Joined: January 18th, 2016, 6:51 pm

August 8th, 2018, 12:49 pm #51

SHHWEEET! wrote: I hope they have fixed the sound / stereo balance on the Glass Spider show in the new box set.The one that came with the Glass Spider DVD has this issue around Scary Monsters and didn’t correct itself until a couple or so tracks later. It was like Bowie suddenly went to one side of the stage to sing, about half way through Scary Monsters if memory serves me correctly, although it’s been quite a while since I’ve played it, whist the rest of the band and their sound stayed where they were. Maybe it’s how it was meant to be, but either way it sounds awful and I found it very annoying. It’s most noticeable when listened to through headphones.

On the subject of the Serious Moonlight and Glass Spider tours, I don’t mind them to be honest. Serious Moonlight fairly rocks and it did have great song arrangements, also the Borneo Horns sounded fantastic. I think the show galloped along at such a rate and some of the tracks were shortened a lot because he was trying to cram as many of his well known songs in as quickly as possible, simply to showcase them to his new Phil Collins type audience.

Glass Spider was well OTT but probably not any more so than the original Diamond Dogs concept was back in 74. Glass Spider was basically just an over the top 80s update of that, and whatever the result it did set the template for many artist to follow in the years to come with regards to extravagant theme based rock shows.  

The two 80s tours were the only really good things to come out of the 80s for me as far as Bowie was concerned, although they pale when compared to his others. Baal was also worthwhile of course. At least with the 80s tours he was still actually trying to be David Bowie, where as with the three 80s Bowie albums he certainly wasn’t. To me anyway.
I've got to admit I'm a little bit confused...on all these techy terms used to describe digital sound output. I've got umpteen shelves stuffed with DVD and CD box sets all with this 5.1 surround sound stuff that I've never heard. I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said I had a thousand of them. I'm a two-channel valve amplifier luddite! Digital amps don't come close. To me, digital is all fine and dandy with being top-end /mid-range crystal clear clarity and all that, but it's got no depth, no layers of sound that breathe in and out forwards and backwards like vinyl does - at least my vinyl - but you've got to throw real money at it to get there. Anyways, the time has come to buy in a digital AV amp. I need to hear this 5.1 stuff, especially with all the Prog stuff.

Back at the time when it was happening, I don't recall ever being too disappointed with Bowie's output after Scary Monsters, which would in anybody else's case be real hard to beat. I thought the Let's Dance album sounded fantastic, despite weak garbage like Shake It, an abomination. The 12" LD mix was excellent, still is.
Tonight - what a curiously disjointed affair, what with it's Beach Boys cover and others like I Keep Forgettin' (yes, I did quite quickly, too) but it was made up for with that 12" remix of Loving The Alien.
Then there was that spate of other stand alone singles, This Is Not America, Absolute Beginners and Underground, that really made up for Tonight's short comings.
Never Let Me Down - he did a bit, a lot to be honest, but half of it is ok-ish. It's seldom played, hence why I've little time for it's live outings. I hated all that silly staging with the hammy acting stuff. Had I been at a gig in 87, which I thankfully wasn't, I'd be throwing donuts at them. It was awful. Period.
Tin Machine, for me, was as if he'd reinvented the wheel. I couldn't get enough of it.

It's a dilemma for me all this new convoluted repackaged box set stuff. I bought all the original vinyl albums at the time and all their spin-off singles. I've then bought RCA CD's, sold them and replaced with Ryko/Emi which I've kept, followed by all the 24-bit EMI. And now these latest boxes turn up containing nothing of any interest. Except this new mix of Lodger which I believe can be bought separately, but I haven't as yet.
Joe Public out there must be soft in the head. When's he going to realise that a 12" mix isn't ever going to sound like that 12" did if it's stuck onto a digital CD? It's Dystopian Corporate Fake News!
the future ain't what it used to be
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Joined: April 20th, 2012, 9:49 am

August 8th, 2018, 1:26 pm #52

There was a reason for those 'always let me down' jokes in the '80s...
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Joined: July 22nd, 2018, 8:13 am

August 8th, 2018, 1:53 pm #53

There is no Bowie album produced on any format that sounds as good as the original 70s vinyls, that’s my opinion anyway for what it’s worth, the nearest they have got on CD since the RCA issues is the latest breakouts but they are still way off. Its all down to every individuals ears though isn’t it. I haven’t bought into this latest vinyl resurgence. Yes they are on heavyweight and better quality vinyl but they have just used digital transfers I believe and not the original analogue vinyl masterings which were specifically done for vinyl. Correct me if I’m wrong on that, but that’s what I’ve read and been told, if true then what’s the point? Also these heavyweight vinyls are well overpriced for my wallet and I’d also struggle for space to actually store them.

Do you regret selling your RCA Bowie CD’s?

The Visconti Lodger remix is not available as a stand alone break out CD, the only way to get it  without buying the box is digitally or to get someone to do a lossless copy CD-R of it for you, which luckily my friend does for me because he buys litterally  everything that’s an official Bowie release on CD including the box sets. Interestingly he won’t buy these semi official bootleg releases only maybe the odd one. That’s my weakness.

