VISIONARY (Esoteric CD) mastering / pressing fault?

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steve
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VISIONARY (Esoteric CD) mastering / pressing fault?

Postby steve » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:53 am

Hello to everyone who purchased the recent Esoteric remastered albums, and in particular Visionary.

Has anyone else noticed a mastering fault / pressing fault at 1.30 secs into "Revelation"? The music appears to jump or skip ahead several seconds, or at least it does on my copy. Checking my CDP display it does not literally jump ahead, say from 1 minute 28 seconds to 1 minute 33seconds, BUT the music itself has some missing fragments so it appears to be clumsily edited at this point. As I have literally played this album hundreds of times over the years on both vinyl and CD I know the album very very well and this is particularly jarring to say the least.

I don't know whether to return my copy for a replacement or if indeed all copies are the same. Can somone please confirm if other copies are also faulty and that it's not just my copy and if anyone knows if Esoteric are aware of this / the problem can be rectified please?

Many thanks,

Steve
Mirrors should think longer before they reflect ~ Jean Cocteau

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Sue
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Re: VISIONARY (Esoteric CD) mastering / pressing fault?

Postby Sue » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:32 pm

Hi Steve,

has just tried mine, can't hear any skips in it so looks like you may have a faulty disc.

Have you tried it in other players ? In the past I've had discs that play fine in one machine but not another...

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Sue
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steve
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Re: VISIONARY (Esoteric CD) mastering / pressing fault?

Postby steve » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:13 pm

Hi Sue,

Many thanks for checking your copy and getting back to me so quickly. No, I haven't tried it in other players yet simply because it doesn't appear to skip according to the counter / display ie. the seconds count incrementally without missing any number sequence.....8,9,0,1,2,3 etc. It doesn't lurch from 1.28 to 1.33 or anything like that and yet the music itself does, which is a very odd thing I've never encountered before.

I will try it with some other equipment, just in case though.

Regards

Steve
Mirrors should think longer before they reflect ~ Jean Cocteau

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Re: VISIONARY (Esoteric CD) mastering / pressing fault?

Postby piotrwargan » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:33 pm

Hi Steve,

I think that my copy of the remastered Visionary was OK. Cannot check it now, as I sent it to the Polish National Radio Programme 3 some time ago.

All the best,
Piotr (also a big fan of the Visionary)

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steve
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Re: VISIONARY (Esoteric CD) mastering / pressing fault?

Postby steve » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:40 pm

For information I contacted Esoteric directly and they have already got back to me asking for me to send my copy to them for checking as there have been reports of these titles being bootlegged! I'm almost certain all the copies I have are originals and not counterfeits in any way but I will at least send Visionary to them to get their feedback.

The company has promised to send me another copy in return.

One further probing question whilst I'm at it, can someone please confirm if "Visitation" on Fear Of The Dark is the new mix (stripped down) or the original mix? I note that Gordon stated it would be the newer mix created in 1998/9 but my Esoteric FOD definitely has the earlier (original) mix - or at least to my usually good memory recall, it sounds as close to what I'm used to as anything possibly could. If I have a "stray" copy of that track then maybe the provenance of my Esoteric discs will need questioning!
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Re: VISIONARY (Esoteric CD) mastering / pressing fault?

Postby Trevor Raggatt » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:32 pm

I've been doing some A-B listening to the 2013version on my iPod and some of the earlier masters posted on YouTube. To me the musical sequencing is exactly the same. However, on the 2013 pressing I do think I am hearing what you are hearing. However, since the music is identical I suspect that we are victims of improving technology. One of the things which struck me when the 2013 reissue came out was how good the mastering and transfer was. I think that what we're actually hearing is an edit on the original 24 track master tape from back in the days when editing was done by taking bits of magnetic tape, cutting them up with razor blades and sticking them back together with fancy sellotape.

I suspect that the new master and transfer is sufficiently transparent that you're just about able to hear the jump where the tape is spliced. On less clear previous transfers that might have been less audible. If that's the case that is pretty mind blowing!

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Re: VISIONARY (Esoteric CD) mastering / pressing fault?

Postby steve » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:18 pm

Trevor,

Thank you for your A/B comparison notes. Having delved a little further into this myself I can confirm that a) nothing is indeed missing from 2013 remaster but also that b) the swift change in the music at 1.30 is far more abrupt than on either the original LP or the Voice Print CD. It's almost as if there is a fraction of a second missing. On the VP CD from 98/99 the previous note gets heard in full and then there's a quick change in the music. On the current CD that note appears to be clipped before the change cuts in quite abruptly. Sorry, I'm not a musician so I can only describe what I'm hearing in layman's terms.

