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Remasters of the First 6 Star Wars Soundtracks now available (Shawn Murphy / Disney Records 2018)

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1 hour ago, phbart said:

Maybe Disney will release music streaming service, Disney Audio+, and the expanded music of Star Wars, remastered directly from the 16-track tapes (found in a random display booth of a convention) will premiere there...

 

That way we can finally listen to the entire scores in 128kbps MP3 quality!

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Reading all the information from Shawn Murphy during the Sony Release 2015 video gives me hope due to how many sources of 4, 5 and 6 there possibly are in the Lucasfilm/Fox archives. 

 

That video from the Star Wars show makes me angry, talking about how good the releases are, then you put on The Asteroid Field and hear the most god awful level of reverb which sounds like preset no1 in a basic reverb unit. Just embarrassing!

 

Then you put The Imperial March on and it's a different story, aspects of if sound fantastic, in some ways the best it ever has. 

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2 hours ago, aj_vader said:

Then you put The Imperial March on and it's a different story, aspects of if sound fantastic, in some ways the best it ever has. 

Same with Yoda's Theme.

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8 minutes ago, phbart said:

Same with Yoda's Theme.

 

Concerningly, the only evidence of ESB multi-tracks in the video is the reel which contained both.

 

So that might be the only multi-track reel in their possession (hence so much of Empire sounding rubbish).

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Ok. Just a thought. Since Matessino is officialy incharge of Williams expansions. I'm sure when the time comes for the Prequel trilogy and the sequels he will be given access to them. Disney only worked on the OST album of the Trilogy. I'm sure in a few years (if not sooner) they will be thinking of doing their version of the expanded Trilogy scores too and thats when I hope Matessino will jump in the opportunity  and snag in the Original trilogy lot as well. (Hopefully Shawn Murphy and team will be too tired to redig the material again, if we count the Vinyl project and the demasters)

 

The only worse thing would be if Disney decides to do the Ultimate Scores series which Sony left after they did The Phantom Menace. Remember Shawn Murphy mentioned it in the lengthy Vinyl unboxing video that they had planned to do the same for Episode II & III but these got aborted.

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1 hour ago, crumbs said:

 

Concerningly, the only evidence of ESB multi-tracks in the video is the reel which contained both.

 

So that might be the only multi-track reel in their possession (hence so much of Empire sounding rubbish).

Which worries me because they had more 24-track tapes in 1997. I wonder what happened to those...

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Nah that was just Bouzereau being a mediocre semi-hack with questionable vision like always.

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Spreading the enjoyment of music over more senses! Hearing is obvious, taste when you eat the baked tapes for breakfast, smell if you overdo them, sight when looking at the spectograms...

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4 minutes ago, phbart said:

I read somewhere that baking the tapes is an efficient method of getting moisture out of it so they don't get sticky. Literally, the tapes are placed in an oven and stay there for hours.

 

Maybe they overbaked the tapes and served them as toasts for breakfast.

 

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I know how sad this sounds (and many others here I imagine feel the same), when a new project/release gets announced whether officially or a new amazon listing I get so excited like a child only to be disappointed every single time. I feel like it's never going to happen but I hold on to hope coming back to the disappointment every time. I understand that it's a business and it has to make a return, but come on, a limited release of expanded/complete Star Wars scores. You could put any price on them and they'd sell out, be on ebay with ridiculous resale price quicker than you can say Jawa! 

 

It's been so many years of getting excited in the threads on this forum. I know I sound like a fan who is saying, "I/we deserve this etc." But I think it's beyond all that. I believe it needs to be done for the art of those scores that Williams has written and recorded, Disney owe it to the music! 

 

I hope I am not alone feeling like this, I can't imagine I am. 

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I have a small, foolish glimmer of hope that we might get or hear something about a new release on Monday. It's the day the TROS goes on to Disney+ completing the saga, Clone Wars finishes and The Mandaorian gets its 8-part documentary. Maybe they have something up their sleeves for the music? A fools hope, but a hope nonetheless.

