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jay-z - empire state: digital clipping? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 3rd January 2011
  #1
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jay-z - empire state: digital clipping?

Is it me or is there some serious digital clipping all over this song? (First appearing at 0:21 in this youtoob)



I bought the album because of this track but I was kinda surprised by these glitchy sounds...
Old 3rd January 2011
  #2
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To judge the sound you need the original 16 bit 44,1 kHz pcm.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #3
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Pretty much every Jay-Z release since the Black Album has audible clipping. Check out 'Pray' on the American Gangster LP.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #4
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That doesn't surprise me. His stuff is maxing out around -6 rms. way too much.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recall View Post
Pretty much every Jay-Z release since the Black Album has audible clipping. Check out 'Pray' on the American Gangster LP.
ditto;
Jay's music is unlistenable, don't even mention his last video clip with k west,
very controversial
Old 3rd January 2011
  #6
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Unlistenable? Because of the music or the sound?
Old 3rd January 2011
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoRausch View Post
Unlistenable? Because of the music or the sound?
personally i'd say both, but in this case everyone is talking about the sound rather than opinions on his music.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tresperros View Post
ditto;
Jay's music is unlistenable, don't even mention his last video clip with k west,
very controversial
Unlistenable? because it's clipping? The Blueprint 3 actually sold 476,000 copies in its first week! How can it be "unlistenable"? A LOT of hip hop producers actually use and have been using clipping even before the loudness war. Clipping the mpc converters can sound exciting and punchy in a way. Hip hop needs to be loud, exciting and crunchy if you ask me. Clipping can be one of many tools to get it there...
Old 3rd January 2011
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean Doe View Post
Unlistenable? because it's clipping? The Blueprint 3 actually sold 476,000 copies in its first week! How can it be "unlistenable"? A LOT of hip hop producers actually use and have been using clipping even before the loudness war. Clipping the mpc converters can sound exciting and punchy in a way. Hip hop needs to be loud, exciting and crunchy if you ask me. Clipping can be one of many tools to get it there...
Clipping the converters on an MPC is not the same thing as having to listen to roughly 40 minutes of audio maximized to oblivion.

Sure, HH needs to be loud, but GZA Liquid Swords loud, not as loud as releases like this have gotten. The reason why Jay sells records is because he's a microphone KING, not because his releases make your ears bleed.

If you want to talk numbers like an accountant, fine, I'll play: Biggie's "Ready To Die" went 4X Platinum and the average levels of the original release ('94) are all over the map; it wasn't as "polished" as many other releases are/have been either.
Old 4th January 2011
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franco View Post
Clipping the converters on an MPC is not the same thing as having to listen to roughly 40 minutes of audio maximized to oblivion.

Sure, HH needs to be loud, but GZA Liquid Swords loud, not as loud as releases like this have gotten. The reason why Jay sells records is because he's a microphone KING, not because his releases make your ears bleed.

If you want to talk numbers like an accountant, fine, I'll play: Biggie's "Ready To Die" went 4X Platinum and the average levels of the original release ('94) are all over the map; it wasn't as "polished" as many other releases are/have been either.
All I was saying is that several million people actually bought this record to listen to, therefore it can hardly be classified as "unlistenable"! Never have i said that the loudness had an actual influence on the sales. No reason for name calling tutt
If you ask me personally, I think they could have backed off with the level a little with no influence on record sales. People obviously don't mind the actual clipping sound though, especially not the ones who listen to hip hop regularly.
Old 4th January 2011
  #11
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I find it funny that you only noticed it NOW... it's been out for quite a while and i thought it sucked since it first came out.

That, and Eminem's new album, Recovery. The album is great, but it's just too darn loud and midrange honky. It's loud to the point where you can't listen it on something with tiny speakers (such as a cellphone) because everything gets all mushy.
Old 4th January 2011
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Th3_uN1Qu3 View Post
It's loud to the point where you can't listen it on something with tiny speakers (such as a cellphone) because everything gets all mushy.
Time for the iphoneboombox.
Old 4th January 2011
  #13
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Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon. Mastered at -9dB, I believe. 741 weeks on Billboard charts. 45 million copies sold. 37 years old. Was bestselling download when it debuted on iTunes. Same later on Amazon.com MP3.

Michael Jackson's Thriller. 110 million copies sold.

I am sorry, Jay who?
Old 4th January 2011
  #14
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And you are Elteto with 30 Mio. copies sold, right? I'm sorry too...
Old 4th January 2011
  #15
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OK, so obviously, my sarcasm has not come through sufficiently enough in writing. I was making a point about the futility of arguing over loudness, clipping, and "unlistenability" being related to sales numbers. Audio engineers can fume all they want about the technical issues with an album, if people buy it, it is good on the artist. That is all there is to it.
Old 4th January 2011
  #16
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The thing is I like Jay and his music. He talks in interviews about the power of hip hop to enact social change and bring people together from all walks of life.

