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Matrix recordings

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  1. TAF
    Member

    WARNING: long rant coming.

    First, let me preface this post by saying that I *greatly* appreciate the effort and care that so many different tapers in this community put into providing us all with recordings of shows, tour after tour. I would also like to take the time to specifically thank spacebandit for coordinating a lot of this work and bringing it out to the masses.

    Now, matrix recordings. Simple concept: You have one source that is really clear but lacks bass and sounds a bit thin, and another source that is all bass and rumble and very little definition. You combine those two together, and end up with one fantastic recording that has both the clarity of the first and the deep low end of the other. Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn't it?

    Unfortunately, it often is. Since recording devices very often run at microscopically different speeds, the end result usually sounds good at the beginning, but towards the end of a 2.5 hour show the sources no longer completely line up, creating an echoey effect. In addition, you have to make sure to do very careful EQ on each source so you don't end up with, for instance, all guitar and almost inaudible vocals. And then there are phasing issues to condend with on top of this. Add a third recording into the mix, and you're looking at easily several days of hard work before you end up with anything resembling a listenable recording.

    And now comes the part where I will probably be stepping all over people's toes, for which I apologise in advance.

    From this tour we have one 2-source and two 3-source matrix recordings: 5 May Schlachthof, 2 May Hamburg and 24 May Bielefeld shows. I haven't been able to listen to the Schlachthof matrix yet as it refuses to download. The two other each have their issues, but it's the Hamburg recording in particular that prompted me to write this. Because it breaks my heart that after all the effort you guys went through to make a mix of the 3 different sources, you end up with something I personally can't bear to listen to. None of the sources line up completely, and it's so echoey it sounds like it was recorded inside a bathroom. If this were the only recording of this show, I'd think that the venue's acoustics were atrocious. But no! One of the sources was uploaded previously, and while it's a bit distant sounding and lacks some low end, it's otherwise quite enjoyable and much preferrable to the matrix recording.

    The Bielefeld matrix, fortunately, sounds a lot better. But the low vocals and dominating drums and guitar makes me wonder if some more EQ might have made a difference. And here - again - the sources veer ever so slightly apart during the show. Compare the echoey drums in the last couple of songs with the clarity of the guitar in the opening, for instance. Or, if you're feeling really adventurous, compare the opening acoustic tracks in the Bielefeld matrix with the closing acoustic tracks in the Hamburg one.

    Now, I realise that this post probably makes me sound like an ungrateful bastard, and for that I am sorry. But surely the goal of providing recordings is that we will enjoy listening to them? I for one would love it if any matrix recordings could come in addition to, and not instead of, the individual sources. Release the sources as they are ready during the tour, and instead spend time to make matrixes after the tour, when more care and effort can potentially go into them. I love the idea of matrix recordings, but they're really difficult to get right. I know, I've tried a few times myself.

    To conclude this awful ramble that nobody will be bothered to read, I again ask, as politely as I can, that please please pretty please with sugar on top, is it possible to upload the individual sources that went into these matrix recordings?

    Thank you for your time, and again: you are all doing great work, even if I complain.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  2. kippenhok
    Member

    I did a bit a deep dive into Pink Floyd's 1977 tour last week. There is a somewhat frightening variety of sources, 'remasters' and matrices available, with one show having a matrix of 6! sources.

    From that experience I found that matrices can be spectacular, some are not, and for some I preferred single sources options over the matrix.

    I am also very grateful indeed for all the great mp recordings on dime,the efforts of each recorder and archivist are not to be taken lightly.

    All that said, this remains a game of personal preferences so I would also much appreciate the individual sources alongside the matrices.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  3. TAF
    Member

    Speaking of Floyd, a couple of the matrixes of the Wembley 1974 concerts are superior to the officially released versions. 5.1 mix and everything. Frightening indeed!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  4. The Other Anders
    Member

    Nerding alert! (At least it's not politics)

    TAF, I share your sentiments. Matrixes can be fine sometimes, but I too would like to have the raw files if possible. This is not to be unthankful to anyone, and this is not how I read you either.

    I recorded maybe a 100 shows when I did full tours between 1999 and 2002. My last recording effort before I picked up "duties" again in 2019, was a handfull of gigs in 2006. However flawed, these recordings stand stronger every time I go back and listen.

    Today I regret my recording break, but at the time I just wanted to be able to enjoy the concert and not worry about recording. I know how much effort and care that goes into it. For me it starts hours prior to the show, trying not to drink too much - not alcohol in particular, but everything, I don't want to have to go to the restroom in the middle of a 3h 21m set - worries about getting checked at the door, telling my friends that I will be recording, so please, don't talk to me during the concert, worries about talkers and unruly audiences, and obsession about batteries running out or the recorder turning itself off for no apparent reason.

    That being said, the positive outweighs the negative every time I listen to the recordings.

    These days I am using a Zoom Q3. According to the reviews, it's supposed to be the best hand recorder out there. I use mic gain "low", as it is my experience that "high" will overpower, and "auto", while not owerpowering, will still compress the loud parts. "Low" captures the dynamics which are so important to the live experience. I keep it in my chest pocket with the internal mics above the pocket edge, so that they are out in free air. Then I place myself with as unobstructed view as possible, sometimes up front to catch the backline sound (Lausanne 2019), sometimes in sound center (Copenhagen 2022).

    Some have opiniated that there is too much bass on these last four recordings (Lausanne 2019, Odense 2019, Malmö 2022 and Copenhagen 2022), although I disagree. The sound I get is very clear and detailed, although heavier in the low end than in the high end. I dig the result because I am finally able to catch the bass that is missing from the first 100 recordings I made.

    To your point: Maybe we should make it a custom in our little community here to release a raw file version as well as the tweaked versions?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  5. Tomcat
    Member

    I think you both have a point there - the best "pure" source should be uploaded, and if a matrix is possible = what a luxury! But how sad if the result is minimally out of synch like Hamburg Markthalle `22 - hard to listen to.

    The Bielefeld Forum 3-source matrix sounds much better But is running out of synchronisation somewhere during NOX as well I'm afraid (who would not during that song/show); from there on the recording is less enjoyable...

    Jammern auf hohem Niveau, but still

    Posted 1 month ago #
  6. bionaut
    Member

    Great topic. I will be listening to matrix shows more closely in the future.

    I am just getting into the Bremen show w the single source from Dime. It sounds great.

    I checked the matrix version for this show, and I am having issues with one file (Track 9, Like Chrome). I'll go through that version next w a more attentive ear.

    Posted 1 month ago #

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