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There was a thread at FSM where Mike Matessino did a basic 101 on remastering and FAQs on the whole Technical thing on tapes and multi tracks etc. Quite informative. But some one will have to find that thread. 

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4 hours ago, Amer said:

There was a thread at FSM where Mike Matessino did a basic 101 on remastering and FAQs on the whole Technical thing on tapes and multi tracks etc. Quite informative. But some one will have to find that thread. 

If someone were able to find it and link to it, I'd definitely be appreciative! It's an area that a number of regular posters (Jay, crumbs, Holko...) seem to know a lot about and I know so little, so when pages of inside baseball are written on the topic, like here, it makes me wish I were better informed.

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Wow! A wealth of material with very interesting info. I just love those tech stuff. Reading the Wendy Carlos page, NOW I remembered where I read the stuff about baking tapes soooo many years ago. That page is a true time capsule of how websites were in the mid 1990's and very early 2000's.

 

5 hours ago, thx99 said:

Digital tape "speed":

In theory, digital recordings should play perfectly at the sampling rate they were recorded, if the digital clocks of the recording and playback machines match.  If you record at 44,100 samples per second and play back at 44,100 samples per second, then you have a perfect representation of the recorded signal speed-wise.

This might explain the pitch issues in some of the tracks of Temple of Doom from Concord, which allegedly came from 1/4" digital masters tapes. The dumb-asses must have played the tapes in a machine with different sampling rate then than the ones from the recording, and never bothered to correct it later.

 

5 hours ago, thx99 said:

Early digital formats:

One of the biggest factors with digital recordings, particularly those early ones in the late 70s/early 80s, is format obsolescence.  We've seen this with Disney's The Black Hole, as summarized in the Intrada announcement:

 

John Barry's score was the first digitally recorded soundtrack in motion picture history and was recorded using the 3M Digital Recorder. The format was used sparingly for several years until technology moved on, and due to its limited use, finding working machines had become quite a challenge some 30 years later. Randy Thornton's producer's notes chronicle the entire odyssey through the investigations and trials until successful transfer of the 32-track digital elements, with simply stunning results. Now The Black Hole is presented in complete form with a striking clarity not heard previously.

If you have that Intrada release, the booklet has a very interesting story about how they managed to extract the digital audio from those 3M tapes.

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1 hour ago, phbart said:

This might explain the pitch issues in some of the tracks of Temple of Doom from Concord, which allegedly came from 1/4" digital masters tapes. The dumb-asses must have played the tapes in a machine with different sampling rate then than the ones from the recording, and never bothered to correct it later.


To clarify a bit, I was referring to relatively minor differences in the digital clocks (like 44050 vs. 44100, points of a percent). I’m not sure the cause of the speed issues with TOD but as I recall, they’re off-speed by a greater amount than that.

 

For example, issues with digital recordings can also surface after transfer. Take the Hook “Prologue”. The version that appears on the OST is too slow and was caused by a recording (or intermediate copy) made at a sampling rate of 48 kHz but downsampled to 44.1 kHz for the CD improperly. Instead of the recorded signal truly being resampled at 44,100 samples per second, the sampling rate of the recording was simply reset to 44.1 kHz, resulting in the downward pitch shift. To correct this, the CD track can be ripped and the sampling rate reset to 48 kHz, thereby speeding the recording back up to its original recorded rate. This has been discussed here at JWFAN before. Link: 

 

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Maybe you described exactly what could've happened when ToD digital audio was transferred in 2008. 48kHz was already possible in 1984 using the Sony DASH system, according to this Wikipedia article (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Audio_Stationary_Head), so it's likely that in 2008, when they were transferring the audio, they thought: "Oh well, a 1984 digital recording can't be more than 44.1kHz". And here we are, with ToD music slower than a three-legged mule.

 

Don't know which system was used for ToD, but I believe Bruce Botnick always liked to try new things, and he already used digital on E.T. and Poltergeist (but using U-Matic cassette tapes with a PCM adaptor, possibly the Sony PCM-1600, which only allowed 44.1kHz).