That may or may not he true, but if that is his line of thinking then he should use his power of influence to make the change on this side.

You guys are right. The public has no idea about a loudness war. So Jay could release his album mastered at respectable levels, it would not hurt his sales, and others on this side would follow suit.
Old 4th January 2011
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quadrafunk View Post
The thing is I like Jay and his music. He talks in interviews about the power of hip hop to enact social change and bring people together from all walks of life.

That may or may not he true, but if that is his line of thinking then he should use his power of influence to make the change on this side.

You guys are right. The public has no idea about a loudness war. So Jay could release his album mastered at respectable levels, it would not hurt his sales, and others on this side would follow suit.
And THAT is exactly the point.
Old 4th January 2011
  #18
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I know man. It is so frustrating to see musicians now falling prey to the loudness mess.

The last two musicians that I've spoken with about working on their projects both said the exact same thing. "I need it to be loud." I try to explain, "Well let's make sure it sounds good." "don't worry about it being loud."

.....they still want it loud.

I then try to explain to them that I just mix. I don't try and master stuff that you're planning on releasing for sale. You need an ME because you have several songs, from different sources, recorded in different environments, that need to sound cohesive. That takes time and a room that I don't have. I have a mix room.

......they just want it loud.
Old 4th January 2011
  #19
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you know you're a gearslut when.........
Old 4th January 2011
  #20
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You know, while I am not a big fan of compressed audio formats or loudness wars, I will not accuse someone of "selling out" or "betraying their craft" for mastering something loud. True, all that loudness-maximized material is not sonically pleasing, but honestly, if someone pays for it and they like what they want, then the universal laws of supply and demand rule. However, as you mentioned before, if someone is already a successful artist, his name alone will sell records (CDs, downloads, vinyl).

It would be encouraging to see established artists promote attention to detail in audio engineering, mixing and mastering. I mean, they can actually afford now not to have to be loud as a primary goal. I know, it does not sound right that you should have to be rich and famous before you can introduce dynamics into your masters, but at least do it if you have the means.

My argument is that these days we have better quality personal electronics that could take advantage of superbly-mastered music. Even a 320kbps Lame-encoded mp3 file provides better quality than 80s cassette-based portable players did. More and more people have home theater setups, which have better speakers than old boomboxes or clock radios did. And with Blu-Ray, now we have DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TruHD. Let us not forget digital radio, either. In light of all these improvements, it seems conuterintuitive that audio playback devices can reproduce higher and higher quality audio, but music is mastered with less and less detail, dynamics and punchiness. It is like manufacturing higher resolution computer monitors or color printers while making lower megapixel-rated cameras. It just makes no sense.
Old 4th January 2011
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elteto View Post
In light of all these improvements, it seems conuterintuitive that audio playback devices can reproduce higher and higher quality audio, but music is mastered with less and less detail, dynamics and punchiness. It is like manufacturing higher resolution computer monitors or color printers while making lower megapixel-rated cameras. It just makes no sense.
I don't know what you're doing with your masters. Mine are louder than years before but even though much better.
Old 4th January 2011
  #22
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My main concern is the song is sh1te, it was sh1te when Alicia Keys did it, and it's sh1te with Jay's puerile lyrics. Furthermore, most of this version still has more Alicia in it. I'd put this one in the "worst songs" thread where it belongs.

"Yeah, yeah, I'ma up at Brooklyn, now I'm down in Tribeca
Right next to De Niro, but I'll be hood forever
I'm the new Sinatra, and since I made it here
I can make it anywhere, yeah, they love me everywhere

I used to cop in Harlem, all of my Dominicanos
Right there up on Broadway, brought me back to that McDonald's
Took it to my stash spot, 560 State Street
Catch me in the Kitchen like a Simmons whipping pastry

Cruising down 8th Street, off-white Lexus
Driving so slow, but BK is from Texas
Me, I'm up at Bed-Stuy, home of that boy Biggie
Now I live on Billboard, and I brought my boys with me

Say what up to Ty Ty, still sipping mai tai
Sitting courtside, Knicks and Nets give me high fives
Nigga, I be spiked out, I can trip a referee
Tell by my attitude that I am most definitely from

In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh
There's nothing you can't do, now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York
New York, New York
(I made you hot, nigga)

Catch me at the X with OG at a Yankee game
****, I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can
You should know I bleed blue, but I ain't a Crip though
But I got a gang of niggas walking with my clique, though

Welcome to the melting pot, corners where we selling rock
Afrika Bambaataa ****, home of the hip hop
Yellow Cab, Gypsy Cab, Dollar Cab, holla back
For foreigners that ain't fifty, they act like they forgot how to act

