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1975.05.25 Stereo Remaster


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14 hours ago, SteveZ98 said:

Yeah, I did mean 'video soundtrack'. I'm not sure if that's where this audio originated. There are a couple of places in it where there's a background sound like I've only ever heard elsewhere in the July 17, 1977 video. It's just a point of minor interest for me. Regardless of the source, I'm just happy we got to hear the show.

Thanks Steve. Thanks Strider. Thanks for clearing that up. 

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Hello Steve, very impressive results - can you describe which software programme you used? Just one or several? And can I put in a request for the same treatment to the famous version of 'Woodtsock' from the Earls Court gig May 24 1975.

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1 hour ago, Earl of Court said:

Hello Steve, very impressive results - can you describe which software programme you used? Just one or several? And can I put in a request for the same treatment to the famous version of 'Woodtsock' from the Earls Court gig May 24 1975.

Thanks. I use two main programs. One splits the songs into individual instruments so I can remix them into stereo and the other I use to remaster the sound of the songs after they're remixed. In the latter program I use about a dozen separate VST plugins, which are essentially mini programs that each modify different aspects of the sound.

Here's the Woodstock section of Dazed from the May 24 1975 show. I did this quickly and the final version would hopefully sound a lot better, but this will give you an idea of what the process above can do. 

 

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Thanks Steve. That does sound good. I notice how brief fragments of say the guitar get left behind in the center as the majority of the guitar signal moves to one side. Presumably further editing might clean those up. I think the track would also benefit from some cutting via EQ of the bass frequencies which create a 'boom' effect. I look forward to hearing more. Are the programmes you mentioned commercially available?

 

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1 hour ago, Earl of Court said:

Thanks Steve. That does sound good. I notice how brief fragments of say the guitar get left behind in the center as the majority of the guitar signal moves to one side. Presumably further editing might clean those up. I think the track would also benefit from some cutting via EQ of the bass frequencies which create a 'boom' effect. I look forward to hearing more. Are the programmes you mentioned commercially available?

The software that splits the songs into individual files is open source and can be downloaded for free. I'll send you a message with info about it. The software that I use to do the rest of the remastering is "Ozone" by a company called Izotope. It's designed for mastering, although it's meant for music that is relatively well recorded to begin with, so getting it to work on raw Zep soundboards requires multiple passes. The VST plugins are produced by different companies but sold through an online store called the Plugin Alliance. When I began doing this about a decade ago, I used all free software. While it was great to not have to spend money to get started, free software can change the sound of what you're working on in unexpected and unwanted ways. Once I realized this was going to be a long-term hobby, I decided purchasing professional software made sense because it reduced my frustration level and therefore made the hobby more enjoyable.

The issues you noted in the Woodstock sample are some of the reasons each release takes me so long to finish (e.g. I worked on the remaster of the Sept 29 1971 show on and off for two years.) The guitar wandering from the right channel to the center is easy to fix, but it needs to be done manually and on a long song like Dazed that takes a while. Also, I always want the bass to hit hard and not be bloated, but getting that balance right is difficult. Also, whenever you modify the bass, it changes the perception of the high end (and vice versa), so you end up changing two things at once, which is difficult to manage. And the biggest issue is that there's no standard for what the final version of any song should sound like since it's all subjective. I do use the official releases as guides but often deviate from them, either because the source I'm working from is just too ragged to ever get near an official release or because I want something like the bass to be more prominent than it is on HTWWW or the TSRTS soundtrack.

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7 hours ago, SteveZ98 said:

Thanks. I use two main programs. One splits the songs into individual instruments so I can remix them into stereo and the other I use to remaster the sound of the songs after they're remixed. In the latter program I use about a dozen separate VST plugins, which are essentially mini programs that each modify different aspects of the sound.

Here's the Woodstock section of Dazed from the May 24 1975 show. I did this quickly and the final version would hopefully sound a lot better, but this will give you an idea of what the process above can do. 

 

Cool! So you're working on the 03/24/1975 show. Looking forward to it!