The mix might also appear to be slightly different though. Listening through headphones the sound balance and emphasis on certain instrumentation appears to be ever so slightly different. Does anyone know the exact source for the current Esoteric remaster?

Likewise I'm still confused over "Visitation" on Fear Of The Dark. The VP 98/99 CD had a complete remix but the current CD appears for all intents and purposes to be identical to the original album? Has anyone got a better idea about the sources for the last and current CD?

I have to agree though that in terms of dynamica and sonics, the latest CD's win hands down.

Now if only someone would put these albums back into print on vinyl!

Best,

Steve
Mirrors should think longer before they reflect ~ Jean Cocteau

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Re: VISIONARY (Esoteric CD) mastering / pressing fault?

Postby Trevor Raggatt » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:23 pm

REVELATION:

OK, so I've been doing some more forensic listening to the various CD versions of the track and I think I've come up with a theory. There are three CD issues of Visionary (et al). The first was released by BBC/Prestige in 1991 as a double set - two albums on one CD with Fear OF The Dark. Then there was the Voiceprint reissue in 1999. Finally there was the Cherry Red reissue in 2013.

On the BBC version it sounds like there is a barely audible tape edit at around 1:28 but it is really natural sounding. Nice work by the engineer if it is one.

On the Voiceprint version however there is some serious deterioration audible. As the edit runs past the playback head there is a muffling of the sound and a drop out which phases across from the right channel to the left. It is the sort of thing you would get if the physical edit was deteriorating and the tape lifted momentarily off the head as it ran past. I'm surprised that no one caught or corrected that prior to the final mastering.

On the 2013 reissue it sounds like there has been some remedial work done either on the original magnetic tape or in post production. It means that the edit is rather more audible than on the 1991 recording but the quality of the recording and the music is maintained. The additional clarity of the transfer also probably helps accentuate the audibility of it.

Hope that helps.

VISITATION:

On both the 1991 and 1999 reissues of FotD the version of Visitation is the remixed version. There are no drums on the track at all other than it sounds like there is a little snare retained in the mix during the big hits just after 2 minutes... the bit that goes "Ga-ga-ga-changggggg!" but the snare is pretty buried under the crashing acoustic guitars.

However, it very much sounds like the new 2013 reissue IS THE ORIGINAL ARRANGEMENT WITH SIMON PHILLIPS' DRUMS! YAY!

The drums come in at about 1:29 with some floor tom hits, with some hi-hat being added at about 1:32. There's a fill across the toms at 1:54 and the drum part builds through the rest of the song to the climax around 3:54 making way for the acoustic and strings outro. Simon Phillips' playing across the track is stunning and I, for one, am glad to hear it back where it belongs. Mind you, it's also nice to have the less bombastic versions sans drums.

And if nothing else, it proves that Cherry Red really did go back to the original master tapes for their transfer. So good on them! A job really well done, especially given that they were working on magnetic tapes that were nearly 40 years old when they were working on them!

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Re: VISIONARY (Esoteric CD) mastering / pressing fault?

Postby steve » Wed Nov 04, 2015 2:53 pm

The plot thickens!

Thank you again for your detailed analysis. I think you might have just nailed this issue once and for all. Maybe you'll get the "Giltrap Award For Technical Excellence"? :wink:

I have just listened to the Voice Print CD again through headphones and I note it is very hissy. Normally tape hiss is a good thing as it can indicate the lack of noise reduction (which brutally cuts out high frequencies in the music and makes everything sound dull and lifeless) but in this instance is sounds more like a third generation copy! I also hear the tape fault you point out at 1.28. What is strange though is that if Esoteric have gone back to the master tape, why do earlier LP pressings as well as the VP CD sound identical to each other and different to the latest CD?

Regarding "Visitation" Gordon himself has said on here that he undertood the new CD would also be remixed. You have confirmed my thoughts that it isn't and that the whole FOD album is indeed the original version. This begs the question as to why the original master tapes weren't used before now. If FOD was remixed for the BBC/Prestige CD of 1991, why had they chosen to ignore the master tape which was just a little over ten years old at the time? It seems very odd. Can anyone else throw any light on this? Gordon?

I think we're agreed though that whatever the decisions of the past, the CURRENT CD's all sound very good.

Thanks again for your interest and attention to my original question.
Mirrors should think longer before they reflect ~ Jean Cocteau

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Re: VISIONARY (Esoteric CD) mastering / pressing fault?

Postby Trevor Raggatt » Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:02 pm

steve wrote:The plot thickens!

Thank you again for your detailed analysis. I think you might have just nailed this issue once and for all. Maybe you'll get the "Giltrap Award For Technical Excellence"? :wink:

.


Ha! Yes, it would look nice alongside my Giltrap Awards for Unhealthy Geekiness (I've won that one a few times over the years!!!!)


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