5.1 has its place, it’s different and puts a new and interesting spin on a well known and listened to album, but there really is no substitute for a well done two channel stereo mix, that’s how music is meant to be heard, preferably via a hifi with wooden speaker cabinets and not this aluminium, metal, rubbish. I do like a well done 5.1 surround sound on a live concert DVD though, it makes you feel like your there a bit more I suppose.
SHHWEEET! IS....A self confessed, radicalised David Bowie knob ha! ha! I’m in good company. Let’s all celebrate together. 👍
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Joined: January 18th, 2016, 6:51 pm

August 8th, 2018, 4:03 pm #54

SHHWEEET! wrote: There is no Bowie album produced on any format that sounds as good as the original 70s vinyls, that’s my opinion anyway for what it’s worth, the nearest they have got on CD since the RCA issues is the latest breakouts but they are still way off. Its all down to every individuals ears though isn’t it. I haven’t bought into this latest vinyl resurgence. Yes they are on heavyweight and better quality vinyl but they have just used digital transfers I believe and not the original analogue vinyl masterings which were specifically done for vinyl. Correct me if I’m wrong on that, but that’s what I’ve read and been told, if true then what’s the point? Also these heavyweight vinyls are well overpriced for my wallet and I’d also struggle for space to actually store them.

Do you regret selling your RCA Bowie CD’s?

The Visconti Lodger remix is not available as a stand alone break out CD, the only way to get it  without buying the box is digitally or to get someone to do a lossless copy CD-R of it for you, which luckily my friend does for me because he buys litterally  everything that’s an official Bowie release on CD including the box sets. Interestingly  he won’t buy these semi official bootleg releases only maybe the odd one. That’s  my weakness.

5.1 has its place, it’s different and puts a new and interesting spin on a well known and listened to album, but there really is no substitute for a well done two channel stereo mix, that’s how music is meant to be heard, preferably via a hifi with wooden speaker cabinets and not this aluminium, metal, rubbish. I do like a well done 5.1 surround sound on a live concert DVD though, it makes you feel like your there a bit more I suppose.
Ref original albums - yes, that was my impression. I also have yet to hear any serious competition. Half the time though, I think it might have something to do with the people doing the job. Like that EMI tosser who chopped bits off the Ziggy 30th Remaster and was never allowed near another Bowie release ever again, I believe.
These originals inhabit a sound world of their own and it's a big ask for me to accept any substitute. 

Nope, no regrets passing on the RCA CD's. As I remember particularly the Aladdin Sane and Station To Station weren't much good compared to the vinyl. A bit like the 80's first CD release of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti versus the `75 vinyl - where in that case the CD's were thrown into the bin. I can't fathom why these RCA discs sell for decent money and it's only because there weren't that many made apparently. They're really no big deal at all.

I'm also up for some these unofficial releases - which I was mistaken with the other day when I said I'd counted 23 since Jan `16, it's more like 35 with 3 more scheduled for Aug/Sep. Anyway, it's getting harder sorting the wheat from the chaff as many are re-titled clones. But I'm well pleased with Montreal' 83. A bargain steal imho.

Speakers are very important, no ifs or buts about it. I've got these floor standing Bowers & Wilkins that are unbelievable. But I won't be getting the cheque book out just yet for another pair as the 5.1 requires and will be using much older OK-ish Mission's that I used to use for a 4-channel surround sound amplifier via a digital sound field processor which was top gear as far back as the late 80's. You see, I did used to be up there with all this tech kit, but slipped down the greasy pole rather negligently due to complacency and general blase malaise with it all. My friends don't bother asking how the 5.1 mix sounds anymore as they know more about that I do even though they don't own it. It's absolutely ludicrous.
the future ain't what it used to be
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Joined: July 22nd, 2018, 8:13 am

August 8th, 2018, 5:33 pm #55

I can't fathom why these RCA discs sell for decent money and it's only because there weren't that many made apparently. They're really no big deal




People like them if they like bass and because they have a fuller sound for a CD format than latter CD issues, although they are not perfect.

But for me personally the latest Bowie CDs from the box sets sound the best they ever have, especially Low as mentioned in another thread. I think I’m in the small selection of fans who think that because many have said they hate the new Low. I’ve replayed all my previous CD editions of Low and they now just sound really thin. Visconti did a great job on it as far as I’m concerned.
Last edited by SHHWEEET! on August 8th, 2018, 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SHHWEEET! IS....A self confessed, radicalised David Bowie knob ha! ha! I’m in good company. Let’s all celebrate together. 👍
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Joined: April 20th, 2012, 9:49 am

August 8th, 2018, 5:35 pm #56

XenonCodex59 wrote:Nope, no regrets passing on the RCA CD's. As I remember particularly the Aladdin Sane and Station To Station weren't much good compared to the vinyl.  I can't fathom why these RCA discs sell for decent money and it's only because there weren't that many made apparently. They're really no big deal at all.
That's pretty much what the bloke who did them said:

http://picknmixed.blogspot.com/p/the-bowie-rca-cds.html
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Joined: July 22nd, 2018, 8:13 am

