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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars (REVISED)...TERRIBLE HATCHET JOB OF MASTERING.... MY COPY SOUNDS GLORIOUS....A PROPOSAL FOR DEWHIRST (SEE BELOW)...., 3 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Mixology The Definitive Salsoul Mixes (Audio CD)
I am a big fan of Ian Dewhirst, his picks and issues, the important work he does in saving this music from oblivion, and especially the Backbeats Series. I have pointed out that the Backbeats Series is a little less than what one would like in sound quality, but for the money and the top choice picks I have bought them and will continue to buy them. They are perfect for the economic recession. You lay down your single digit bucks and some great picks show up that sound a little cheesy but does the trick.

However this Salsoul issue is a different story. This should be a first-class issue. This is up there with Love Train: The Philly Box, Super Rare Disco, A Complete Introduction to Disco (bit gunned up also) and other milestones of this genre when it comes to its importance. Unfortunately, it does not sound like these others.

This disk is unlistenable off the disc. The treble and middle range are gunned up to piercing levels. Fortunately, I know from experience that this kind of distortion is mostly not permanent. I plan to redub this onto tape through an equalizer and lower the high mid-range and let the treble mellow itself out to make it listenable. I would give this one star if I did not know how to fix it.

Look, Ian Dewhirst needs to find better mastering for his 1st class picks. I don't know if this is his mastering or Demon Music's, but Demon Music has also put out the horrible sounding 100 Hits Disco.

Stayed tune for my review on the bizarre 100 Essential Disco Hits issue...

(LATER ADDITION):
I had a chance to run this thru my equalizer to see the frequencies. It's worse than I thought. The low -mid and the mid have a big hole in it and the treble is driven into the stratosphere. I re-dubbed it. It is quite fixable. I have a copy now where the frequencies dance nice and even along with the music instead of looking like the New Orleans levees before the storm.

It's a terrible shame that such an important issue is mastered by people who do not even know how to use an equalizer. This CD looks(and sounds)like someone ED'd It with no meter in the dark.

Look, I have flattered Ian Dewhirst enough. I still like his picks, but he needs some serious help before another great collection is ruined. He is complaining that 96% of people download music for free. I don't know if this is true but I can tell you, all these cuts are available for free in better quality than you have here. There is no excuse for this. However, like I said, my copy is now great because I know what I am doing.

Here is my proposal to Ian Dewhirst: either re-issue Deep Disco Culture.... Or write me: my e-mail is on the Deep Disco Culture review and you can sell me a copy of Vol. 1. for regular price. This way I do not have to download it for free. If you keep it out of print, what do you expect? I mean it. This is not a joke. Contact me with a copy of Deep Disco Culture or I may demonstrate this Salsoul CD on YouTube and how it was mastered by a lizard. I think that is a fair exchange for my insightful review.

You other reviewers need to look into this, you are attempting to listen to an unlistenable CD.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Mar 2013 12:29:04 GMT
Ian Dewhirst says:
Mmm. Thanks for the comments Syd, but seriously 12 x 5 star reviews and 1 x 2 star review kinda tell the tale here mate. You're the ONLY person that has EVER complained about the mastering on this. I'll refer your comments to the professional masterers we use and see what they have to say. I think the mastering is fine and it sure sounds great over every system I've played it on.......Ian D :)

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2013 22:33:19 GMT
Last edited by the author on 14 Mar 2013 01:51:15 GMT
Syd says:
(REVISED) Hey thanks for writing. Deep Disco Culture! C'mon, you can sell me one. Or how about the chances on Deep Disco Culture reissue? I managed to find Vol 2 and it's great, Grammy stuff, decent mastering, too......As re: Mixology, I stand by my comments. Anyone with an EQ can SEE this. I have little faith in popular opinion. (mine is not an opinion, it's fact), and I think what I said should be basic knowledge to anyone who listens to music. It is not rocket science....12x5 stars means nothing. If people cannot tell the difference in sound quality between Mixology and the other issues I mentioned (or just about any recording, I guess), they either have a system where sound quality does not matter or they need a doctor, it's that simple. It's also wishful thinking. One review of the horribly distorted Stones Some Girls new issue said, `this is what music now sounds like in the digital age....' I find such a statement stunning, since all you have to do is compare it the Virgin issue....