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2 hours ago, Page Les Paul said:

Cool! So you're working on the 03/24/1975 show. Looking forward to it!

That sample of Woodstock was from the 5/24/75 show, not 3/24/75 (just wanted to clarify that because a similar question came up yesterday.) I've done very preliminary work on 5/24/75 (basically remixed it to stereo, but that takes little time. The work and majority of time is in remastering it.) The next show I'm planning to release is 9/28/71, which is 99.5% done. After that, my goal is to work on 6/7/77, although that may change depending on how it goes.

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Just listening to the Southampton remaster, sounds pretty good. I have various versions of this will have to compare tomorrow.

Would love a link to the Earls Court 24th May when you finish it, was one of the two Earls Court gigs I saw, the other was 17th May, my 19th birthday!

Never found the 17th in anything but audience recordings.

Thanks for the links Steve, can't wait to listen to the others.

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Very nice work... Jones on the left, Page on the right, Plant's vocals centered, Bonham's stickwork on both channels. Good separation. Not as mono-ish. Really brings out the echo of the hall. Looking forward to 05/24. Thank you again!

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On 1/20/2021 at 7:00 AM, SteveZ98 said:

One splits the songs into individual instruments so I can remix them into stereo 

 

So Steve am I to understand you have files of JUST Jimmy's guitar, JPJ's bass, Bonzo's drums, Plant's voice???  If so that is a freakin dream come true. Any chance we could hear those somehow?

 This stuff is why I get out of bed. 

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33 minutes ago, pageluvva said:

So Steve am I to understand you have files of JUST Jimmy's guitar, JPJ's bass, Bonzo's drums, Plant's voice???  If so that is a freakin dream come true. Any chance we could hear those somehow?

 This stuff is why I get out of bed. 

The software I use splits songs into individual tracks for drums, bass, vocals, and "other" (it can also split out a piano track, if I ask it to.) On "power trio plus vocals" songs like Sick Again, the "other" track is just Jimmy's guitar. However, on some (e.g. songs in an acoustic set where Jonsey plays mandolin), it contains multiple instruments.

Unfortunately, if you listen to the individual tracks by themselves, they don't sound nearly as good as you would hope. There are a lot of artifacts that are introduced when the software splits a song apart. Strangely, they disappear when you play all of the individual tracks at the same time. I'm not sure how that works, but hearing them together sounds way better than hearing them separately. When I first started this, I hoped to be able to listen to Jimmy's parts in isolation, and while I can, it's not a pleasant experience. I'll try to post some examples later today so you can hear what I'm talking about.

 

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21 hours ago, SteveZ98 said:

The software that splits the songs into individual files is open source and can be downloaded for free. I'll send you a message with info about it. The software that I use to do the rest of the remastering is "Ozone" by a company called Izotope. It's designed for mastering, although it's meant for music that is relatively well recorded to begin with, so getting it to work on raw Zep soundboards requires multiple passes. The VST plugins are produced by different companies but sold through an online store called the Plugin Alliance. When I began doing this about a decade ago, I used all free software. While it was great to not have to spend money to get started, free software can change the sound of what you're working on in unexpected and unwanted ways. Once I realized this was going to be a long-term hobby, I decided purchasing professional software made sense because it reduced my frustration level and therefore made the hobby more enjoyable.

The issues you noted in the Woodstock sample are some of the reasons each release takes me so long to finish (e.g. I worked on the remaster of the Sept 29 1971 show on and off for two years.) The guitar wandering from the right channel to the center is easy to fix, but it needs to be done manually and on a long song like Dazed that takes a while. Also, I always want the bass to hit hard and not be bloated, but getting that balance right is difficult. Also, whenever you modify the bass, it changes the perception of the high end (and vice versa), so you end up changing two things at once, which is difficult to manage. And the biggest issue is that there's no standard for what the final version of any song should sound like since it's all subjective. I do use the official releases as guides but often deviate from them, either because the source I'm working from is just too ragged to ever get near an official release or because I want something like the bass to be more prominent than it is on HTWWW or the TSRTS soundtrack.

