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Fleetwood Mac Rumours - Digital Mastering History
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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kafka's Avatar
Fleetwood Mac Rumours - Digital Mastering History

Does anyone have a good understanding of the various digital masters that have been made of Rumours?

The reason I ask is that I've found some distortion that exists on a number of digital formats that doesn't appear on others. Once you hear it, though, it's unmistakable, and really hard to un-hear. For instance, in Dreams, it shows up as a distinct crackle in the vocals in a number of locations. For instance,

"Now here you go again"
"the sound of your lonlines"

However, it's not limited to vocals, or just that one track.

I first noticed it on a 320Kbps MP3 that I believe I ripped from a deluxe double CD some years ago. It's also present on the existing MP3 that's on Apple's iTunes. However, it's not present on the version on Amazon Music, which is labeled "2004 Remaster". I believe that's also an MP3.

I've verified this with 3 sets of headphones and 3 converters, and in the case of my MP3, listened through several different pieces of software. I'm quite certain that the noise is on the original file.

Allmusic shows quite a few digital releases of Rumours. I guess I'm just trying to figure out where this noise ended up in the release history, because it is one of my frequent reference recordings.

Last edited by kafka; 2 weeks ago at 10:50 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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Justin P.'s Avatar
 

I've noticed this distortion too but haven't taken the time to see what versions it does or doesn't exist on.

I think it's in the master itself and not related to any lossy encoding.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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The MQA version can reverse any distortion coming as a result of the A to D conversion process.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin P. View Post
I've noticed this distortion too but haven't taken the time to see what versions it does or doesn't exist on.

I think it's in the master itself and not related to any lossy encoding.
Yeah, I don't have any reason to think it's related to the encoding. It took me a while to accept that it was really there. Kind of an unfortunate album to make that kind of mistake on.

It looks like it was corrected in the 2004 release, so it might have come from the 1987 CD release. If that's the case, I can't explain how I got it off the double deluxe CD. Maybe I transferred just the 2nd CD later. But then again, it also doesn't make sense for it to be on the current iTunes version. I'm going to have to dig my CD out and see what's up with that.

Last edited by kafka; 2 weeks ago at 03:16 AM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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kafka's Avatar
OK, interesting, it's on all of the Deluxe editions on iTunes, but not on the 1988 'Greatest Hits' or the 2002 'Very Best of'. It's also gone from the 2018 '50 Years' remaster of these songs. So, it seems likely the distortion may have been introduced in the 2013 version, which would explain why it got another remaster just 5 years later.

Last edited by kafka; 2 weeks ago at 04:07 AM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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IanBSC's Avatar
Pretty sure there is no distortion on the 2001 DVD-A remaster. That's the best version I've heard, which I think is also the same 24/96 version HD Tracks sells (although that could be from the 04' one).
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
That record was mixed off the 24 track safety's. It has far more noise and THD than if the original masters had been used. Unfortunately, huge egos in that band wore out the 24 track master tapes because they couldn't get their act together.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
That record was mixed off the 24 track safety's. It has far more noise and THD than if the original masters had been used. Unfortunately, huge egos in that band wore out the 24 track master tapes because they couldn't get their act together.
Yeah, if I understand you correctly, you're talking about the original mix. Which, you can definitely hear is part of the overall sound of every master that came later.

I'm referring to some some specific distortion that exists only on some of the digital masters. If you listen to the Deluxe editions on iTunes, it's there, but not on some others. This is crackling, like they're clipping digitally.

While the Deluxe crackling itself is audible, I think it extends deeper, and is masking out a good amount of the room sound and finer details as well. Some of the digital remasters, both earlier and later, are really beautiful. For instance, even off 2nd gen tape as they may be, you can hear Stevie Nicks' throat fry. The Nov 2018 is a good example of one of the better ones. The Deluxe masters just don't have that kind of depth overall.

Last edited by kafka; 2 weeks ago at 12:22 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Justin P.'s Avatar
 

FWIW, I just listened to the "TIDAL Masters" version on TIDAL and it doesn't seem to have these distortion issues on "Dreams" that I have clearly noticed on other versions.

I don't know how accurate the TIDAL metadata but Ken Perry is the credited mastering engineer.
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