Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Is Earache planning more FDR (Full Dynamic Range) re-issues?

Question from Chris (Weezr51574@aol.com) :

I'm VERY pleased to see the re-release of the first two Napalm Death records in FULL DYNAMIC RANGE on CD. I have yet to hear one, but it really sounds like you are going in the right direction with these. Do you plan on releasing any other bands with the FDR mastering...Carcass' "REEK OF PUTREFACTION" Please Please please!! Do you have to have access to the original master tapes to do this kind of mastering?

I really wish ALL of Carcass' "REEK" songs were put on the original COMBAT press of "SYMPHONIES OF SICKNESS". That is by far, to this very day the BEST sounding version of that CD. I own them all too. I HATE the loudness war and I hope you continue to do more of these with your back catalog. I'm not afraid to purchase a second, third or fourth version of any of them to get a good sounding release. Thanks!
from Weezr51574@aol.com

Answer: Glad you're pleased with the new Napalm Death re-issues Chris - actually it was partly because so many fans on this blog requested Earache makes some proper old school audiophile editions, that we decided to issue FDR (Full dynamic range) editions of the bands first 2 albums, from original masters, and leave the audio intact. The resulting CD and vinyl is fully dynamic, just as it was intended. We've been blown away by the response, many of the limited coloured vinyls sold out in record time.

There is a saying which Earache adheres to religiously now- "playback volume should be in the hands of the listener, not the producer". More dynamic also means lower overall volume, so be prepared to select the playback volume which suits your listening environment. The loudness war was more or less a reaction of labels (and the artists themselves let's not forget) because the fashion during 90s and 00s was for Cds to be mastered as LOUD and POWERFUL as possible.

The problem stems from the fact that a louder mix does sound "better" to the untrained ear on first listen than a dynamic mix with lower overall volume. It's our job to educate people that it's not a design fault if they have to reach for the volume control. If you can stomach the technical details, topics such as 'RMS vs Peak' are discussed in depth on studio forums.

As for Carcass, we have no plans for any vinyl re-issues of their catalog at present, but we have access to the master tapes of course (see pic, its a betamax tape with digital audio as PCM- it was a common master format of the era) so we might consider it maybe next year, and maybe other bands.