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View Full Version : Weird Noise in Zenyatta Mondatta



jonheal
2007-01-03, 16:32
Anyone out there have a copy of Zenyatta Mondatta by The Police? I just bought it on CD, ripped it, and playing it for the first time, I noticed near the beginning of the first song, "Don't Stand So Close To Me," a litle burp of buzz-like noise at the 8 second mark, and then a "crack" of noise at the 20 second mark. I stopped listening at that point to check it out.

I confirmed that the noise is on my copy of the CD.

Anyone else notice this?

CatBus
2007-01-03, 17:10
I really don't recall having such a thing on my copy (can't double-check right now)--but mine's almost certainly an earlier pressing. Newer copies may be remastered, have bonus tracks, copy protection, interactive CD-ROM content, rootkits, and who knows what else.

My guesses are: manufacturing or post-manufacturing defect (warp, scratch), and copy protection. I doubt something so nasty would have made it onto the disk any other way.

What does ripping it with EAC tell you? That should usually solve both problems.

PhilNYC
2007-01-03, 18:22
I definitely notice it...I think it's a glitch in the recording (ie. nothing wrong with the CD).

jonheal
2007-01-03, 18:23
I really don't recall having such a thing on my copy (can't double-check right now)--but mine's almost certainly an earlier pressing. Newer copies may be remastered, have bonus tracks, copy protection, interactive CD-ROM content, rootkits, and who knows what else.

My guesses are: manufacturing or post-manufacturing defect (warp, scratch), and copy protection. I doubt something so nasty would have made it onto the disk any other way.

What does ripping it with EAC tell you? That should usually solve both problems.

Bad disc maybe, but I don't think the record companies have stooped so low as to introduce noise on CDs even when they're played on a CD player. I checked the log from EAC; Track 1 quality 100%.

jth
2007-01-03, 18:26
I have a very old copy of this CD. It has the glitch you mentioned.
I have always assumed that it is intentional.

CatBus
2007-01-03, 19:15
I have a very old copy of this CD. It has the glitch you mentioned.
I have always assumed that it is intentional.

Just listened to my copy. Yup, it has it too. Must be on the master recording, intentional or no.

peejay
2007-01-04, 15:15
Just listened to my copy. Yup, it has it too. Must be on the master recording, intentional or no.


While we're at it, I have a copy of Grace Jones' Slave to the rhythm, which in the last track 'Ladies and Gentlemen - Miss Grace Jones' has a series of rhythmic noises over a minute or so long. I always assumed it was a bad disk and never got around to doing anything about it - CD technology was relatively new at that time - '85 ish. Anybody who has this album notice this as well?

jonheal
2007-01-04, 15:27
While we're at it, I have a copy of Grace Jones' Slave to the rhythm, which in the last track 'Ladies and Gentlemen - Miss Grace Jones' has a series of rhythmic noises over a minute or so long. I always assumed it was a bad disk and never got around to doing anything about it - CD technology was relatively new at that time - '85 ish. Anybody who has this album notice this as well?

It probably ended like that on vinyl with the needle spinning endlessly at the end of that side of the LP.

peejay
2007-01-04, 19:55
It probably ended like that on vinyl with the needle spinning endlessly at the end of that side of the LP.
I haven't listened to the vinyl pressing, so I can't comment, except to say that the noise comes over the track itself, maybe 2 mins or so into it. Definitely shouldn't be there...

cliveb
2007-01-05, 11:05
Anyone out there have a copy of Zenyatta Mondatta by The Police? I just bought it on CD, ripped it, and playing it for the first time, I noticed near the beginning of the first song, "Don't Stand So Close To Me," a litle burp of buzz-like noise at the 8 second mark, and then a "crack" of noise at the 20 second mark. I stopped listening at that point to check it out.
Others are reporting that they have the same noises. I don't have Zenyatta Mondatta, but I have the song on a Greatest Hits compilation. In that case, the "burp" at 8 secs is present, but there is no "crack" at 20 secs.

What I do hear at 20 secs is a brief noise way back in the soundstage, as if perhaps someone knocked a mike stand at the back of the studio. Or it could be a reverb effect that got accidentally punched in for a fraction of a second. Is that the "crack" you're referring to? If not, and you get a definite "crack", then it seems more likely to be an uncorrectable error on the CD. Did you use a ripper that checks for errors (eg EAC)?

jonheal
2007-01-05, 11:47
I haven't listened to the vinyl pressing, so I can't comment, except to say that the noise comes over the track itself, maybe 2 mins or so into it. Definitely shouldn't be there...

