Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
MaryJanes2ndLastDance

Thoughts on Playback

Recommended Posts

Gosh, Playback... I really loved it when I got it back in... maybe 1998. Hardly take it off the shelf nowadays. But it will remain special to me. I'd been listening to Petty for a few years back then but was not in too deep. So I was somewehre in between a die-hard fan and a newbie (still am, I guess). And it was the perfect release for me.

Two things should be kept in mind, maybe (if they were already mentioned above somewhere by anybody, I'm sorry; I didn't take the time to read all posts): First, Playback was well before every artist released a box set once or tiwce a year (I'm exaggerating). So it was something a little more... special than it might seem today. There were box sets, but not as many, and not as elaborated as they are now. And second, those days were the heyday of the CD, much more people bought stuff like that than they would now.

I personally think it's quite a nice compilation of released and (hitherto) unreleased work. The remasters sound good, too; and the booklet was a treasure trove of information in the days before Wikipedia, the PettyArchives, the Mudcrutch Farm etc.

So... "complaining" about Playback is a tad... unfair, imho. Sorry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, TwoGunslingers said:

So... "complaining" about Playback is a tad... unfair, imho. Sorry.

Good thing then that - apart from some rather "philosophical" ponderings about the exact.. shall we say.. character of the thing (what the sender's exact idea was, if any, and how the receiver ended up "using" it) - this thread and most things you will ever hear about Playback, is some high praise of legend. Deservingly so, surely. :)

43 minutes ago, TwoGunslingers said:

The remasters sound good, too

Yeah, about that. I had a feeling.. and I meant to say something about that above, but I got lost on another abstraction level. Good thing, that gave me the op to go back and check a few things. Yesterday I took out my two little promo boxes for Playback to have a listen at the sound, since one of the many things this thread has brought to mind is that Playback was released in the then super audiophile format "HDCD". Given the year of release (1995) most "normal" CDs of the era fell victims of the s.c. "loudness war"*  - those were troubled times - and the HDCD format was another way to tell the audience that this sounds better than ever. But as far as Playback went, did it?

Well.. the problem is that the songs I've managed to sample here are pretty much exclusive to Playback, so it's hard to tell. Nothing to compare to really. Listening to Waiting For Tonight or Got My Mind Made Up off the promo discs does sound good in a way... but there sure is something very "thick", almost a "vacuum effect" of sorts listening to it, like all air and range is sucked out of it - extremely tight. It sure sounds crisp, but not really very dynamic. I would suggest that the streamed digital versions of today sound at least as good? Is this on the recording or is it the remaster? I don't know. Has anyone been able to actually compare the original vinyl sound of a great sounding 70s or 80s original with what's on the first four discs?** Or perhaps even more interesting, comparing it to say FMF or ITGWO, that were released just before the "loudness war" started to derail and harvest most of its casualties, where one is allowed to compare the original analogue, the original digital and the HDCD digital? Does the HDCD format do wonders to Playback, or is it just another 90s digital stunt saturating your ears, frying your brain in a more deluxe manner?

This to me is actually very interesting. Especially in the light of how some resent remasters (Echo?!) are so successful in removing at least some of the "thick gloss" from the 90s CD allowing the recordings to breath some, at long last, and when there is talk of how analogue masters been used when available (Wildflowers reissue!).

It would be cool to hear some further opinions or insight on this. Please and thank you.

 

 

---

*That is, the habit of increasing audio levels through "digital signal processing". The pros, to some, was louder, boosted records. The con, to the rest of us, was a compressed dynamic range and a more "thick", "busy" yet "flat" sound. Note: boosting audio levels was common already in the 60s, most commonly to make singles sound extra loud and fresh. However, in the analogue processing this usually didn't mean too much in terms of quality loss. In fact it can be argued that some "single mixes" from back then (or even from the 80s) actually sound "better" than the album versions. Why that is, I'm not sure. With digital signal processing the examples are numerous through the 90s of how the attempts to make recordings sound better, more radio friendly etc, really killed a lot of the sound that was originally there. 