Many thanks for discussing this process and for the information. This technology is very promising for many official mono recordings in popular music more widely as well as in the case of mono Zep recordings. I am not at all surprised about this taking a lot of time. I second the query about Earls Court's opening night. I have only heard audience recordings of this, which are a bit rough. Since there is no video in the public domain of that night (AFAIK) I assume there's no audio to work with.

 

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2 hours ago, SteveZ98 said:

The software I use splits songs into individual tracks for drums, bass, vocals, and "other" (it can also split out a piano track, if I ask it to.) On "power trio plus vocals" songs like Sick Again, the "other" track is just Jimmy's guitar. However, on some (e.g. songs in an acoustic set where Jonsey plays mandolin), it contains multiple instruments.

Unfortunately, if you listen to the individual tracks by themselves, they don't sound nearly as good as you would hope. There are a lot of artifacts that are introduced when the software splits a song apart. Strangely, they disappear when you play all of the individual tracks at the same time. I'm not sure how that works, but hearing them together sounds way better than hearing them separately. When I first started this, I hoped to be able to listen to Jimmy's parts in isolation, and while I can, it's not a pleasant experience. I'll try to post some examples later today so you can hear what I'm talking about.

 

Much and I mean much appreciated. Would love to hear examples. 

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2 hours ago, pageluvva said:

Much and I mean much appreciated. Would love to hear examples. 

Here's a small section of the jam section of No Quarter from 5/25/75. It starts with the drums by themselves for 30 seconds, then the piano for the same time, and then the guitar. The final 30 seconds is all of them combined. I should have included Robert's vocals, but this example will give you an idea of how the instruments sound by themselves versus when they're all played together:

 

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6 hours ago, Earl of Court said:

Many thanks for discussing this process and for the information. This technology is very promising for many official mono recordings in popular music more widely as well as in the case of mono Zep recordings. I am not at all surprised about this taking a lot of time. I second the query about Earls Court's opening night. I have only heard audience recordings of this, which are a bit rough. Since there is no video in the public domain of that night (AFAIK) I assume there's no audio to work with.

 

As far as I know, the only thing available from the first night at Earls Court is an audience recording.

Regarding turning existing official mono recordings into stereo, this technology can work wonders when it's sufficiently trained to understand the parts that make up the song it's being asked to break into individual instruments. Out of the box, it knows what bass, drums, vocals, and acoustic piano sound like, and it puts everything else in an "Other" track. That actually works great if a song contains those instruments and a single guitar, because the guitar ends up in the "Other" track by itself. The problem is if there are additional instruments being played, the software needs extensive training to understand what they sound like so it can put them in their own tracks. Without training, it just sticks them in the "Other" track. That's not the end of the world because there are ways to deal with it, but it's not ideal. For Zeppelin specifically, the software struggles with things like when Robert and Jimmy do their vocal/guitar duet, acoustic songs that feature Jonsey playing anything resembling a guitar, songs where Robert plays harmonica, and whenever Jonsey plays keyboards that don't sound like a traditional piano. Luckily, aside from the vocal/guitar duets, the software works well without any training on a lot of the early mono Zep recordings (BBC sessions, etc.) For reference, it would be possible to convert many of those early official mono recordings into something that sounds like the 3/14/69 Swedish radio sample below. I hope Zep decides to do this, and I assume other bands will use it to remaster their early catalogs, especially now that we're seeing a lot of older acts sell their back catalogs to corporations.

 

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19 hours ago, SteveZ98 said:

Here's a small section of the jam section of No Quarter from 5/25/75. It starts with the drums by themselves for 30 seconds, then the piano for the same time, and then the guitar. The final 30 seconds is all of them combined. I should have included Robert's vocals, but this example will give you an idea of how the instruments sound by themselves versus when they're all played together:

 

Hey Steve thanks so much for doing this so we could hear how they all sound individually and together. But like you said, when they come together is really when BAM it all hits! GREAT stuff. 

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