[ProAudio] Dolby A with no tones (was 4-channel program distribution format(s))

Jim Brown jim at audiosystemsgroup.com
Wed Jan 25 14:14:42 PST 2023

On 1/25/2023 1:16 PM, Scott Dorsey via ProAudio wrote:
> all you can do is use your ears.

Something that we ought to be doing a LOT more than most of us do.

A year or so ago, I bought a 2-CD set called "Sonny Rollins in Holland," 
which consists of a studio session and two poorly recorded live sets, 
all from May '67. The studio set sounds fine, the live sets CRIED OUT 
for extensive EQ to make them listenable. Clearly, the mastering 
engineer was either deaf or never listened to the material, just punched 
record and called it a day.

This is NOT uncommon -- I listen to a lot of jazz, some of it live, some 
of it from studio sessions, and the quality is all over the place. Even 
in well recorded material, acoustic design of control rooms and EQ of 
monitoring systems colors EQ judgements when mixing and mastering. I do 
all my serious listening on Sennheiser HD650 cans and a CD player 
running from my computer through a Mackie interface. A year ago, I added 
a small Yamaha mixer with midrange, 100 Hz and 10 kHz shelf EQ to make 
stuff like this listenable. Yes, I could have done a parametric and 
headphone amp, but my wife wouldn't have tolerated them in the living 
room.)  For those two Rollins live sets, I had to crank the low shelf 
all the way up, the high shelf more than halfway, and the midrange 
several dB down. It didn't turn a pig's ear into a silk purse, but both 
sets sounded a LOT better.

The goal of mastering stuff like this should not be a perfect 1:1 copy 
of what's on the tape, but rather getting as close as practical to what 
was happening in the studio or on the stage.

Jim Brown

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