August 8th, 2018, 6:04 pm #57

Larranaga wrote:
XenonCodex59 wrote:Nope, no regrets passing on the RCA CD's. As I remember particularly the Aladdin Sane and Station To Station weren't much good compared to the vinyl.  I can't fathom why these RCA discs sell for decent money and it's only because there weren't that many made apparently. They're really no big deal at all.
That's pretty much what the bloke who did them said:

http://picknmixed.blogspot.com/p/the-bowie-rca-cds.html

Interestingly he says it’s all down to people’s ears which is what I keep coming back to. I don’t suppose there will ever be definitive CD sound for everyone because we all hear so differently.

I think as many do that we should just dump digital and go back to analogue for recording and mastering music, especially for the current vinyl revival, it seemed to suit all ears, why else do most people agree the original 70s vinyls sound the best?  I’m far from an expert on this though. Calling neilwillkes for a more technical explanation for us on the merits or not of both?
SHHWEEET! IS....A self confessed, radicalised David Bowie knob ha! ha! I’m in good company. Let’s all celebrate together. 👍
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Joined: October 7th, 2004, 2:51 pm

August 8th, 2018, 6:59 pm #58

I don't usually bother with these things but because of the recommendation I will probably pick this up.

Thanks Mr Wilkes.
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Joined: October 1st, 2010, 10:23 pm

August 8th, 2018, 10:06 pm #59

I have most of these Montreal bootlegs including the new one, but not the totally serious or the 4 disc longbox which I imagined would be a straight lift of the 4 cd wardour set?
the first show sounds very clear but there's voice interference over the first 2 songs and it's poorly mixed, you can barely hear the guitars.
I agree Montreal the performance is a bit flat there were much better performances including Vancouver, though sadly the encores are missing but it's a great show.
I think the songs were just performed more rapidly and they are not as short as you might think on the whole.
I don't understand what's not to love about this tour, the band was great, the song arrangements are fantastic and the atmosphere was wonderful with frantic crowds at many shows. his first tour as a bona fide superstar and it shows.
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Joined: January 18th, 2016, 6:51 pm

August 9th, 2018, 4:33 am #60

SHHWEEET! wrote: I can't fathom why these RCA discs sell for decent money and it's only because there weren't that many made apparently. They're really no big deal




People like them if they like bass and because they have a fuller sound for a CD format than latter CD issues, although they are not perfect.

But for me personally the latest Bowie CDs from the box sets sound the best they ever have, especially Low as mentioned in another thread. I think I’m in the small selection of fans who think that because many have said they hate the new Low. I’ve replayed all my previous CD editions of Low and they now just sound really thin. Visconti did a great job on it as far as I’m concerned.
Bear in mind though that these RCA's were only mastered at 16-bit. A lot of information was missing. They had a muddy sound rather than a fuller sound. Not only that but tapes used of questionable generation from the genuine masters. Seriously, the more you find out about them the less you'd want them. But a fool always parts with his money easily.
the future ain't what it used to be
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Joined: April 20th, 2012, 9:49 am

August 9th, 2018, 9:53 am #61

sylvianne wrote: I don't understand what's not to love about this tour, the band was great, the song arrangements are fantastic and the atmosphere was wonderful with frantic crowds at many shows. his first tour as a bona fide superstar and it shows.
It's probably just auld grizzlers like me who aren't too fussed by it. I was at the first of the Milton Keynes gigs, the one that opened with Star,
but, well, the best thing about it was being able to go 'that tiny little bloke in the bright suit, way down there - that's Bowie, that is!'
Have to say, I thought the arrangements were a bit MOR and the band were a bit perfunctory - yes, they all did a 'good solid professional job' and all that,
but it was all very smooth and none of them had anything special or distinctive about them or their playing.
I remember thinking that it might've all had more character if Stevie Ray Vaughan had stayed - there might've been some sort of standout,
maverick element in among the slickness (then again, going by the Dallas rehearsals, maybe not!).
You're right about the atmosphere, though, Sylvianne - there was a real celebratory air to it all, both from Bowie and the audience.  
So yes, it was 'all right' - but after a five-year wait, that's about all it was, to be honest. Sorry, all!
    