Eight million stories out there, and they're naked
Cities is a pity, half of y'all won't make it
Me, I gotta plug, Special Ed "I Got It Made"
If Jesus payin' LeBron, I'm paying Dwyane Wade

Three dice, Cee-lo, three-card Monte
Labor Day Parade, rest in peace, Bob Marley
Statue of Liberty, long live the World Trade
Long live the king, yo, I'm from the Empire State that's

In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh
There's nothing you can't do, now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York
New York, New York

Lights is blinding, girls need blinders
So they can step out of bounds quick
The sidelines is blind with casualties
Who sipping life casually, then gradually become worse

Don't bite the apple, Eve, caught up in the in crowd
Now you're in style, end of the winter gets cold
En vogue with your skin out, the city of sin is a pity on a whim
Good girls gone bad, the cities filled with them

Mommy took a bus trip, now she got her bust out
Everybody ride her just like a bus route
Hail Mary to the city, you're a virgin
And Jesus can't save you, life starts when the church ends

Came here for school, graduated to the high life
Ball players, rap stars addicted to the limelight
MDMA got you feeling like a champion
The city never sleeps, better slip you an Ambien

In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do, now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York
New York, New York

One hand in the air for the big city
Street lights, big dreams all looking pretty
No place in the world that can compare
Put your lighters in the air, everybody say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
(Come on, come on)

In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh
There's nothing you can't do, now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York
New York, New York"
Old 5th January 2011
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elteto View Post
And THAT is exactly the point.
Agreed...

I'm not looking for a Steely Dan experience when I put Jay Z on (or most other rappers), but damn it keeps getting worse over the years. I own all of his albums and would say the sound quality probably peaked on his 2nd and 3rd albums (Volumes 1 & 2). His first album Reasonable Doubt was made on a low budget so it's not that great sound wise. Starting with volume 3 it started to take a step in the wrong direction.

Rap doesn't have to sound bad. All the west coast stuff sounds great, at least the older stuff.

Snoop's Doggystyle
Dre's Chronic and 2001
Eminem's first 3 albums
Warren G's first 3 albums
Twinz "Conversation"
2pac's "all eyez on me" and probably his other stuff too

What do they all have in common? Most of it was done on analog tape.
Old 5th January 2011
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioaddict View Post
Agreed...

I'm not looking for a Steely Dan experience when I put Jay Z on (or most other rappers), but damn it keeps getting worse over the years. I own all of his albums and would say the sound quality probably peaked on his 2nd and 3rd albums (Volumes 1 & 2). His first album Reasonable Doubt was made on a low budget so it's not that great sound wise. Starting with volume 3 it started to take a step in the wrong direction.

Rap doesn't have to sound bad. All the west coast stuff sounds great, at least the older stuff.

Snoop's Doggystyle
Dre's Chronic and 2001
Eminem's first 3 albums
Warren G's first 3 albums
Twinz "Conversation"
2pac's "all eyez on me" and probably his other stuff too

What do they all have in common? Most of it was done on analog tape.
Q-Tip,
Common,
Dilla's stuff, Pete Rock, etc...
Old 5th January 2011
  #25
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by echoRausch View Post
I don't know what you're doing with your masters. Mine are louder than years before but even though much better.
I am not talking about my masters. I am talking about some of the music I (and millions of other consumers) buy on CD these days. The wave forms look like a solid, filled in rectangle, and the needles on the meter are standing still. One of the most obvious evidence of this is seen when comparing remastered re-release CD waveforms with those of the original releases. Remastering sometimes simply means that the original stereo master has been run through some loudness maximization and other processing, but the mix or the individual tracks have not been touched at all. You can read engineers sarcastically joke about this practice on forums and even in audio magazines.

Do most consumers care? Some may, most probably do not.

If you are happy with your masters getting louder than years before, then good for you. If you think they are much better as well, good for you again. It is individual preference, and since this is a forum, people are expressing their personal opinions.

Nobody has to be Alan Parsons, George Martin, or the like just to qualify to post on here. It would be a much less busy or diverse site!
Old 5th January 2011
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioaddict View Post
What do they all have in common? Most of it was done on analog tape.
Aha! The man is on to something!

Analog is still a domain/force to be reckoned with. You can buy very pristine 24-bit/96kHz sample libraries; reading the notes you find out that in recording these samples, the engineers ran the mics through analog desks onto analog tape, then digitized the output from that tape.

Some analog fans go as far as buying vinyl records that were recorded, mixed, and mastered in the analog domain, then they record the output from the turntable to digital, lossless files. Too much? Apparently not for many analog fans!

A number of artists these days still insist on recording to analog tape. Tool, for example, as they claim, have reels of analog tape saved for future use in an environmentally controlled locker. Is it true or is it just a marketing stunt claim? Who knows, but the lengths to which some dedicated artists go to preserve that analog sound is very respectable!
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