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2 hours ago, phbart said:

Maybe you described exactly what could've happened when ToD digital audio was transferred in 2008. 48kHz was already possible in 1984 using the Sony DASH system, according to this Wikipedia article (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Audio_Stationary_Head), so it's likely that in 2008, when they were transferring the audio, they thought: "Oh well, a 1984 digital recording can't be more than 44.1kHz". And here we are, with ToD music slower than a three-legged mule.

 

Out of curosity, I sped up the most noticeably slow track from TOD (The Scroll / To Pankot Palace) using the 44100>48000 conversion and it became way too fast. It's not a Hook situation where simply speeding up the Prologue to 48khz fixed the speed issue.

 

Worse, whatever source they used for TOD was seemingly damaged, or improperly handled. Check out the wavy horizontal frequency on this previously unreleased track, just under 16khz:

gqJjqfJ.png

 

Every 'expanded' track from the 2008 release has this same issue, while all the OST-sourced tracks (taken from the OST master, not whatever source was used for the unreleased tracks) look comparatively clean. Check out the very flat frequency line on this track:

nhtmbfQ.png

 

Now, if TOD was sourced from a digital element, how the heck did they end up with such uneven, badly sampled music? I wasn't aware that digitally stored music could degrade in such a way; the damage seems more reminiscent of bad analogue elements that either degraded or were improperly handled.

 

It seemingly explains why the music sounds has that uneven, damaged tape sound. I wonder if some digital cleanup tools could fix this using the frequency line as a guide? Mike has mentioned such restoration software many times.

 

Of course, that doesn't explain why so much of the Indy set is running at the wrong speed, though it's mercifully isolated to the first two scores, I think.

 

Anyway, maybe this should be moved to a more generic 'technical' thread on these botched expansions from the dark ages (the pre-Matessino era).

 

12 hours ago, thx99 said:

"wow" and "flutter":

Analog recordings are more susceptible than digital recordings to wow and flutter, both being pitch variations of different magnitudes, resulting from slight changes in tape speed during recording and/or playback.  They can be caused by a capstan being "out of round" or cyclical drag caused by the reel or cassette shell.  "Capstan" is a software tool designed to address wow and flutter: https://www.celemony.com/en/capstan.  Here's a video demo worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqK6wgsh3QA.

 

Well, based on what I posted above, the Concord TOD tracks look like perfect candidates for this type of cleanup. Really interesting video, thanks!

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@crumbs, in the spectrograms you’ve posted, the tone appearing at just below 16 kHz (which indeed appears more stable in the second cue) is likely caused by an induction of the line frequency of a television in the vicinity of the original recorder or intermediate recorder into the audio signal:

 

  • NTSC:  525 lines * 29.97 fps = 15.73425 kHz
  • PAL: 625 lines * 25 fps = 15.625 kHz


Assuming that it is, you can use this tone to properly speed adjust the track. Here’s an old Hydrogen Audio post in which someone noticed this tone through the American Beauty score CD: https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php?topic=17212.0 (I pulled the equations above from there).

 

Another reference is electrical network frequency (ENF), which refers to the mains power frequency of AC power (e.g., nominally 60 Hz in the US, 50 Hz in the UK). Aka, hum. I recall the old DVD isolated score track for Alien being marred by hum/ENF, which again can be used to assess the playback rate correction (as needed).

 

Regarding the first spectrogram, I’m not entirely sure what the higher amplitude tone is between 13 and 14 kHz. I’ll have to look at it more intently later.

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10 minutes ago, thx99 said:

@crumbs, in the spectrograms you’ve posted, the tone appearing at just below 16 kHz (which indeed appears more stable in the second cue) is likely caused by an induction of the line frequency of a television in the vicinity of the original recorder or intermediate recorder into the audio signal:

 

It's more that the line is straight on the OST tracks and wavy/uneven on the expanded tracks. That implies something went wrong with the transfers or the elements themselves have degraded (I'm not sure this is even possible with digital elements).