Posted on 11 Sep 2013 04:34:44 BDT
R. Barnes says:
Syd, I tried to find the audio problems that you pointed out. However, I was unable to detect any problems on my CDs. For details, see my review of this product. Both my ears and a spectral analysis failed to find the problems in mids and treble you were detecting. If you (or anyone else) want to see the spectrograms, contact me and I can send them to you.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Sep 2013 23:31:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Sep 2013 00:46:37 BDT
Syd says:
I have other copies of these songs, such as Salsoul 12" Classics and Backbeats and they do not sound like this issue at all. (mind you, Backbeats is not a paradise for sound either, some of them anyway, they vary)

My first reference is my ears. Something is wrong with the sound. I originally thought it was just another victim of the loudness wars. But this sounded particularly shrill and annoying.

I do not know anything about computer spectrum analysis. I use a regular old fashion equalizer with a meter. I am not real hopeful about the accuracy of a computer read. Here's why: First of all, CDs in a general sense are driven up to maximum frequencies, too often to the point of shrillness and excessive treble and just about every other frequency, too. If I put this CD in and look at the frequency it is putting out on the equalizer, all it will show is everything in the red. You cannot see any abnormalities in the frequency. However, when you hit a recording source, i.e. a tape deck - (since I have yet to see anyone set levels when loading it into a computer or burning them from one) - and lower the frequencies using the recording levels, you will notice something quite odd: the mid-range and lower mid-range will disappear BEFORE the treble does. This should not happen. If you lower the recording levels of a recording with a normal flat response, the treble will always disappear first, then the high-mid, then the mid, then the low-mid etc. down the line. This unflat frequency it is putting out is simply not seeable straight off the disc if everything is driven up into the red. However, I can sure hear it.

You can send me a copy of your spectrum analysis at classmatepast@hotmail.com. This will not change what I know about the abnormal frequency this is putting out. Or what my ears hear loud and clear. Also, I do not know what you are listening to this on. If you listen to everything thru computer speakers instead of audiophile speakers, the abnormal sound will be less detectable. If you can lower recording levels with this computer spectrum analysis try it: lower the level and see if the mid does not disappear before the treble. This is abnormal.

Also, most people did not know anything about setting levels and dubbed and using an equalizer in the past and I would not expect them to suddenly know more using a computer. Like I said, I have yet to see anyone burn a CD and set the recording levels, let alone the levels on an equalizer.
P.S. I seriously doubt I got some one-a-of-kind bum copy, either

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Dec 2013 01:19:21 GMT
A customer says:
While I don't own a copy of this particular boxet, don't underestimate what can go wrong with bad copies ending up in retail. I once purchased an album from a retailer that turned out to be missing several tracks, and instead of the regular label was labelled with "test - not for sale". It was a shrinkwrapped record and the exterior sleeve looked like all the other copies the store had in stock. When I returned it we checked some of the others (which he all got from the same distributor in the same shipment), and they all contained the correct, retail pressing.

Luckily, for CDs it's very easy to determine whether there's a difference at all. Why don't you guys use EAC to do an exact rip of just one of the tracks, and then compare the checksum that the program returns for each of you? If you both get the same CRC sum, then the difference must lie in your systems or your ears.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Dec 2013 19:38:20 GMT
Last edited by the author on 26 Dec 2013 22:03:19 GMT
Syd says:
Thanks for the info. The samples are now up here, so get a listen. You don't need to be told anything. Let's see if you can hear this. Unfortunately at this time, I cannot listen to them until later in January, so I cannot comment about them, but I'd bet the terrible sound is there to hear. I am not a computer geek at all. As far as EAC and CRC, I don't know what that means. The other reviewer sent me 5 `wave analyses' and I don't get it. I Googled it, and no one can explain it in plain English. I will comment in more detail on his `waves' when I have time. His `waves' and your advice about EAC/CRC are completely divorced from sound. I am sure some horrible sounding recordings like 100 Disco Hits (see my review) will show a normal frequency response, but none-the-less, if you are something short of deaf, you can tell there is something wrong. I know about sound. I write a lot about sound (see USA site for more) and I use audiophile speakers. I also use an equalizer with a meter, so I can see music as well as hear it. I know about bass, treble and mid-range and what they sound like. This computer stuff has created an opportunity for people who did not know a darn thing before to now defer to some computer stuff that is completely removed from sound at all.

