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TOOL on HDtracks

Discussion in 'Music' started by CoryGillmore, Aug 3, 2019.
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  1. turbomustang84
    Not till Tuesday for some reason my UPS driver has spent several days in Connecticut and is spinning in a parking lot...
    Maybe after he comes down from whatever drug he is on he can find a highway
  2. Ninth Wave
    I saw your post and thought I'd come back to listen again, making notes of the crackling I heard on previous listens. In those previous listens, I've played the album via ear buds, bookshelf speakers and MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Open headphones. My impression in all delivery modes was that the music seemed to be recorded poorly in parts.

    Anyway, listening again now via bookshelf speakers, the crackling sound first appears for me during track 2, from around 10:54 - 11:16. There's also some hiss at the 1:09 mark which disappears at 1:33 - this appears to be intentional ambience or something though so it's not too concerning, but I am quite sensitive to these sounds. They often bug me.

    In track 3, from 7:13 to around 7:45 I hear crackling again.

    I'm up to the final track now as I write this and it has been okay, even though I'm expecting to hear the crackling at any moment (just because it has been so noticeable in previous listens). Other parts of the record sound spacious and comfortable so this has really surprised me.

    Anyway, I got a notification that my physical copy is on its way so I look forward to receiving that. In the meantime, I looked on Bandcamp for the album but nothing Tool-related came up! I then came in here to read that it got pulled. Interesting! I'll go grab the HD Tracks version I think - I loved the way the other albums I bought from them sounded (much cleaner to my ears).
    CoryGillmore and turbomustang84 like this.
  3. Ninth Wave
  4. thebkt
    I can hear this very clearly on the Spotify and Youtube versions. When you get the HD tracks version, could you report back on the distortion?
  5. Ninth Wave
    It pains me to say this but I've just put on track 3, or track 4 of the download version, "Invincible", and I can still hear it around 7:21 using bookshelf speakers. I'll listen with headphones later or tomorrow to see if I can detect it anywhere else. I'm yet to listen to the rest of the album after buying the HD version. For now, I just skipped ahead to one of the affected areas in the previous version I was listening to. Other than this, there is a noticeable lift in overall clarity though. I smiled as soon as I hit play but then lost the smile when I skipped ahead to find the flaws... :frowning2:
    thebkt likes this.
  6. thebkt
    That sucks to hear. It's overall such a fantastic album, but the distorted sections stand out like a sore thumb glowing like a light.

    It's actually a pretty huge issue when you think about it. They took all the time they had to create it, but seemingly somewhere right at the end of a clearly meticulous process, something went very wrong.

    Fingers crossed they fix it with a re-issue or something in the near future.
  7. ChildOfInsanity
    Yes I can hear all of the distortions on all versions – Spotify, CD, HD from Qobuz (not sure if this is different than HDtracks). Are you sure these HD sources are not just upsampled standard versions anyway?
    Nevertheless, it's clearly not a matter of final encoding, but bad mixing/recording from the beginning.

    Is there any way to directly contact Tool about this? It seems very strange to me that they care about every last detail in each song, their sound is so precise and calculated and then they release album with so many imperfections...
  8. Signal2Noise
    The CD just arrived! It is very cool. I'm dating myself here but this video screen insert is reminiscent of a classic PC adventure game called MYST that use linking books that the player would find and travel with inside the game world.

    IMG_1206.JPG IMG_1207.JPG

    (Crappy pics with old iPad)
  9. turbomustang84

  10. adeseaso
    A lot of guitar pedals make the crackling you guys are complaining about. Adam likes his sound with warts and all so there's 0% chance in my world that you're hearing some kind of mistake.

    Even your standard Dunlop Wah makes that sound at times, and Adam no doubt uses vintage stuff that is more noisy.

    Same with the passages with noise. It's likely all artistic choice, and one I support as a guitarist as that's just how the equipment sounds. You can remove it if you want to, but I don't think it's a flaw to leave it in.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
  11. thebkt
    Sorry dude, but no. The distortion being referenced is some kind of digital distortion in the mix, not anything to do with any specific recorded effects.

    Quite simply, somebody screwed up in the mixing/mastering stage. I'm no audio engineer, so I couldn't elaborate on where it might have happened, but it did. The album's no Death Magnetic, but on headphones the distortion is very noticeable and distracting from an otherwise masterclass.

    Gave it a listen with my bookshelf speakers today, which are less resolving than any of my cans, so thankfully, the distortion wasn't really noticeable and oh god, it was a much better experience.
    Ninth Wave likes this.
  12. Ninth Wave
    Well, I've gone from bookshelf speaker listening yesterday to headphones and I'm really underwhelmed. I replaced my original files with the hi-res versions and there are a couple of things that stand out: the recording doesn't sound as spacious as it seemed when listening via speakers. It feels confined, like it can't breathe. And secondly, the distortion really sticks out like a sore thumb to me when listening via headphones, especially on Pneuma, Invincible and 7empest. And it seems especially noticeable during moments where the toms are taking a beating. I've beaten this topic to death myself so I won't keep going on about it.

    I am enjoying the album though, mostly, despite these recording flaws. Descending is incredible and is probably the track that I've connected with the most. 7empest was my initial favourite but Descending has a more emotional pull. Invincible is the track I'm enjoying the least. After my first couple of listens, I couldn't really separate the good from the bad. I rather enjoyed all of the album, even if nothing stood out. Now, after my 7th or 8th listen, I'm finding things that resonate or rile me. This crackling is driving me bonkers though. It truly is astonishing to hear it to this degree. Oh yeah, sorry, I wasn't going to keep going on about it. :grin:
  13. CoryGillmore
    It's weird you say that cause I'm also enjoying the album more on my loudspeaker setup! It just sounds so spacious and lively and in comparison to headphones, I mean it gets loud but it's not nearly as satisfying, it's really odd, can you think of other recordings that do this?

    I really only notice the distortions early on in Pnuema. Not a big deal at all to me. I'm honestly more inclined to think it's an artistic choice, I just don't see them letting something like that "slip" through, not as meticulous as they are.
    Ninth Wave likes this.
  14. ChildOfInsanity
    I'm really not sure if this is the case, it sounds more like a bad contact noise/crackling to me. Moreover, why is not constantly present in the same way during the whole song or why is not on any previous Tool albums?

    Regarding the difference when listening through speakers or headphones – of course everyone's experience is going to be different, it depends on your speakers, DAC, amps... but it doesn't change to fact that there are parts with the disturbing cracklings.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  15. mcmurray
    Tough crowd!
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