 

Interesting info about the frequencies though. Older JW scores are covered in that frequency, especially the Star Wars scores recorded in London.

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My memory of the issues with Raiders and Doom in the Concord box was that the re-transferred tracks were not off by the same speed throughout the entire track, it fluctuated throughout, being not only different from track to track but within sections of each track as well.  Essentially meaning the analog tape was going through the transfer machine at varying, incorrect speeds; Basically they didn't use the machine properly and didn't notice... or didn't care.  Assuming they put those tapes back into proper preservation, a new transfer done properly should yield better results

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I have no idea whatsoever.  How would anyone outside of Lucasfilm know that?

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We have perfect knowledge of how SWs were recorded and archived and what most of the releases used and everything, how should I have known we have no obscure resources with similar info for the Indys?

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I cannot recall ever seeing any information posted anywhere about what formats the Indy scores were recorded on nor what the status of those elements have been since then.

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I couldn't even tell you if the original scoring elements would have been archived in Paramount's vaults or Lucasilm's vaults

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Seems like they had no issue finding the 2" 24-track tapes for Raiders, which is probably why that score sounds the best of the 3.

 

But I think we can safely assume whoever supervised the transfers (or whoever handled the transfers thereafter) was out of their depth. That, or the tapes themselves were in such a state that the technology available in 2008 couldn't correct the timing issues.

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I don't understand how you jumped to that conclusion.  That sound could easily be achieved from a 1/4" or 1/2" backup of the original stereo or LCR mix.

 

Especially since the box set was produced by Bouzeraeu and not a Matessino type, it's practically a 100% guarantee they would have preferred to use an already mixed source than them attempting some kind of fresh remix from multitrack elements.  Can you even imagine them attempting that?  It took Mike months to remix Superman and CE3K and he has thousands of hours more experience in this field that Bouzereaeu's team..

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17 minutes ago, Jay said:

I don't understand how you jumped to that conclusion.

 

From your post here, which quotes an interview with Bouzerou:

 

On 1/8/2009 at 4:28 AM, Jay said:

A variety of sources for the music were available to Bouzereau. "In addition to the OST masters," he says, "for Raiders we used the 2" 24-track music master, for Doom the 1/4" digital 4-track left/center/right elements, and for Crusade the 1/2" analog 4-track masters. The condition of some of the material did present challenges, but that's not surprising when working with recordings this old."

 

The thing I can't understand is how the speed and wow issues were introduced for TOD if the element was a 4-track digital source?

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Who knows.  He could be remembering wrong, was told wrong information, used a variety of different sources and he only mentioned some of them, etc.

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Some of the tracks on the multi-tracks might have been dedicated to live LCR film mixes also (like tracks 22/23/24)

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That's very likely the case, yep!

 

And they used the John Neal album master for some cues too, like Map Room Dawn

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Getting back to Star Wars, judging from the video posted last week, it appears Star Wars didn't have film mixes on the 2" multi-track masters.

 

So if Mike wanted to work with the best quality element (ie. the 2" tapes, if they were recovered from that convention guy), does that mean he would need to mix the score from scratch, like with Superman? I wonder if he would even want to do that, if he had a sufficient element with Tomlinson's film mixes? Those might not even be second generation elements if those film mixes were recorded live to a different tape.

 

I doubt he'd touch the mixes of Murphy's scores, beyond whatever Murphy asks him to change.

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2 hours ago, crumbs said:

It's more that the line is straight on the OST tracks and wavy/uneven on the expanded tracks. That implies something went wrong with the transfers or the elements themselves have degraded (I'm not sure this is even possible with digital elements).

I think they used at least two different sources for the unreleased tracks of ToD. Judging from "Short Round Helps" (from 0:00 to 1:15 is one source and the rest is obviously from another source, regardless of speed). Same with "The Broken Bridge/British Relief, where "Broken Bridge" sounds significantly better than "British Relief", also regardless of speed.

 

24 minutes ago, Jay said:

And they used the John Neal album master for some cues too, like Map Room Dawn

Maybe the only wise thing they did on Raiders.

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