  
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Joined: November 16th, 2014, 8:06 am

August 11th, 2018, 3:13 pm #62

dazzzhoo wrote:
mcnabadam wrote: Is the new Montreal cd set the same recording as on the old "Serious Moonlight" Swingin' Pig release?  Anyone heard both and willing to compare?  The Swingin' Pig recording was great.
I will compare both on Tuesday the Swingin pig release runs slightly too fast so it will be interesting to see if this is different
And ?  Is it ?  
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Joined: January 16th, 2013, 6:11 pm

August 11th, 2018, 3:51 pm #63

Yes it sound the same as the swingin pig version i also have the diamond doghouse version which I think is better than Both and for me the best version out there
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Joined: October 1st, 2010, 10:23 pm

August 12th, 2018, 4:47 pm #64

the diamond doghouse version 4 cd set is probably the same as the wardour 4 cd set too.
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Joined: July 22nd, 2018, 8:13 am

August 12th, 2018, 4:53 pm #65

sylvianne wrote: the diamond doghouse version 4 cd set is probably the same as the wardour 4 cd set too.
Can you still get any of them?
SHHWEEET! IS....A self confessed, radicalised David Bowie knob ha! ha! I’m in good company. Let’s all celebrate together. 👍
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Joined: January 16th, 2013, 6:11 pm

August 12th, 2018, 9:39 pm #66

I have not seen these version for quite a while but the one I have the Diamond Doghouse is different from Swingin Pig and this new release Fame is nearly 7 mins long because they don't cut the crowd as they wait for the encore you also hear somebody say "whoo whoo" before Bowie comes back on stage plus the stereo sound is not stretched like the Swingin pig version
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Joined: July 22nd, 2018, 8:13 am

August 13th, 2018, 8:13 am #67

dazzzhoo wrote: the stereo sound is not stretched like the Swingin pig version
By this do you mean the Diamond Doghouse version sounds more mono sounding than the Swingin pig? In other words the Swingin pig and the latest one have better stereo separation between the speakers.
SHHWEEET! IS....A self confessed, radicalised David Bowie knob ha! ha! I’m in good company. Let’s all celebrate together. 👍
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Joined: January 16th, 2013, 6:11 pm

August 13th, 2018, 11:19 am #68

No the diamond doghouse sounds like how i would imagine the original radio broadcast sounded it sounds like the officially released serious moonlight EP swingin pig sound tampered with but still very good
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Joined: July 22nd, 2018, 8:13 am

August 13th, 2018, 2:42 pm #69

Ok thanks for the clarification. I will have to keep an eye out for the Diamond Doghouse edition.
SHHWEEET! IS....A self confessed, radicalised David Bowie knob ha! ha! I’m in good company. Let’s all celebrate together. 👍
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Joined: October 1st, 2010, 10:23 pm

August 14th, 2018, 10:10 pm #70

you don't see the ddh set around much now but the wardour sets are still available from Japan.
I heard wardour is the same as the totally serious recording?
I only have wardour, swinging pig and this new one.
so which cds have the longer crowd noise between fame and the first encore?
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Joined: January 16th, 2013, 6:11 pm

August 15th, 2018, 6:00 am #71

I have never heard the Wardour version but D/ Doghouse version has the longest crowd noise by far out of the ones i have heard it is over 2 mins long on the 1st encore and the 2nd encore after The Jean Genie is over 2 and a half mins long
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Joined: January 16th, 2013, 6:11 pm

August 16th, 2018, 5:44 pm #72

Another Amazon Bootleg
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Joined: July 23rd, 2004, 4:37 pm

August 16th, 2018, 5:59 pm #73

SHHWEEET! wrote:
neilwilkes wrote: You're welcome.
I know what you mean about the Glass Spider DVD - the sound quality there is pretty damn dreadful, in my opinion caused by the use of Dolby Digital stereo audio & a dreadfully poor fake 5.1 stream making it even worse. The CDs in the DVD/2CD set is the same show that will be in the new box set though so be aware of this - it is not a new show coming out for the first time, although it might be a new mix of it - we shall have to see

I also don't have much time for the SM tour or the GS tour - both were pretty damn awful. SM should have been so much better - and if Stevie Ray Vaughan had done the tour as intended it would have been, but Frampton on GS was to my way of thinking completely the wrong choice.
I hope they have fixed the sound / stereo balance on the Glass Spider show in the new box set.The one that came with the Glass Spider DVD has this issue around Scary Monsters and didn’t correct itself until a couple or so tracks later. It was like Bowie suddenly went to one side of the stage to sing, about half way through Scary Monsters if memory serves me correctly, although it’s been quite a while since I’ve played it, whist the rest of the band and their sound stayed where they were. Maybe it’s how it was meant to be, but either way it sounds awful and I found it very annoying. It’s most noticeable when listened to through headphones.

On the subject of the Serious Moonlight and Glass Spider tours, I don’t mind them to be honest. Serious Moonlight fairly rocks and it did have great song arrangements, also the Borneo Horns sounded fantastic. I think the show galloped along at such a rate and some of the tracks were shortened a lot because he was trying to cram as many of his well known songs in as quickly as possible, simply to showcase them to his new Phil Collins type audience.

Glass Spider was well OTT but probably not any more so than the original Diamond Dogs concept was back in 74. Glass Spider was basically just an over the top 80s update of that, and whatever the result it did set the template for many artist to follow in the years to come with regards to extravagant theme based rock shows.  

