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Rhino and GDM official release quality issues

 
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henryhill



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 12:43 pm    Post subject: Rhino and GDM official release quality issues Reply with quote

The other day Kochman and I were discussing what seems to be some fairly major quality control issues with some of the official live releases from the Grateful Dead.

Now I consider all these releases a blessing, warts and all. If you would have told me twenty years ago that you'd be able to assemble a fairly mighty collection of live GD shows completely from official releases, I'd have asked for some of what you're smoking.

However, at times, I have to wonder if the studio engineers have ears at all. This came to the fore when I was listening to the Record Store Day release of 5-4-79 Hampton, VA. I was listening at a friends house, thought it sounded a little fast, but I wasn't going to say anything as she had just shelled out for the platters, but then she said she thought it was fast. I really don't think she has very good ears for such things, so I knew I was right about the pitch if she could notice it.

I dug into this a little further, and took a 10 minute-ish chunk of the Walker - Miller audience source, and compared it's running time with an identically edited chunk of a needle drop of 5/4/79, did a little math, determined that the LP needed to be slowed down roughly 3.6% to match the walker/miller. (I think Charlie Miller does a real good job on the pitch/speed of his transfers.) I did apply the 3.6% reduction to the whole LP, voila, it sounded right.

I know at one time Charlie Miller was offering pitch corrected versions of some of the Dave's Picks and other releases. He was doing this semi-privately, and only to folks that could prove they had indeed bought a copy of the original release.

Discussing this with Koch in the chat, he pointed out that at least one of these releases Charlie had broken bad on was also a 79 show, so it could be they had a bad or worn recorder the band was using to capture these shows.

Still kind of shocking that these alleged sound engineers at Rhino are missing the boat on pitch. Could it be that there is a generation of recording engineers that have only digital source experience and are unaware pitch/speed could be an issue with analog sources?

Well, I could probably tap out a small town phone book with tangential thoughts on this, but now that I've spouted this long, we'll see where the convo goes from here.
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Kochman
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Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Posts: 10252
Location: Davy Jones' Locker

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 7:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Rhino and GDM official release quality issues Reply with quote

henryhill wrote:
The other day Kochman and I were discussing what seems to be some fairly major quality control issues with some of the official live releases from the Grateful Dead.

Now I consider all these releases a blessing, warts and all. If you would have told me twenty years ago that you'd be able to assemble a fairly mighty collection of live GD shows completely from official releases, I'd have asked for some of what you're smoking.

However, at times, I have to wonder if the studio engineers have ears at all. This came to the fore when I was listening to the Record Store Day release of 5-4-79 Hampton, VA. I was listening at a friends house, thought it sounded a little fast, but I wasn't going to say anything as she had just shelled out for the platters, but then she said she thought it was fast. I really don't think she has very good ears for such things, so I knew I was right about the pitch if she could notice it.

I dug into this a little further, and took a 10 minute-ish chunk of the Walker - Miller audience source, and compared it's running time with an identically edited chunk of a needle drop of 5/4/79, did a little math, determined that the LP needed to be slowed down roughly 3.6% to match the walker/miller. (I think Charlie Miller does a real good job on the pitch/speed of his transfers.) I did apply the 3.6% reduction to the whole LP, voila, it sounded right.

I know at one time Charlie Miller was offering pitch corrected versions of some of the Dave's Picks and other releases. He was doing this semi-privately, and only to folks that could prove they had indeed bought a copy of the original release.

Discussing this with Koch in the chat, he pointed out that at least one of these releases Charlie had broken bad on was also a 79 show, so it could be they had a bad or worn recorder the band was using to capture these shows.

Still kind of shocking that these alleged sound engineers at Rhino are missing the boat on pitch. Could it be that there is a generation of recording engineers that have only digital source experience and are unaware pitch/speed could be an issue with analog sources?

Well, I could probably tap out a small town phone book with tangential thoughts on this, but now that I've spouted this long, we'll see where the convo goes from here.

It is perplexing, because you would assume that they would hire professionals with experience in this field. They would also, like us, have access to the exact same show with the correct pitch having been applied, even if the originals had a screwy pitch.

This leads me to one conclusions, immediately...
The sound engineers in question are NOT deadheads, as they clearly have not taken the time to compare their product to sources that are already widely available.

Rhino, I have always thought they sucked. Now, I am yet more certain. I understand it is a business, but they seem to have bought into the GD with the intent of making money, spending as little as possible during their efforts.

I understand that this, maximizing profit, is a tenet of capitalism.
They can get away with their half-ass efforts due to a lack of viable competition... having sole rights to the GD's entire catalog. It's a monopoly, and this is the problem with monopolies... once they lack competition, as they seek, they will henceforth put out mediocre products.

The problem is, with music rights, this is typical. However, most band's catalogs face stiffer competition, whereas with the GD fans, you could serve them [CENSORED] on a skillet, dress it up with the appropriate factors (their music, generally), and it will get gobbled up.

However, it is also counterproductive, because less people will actually buy the releases if such poor quality products are produced and released without decent quality control.

Thank goodness for the Archive and all the people who take their time on these things having the kindness to put the fruits of their efforts out for free...
As Jerry intended.
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