Hmm...I guess I misread your original message. I have a CD that on one track, when played on a CD player, made a sort of cycling "whhsshh, whssshh" noise on top of the music. I was pleased to find that when I ripped it with EAC, the noise was gone. Some sort of error that EAC had corrected, I guess.

peejay
2007-01-06, 00:42
Hmm...I guess I misread your original message. I have a CD that on one track, when played on a CD player, made a sort of cycling "whhsshh, whssshh" noise on top of the music. I was pleased to find that when I ripped it with EAC, the noise was gone. Some sort of error that EAC had corrected, I guess.

Interesting, from your description it would be a similar sort of noise - I used audiograbber to extract the audio from that disk,and I heard exactly the same thing on the wave (flac) file. So I'll download EAC and try it again. Thanks for the update.

jonheal
2007-01-06, 05:28
Interesting, from your description it would be a similar sort of noise - I used audiograbber to extract the audio from that disk,and I heard exactly the same thing on the wave (flac) file. So I'll download EAC and try it again. Thanks for the update.
EAC is complicated. I have no idea what half of the settings mean, but I followed these instructions:

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=30959

Andyoz
2007-01-06, 09:06
Getting back to The Police, my CD copy has both the "burp" at 8 sec and "click" at 20 sec. There's actually loads of stuff there including some "feedback" at approx. 12sec. "Walking on the Moon" also hads lots of buzzing and activity noise in the first 5 secs of the intro. Ah, the good old days when rock muso's played in the same room together during recording!

It's definitely intentional, do you think Sting would have let any Engineer get away with sloppy work in the studio?

ps. I saw a documentary on The Police recently and they were interviewing Stewart Copeland. He said something along these lines:

"....Fame didn't change Sting one bit....he was an arsehole even BEFORE he became famous"

jonheal
2007-01-06, 18:06
Getting back to The Police, my CD copy has both the "burp" at 8 sec and "click" at 20 sec. There's actually loads of stuff there including some "feedback" at approx. 12sec. "Walking on the Moon" also hads lots of buzzing and activity noise in the first 5 secs of the intro. Ah, the good old days when rock muso's played in the same room together during recording!

It's definitely intentional, do you think Sting would have let any Engineer get away with sloppy work in the studio?

ps. I saw a documentary on The Police recently and they were interviewing Stewart Copeland. He said something along these lines:

"....Fame didn't change Sting one bit....he was an arsehole even BEFORE he became famous"

I'm all for a "human" studio experience, but what I found jarring listening to those two sounds (over headphones) was that they did not sound like studio clatter, they sounded like post-production noises in that they lacked ambience/reverb.

peejay
2007-01-07, 00:33
EAC is complicated. I have no idea what half of the settings mean, but I followed these instructions:

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=30959

Well, Jon, you have done me a great service. I compared the wave files from Audiograbber and EAC, and sonically they were completely different. EAC removed the track noise, after slowing the extraction process to 0 for some minutes while error recovery was in process - I'd like to know how that works from an engineer's curiosity point of view - with default settings, except that I did set the error recovery to maximum. First time since I purchased the album in '86 that I've heard that track without the imperfections. I'll be using EAC from now on, and re-extracting some albums which I particularly like just in case....Thanks

Phil Leigh
2007-01-07, 03:24
I agree with CliveB - "buzz" but no crack on the Greatest Hits. The crack might have been a fault that was fixed (deliberately or accidentally) when the Greatest Hits was compiled. The buzz would have been more difficult to get rid of as it lasts a fair few samples. The buzz sounds a bit like the noise when you unplug a guitar..but it probably isn't that. It doesn't have any reverb on it - it may have been introduced at the mastering stage.

Andyoz
2007-01-07, 05:29
I have two copies of that song from two separate greatest hits and hear exactly the same noises on both. The 'crack' at 20 sec. is actually the loudest by far - sounds like the 'click' of a light switch beinging turned-off in a reverberent room!

I agree that the buzz sounds just like a guitar amp, more like an amp switching On and with close miking you wouldn't hear the room reverb I expect.

The 'burp' at 8sec. sounds like a quick stab at one of the lower register keys of an analogue synth set up for a nice 'phat' sound. Has similarities to the whole synth sound that runs through the songs intro.

Getting anal now...next!

Phil Leigh
2007-01-07, 05:39
This is great fun - any more tracks like this we can take apart?

Andyoz
2007-01-07, 06:47
Yep, here's a few:

- Kate Bush's track Hounds of Love' has a funny cliche at 01:45. At short 'chink' sort of sound.

- This next ones harder to hear. Listen to the intro of Peter Gabriels "Sledgehammer" up really, really loud (or in headphones). At around 00:15 just before the big brass/drum bit kicks off at 00:17,you can hear the very same piece of music, but about 2sec BEFORE it actually happens. It's at a very low level though. I assume it's some form of bleed through on the analogue tape?

Phil Leigh
2007-01-07, 07:22
I'm familiar with the PG example - I can hear it very clearly - it sounds like print-through on the analogue master (or a very clever digital reproduction of the same "effect"...

Off to listen to Ms. Bush...

