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Old 6th December 2005, 14:40   #1  |  Link
simonhowson
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Petition: Red Hot Chili Peppers CD Re-Mastering (Fix Clipping & Compression)

http://www.petitiononline.com/RHCPWBCD/petition.html

I realise this is a primarily technical forum regarding video and audio technologies.

However, I am hoping that some will be willing to support a petition I have created regarding the poor quality of recent CDs by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Obviously I am primarily trying to get support from fans of the band, however many of them do not understand issues such as the compression of audio dynamics (as opposed to data compression) and other flaws in contemporary CDs such as limiting, and digital distortion / clipping.

I am hoping some forum members will be willing to support my petition on purely technical grounds, even if they do not like, or are unfamiliar with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Recently campaigns by fans, and audio professionals of the band Rush were able to motivate a record company to reissue an album (Vapor Trails) that is less than 4 years old. I'm trying to generate similar support for correctly mastered versions of the later RHCP albums, particularly Californication, and By The Way.

The text of the petition is as follows:

To: Anthony, Chad, Flea, John / Warner Bros. Records

This petition promotes the re-issuing of the Red Hot Chili Peppers back-catalogue from their Warner Bros. period (1991 - Present).

We feel it is necessary for all of the music to be carefully re-mastered, and possibly re-mixed, under the close guidance of the band members, and a suitable engineer such as Steve Hoffman (http://www.stevehoffman.tv/).

The main objective is to release new versions of the albums that do not contain excessive compression, and are free of digital distortion (clipping) that is sadly prevalent on current CD, and even LP copies. (For more details on excessive CD loudness and digital distortion see: http://tinyurl.com/96eh7 and http://tinyurl.com/3jak)

The band's 1991 album 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik' represents the highest sound quality of any Red Hot Chili Peppers album. It features wonderfully written music, superbly produced, arranged, performed, recorded, mixed, and mastered. The current CD communicates impressively the outstanding performances of the band members during those memorable sessions.

Unfortunately, later albums such as 'Californication' and 'By The Way' do not live up to the exacting standards of that earlier album. The later albums feature extensive mastering deficiencies that significantly detract from the performances of the band, and ultimately make the albums sound overly processed. The current CDs, and LPs, do not accurately reflect the talent, skill, and spontaneity that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are renowned for during live performances and studio sessions.

We hope this petition influences the mastering choices made for the forth-coming album, and feel its impending release presents an ideal time for Warner to revisit the band's back-catalogue in order to present it, for the first time, how it was meant to be heard.

Each song should be mastered in a way that enhances the varying qualities of the different styles, and musical techniques used by the band. Proper mastering should reflect the variations, and dynamics, that exist both between, and during songs. The music should not be mastered simply to make all of the songs sound as loud as possible when broadcast on radio.

We encourage Warner to release the complete albums, and all non-LP tracks as previously issued on various CD singles. We hope Warner will release the material on CD, high resolution (192 KHz 24 bit) DVD-Audio, Direct Stream Digital sourced Hybrid SACD, and vinyl LPs cut from analog, rather than digital tapes. It may be possible to include multi-channel versions of the albums on SACD and DVD-A, however the main objective must be to present properly mastered stereo mixes.

Re-issuing these albums after careful re-mastering will prove profitable for the label and the band, and crucially, it will provide the music loving community with the best possible copies of this important music.

Thank you

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

The petition is located here:
http://www.petitiononline.com/RHCPWBCD/petition.html

Simon Howson
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Old 6th December 2005, 15:05   #2  |  Link
Mug Funky
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it'll only happen on a new format like DVD-A or (shudders-to-think-of-it) SACD.

they'll probably not want to release a CD that's quieter than the old versions...

while we're at it, we could petition for a load of albums to be re-issued in non-sucky versions, but again the marketing term "remastered" doesn't work unless it's on a new format altogether (leaving aside technical issues - we all know dithered 16-bit 44.1k is plenty adequate for all but the most obtuse of music).

to be honest, i've bought a few CDs lately, but none were released in the last 10 years (the last few were Sex Pistols, Led Zeppelin, Joy Division and Alice Cooper's horrible "trash" on LP for 5 cold hard bux). i'm going to stick to "back catalogue" until the current drought in music is over - i'll put up with sloppy mastering if the music is worth it (within limits - californication is a good album, but sounds like dried-up crap being pushed into my ears with hot needles), but currently not much has tickled my fancy.

[edit] i signed it anyway. can't hurt to try.
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Old 6th December 2005, 15:21   #3  |  Link
simonhowson
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Thanks for signing.

I buy very little recent music, because a lot of it sounds so bad :-(

But fortunately for me, I'm interested in lots of musical styles and genres. So there is a lot to explore. If I was only interested in recent music, then that would be a problem.

Unfortunately, even some recetn DVD-A and SACD releases have heavily compressed sound. So maybe the loudness race is going to carry over into those formats as well?

