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How Guitar Hero Makes Rock Better
March 31, 2010 8:36 PM   Subscribe

Backstage with the Audio of Guitar Hero 5: The Guitar Hero series of games has attracted the attention of the audiophile set before, with one prominent sound engineer even claiming that the Guitar Hero version of Metallica's Death Magnetic is measurably superior to the version the group released through it's label. Well, if you've ever wondered how it's done, here's a detailed explanation from one of the guys who does it.

Discussed here previously on the blue.
posted by saulgoodman (21 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
full disclosure: it's not a self link, but the author is a friend.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:37 PM on March 31, 2010


Death Magnetic is going to always be an exception - the retail version of the album was distorted to sound louder. Invariably, the Rock Band reason will sound better for that reason alone.
posted by LSK at 8:46 PM on March 31, 2010


The day that the music industry stops releasing compression-distorted albums and commits to releasing varied-range recordings will be a good day indeed.

When pigs fly? Might this happen before the return of Zombie Christ?
posted by whimsicalnymph at 8:52 PM on March 31, 2010


I just want them to stop auto-tuning the crap out of everything. I mean, I get it already: who doesn't secretly wish they could sing like a robot? But when everyone does it...
posted by saulgoodman at 8:58 PM on March 31, 2010


The day that the music industry stops releasing compression-distorted albums and commits to releasing varied-range recordings will be a good day indeed.

I just pray for a remix-and-master of Rush's Vapor Trails album.

And I wish U2 would quit fucking with the tracks from POP, which is a fine album and doesn't deserve all the hate.
posted by hippybear at 9:08 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I juUUUst wanNNNt them to stoOOoOOop auto-tuuuUUUUuning the crap out of everythiiiiIIIIIng.

FixedAuto-tuned that for you.
posted by davejay at 9:26 PM on March 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


saulgoodman: “... with one prominent sound engineer even claiming that the Guitar Hero version of Metallica's Death Magnetic is measurably superior to the version the group released through its label.”

Well, to be fair, I've farted farts that were measurably superior to Death Magnetic.
posted by koeselitz at 10:02 PM on March 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's a few bands out there that actually care about this and have the control to make it so. My favourite example is The Cure's Disintegration where the liner notes say:

This music has been mixed to be played loud so turn it up.
posted by mikw at 10:30 PM on March 31, 2010


"measurably superior"

this, itself, is the problem.
posted by mwhybark at 10:45 PM on March 31, 2010


saulgoodman, I apologize to your source. To you, however, I must wag a finger. "measurably greater dynamic range" is a statement of fact. "measurably superior" is a statement of aesthetic judgment.

I, for example, would say that the Misfits "20 Eyes" is measurably superior to anything at all by Metallica, measured by my own taste.

So: I misunderstood your intended meaning, in what I perceive to be an understandable way.
posted by mwhybark at 10:53 PM on March 31, 2010


"Birthday" which at best is a mediocre rocker by the Beatles, in Beatles rockband sounds like Angels with Guitars covered in awesome sauce. The first time I heard it, I was blown away. I would buy the CD of those Beatles remasters if they'd sell it separately. It really sounds outstanding.
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 5:57 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So: I misunderstood your intended meaning, in what I perceive to be an understandable way.

Heh. Now that's how you overthink a plate of beans!

But yes, this claim seems to be true.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:28 AM on April 1, 2010


From what I can remember, the famous saying is "Give the people what they want" not "Give the people what the audiophile dorks think the people should get".
posted by spicynuts at 8:34 AM on April 1, 2010


Well, to be fair, I've farted farts that were measurably superior to Death Magnetic.

Clay Aiken has farted farts that are measurably superior to anything Metallica has done since And Justice For All. In fact, an argument could be made that Master Of Puppets is the last album that could emphatically NOT be improved by a Clay Aiken fart here and there.
posted by spicynuts at 8:39 AM on April 1, 2010


I would buy the CD of those Beatles remasters if they'd sell it separately. It really sounds outstanding.

There are bootlegs floating around online that people have made of all the Beatles Rock Band tracks.
posted by Jairus at 8:45 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Beatles Rock Band tracks have got to be around somewhere. The local DJ plays the Beatles Rock Band tracks every Sunday morning during his Breakfast with the Beatles program. They are nice versions of the songs.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:52 AM on April 1, 2010


From what I can remember, the famous saying is "Give the people what they want" not "Give the people what the audiophile dorks think the people should get".

Sound compression is not so much for "what people want," but what sounds best on the lowest common denominator of sound systems: shitty speakers and headphones. Because most people don't put much thought or time into finding better speakers, mainstream music is mangled to sound louder, not better. Some vinyl versions of new releases are left alone, or at least not compressed to the level of the same CDs. Marketing move, or just an attempt to toss something out for the audiophiles? "See, we left your precious vinyl alone, now bugger off!"
posted by filthy light thief at 11:02 AM on April 1, 2010


I would buy the CD of those Beatles remasters if they'd sell it separately. It really sounds outstanding.

There are bootlegs floating around online that people have made of all the Beatles Rock Band tracks.


What you're looking for are Rock Band "extractions." Apparently this has been done with Metallica, The Cars, and Rush before.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:03 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe this will become a new spin on an old idea.

First, sell the over compressed, distorted piece of crap version of the album, then some months later, remix the album correctly, and sell it again, in essence, selling the same content twice.

This is similar to the business model that has, in the past, worked well for the record companies. How many people have re-purchased the same content on various mediums throughout the years: Vinyl 33’s and 45’s, reel to reel, 8 track, cassette, cd, mp3…?
posted by Krapulous at 4:55 PM on April 1, 2010


Krappulous is just evil enough to be a record executive!!!
posted by hippybear at 9:14 PM on April 1, 2010


Krapulous - that's currently done, but instead of remixing the album, they toss a few bonus tracks on once the album has reached some threshold. Or change countries: change content.

In other cases, the promo versions actually have more tracks than the retail version. Example 1: Audio Bullys - Generation (Retail) - 14 tracks. Generation (Promo) - 17 tracks. Same thing happened with an album from The Blood Brothers.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:31 AM on April 5, 2010


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