I do not think I got a bad copy. I am beginning to think a large portion of the population is either deaf or listening on speakers that are not audiophile. And I think a few of these people - including those putting this material out - ARE using audiophile speakers and STILL cannot hear bad sound.

Sorry for the lame reply, but it's all can do right now. I invite anyone who can explain this EAC, CRC, waves stuff in plain English by all means DO IT. I am in the process of re-writing my review on Disco Horse Meat, as I suspect another `computer job' on the mastering of this CD has altered the sound into something terrible.

P.S. I get a lot of 'helpfuls' on this one and on the US site. I wish someone would comment to confirm. Also I wonder why there is now a 2nd listing for this CD. Was it reissued? Anyone?

P.S.S. I just got to hear a bit of the samples on some cheesey dell computer speakers. I could not tell the sound quality. I could not say they sound bad or anything, BUT that is the problem: ears buds and these little boom box type speakers can fool you...

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jan 2014 23:48:37 GMT
Last edited by the author on 11 Jan 2014 23:52:48 GMT
Syd says:
Well, I had a chance to listen to these samples thru ear-buds and YES!!!!! I can hear the abnormally shrill frequency. I compared them to other Salsoul samples I was able to find. There is definitely something not right with this and they most certainly DO NOT sound like other Salsoul I have like Salsoul 12-Inch Classics and others from Harmless like Backbeats. Go find yourself some samples and compare. I hope you can do this thru good speakers. This is not easy thru ear-buds. It takes some ear-training to get past the buds ability to fool you. I wish I could listen to samples thru my good speakers, but I just do not have it all rigged up to do that. As far as I am concerned, my point here is in plain earshot for all to ear with these samples. If you cannot hear this or the difference between these and just about anything, I cannot help you. The other reviewer who sent me the `waves' claims there is no difference in sound between this and others. He is wrong. And I might add, whatever these `waves' mean, they also certainly DO NOT look alike as he claims they do. But that is another point all together as these `waves' he sent have NOTHING what-so-ever to do with sound.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jan 2014 11:56:57 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Jan 2014 15:17:54 GMT
A customer says:
EAC is "Exact Audio Copy", a software for copying audio CDs to sound files reliably. The usual ways of ripping CDs are error-prone, often you will get different files when ripping several times or on different drives, due to error correction. EAC has several safeguards that make sure the rips are a bit-perfect copy of the audio. There are other programs of course, but EAC is by far the most widely used, and today the standard way of ripping audio CDs.

CRC is just a number that you can compute over any file, a so-called "checksum". The only reason to compute it is to check whether a file has changed. If just a single bit in a file changes, its CRC will (with near certainty) be completely different. As such, it helps find identical files, or detect file corruption.

My suggestion of comparing CRC checksums has nothing to do with audio analysis. The CRC is just a number that in itself has no meaning. In that respect, you're right that it's "completely divorced from sound" -- but that's the brilliant thing about it, because it excludes any subjectivity or interpretation. It's meant to determine with certainty whether you guys are listening to the same mastered audio. If both of you did an exact copy of one of the tracks, and the resulting CRC would be different, then you could be 100% sure that there is a difference between your copies. If the CRC would end up being the same, it would be definite proof that the difference must be in your systems or subjective hearing. It's an extremely reliable way of excluding (or not) the possiblity that not everyone is listening to the same source material. That's literally all the CRC comparison can tell you. But when you've got one person saying a record sounds great, and another saying it sounds poor, it's pretty pivotal to establish whether both are even listening to the exact same thing.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jan 2014 19:23:26 GMT
Syd says:
Thanks for the clarification. I will keep it in mind when the day comes when I start 'ripping.' Your quote: "But when you've got one person saying a record sounds great, and another saying it sounds poor, it's pretty pivotal to establish whether both are even listening to the exact same thing." I can assure you we are listening to the same thing. I did not get a defective copy and the samples are here for anyone to hear. Add in speakers, and yes, you ARE listening to different things. Add in trained ears, samples, the absence of notice about this awful sound in these reviews, - most people it seems to me simply cannot hear sound quality. I really think technology is doing a number on people's minds.
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