Originally Posted by SiriuslyCold
can you zoom into that bit between 3:00 and 3:40, lets see it in higher resolution (sic)
and before anyone starts again, this is high resolution 24b / 96kHz (or 48khz) we are looking at, right? not a 16/44 stereo bit
96/24 = 96kHz SR, 24-bit resolution, of the delivery format.
Consider four broad categories of digital mastering re: dynamic range, from analog sources:
1) no substantial futzing with the full DR of the source, so peak levels vary a lot across the length of the track even at low magnification, with only one or a few actually reaching the highest track peak value. (e.g. the Billy Cobham , Neil Young and Deep Purple tracks). I would call THIS 'old school'.
2) dynamic range reduced, much less apparent peak level variance (i.e., a great many more peaks samples at or near the highest value, at low magnification), but still nothing clipping. The Talking Heads track is an example. Some of these tracks can even LOOK like they're clipping, in a low magnification view, but zoom in shows the 'clipping' is really a cluster of single peaks at or near the track maximum, not 'flattops'. Again, 'apparent' clipping at low magnification does NOT necessarily mean actual clipping. Further analysis is often required.
3) like #2, but with actual clipping -- 'flat topped' peaks. But there's only a few of them, or the ones that are there don;t last more than a few samples, so they're not likely to make as bad an audible impression.
4) like #2, but clipping is frequent, and often 10 or more samples in length when it does occur, and thus potentially much more audible than the othersGaucho
belongs to #3, a sort of 'walking the fine line' mastering -- Ludwig's a pro's pro, so this is consummately done for what it's trying to do, but why was it felt necessary to do at all
for an 'audiophile' release?
Two increasing magnifications of a few seconds around 3.04 min. That plateau in the right channel is ~24 samples wide, btw.
IMO, the client being 'old school' - and famously anal about the sound of their releases -- would lead one to think that Steely Dan would NOT go in for loudness war mastering. But they seem to have changed with the times...the mastering of 'Two Against Nature' and 'Everthing Must Go' is even more 'market ready'.