The two 80s tours were the only really good things to come out of the 80s for me as far as Bowie was concerned, although they pale when compared to his others. Baal was also worthwhile of course. At least with the 80s tours he was still actually trying to be David Bowie, where as with the three 80s Bowie albums he certainly wasn’t. To me anyway.
All truth.
With that dreadful 2CD set included with the DVD, it sounds to me like a bootleg - and is absolutely sourced from a lossy master and even when you take into account AC3 envcoding it should have a better top end than a cut at 15kHz.
See attached images of "Scary Monsters" from this show.
It's a horror
Scary Monsters Waveform.PNG
Scary Monsters Spectral Plot.PNG
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Joined: January 16th, 2013, 6:11 pm

August 16th, 2018, 6:48 pm #74

The strange thing is i have the bootleg Worn out rag doll and the sound does exactly the same thing halfway through scary monsters as well and this is a different gig
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Joined: July 23rd, 2004, 4:37 pm

August 16th, 2018, 7:50 pm #75

SHHWEEET! wrote: There is no Bowie album produced on any format that sounds as good as the original 70s vinyls, that’s my opinion anyway for what it’s worth, the nearest they have got on CD since the RCA issues is the latest breakouts but they are still way off. Its all down to every individuals ears though isn’t it. I haven’t bought into this latest vinyl resurgence. Yes they are on heavyweight and better quality vinyl but they have just used digital transfers I believe and not the original analogue vinyl masterings which were specifically done for vinyl. Correct me if I’m wrong on that, but that’s what I’ve read and been told, if true then what’s the point? Also these heavyweight vinyls are well overpriced for my wallet and I’d also struggle for space to actually store them.

Do you regret selling your RCA Bowie CD’s?

The Visconti Lodger remix is not available as a stand alone break out CD, the only way to get it  without buying the box is digitally or to get someone to do a lossless copy CD-R of it for you, which luckily my friend does for me because he buys litterally  everything that’s an official Bowie release on CD including the box sets. Interestingly  he won’t buy these semi official bootleg releases only maybe the odd one. That’s  my weakness.

5.1 has its place, it’s different and puts a new and interesting spin on a well known and listened to album, but there really is no substitute for a well done two channel stereo mix, that’s how music is meant to be heard, preferably via a hifi with wooden speaker cabinets and not this aluminium, metal, rubbish. I do like a well done 5.1 surround sound on a live concert DVD though, it makes you feel like your there a bit more I suppose.
Sorry but I have to kinda disagree with some of this.
The RCA CD are awful - they were made from 16-bit digital Umatic backups and not the original tapes, and the biggest problem then was the converters used in consumer equipment was the cheap sort (the original Philips engineers argued against this but lost out to the marketing people)
The best sounding of all the CD's were the Ryko/1990-91 EMI editions as these were taken from the tapes. I have all but 2 or 3 of the RCA (I think I am missing one live album & a compilation or two at most) and they really are not all that.
The problem digital suffers from is not the format but the godawful lousy remastering that takes all the dynamics and headroom out with limiting - you cannot do this on vinyl or you would not be able to cut the disc.
I have 24/96 digital transfers of tapes from the first 14 studio albums and they blow every other version away completely. 

As for 5.1, I am addicted. Again the problem is not the format but the marketing.
So many 5.1 releases are Dolby Digital which is multichannel MP3 equivalent and for DVD this uses a bitrate of either 384kbps or at best 448 kbps - the higher rate goes unidirectional in the critical top end and should have no place at all on a music disc.
On DVD-Audio (proper DVD-Audio, not just Audio on DVD-Video) you can have lossless surround at up to 24/96 in 5.1 but again so many were ruined by 2 things:
1 - Poor mixes (Station to Station should have been great but instead all there is in the rear channels is a huge reverb with an enormous pre-delay on it making it sound like it was recorded in an empty stadium) and again
2 - Bad mastering. One project we authored the 5.1 was sent to me & the mastering people actually said "we did not use EQ or compression - all we did was took out all the headroom with limiters" as if that was something to be proud of.
So digital's problems are tech guys who don't know what they are doing or else are bowing to t he dictates of marketing people who think louder is better when we have amplifiers for making it louder. It's what they were invented for after all.
The recent crop of remasters really don't sound that good - not when you have something good to compare them to, as all of them have the same dreadful "modern" stamp on them which has greatly homogenized them and not improved them in addition to removing the headroom.
I'll run some DR (Dynamic Range) numbers & do some screenies & post back.

I do this stuff for a living (mixing/mastering/authoring) so have a reasonable idea of how it all works, and far too many releases (not just Bowie) are wrecked by the Loudness wars which are still raging despite what they try to tell us.
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Joined: July 22nd, 2018, 8:13 am

August 16th, 2018, 8:44 pm #76

Interesting stuff although I’d be lying if I said I fully understood it all completely 100% but I can follow it in a fashion.

Some clarification is needed for me with regards to the experience you have gained via your profession.

Which do you think is better for listening to music, 2 channel stereo or 5.1.

Which is the best 5.1 choice given to us on most concert DVDs between DTS & DD. ( I’m guessing it’s the DTS )

Is analogue better than digital for mixing, mastering, recording, and playback sound.