Phil Leigh
2007-01-07, 07:24
Is the version of PG's "So" the original CD or the remaster? I wonder if they cleaned this on the reissue (assuming it wasn't intentional...)

Andyoz
2007-01-07, 07:27
It's on both, you have good taste man.

Phil Leigh
2007-01-07, 07:46
Cheers Andy - you too!
Yes, you are right - It is on both versions.
Normally that print-through effect comes when the master is cut "hot" and left wound "the right way" for quite a while before being used and the magnetic pattern bleeds into adjacent layers of tape. Really you are supposed to wind the tape the other way out to avoid this - but only for long term storage. However, maybe they liked the effect and left it in?

By the way, So is one of those albums that really seperates systems - on some it sounds harsh and can be unlistenable (the remaster is much kinder to the ears!)

I'm off to find that "chink" in Ms. Bush!

Andyoz
2007-01-07, 08:43
Yes, 'So' is a very interesting album in all respects. I find that some of the bass isn't that well recorded though to be honest.

I have read a bit about the albums production and there was apparently a completely different version of "Big Time" recorded, different drum track, etc. Less 'poppy' than the album version and I'd loved to hear it as the groove on that song is amazing. I find the album version is a a little too sanitized for me.

p.s. if you are a PG & KB fan check out this little rare piece --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKknfE4wGmM --- I find this haunting even with the terrible quality of this copy.

Phil Leigh
2007-01-07, 09:21
Great clip - I see what you mean about haunting...thank you for that.

The So album (which I am a big fan of) does have a tendency towards sibilance on the vocals, splashy cymbals and "80's drums" - however, the music is just great. I reckon if a system can handle Sledgehammer or Big Time (and I'd like to hear that alternate version you mentioned) at realistic - loud - volume without making your ears bleed but keeping the groove tight it is doing something right.

The remaster is much kinder and better sounding to me. Not every remaster of every album is an improvement, but that one is.

It's one those albums (Graceland by Paul Simon is another - the vocal sound is too dull!) that could have been greatly improved by slighty better engineering in the first place IMHO...
Odd really, because I thought PG was such a perfectionist?

Andyoz
2007-01-07, 10:41
I reckon if a system can handle Sledgehammer or Big Time (and I'd like to hear that alternate version you mentioned)

That version never mad it out of the studio, it was done with PG's original drummer Jerry Marrotta, and not Stewart Copeland. There's probably a rough mix of it sitting in the archives somewhere!

I've had another listen to 'Hounds of Love' and I'm beginning to think it may be a 'cliche' on just my copy so wouldn't be surprised if you don't hear it (it's very apparent on my copy).

cliveb
2007-01-08, 04:50
I've had another listen to 'Hounds of Love' and I'm beginning to think it may be a 'cliche' on just my copy so wouldn't be surprised if you don't hear it (it's very apparent on my copy).
You say it's at 1:45. The "click" that's audible on my (non-remastered) copy is very obviously coming out of her mouth - I don't know the technical term for it, but it's when the tongue is resting against the palette and then brought down to make a sort of "tchh" sound.

Andyoz
2007-01-08, 05:03
Must be just on my copy then. Kate's capable of some weird noises but it's definately not her. The noise I hear is more like the sound you'd get when you lightly hit a half full Coke bottle with a drumstick.

Anyway, what do you make of all that noise for the first 5 sec's of "Walking on the Moon". Almost sounds like a squeaking drummers stool?

cliveb
2007-01-08, 06:46
Anyway, what do you make of all that noise for the first 5 sec's of "Walking on the Moon". Almost sounds like a squeaking drummers stool?
As a former drummer myself (I've recovered now, if anyone is concerned :-), I'd say the inital "click" sounds very much like a pair of drumsticks being tapped together. The following squeak sounds like it could be the bass drum pedal or perhaps, as you suggest, the stool. Someone earlier suggested it was "feedback-like", but I'd say not - definitely more like a mechanical squeak.

PhilNYC
2007-01-08, 06:59
As a former drummer myself (I've recovered now, if anyone is concerned :-), I'd say the inital "click" sounds very much like a pair of drumsticks being tapped together. The following squeak sounds like it could be the bass drum pedal or perhaps, as you suggest, the stool. Someone earlier suggested it was "feedback-like", but I'd say not - definitely more like a mechanical squeak.

Yeah, there's definitely a drumstick tap in there. I think the "feedback"-like sound is actually more of a buzz...like a guitar amp buzz...

MrSinatra
2007-01-08, 17:11
i have the 4 cd box set, and my mp3s of the CD have the 8sec, 20sec, and other noise described.

i'm more than willing to believe these are on the analog tapes.

and i'd rather have them, than have them "remastered" away.

btw, the worst glitch of this type i have ever heard was on a beatles CD, i'll create a new thread for that:

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=31449