 233. Same speakers and cabling. Headphone listening is done via Musical Fidelity 200's and headphone amp. So when I see a bootleg sound rating I am deeply sceptical as to how it will sound through my system. Usually you get much more clarity and definition, which can work against some boots-especially those that are very 'toppy'- but helps dig out detail and crowd ambiance. 

Nice gear!  I'm surprised at how many "music lovers" have minimal audio equipment.  "Back-in-the-day" a really nice stereo was the very next thing you bought after a car! (then you got a waterbed!)  I have twice tried to start a "What do you listen to Led Zeppelin on" thread but everyone uses headphones, computer speakers, or car stereo.  All of those types of systems CAN sound very nice, modern car stereos sound very good to my ears, but nothing sounds like a pair of 12" woofers in a big box driven by some serious watts!  I'm pushing 400 watts (measured 596 watts) into a pair of 1976 Infinity QLS-1 speakers, those things are five and a half feet tall!  It's like being at a show, and it sounds so clean and clear that you can't even tell that it's loud (until you try to talk to someone!)

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6 hours ago, chef free said:

Nice gear!  I'm surprised at how many "music lovers" have minimal audio equipment.  "Back-in-the-day" a really nice stereo was the very next thing you bought after a car! (then you got a waterbed!)  I have twice tried to start a "What do you listen to Led Zeppelin on" thread but everyone uses headphones, computer speakers, or car stereo.  All of those types of systems CAN sound very nice, modern car stereos sound very good to my ears, but nothing sounds like a pair of 12" woofers in a big box driven by some serious watts!  I'm pushing 400 watts (measured 596 watts) into a pair of 1976 Infinity QLS-1 speakers, those things are five and a half feet tall!  It's like being at a show, and it sounds so clean and clear that you can't even tell that it's loud (until you try to talk to someone!)

I bought my old Nu Vista set up before I got a car lol! I bet those QLS sound awesome, but need careful positioning?  My Lumley Lampros /cat scratching posts sound great but after 8 years of cat misuse look shocking.  I like a detailed quite open sound so my system suits me-especially the Musical Fidelity stuff which tends to be like that. The Nu Vista amp was great, but was too sensitive to dirt on the mains- it often read mains noise as a signal and fed it to the speakers )-:  The Vincent amp has a much smaller soundstage, but drives really well.  What cd source do you use?

Edited by WD52

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I use an Oppo 105 as my CD/DVD player and DAC.    I can switch between the player and my laptop and external drives with FLACs of bootlegs.  I'm old school so I still have a pre amp, an early '80's C-30, the OPPO has a volume control but I like the five band equalizer in the pre.  The QLS can sound awesome but they have their weaknesses too, weird phasing issues, a little unbalanced between drivers, they're old, etc., They sound like headphones when you are in the sweet spot. but they aren't my last pair of speakers, that's for sure.

Edited by chef free

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A pre with a five band equalizer? So not as a pure a signal path as more modern pre amps? But I can see how it might 'help' some Zep boots sound better. The Oppo is an American bit of kit (or at least more used in USA than UK) than I am not familiar with-so always good to discover some new gear to read about!

Edited by WD52

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1 hour ago, WD52 said:

A pre with a five band equalizer? So not as a pure a signal path as more modern pre amps? But I can see how it might 'help' some Zep boots sound better. The Oppo is an American bit of kit (or at least more used in USA than UK) than I am familiar with-so always good to discover some new gear to read about!

Oppo are a Chinese company, great quality products, I have the 103D a beautiful piece of kit. At £600 quite expensive for what is essentially a BD/DVD/CD player. mind you if the HIFi shop I got my Oppo from had had a 105 in stock I would have bought it so I saved myself £400.

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Looks neat, but is it trying to be 2 or 3 things in one, or is it just a blue ray dvd player rather than that plus cd player?

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It is a Blue Ray player, CD player and DAC with 3 HDMI inputs, two USB inputs, one digital co-ax input and one optical input.  It can also surf the "net and is programed for YouTube, Netflix, Vudu and many others.  It's not to easy to type data in with the remote, it should have software for a keyboard and/or mouse and it needs a cable box/TV tuner chip and an HD radio chip too.

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