Sound quality on Muse Absolution
Feb 14, 2006 at 10:43 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 21


Oct 16, 2005
Absolution has always been a slight annoyance since I bought it. I really like the music, but it never sounds quite as good as I think it should. I can hear in my head what it should sound like, what it wants to sound like, but I always find the actual sound kind of cluttered and unbalanced.

Is it the recording, is it my not-particularly-flash CD player, or is it just me? Has anyone else got a setup which makes this disc sound really good?
Feb 14, 2006 at 2:18 PM Post #2 of 21
Compression. I'm sure it's been brick-walled. Zero dynamic range. Typical modern mastering.
Feb 18, 2006 at 9:37 PM Post #4 of 21
haven't heard it, but bad drums would fit in with markl's diagnosis: dynamic compression tends to affect drums most heavily, as on a good recording, heavy drum hits should be the loudest sound - appreciably louder than anything else on the track - but heavy dynamic compression squishes everything else up to sound just as loud, so the drums sound wrong by comparison.
Jul 3, 2006 at 3:29 PM Post #5 of 21
I listened to Absolution for the first time last night on the L3000 and it was a highly involving experience (loved it). Even bad recordings at least sound their best to me on these cans, which is why they're my favorite
I'll give Absolution a shot on the HP2 tonight and see how it does (probably not as good as the L3000 considering the music). I was using a Berning microZOTL (stock tubes) and a Meridian G08 at the time. Actually, I can't remember for sure, but I think there may have been some clipping distortions at some point - I was listening to a number of poor recordings last night (Queen I and Jethro Tull's Stand Up included) and I may have gotten them mixed up. Either way, it was mainly an annoyance and the music overall was still enjoyable. Too bad this stuff isn't as well recorded as say, Dire Straits though.
Jul 3, 2006 at 5:41 PM Post #6 of 21
Being a longtime fan of Muse, the compression on Absolution really bothered me. You simply can't hear the bass or drums properly. Fortunately, Absolution is also their weakest album IMO. If you listen to Origin of Symmetry you'll hear how they should sound. Hopefully Black Holes & Revelations will ease off the compression.
Jul 4, 2006 at 4:00 PM Post #8 of 21

Originally Posted by markl
Compression. I'm sure it's been brick-walled. Zero dynamic range. Typical modern mastering.

Yeah thats what I found too... the sound is clear and clean, but the music is as flat as a 2x4.
Jul 4, 2006 at 6:43 PM Post #9 of 21
I kind of liked some songs on this album but I couldn't stand to listen to it even on my 15 year old stock car stereo. It just made me cringe to listen to it.
Jul 5, 2006 at 11:44 PM Post #10 of 21
Blackholes and Revelations is pretty disappointing. I love Supermassive Black Hole. The rest though is pretty boring. And the lyrics are the worst ever. I'll stick with Showbiz and Origin of Symmetry.
Jul 6, 2006 at 1:00 AM Post #11 of 21

Originally Posted by quoteunquote
Blackholes and Revelations is pretty disappointing. I love Supermassive Black Hole. The rest though is pretty boring. And the lyrics are the worst ever. I'll stick with Showbiz and Origin of Symmetry.

I'm listening to the CD right now. SMBH is probably my least favorite song (my wife loves it). I think Black Holes & Revelations is much better than Absolution (although Stockholm Syndrome is one of my favorite Muse songs). I also feel Origin of Symmetry is their best, but Bellamy has always made it very clear that he does not want to make the same album over and over again. They take some risks, but they work for me and are very understandable given some of the history behind the album. I really enjoy the second half of the album. The lyrics are over the top in some cases (especially when he is talking political conspiracy and uprising) but much more subtle in the "love" songs. Bellamy admits some of the lyrics and music were almost a joke or at least with the purpose of being over-the-top(e.g. the vocals in SMBH and horse sounds in Knights). As for the music, I think these songs were made with live performance in mind, where Muse really stands apart from most bands. These guys have been playing together since the age of 15 and it shows in their live performances. They don't have the hypertechnical precision of progressive bands (but that's not what music is all about anyway), but Bellamy is a great guitarist and they really know how to put on an amazing, bombastic show. Nevertheless, Assassin, Knights of Cydonia and City of Delusion are my favorites. On another note, thankfully, BHAR is mastered slightly better than Absolution (although not by much)... and for you vinyl guys, it's coming out on vinyl.
Jul 28, 2006 at 5:01 AM Post #12 of 21
Black Holes And Revelations is an amazing album. I just received it in the mail today and it's already my favourite album of 2006 thus far.

Knights of Cydonia and Map of the Problematique are definitely my two favourites but Take A Bow, Starlight, Supermassive Black Hole, and City Of Delusion are great songs as well.

As far as the sound quality, it's not great. Everything is very loud and there's some definite crackling that can be heard. The album sounds very well-recorded but there's definitely a lot of compression. I'm loving the songs but the mastering could have been better.
Aug 1, 2006 at 4:41 PM Post #13 of 21
I just picked up Absolution and I've gotta agree, I'm not too impressed with the sound quality.

There's a nice sense of spaciousness but the music is grainy/muddy/static-y and it's not very hard-hitting either. It's a real shame too, seeing as how this is exactly the type of album that would real benefit from great clarity, detail, and impact.

Musically, it's a great album though.
Aug 1, 2006 at 4:48 PM Post #14 of 21
I saw Muse at the Greek Theater 2 weeks ago. It is a shame that the sound quality on their albums are so poor. They sound far better live. One of the bands you have to see or hear live to appreciate. After more critical listening of BHAR, I realize it might even be more poorly mastered than Absolution. Origin of Symmetry stands as there best mastered album.
Aug 1, 2006 at 5:33 PM Post #15 of 21
Nah, Black Holes And Revelations is poorly mastered but it's not on the same level as Absolution. BH&R sounds very compressed but it doesn't have a wall of static between you and the music like the one that's present in Absolution.

Anyways, I saw Muse two nights ago in Toronto and they put on a great show. The setlist was very good too, although they missed a couple key songs (Showbiz, for example). I wasn't all that crazy about the venue it was at, though. The room was long and narrow meaning that you were pretty far back for a place that size and the sound quality there was nothing spectacular either. Overall, it was still a great show.

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