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Distortion on new Tool album
Old 19th May 2006
  #1
Gear Head
 
Gon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Distortion on new Tool album

Sorry, I'm new to this forum, so I apoligize if this is the wrong place to post this, but here goes:

There seems to be vast amounts of really gritty digital distortion/clipping on the new Tool album, particularily in places where the drums and guitars are hot. I can't imagine that this distortion (which in my ears sounds really nasty) is some kind of production error, since I can't bear to think that this went undetected through the production chain.

Why was this distortion introduced and how? Was it an artistic decision or *gulp* is it a production error?

...or is this distortion only found on certain pressings of the album, suggesting that some pressings have used a bad master of some sort?

Anyone care to shed some light on this? Bugs the hell outta me, 'cause the album is otherwise terrific...
Old 19th May 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Full Clip Audio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gon
Sorry, I'm new to this forum, so I apoligize if this is the wrong place to post this, but here goes:

There seems to be vast amounts of really gritty digital distortion/clipping on the new Tool album, particularily in places where the drums and guitars are hot. I can't imagine that this distortion (which in my ears sounds really nasty) is some kind of production error, since I can't bear to think that this went undetected through the production chain.

Why was this distortion introduced and how? Was it an artistic decision or *gulp* is it a production error?

...or is this distortion only found on certain pressings of the album, suggesting that some pressings have used a bad master of some sort?

Anyone care to shed some light on this? Bugs the hell outta me, 'cause the album is otherwise terrific...
I havent heard hte album and can only guess but I will say this... I just got the stems to a pretty big album for a very well known band and there was clipping in all sorts of weird places that were very obviously not intentional (on pads and synths among other things). I have recently seen things from big artists or big studio sessios that I would never let out of my tiny little place. I am starting to beleive that the price of the recording or status of the artist/producer/engineer does not necessarily always translate into the quality control.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Full Clip Audio
I havent heard hte album and can only guess but I will say this... I just got the stems to a pretty big album for a very well known band and there was clipping in all sorts of weird places that were very obviously not intentional (on pads and synths among other things). I have recently seen things from big artists or big studio sessios that I would never let out of my tiny little place. I am starting to beleive that the price of the recording or status of the artist/producer/engineer does not necessarily always translate into the quality control.
ppl push their converters to the limit far too often, I see it time and time agian. adveraging -12 just kills some people. I see engineers all the time trying to peak right at -1 and adverage -6 or something like that. aint nothing wrong with headroom if you signal path is clean.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Full Clip Audio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by logiclust
ppl push their converters to the limit far too often, I see it time and time agian. adveraging -12 just kills some people. I see engineers all the time trying to peak right at -1 and adverage -6 or something like that. aint nothing wrong with headroom if you signal path is clean.

Especially in the world of 24 bit! Come on now! If you want to push your mixes I guess thats a personal preference but clipping the converters is just plain unnecessary (except for those who are using it as an effect).
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Head
 
Gon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Well, it sounds really nasty in this case - hardly an effect, rather a huge annoyance. I'm an utter newbie tech, but I'd NEVER give a client a pre-master that sounded like this, so my guess is that it is either a) an intentional artistic decision, or b) someone f****d up

I know some people are clipping their converters nowadays to obtain a special character to their sound, but if this is the result, we need to take a step back and reconsider what we're actually doing as audio professionals.

That's my opinion, anyway...

I'd like to see some "official" comment on the issue, as I'm genuinely curious about the nature of this.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
TheSweetener's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have not heard the album, but I'm almost sure this has to do with too much limiting to achieve loudness. The limiting distortion becomes mostly audible with toms in my experience. Have a listen.
There are so many hi quality albums which "trade distortion for loudness" these days, it's sad!
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Head
 
Gon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yes, that may be. But I've heard more radically compressed recordings than this that don't exhibit such nasty distortion. I encourage you to listen to the album on headphones - it's pretty close to unbearable if you're the least bit inclined to detect such things.

Still curious...
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
knightsy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yep, I heard it too Gon. So you're not insane.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Head
 
Gon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Oh goody
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Distortion or poor pressing?

1 of 3 possibiities:
  • alternatively chosen purposeful aesthetic
  • mastering
  • poor pressing batch

OR a marriage of the first two in that list. Given the professionals that worked on this album (tracked and mixed by Joe Baressi / mastered by Bernie Grundman of Gateway Mastering), I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt at this time and propose that its a poor pressing batch. Can we confirm the 'distortion' exists on various copies throughout the world or only on those disks shipped to a particular area?

trans
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #11
dbm
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I didnt post it because I didnt want to appear presumptuous (being a serious newbie) and wasn't altogether sure, but I have been thinking I here the clipping as well. Not just at work with ITunes either. In the car with the disc.