**I haven't been listening to those first discs.. I think maybe never.. and my actual box is now with a section of my record archives in storage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A can of worms! Sound quality of reiussues... :lol:

12 minutes ago, Shelter said:

Good thing then that - apart from some rather "philosophical" ponderings about the exact.. shall we say.. character of the thing (what the sender's exact idea was, if any, and how the receiver ended up "using" it) - this thread and most things you will ever hear about Playback, is some high praise of legend. Deservingly so, surely. :)

Yeah, about that. I had a feeling.. and I meant to say something about that above, but I got lost on another abstraction level. Good thing, that gave me the op to go back and check a few things. Yesterday I took out my two little promo boxes for Playback to have a listen at the sound, since one of the many things this thread has brought to mind is that Playback was released in the then super audiophile format "HDCD". Given the year of release (1995) most "normal" CDs of the era fell victims of the s.c. "loudness war"*  - those were troubled times - and the HDCD format was another way to tell the audience that this sounds better than ever. But as far as Playback went, did it?

Well.. the problem is that the songs I've managed to sample here are pretty much exclusive to Playback, so it's hard to tell. Nothing to compare to really. Listening to Waiting For Tonight or Got My Mind Made Up off the promo discs does sound good in a way... but there sure is something very "thick", almost a "vacuum effect" of sorts listening to it, like all air and range is sucked out of it - extremely tight. It sure sounds crisp, but not really very dynamic. I would suggest that the streamed digital versions of today sound at least as good? Is this on the recording or is it the remaster? I don't know. Has anyone been able to actually compare the original vinyl sound of a great sounding 70s or 80s original with what's on the first four discs?** Or perhaps even more interesting, comparing it to say FMF or ITGWO, that were released just before the "loudness war" started to derail and harvest most of its casualties, where one is allowed to compare the original analogue, the original digital and the HDCD digital? Does the HDCD format do wonders to Playback, or is it just another 90s digital stunt saturating your ears, frying your brain in a more deluxe manner?

Well, I could only compare the Playback versions to the earlier CD releases that were available at the time. And I always thought - and still think - FMF and ITGWO lack a bit of low end, they could use a little more bass, and that's what Drakoulias did with the Playback remasters (add some bass, among other things, of course). I feel compression is moderate, but some songs sound more compressed than others, so you're definitely right, Got My Mind Made Up (and mabye some other rockers, haven't checked in a long time) is where the loudness war might already have demanded some of its first victims.

All in all, he struck a nice balance at the time, to my ears.

I should compare Playback to Best of Everything, though. See what time and Ryan Ulyate did.

By the way - Best of Everything is released on Geffen Records, which is part of Universal... whatever happened to Warners? Didn't American Treasure come out on Reprise? But that is, probably, for another time and another thread.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, TwoGunslingers said:

Well, I could only compare the Playback versions to the earlier CD releases that were available at the time. And I always thought - and still think - FMF and ITGWO lack a bit of low end, they could use a little more bass, and that's what Drakoulias did with the Playback remasters (add some bass, among other things, of course). I feel compression is moderate, but some songs sound more compressed than others, so you're definitely right, Got My Mind Made Up (and mabye some other rockers, haven't checked in a long time) is where the loudness war might already have demanded some of its first victims.

Ok, yeah.. that makes sense to me. Actually I have a Japanense CD issue of FMF that perhaps is a wee bit "heavier", and the original LP, to me, sounds great. But the original CD issue (at least the European issue) does indeed lack a little low end, agreed. ITGWO though, I'm not sure I've noticed as much. Then again.. the original LP is my go to edition of that one and that sounds great. I will have to check the first discs of Playback further - it would be cool to compare the Drakoulias remasters with the original album editions. Then again.. how much of the difference is then to be attributed to GD and how much to the supposed superiority of the HDCD format. I don't suppose it's one of those formats that require a special player to show its full range, right? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On March 11, 2019 at 8:06 AM, TwoGunslingers said:

Hardly take it off the shelf nowadays.

Why do you think that is? I haven't listened to it in a long time till I posted this topic. For me, I think it's because it attained special status, like listening to it was a mimi-TPATH event for me and so I just don't listen to it very much. Same with their last night at the Fillmore in '97; something to listen to occasionally but not all the time.

When I do pull out Playback, particularly the few tracks from three and most of 4 through 6 I enjoy it quite a bit and think I should listen to it more frequently, then back it goes to repeat the whole cycle another time.

cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Why do you think that is?

Good question. I don't really know.