Which is best, wooden or metal speaker cabinets.

Why do the latest break out CDs sound the best to me, and why do I quite like the RCA CDs, and why do my 70s Bowie vinyls sound the best out of the lot with more oomph! Warmth and general bollocks in their sound. Is my hearing really that bad maybe? ( I’m guessing it probably is )

Does the loudness war possible suit the, err, older generation of fan more than the youth.

Are the latest heavyweight vinyls worth the seriously expensive prices, and are they really better than the 70s,  80s, vinyls as some claim them to be.
SHHWEEET! IS....A self confessed, radicalised David Bowie knob ha! ha! I’m in good company. Let’s all celebrate together. 👍
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Joined: October 1st, 2017, 2:29 pm

August 17th, 2018, 5:37 am #77

I stick to my Ryko CDs. All later releases have issues and the source tapes have deteriorated further (they were 10-20 years old at the tine of the Ryko reissued, now they are 40-50 years old).

The heavy compression is problematic too, that’s why I appreciate the 90s releases of any disc, if available.

The 180g vinyls have nothing to do with audio quality, just marketing. I love vinyl and buy it, but if you want sound quality, buy the CD, any CD is better, with betrer dynamic range, no surface nouse etc. Every vinyl has distortion, speed instability issues towards the middle, surface noise and wears after every play. The “vinyl warmth” is actually the unintentional result of vinyl distortion, so this warmth is not there on the analogue master tapes.
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Joined: July 23rd, 2004, 4:37 pm

August 17th, 2018, 8:28 am #78

SHHWEEET! wrote: Interesting stuff although I’d be lying if I said I fully understood it all completely 100% but I can follow it in a fashion.

Some clarification is needed for me with regards to the experience you have gained via your profession.

Which do you think is better for listening to music, 2 channel stereo or 5.1.

Which is the best 5.1 choice given to us on most concert DVDs between DTS & DD. ( I’m guessing it’s the DTS )

Is analogue better than digital for mixing, mastering, recording, and playback sound.

Which is best, wooden or metal speaker cabinets.

Why do the latest break out CDs sound the best to me, and why do I quite like the RCA CDs, and why do my 70s Bowie vinyls sound the best out of the lot with more oomph! Warmth and general bollocks in their sound. Is my hearing really that bad maybe? ( I’m guessing it probably is )

Does the loudness war possible suit the, err, older generation of fan more than the youth.

Are the latest heavyweight vinyls worth the seriously expensive prices, and are they really better than the 70s,  80s, vinyls as some claim them to be.
Okey Dokey - let's try to clarify as far as I am able, because the biggest problem here is that this is all so damned subjective.
1 - 2 channel or 5.1 better? 
Neither. There is nothing wrong with Stereo, and there is nothing wrong with a well mixed 5.1 either - they are completely different. The problem I think (and this is a purely personal opinion) is that with a classic album remixed into 5.1 most people are familiar with the stereo version in advance & therefore will try to compare it to the stereo. You may as well ask is Mono better than Stereo. It's a different mix is all. 
Another problem is that most people's 5.1 systems are woefully inadequate for music listening as they are sub/satellite systems that are really meant for film or TV as opposed to music and are rarely, if ever, set up correctly. For example in a sub/satellite system the Subwoofer carries most if not all of the bass, plus the satellite speakers are usually bandwidth limited in terms of frequency response (particularly the centre channel, as in film/TV setups and mixes this will usually be carrying just the dialogue) whereas in a music system the RPGA (Record Producers Guild) guidelines state that all main channels (L,R,C,Ls,Rs) should be full range and even in some of the better 5.1 consumer grade systems just L-R will be full range with the centre & rears at reduced bandwidth so whatever music is played through such a system is simply not going to sound the same as when it was mixed. A good analogy would be playing a wide stereo mix over a single Auratone mono speaker. These setups always redirect bass frequencies from the main channels to the subwoofer but in music mixing there is no subwoofer - it's an LFE (Low Frequency Extender) designed specifically to extend the range of a monitor system that cannot accurately (if at all) reproduce low bass down to 20Hz - music LFE will cut off at somewhere between 80 & 120Hz (I usually filter the LFE to 80Hz with a steep slope of 36-48dB/Octave).