Either way, I still love the album.heh
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #12
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by knightsy
Yep, I heard it too Gon. So you're not insane.
I heard it to. A buddy of mine burned me a copy (I will still buy it because I love the band so much and want this kind of music to be succesful, but I digress) I actually heard the distortion and called my buddy to see if it had burned it from MP3s or something, because I could not figure why it would have have all this clipping on top of the guitars.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Yeah, I head it as well. Not as bad as Rush's Vapor Trails but noticable.

Oh well. That just means there are jobs out there for us who don't wish to clip things! heh
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
7 Hz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Can someone post a clip of the distortion?
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Head
 
Gon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Well, how many seconds can I post before it constitutes copyright infringement?
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gon
Well, how many seconds can I post before it constitutes copyright infringement?
you could recreate it and just consider it a mechanical license...heh
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
DeeDrive's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by transfiguration
mastered by Bernie Grundman of Gateway Mastering),
Bob Ludwig is at Gateway, I pretty sure he mastered this album.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #18
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
The rule here is not to post music you don't have permission for...



So don't tutt

Thanks..
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Head
 
Gon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Naturally, common sense.

Buy the album, guys heh
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #20
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
One of the instances is at 56 seconds into Vicarious, during the last hit on Danny's tom fill.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
uptheoctave's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Sounds like a distressor! :-)
Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by elevate
One of the instances is at 56 seconds into Vicarious, during the last hit on Danny's tom fill.
That sounds like a gate thing. It's on the 16th note after Danny's floor tom hit.
Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Wow I was just thinking the same thing the noise is all over the album! I'm in Canada and bought my copy from HMV... I was actually going to return it this weekend as I thought it was the result of a bad pressing as well. Infact I tried opening the tracks in wavelab to see how bad it was crushed and wavelab could only import about half of them. Thats when I knew something was really wrong. And believe it or not the level in places where there is the clipping noise are not even mastered extremely hot. Very strange...
Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Head
 
Gon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natural Mystic
And believe it or not the level in places where there is the clipping noise are not even mastered extremely hot. Very strange...
Yeah, that's what's really puzzling me. The album isn't really that squashed, so the origin of the distortion appears as quite a mystery to me... The noise is for example extremely apparent at around 3:50 on Vicarious, and I can't imagine how that this has gone unnoticed by the production crew... but I can't really see how this was intentional either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by richmondjames
Sounds like a distressor! :-)
Perhaps it's a Distortionor?
Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Addict
 
Psyko/Acoustics's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gon
Yeah, that's what's really puzzling me. The album isn't really that squashed, so the origin of the distortion appears as quite a mystery to me... The noise is fro example extremely apparent at around 3:50 on Vicarious, and I can't imagine how that this has gone unnoticed by the production crew... but I can't really see how this was intentional either.



Perhaps it's a Distortionor?

Are you referring to that odd, "prickly" sound at this time (3:50 on Vicarious)?
Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Head
 
Gon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yup, the static-like crackles that pop up during certain passages. The whole album is plagued by these... quite noticeable
between 0:48 - 1:06 on Vicarious too.
Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Addict
 
Psyko/Acoustics's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Very strange.

Wouldn't it be even weirder to find out that it serves some purpose within the conceptual framework of the record?

Such as: apparently the artwork contains a puzzle for those who are into that kind of thing.


No, I haven't smoked anything tonight. The Tylenol 3 and NyQuil may have something to do with it...
Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Head
 
Gon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psyko/Acoustics
Wouldn't it be even weirder to find out that it serves some purpose within the conceptual framework of the record?
I know Tool are quirky guys, so that is absolutely a possibility...

On a side note, I'd like to say that I love the album, I'm just curious about the nature of this.
Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
uptheoctave's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Tool being so heavily influenced by King Crimson, this is expected in a way.

KC used random bursts of static at various points as a way of shocking the audience out of their current mindset.
Broadband static is always unpleasant to listen to and if you goal is more than just 'sing along and dance to the same old ****' then there might be times when you want to affect the audience in this way.

It's a creative mechinism- I admire Tool immensely, always have done- this is part of the art-metal-magical-cookbook- like time changes, screaming, self revealing lyrics, the interest in the occult- it's all there, but it isn't done pompously- they have fun with their audience- but it isn't making fun of them.

I think they have it all together- the stuff Lachrymology in their early days was ****ing hilarious. They do doth rock.
Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Nut
 
Count Dz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
This is news to me. As I have listened to hardly any cd's since it came out I have not heard any of these pops or distortion other than what I would expect from a Tool album. Hmmmm... It is loud as a muthachucka though .
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