Have a theory, though. In the late 90s and early 00s I listened to Playback A LOT. Especially discs 4-6. Maybe I overdid it with them. And to listen to the tracks on the first three discs, I don't really need to pull the whole box out; I prefer listening to the albums (like probably most everybody here).

That could be another reason - the box. It's a bit too... complicated may be the right word... for everyday usage. Too complicated to handle, that is. Because it's not a gatefold cover(not sure this is the right word) but has this seperate top piece. Am I making sense?

2 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

When I do pull out Playback, particularly the few tracks from three and most of 4 through 6 I enjoy it quite a bit and think I should listen to it more frequently, then back it goes to repeat the whole cycle another time.

Yeah, same with me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎3‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 10:51 AM, Shelter said:

I will have to check the first discs of Playback further - it would be cool to compare the Drakoulias remasters with the original album editions.

Do that! (Please :D.)

On ‎3‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 10:51 AM, Shelter said:

Then again.. how much of the difference is then to be attributed to GD and how much to the supposed superiority of the HDCD format.

Well, I don't think HDCD would make much of a difference if the remastering was bad. Sh** in, sh** out, as the IT-guys put it. So Drakoulias must have done something right, I guess. ;)

On ‎3‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 10:51 AM, Shelter said:

I don't suppose it's one of those formats that require a special player to show its full range, right? 

Not to my knowledge, which, admittedly, is not very vast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, TwoGunslingers said:

Do that! (Please :D.)

Don't hold your breath.. it's in storage with tons of my music archives. So, we'll see when I get to it. (In my next life I will get myself a real record storage basement a la Joe Bussard.. if I get to take my records with me, that is..?! eh.. )

15 minutes ago, TwoGunslingers said:

Sh** in, sh** out, as the IT-guys put it. So Drakoulias must have done something right, I guess. ;)

 Oh, sure. I just meant.. Exhibit A: Fantastic GD remasters. Would they sound better (how much? what way?) presented on HDCD than they do on CD? (Since it's all very 1995 digital - thus,  like I suggested above, at least at times sounds slightly "brickwalled" - I wouldn't count on a Playback vinyl being a good idea, unless they head back to analogue masters and do it all over again...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TwoGunslingers said:

That could be another reason - the box. It's a bit too... complicated may be the right word... for everyday usage. Too complicated to handle, that is. Because it's not a gatefold cover(not sure this is the right word) but has this seperate top piece. Am I making sense?

Really? I figure people just take the cardboard cd cases out and use 'em like any other cd. I don't even think I have all six cds in the box.

1 hour ago, TwoGunslingers said:

Maybe I overdid it with them

That could be a big factor.

Nowadays I try to watch so I don't overdo it with an album, group or song.

Usually I just go through cycles and can tell when I'm ready to hear something new and try to stop before getting bored/burned out on whatever group I'm into at the moment. Though there are other times where it's a bunch of different bands I listen to, with no one single band dominating.

I wonder if it's the same with others regarding Playback, most people seem to like it but I don't think it was ever discussed much; but someone who was here longer than me would know better on that topic.

cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Really? I figure people just take the cardboard cd cases out and use 'em like any other cd. I don't even think I have all six cds in the box.

This is actually a pretty good idea! Seriously, I never thought of that... Boy, being practical is not my forte...

5 hours ago, Shelter said:

I wouldn't count on a Playback vinyl being a good idea, unless they head back to analogue masters and do it all over again...)

Good point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Really? I figure people just take the cardboard cd cases out and use 'em like any other cd. I don't even think I have all six cds in the box.

People use the original CDs? I always just rip the discs to FLAC, put the originals on the shelf, and then burn a copy of it. Better for the copy to get scratched than the original; I can just make another.

 

Also, don't put CD-Rs in the microwave. I did once to see what would happen. Nice light show, but the kitchen smelled like burning plastic for a week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, nobodyinparticular said:

People use the original CDs? I always just rip the discs to FLAC, put the originals on the shelf, and then burn a copy of it. Better for the copy to get scratched than the original; I can just make another.

Depending on my location I might use Cds recently  just used laptop speakers, built-in. I do have a lot of stuff digitally backed up though. On rare occasion I listen to vinyl. 

cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, nurktwin said:

4 pages of thoughts on this LP. I'm wondering how many thoughts anyone can have on "playback" or any LP? Let it go and move on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nah. It's fun to talk about. You certainly didn't have to come in and read four pages of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×