2 - Best 5.1 on any DVD depends mainly on the mix, but given a choice between DTS and Dolby Digital the DTS is clearly superior in sound quality (much more bits - DTS uses 1536Kbps whereas AC3 is capped in the specs to 448Kbps. Okay some discs carry a 640kbps AC3 stream but this is stupid, as instead a half bitrate DTS could be used (providing the sample rate is 48kHz) and this will still sound better than any AC3 stream - mainly because AC3 requires mandatory bitstream metadata to be set, (and the only way to defeat this is to turn DRC off in player setup) and if the encodist gets this wrong then compression profiles will be used by the decoder and that will seriously spoil your day. Sadly most encodists use presets rather than tweaking for the mix and with the stupid modern over compressed & heavily limited approach in mastering this can bring the hammer down - hard.
DTS on the other hand will allow up to 24/96 source files to be used (AC3 is 16/48) and as 24-bit is 48dB better than 16-bit in terms of the noise floor (with a 16-bit file the noise floor is theoretically audiible and if over compressed can get noisy in a hurry - the lower end for the LSB (Least Significant Bit) is 096dBFS but remember a compressor not only reduces the transient peaks but also brings up the noise floor so if there is tape hiss then this can be exacerbated greatly. 24-bit has a theoretical floor of -144dBFS although in practise the best converters usually manage somewhere around -124dBFS - inaudible completely. Still, over compression and/or aggressive limiting can still cause audible noise. DTS also allows you too leave metadata out altogether. It is a superior system to AC3 in terms of sonics.
DTS will also allow the use of a 24/44.1 5.1 mix to be burned to a regular CD - the DTS-WAV will have a 16/44.1 header, telling the CD burning app and player it is red book stereo - it must be played through a DTS decoder though but these days it is usually possible to do this in the player & output decoded PCM over HDMI or 6-channel Analogue outputs.

3 - Is analogue better than digital.
Wow, what a loaded question. Again the answer is "sometimes". Bob Katz has been quoted as saying that there are 2 kinds of fool in audio - one says this is old & therefore good and the other says this is new & therefore better.
There are good analogue systems and poor ones, just the same with digital. 
Analogue distorts gracefully and in a pleasing way to the ears - when digital distorts it is plain ugly. Analogue has headroom built into the system on vinyl, Digital does not - and the possibilities to abuse a mix are far higher in digital, plus with analogue equalizers the frequency values are carefully chosen to be musical and complementary - in most digital EQ you have the option to cut or boost any frequency with any amount of Q (bandwidth per octave) so there are far more ways to get it badly wrong with a digital EQ over a well designed analogue one, but the main issue there is lack of experience in usage with a full range digital EQ and coupled with the fact that most amateurs will tend to boost what they want more of as opposed to cutting what there is too much of instead (the better approach to my mind & way of working, anyway).
Both are equally valid. Both have positive points & both have bad points. Everyone gets all nostalgic about tape but nobody remembers the sheer aggravation involved in setting up a 2" 24-track machine with the necessity to correctly bias the tapes and set the correct signal levels according to the tones on the tape on each & every reel you load. Nobody remembers the problems with dirty tape heads, the hassle of demagnetizing tape heads etc. A good plugin does not need this but with a plugin, the inexperienced operator can make even more interesting mistakes instead.
They both have their place - remember mixing a record is all about making compromises and there are no hard & fast rules apart from "if it sounds right, it is right".

3 - Never heard a metal cabinet, but again what wood? Plywood? Chipboard? Mahogany? All wood has a resonant frequency and some will greatly exacerbate the low A on a bass guitar (this is well known to live sound mixers, as a wooden room will often take off on the bass A).
Again, I would say it depends on the cabinet design, and with a metal one how well are the actual drivers isolated from the metal components? Probably wood, but what wood?

4 - I have no idea but I can guess.
Firstly the modern remasters (I assume we are talking about the recent series, yes?)
To begin with, this is a personal opinion only but I don't really like them that much for a few reasons.
A - they are inconsistent. To give some examples, check out the HD version of "Young Americans" against "The Gouster" - in this, YA is far hotter than TG is and you will really notice this when you fly in YA into TG (as the same version is used as YA the track is omitted from the 24/96 HD version of TG) and in the same set, "Diamond Dogs" is far, far quieter. We have modern mastering applied to Space Oddity (essentially a folk album) and it just sounds plain wrong. In general they are very heavily limited or else quite quiet. I also do not like the indistinct Phantom Centre and the horrible almost nasal quality of the vocals - this is plainly apparent on Ziggy. If I load up the HD or even the vinyl rip of Ziggy into my DAW alongside my 24/96 of the original 1/4" 15IPS tapes, the only way the remaster sounds any good at all is to hear it first. As soon as I switch to my original, the stereo image widens up greatly, the phantom centre is no longer a lumpy projection and the vocals lose that nasal sound (think speaking whilst holding your nose as a general idea).
That said, they are definitely better than the appalling 1999 "Mew-tilations" (which are simply dreadful) or the 30th anniversary versions (most of which were thankfully deleted very quickly) - Ziggy's 2CD's had left & right the wrong way around for gods sake! Louder is not better if it is done with limiting to remove the headroom & preventing the transients from breathing properly.
The 70's vinyl will sound best because the cutting masters were prepared from mixes that had not been squashed half to death by cutting engineers who knew what they were doing. Anybody still remember George "Porky" Peckham and his "Porky Prime Cuts"? Modern cutting engineers are hamstrung by the lousy mastering these days - I have attached screenies of Santa Monica 72 from the released CD against the EMI in-house CD-R version that was made before they got butchered in mastering.
Here's the in-house version before "mastering"
Suffragette City in-house demo.PNG It's a hot transfer but there is headroom. The transients have room. Now for the released version (this is taken from the EMI Boxed edition):
Suffragette City EMI solo boxed edition.PNG Insane.
For contrast, now to see RCA/Ryko/Modern CD:
RCA:
RCA.PNG Ryko
Ryko.PNG Partlophone
Parlophone.PNG
As you can see, madness prevails - these are all from the standalone CD releases. The RCA is an RCA-Germany and the Ryko is a regular US Ryko (same as the EMI 1990) and not the AU20 (which uses exactly the same transfer/master).
If you prefer the RCA CD then there is nothing wrong with this - they were flat transfers but not from analogue - these were from Umatic 16-bit 44.1kHz digital backups (I can post the link to the site detailing this if interested?)
My preference is the Ryko releases for CD versions.
Modern vinyl is definitely not as good as 70's vinyl was to my ears. Okay, nowadays new vinyl is used where in the 70's it was always recycled, with the virgin vinyl being reserved for classical pressings that needed the lower surface noise, but modern cutting engineers are not as good plus they are often hamstrung by the quality of the 24/96 masters they are sent. GIGO. (Garbage In, Garbage Out). Heavy pressings don't work well on siome turntables either - my trusty old belt drive unit struggles with heavy pressings & I have to compensate or they track too slow because of the weight - check the strobe of you have one & prepare for nasty surprises.
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Joined: July 22nd, 2018, 8:13 am