Anyway, thanks for your support. I hope others follow.

Please be aware that email details will remain completely anonymous, even from me.
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Old 7th December 2005, 04:34   #4  |  Link
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even though i havent bought (or would buy) any RHCP since 'one hot minute' (ahh, yes, warped was a great song indeed), i also signed the petition. primarily because i believe in what you are trying to achieve.

good luck
j
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Old 7th December 2005, 13:52   #5  |  Link
simonhowson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jel
even though i havent bought (or would buy) any RHCP since 'one hot minute' (ahh, yes, warped was a great song indeed), i also signed the petition. primarily because i believe in what you are trying to achieve.

good luck
j
Thanks... It is hard - many RHCP fans don't understand the technical problems of the later albums. Many people interested in audio technologies that understand the issues aren't fans of the band.

So I'm trying to attract people from both camps to generate any support I can.
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Old 7th December 2005, 14:27   #6  |  Link
foxyshadis
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I sent them an email back in 1999 about it... (ah, high school.) I don't remember what I got back, but it didn't have much of an effect obviously. ;_;

I didn't know anything about it back then, I just knew songs like otherside sounded like crap with all the static on the bass. I thought it was just mine until I played it at my cousin's.
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Old 7th December 2005, 15:29   #7  |  Link
Mug Funky
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perhaps the petition should be for vlado meller to have the cotton removed from his ears then?

[edit] and yes, californication never sounded good to me, even back in the days when i had a seriously over-stretched mini-hifi with extra speakers added to it...
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Old 7th December 2005, 17:36   #8  |  Link
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While i agree with the general notion that excessive compression is bad (clipping obviously as well), i think you stuffed a bit much into that text. It's like driving with a truck over them, sounding a bit "i know it all better than you", not just from a fan who thinks the sound was hurt by the process.
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Old 8th December 2005, 09:26   #9  |  Link
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I tried to sound respectful, but also explain the problems as well.

Also I wanted to point out that previous albums mastered before Californication sound great. They sound heavy but without reverting to hyper-compression to acheive it.
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Old 13th December 2005, 18:41   #10  |  Link
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I know this pain all too well I've invested a lot of money into a sound system and playing recent CD releases really destroys my possibilities of cranking it up as the sound turns to "urusai" (no better word). I have much older CDs that can be turned up all the way with little or no audible clipping. I refuse to buy another audio CD for this reason and haven't in the last 3 years.

There is no doubt that these mixing techniques are for the teenie-bopping generation. On a really cheap stereo, this mixing technique can sound better...
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Old 15th December 2005, 14:17   #11  |  Link
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So does Californication or By The Way suffer from this problem(edit: just read the thing properly... )? I actually started listening to this band a little while back and listened through these two albums. I noticed crackling (I didn't think the sound was bad other than that, at the time) and thought my sound system was on the way out or that crazy DRM software had infected me (I've heard it can do things like insert random noise into audio rips).
That's pretty shitty if that's how it is, considering that the crackling was really pissing me off. So does this process cause this crackling? That's what's been suggested to me by what I've read :/
And is there any way to kill it?

And I'm a Rush fan, so I looked around when you mentioned Vapour Trails was getting re-issued. Aparently their record company keeps on putting it off and putting it off and it isn't due out till next year now... However, I found this interesting article on the CD: http://www.prorec.com/prorec/article...256C2E005DAF1C

I'm signing... problem is so stupid...
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Old 15th December 2005, 15:33   #12  |  Link
kis2005
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I signed the the petition. Professionals shouldn't make clipping and compression mistakes. I did alot of multi track recordings, and I got better quality with far less resources. If they tried to shop for a contract with that quality of recording, their material would be filed in the circular cabinet. "Keep your customers happy and they will keep you happy."
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Old 4th December 2006, 14:27   #13  |  Link
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I would offer myself to do the remastering job. Any ideas, where I could find a contact adress? Preferable the band, not the record company.
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Old 4th December 2006, 15:52   #14  |  Link
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I don't understand either how this is even possible, since clean software limiters and compressors exist for free (as VST plugins), and produce near-transparent sound ... (the same but without the clipping )

How can professional material be so bad ? (mind you, the only RHCP songs I've heard were on the radio, so compressed an extra time before being transmitted, and probably clipping-free too ).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mug Funky
perhaps the petition should be for vlado meller to have the cotton removed from his ears then?
rofl, I love this one
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Old 4th December 2006, 18:34   #15  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkZell666 View Post
I don't understand either how this is even possible, since clean software limiters and compressors exist for free (as VST plugins), and produce near-transparent sound ... (the same but without the clipping )
Because clipped samples are even louder than limited samples. See loudness war.
Besides, it's not only the clipping but also the excessive compression the petition is about. I doubt that it would sound that much better at the same RMS without clipping.
And are you sure, that free compressors and limiters did exist in 1999, also? Not that this matters really.
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