Monday, November 14, 2011

035 Rise And Shine



Dr. Forrester said...

Pink Floyd
"Rise & Shine" (HRV CDR 035)
City Hall, Sheffield, England
22 December 1970

Lineage: 2nd Gen Recording on TDK AD Cassettes played on NAD 6220 tapedeck into M Audio Soundcard via phono leads > raw WAV files > MOB Remaster > WAV > FLAC
Source tape provided by Pete Austin
Remastering by MOB
Artwork by RonToon
Produced by Harvested Records

Disc One
Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast (29:32)
Embryo (14:50)
Fat Old Sun (15:18)
Careful With That Axe Eugene (16:13)

Disc Two
Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (12:38)
A Saucerful Of Secrets (26:31)
Atom Heart Mother (33:29)
Atom Heart Mother (reprise) (2:52)

Total running time approx 2 hours 31 minutes

The origins of this copy of the recording are as follows:
I went to University in Sheffield in the UK in October 1981. Sometime in my first year there (not sure if it was 81 or 82) I noticed an advert on a noticeboard in the University's Student Union building by a guy offering rare tapes of Pink Floyd and a number of other bands. I bought this recording on a TDK AD C60 and C120 Cassette (see the photos) from the guy who turned out to be a post-graduate. From my recollection (and it is 27 years ago!) the tapes I got were from his first gen copy from the masters. They are definitely not from vinyl (you can just tell!!!) and it predates the CD or CDR bootleg era. Ironically I think the cassettes have survived well because I only played them a few times as I was more into Stones and Clapton at the time. I guess it could be as little as four or five times prior to me finally capturing them as digital files.I was prompted to transfer it to digital format by two things:

1) I downloaded a couple of the bootlegs from the same date via the internet and I thought, "This is not half as good quality as I remember my tapes being"
2) A friend was clearing out his loft (attic) and offered me a little used NAD tapedeck, so now I had no excuse not to investigate my hunch that I had a better copy of this recording

The finished item is superb. I have really enjoyed getting back into this whole 68-72 Floyd era. I think the desire to get the best version of Sheffield 1970 out to the fan-base has made me go back and take an even greater interest in the legitimate and (ever expanding) bootleg stuff from this era.

A final, but very important note. A big "thank you" to John Johnstone (a colleague from work) who suggested I offered up the raw WAVs of the tapes to the Harvested Team. What an excellent piece of advice!

Dr. Forrester said...

Pete's tapes were in really good condition, despite their age. The original recording was done with mono equipment, and the music was well centered between the 2 channels of the tapes (generally, old tapes tend to have fluctuations between channels, even if the original recording is mono, but it was not the case here). The hiss was very stable throughout the tapes, with almost no sign of warble.

The main problem with the recording was the speed. The tapes ran too fast, and the speed was not constant throughout the show (this is a well known problem of old analog tape recorders, very dependent on the battery levels fluctuations during a concert). Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast was almost at correct speed, but the speed of the following tracks increased progressively during the songs. The real difficulties began with A Saucerful Of Secrets, because the batteries were probably unloading faster. The speed was different depending on the part of the song, so I had to apply speed correction on a case by case basis. Atom Heart Mother was even worse, the very end really too fast.

After dealing with the speed issues, I carefully applied slight EQ to enhance some particular frequencies that were buried in the original recording (probably due to the original recorder and mics characteristics). An important note is that I didn't try to dehiss the recording. As a result, this remaster still has a good amount of hiss. After all, this is a 2nd gen and you cannot have a significant reduction of hiss without degrading the music clarity. Moreover, I wanted to keep the sound as natural as possible, because the best sounding version of that concert until now was the highly processed "Disgusting Hardly Music", remastered from Pete's tapes too, but with a lot of NR applied. I wanted this new remaster to be a nice alternative to DHM: people who can't stand hiss and don't mind about digital NR artefacts can still enjoy DHM, while people who prefer unprocessed recordings should definitely adopt "Rise & Shine" (of course it's not striclty "unprocessed" because I corrected the speed, applied some EQ and carefully cleaned the drop-outs and tape flaws, but anyway this still sounds "natural", unlike the other versions I heard).

As usual with all my remasters, I also manually cleaned every tape flaw that I could detect (cuts, small drop-outs, pops, crackles ...).

Here are the comparisons we did with the other RoIOs from that concert:
- "Allen's Psychedelic Breakfast" (from Circus Sun APSB 1270 A/B LP): full of vinyl clicks and pops
- "A Psychedelic Night" (Triangle Records PYCD 038 & 039): this silver bootleg CD is muffled and denoised to death
- "Alan's Psychedelic Christmas": 3rd or 4th gen from VHS, too dehissed
- "Pink's Psychedelic Last Night" (Highland HL176): again, very processed (NR)
- "Alan's Psychedelic Master Tape" (Ayanami-227): certainly not from mastertape (Ayanami often claims to have the masters while it's wrong) and over-processed
- "1st Gen": this RoIO is the only other "unprocessed" version apparently circulating, but it sounds more distant than Pete's 2nd gen; I guess the title "1st gen" is not correct, it's more probably 2nd or 3rd gen.
- "Disgusting Hardly Music" (FOS-CDR-001 ): music is very clear but NR artifacts are obvious

To summarize, we think that this new release "Rise & Shine" has the following benefits:
- it's the only Sheffield RoIO with "natural" sound (apart from the so-called "1st gen" which is sounding much more distant)
- it's the only Sheffield RoIO with correct speed for all the tracks
- it's the only Sheffield RoIO with the drop-outs and tape flaws corrected (in particular, you can check the very beginning of Careful's scream: the abrupt cut in the master recording is magically fixed ;-) )