August 17th, 2018, 9:51 am #79

DTS for me from now on.

My 5.1 system is a few years old now but was very expensive and powerful. My question is what levels should my individual speakers be set at on a scale of 1-10 which is what the settings display shows.  ( For the best all round compromise ) Also my SW has two knobs which I’ve just set in the middle. One is for volume, but the other is for reverse phase whatever that is? What should reverse phase be set at? I’ve most likely not had my system set up correctly all these years.

Thanks for taking the time to explain everything in such detail it’s much appreciated.
SHHWEEET! IS....A self confessed, radicalised David Bowie knob ha! ha! I’m in good company. Let’s all celebrate together. 👍
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Joined: July 23rd, 2004, 4:37 pm

August 17th, 2018, 9:59 am #80

First the easy one.
Reverse Phase is to correct problems or check for a problem. In normal use this should never, ever be used unless you are testing to see if you have phasing problems.
Phasing issues can really wreck things in a hurry - it is something all mixers learn to recognize and become allergic to the sound of. It usually manifests as a lack of low end or detail.
Often caused by getting + and - the wrong way around (or Red & White if using RCA type connectors). Bad enough in stereo but awful in 5.1

Speakers.
What make & model are they, and what amplification is driving them please?
The most important settings will be Small/Large as this affects bass response & any Bass Management settings made, as well as DRC (or "night time listening") which should be OFF.

No worries with the detail. If any of this helps even a little then it was worth the time & effort.
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Joined: July 22nd, 2018, 8:13 am

August 17th, 2018, 11:07 am #81

neilwilkes wrote: Speakers.
What make & model are they, and what amplification is driving them please?
The most important settings will be Small/Large as this affects bass response & any Bass Management settings made, as well as DRC (or "night time listening") which should be OFF.

System is a Panasonic system.

Amplifier is SA-XR10

Speakers are XR 1000

No idea what the amplification is? Sorry

Sub woofer also has a low pass filter knob whatever that is? The reverse phase is a push in button.

Living room is a fairly large room but not massive.

This probably doesn’t help.
SHHWEEET! IS....A self confessed, radicalised David Bowie knob ha! ha! I’m in good company. Let’s all celebrate together. 👍
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Joined: January 24th, 2016, 2:55 pm

August 17th, 2018, 2:00 pm #82

"For contrast, now to see RCA/Ryko/Modern CD"
Maybe I'm missing something, but there is no RCA cd of Santa Monica, only vinyl.
Plus of course the Ryko's were pretty heavily EQ'd, lows reduced and highs bumped. So not really a joy to listen to on a system without tone control. And sometimes Ryko used incorrect masters.
A lot of Bowie fans, me included, would love to see his catalogue treated the way tha XTC Blu-ray sets were done. Fingers crossed Parlophone's license expires before we get to that point and let's hope the estate finally decide to go the route Bowie's work deserves.
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Joined: April 20th, 2012, 9:49 am

August 17th, 2018, 2:45 pm #83

I've only got an 18-quid 'Durabrand' cd-player that I got from Asda in 2005.
I serious on u ass!  
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Joined: July 22nd, 2018, 8:13 am

August 17th, 2018, 3:15 pm #84

Larranaga wrote: I've only got an 18-quid 'Durabrand' cd-player that I got from Asda in 2005.
I serious on u ass!  
Nowt wrong with that, I sometimes wish that’s all I had. Less complicated to operate = a good life.
SHHWEEET! IS....A self confessed, radicalised David Bowie knob ha! ha! I’m in good company. Let’s all celebrate together. 👍
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