Fairfield Halls, Croydon, Surrey, England
18 January 1970
01 Astronomy Domine
02 The Violent Sequence
03 Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
04 The Amazing Pudding
05 Careful with that axe, Eugene
06 The Embryo
07 Main theme from More
08 Biding My Time
09 Encore: A Saucerful of Secrets
Interesting set with many rarely performed songs. TE is most unique featuring extensive slide guitar arrangements. In fact Dave is on the slide at some point in every song but AD this night.
The sound quality of the live mix increases gradually throughout the show. Classic live sound issues - vocals kind of buried at first and things kind of muddy in general with lots of bass and low room frequencies. Then everything really cleans up by the end of STCFTHOTS and gets even more pristine after that.
It's possible that the taper was concealing the mic during parts of the show, causing the muffled sound. There's a spot in TAP drum solo that sounds like the mic being unconcealed for a few seconds, for example.
As for this recording, it sounds like the master tape was pretty overdriven for the first part of AD. After 4 mins or so it calms down but all the loud sections are still squashed a bit. The high end starts rolling off above 2k and is rather subdued by 8k. To bring this in correct balance would have brought out an offensive amount of tape hiss and it was not possible with current NR technology to remove the hiss without removing music content.
Some of the startup sounds really sound like open reel. Portable reels were 5". That would be 600', which is 30min at 3.75ips and would explain losing the end of AHM. Our taper would be switching reels at least every other song and probably be concerned about conserving tape.
This was originally a mono recording subsequently dubbed on stereo equipment. The L ch had slightly better high frequency content and dynamics vs. the R. There was also a varying small phase discrepancy between channels. Therefore only the L ch was used for this mono remaster.
First, I pitch corrected this with Serato PnT plugin. The original was 17c sharp.
There were 2 short repeated sections: 8:16 into STCFTHOTS and 8:49 into MTFM - likely where the intact master was stopped, wound back and restarted to accommodate a tape flip on the dubbing deck in an earlier generation.
There were many drop outs throughout (.5 to 1.5sec in length) but especially in CWTAE, TE & MTFM. Some of these still contained enough of a trace of the recording to boost the gain and recover. Others had to be patched using pieces from other parts of the song. The only use of noise reduction (Digidesign DINR) on this recording is on 21 of these little pieces. Since I had to crank up the gain sometimes as much as 30db on these parts, if I hadn't used NR you would get blasted by this ungodly wall of hiss and rumble for half a second.
There were many gain changes throughout the recording as well. Typical scene: signal jumps 4db lower for 10 sec, then back, then up 3db for 4 sec, then back, then up 7db for 2 sec then a .5 sec burst of completely saturated signal, then it goes 30db low for 1.2 sec then up to a different nominal level... you get the idea.
There are still spots where you might hear the background noise suddenly change or the sound falter for a moment. The decision was always to keep an imperfect correction if patching it instead would alter the performance.
The first 3.4 sec of BMT and the last 19.1 sec of TAP have been reconstructed using pieces from other parts of the songs. These songs are incomplete on the source tape. This was done to eliminate the distraction of an abrupt cut. Some mechanical noises (stops and pauses) from either the master or subsequent generations have been removed as they tended to be a distraction from the music. These are preserved in the raw files. No moments of performance from the source tape have been sacrificed for production decisions at any time.
Some EQing was needed. This was accomplished as follows:
In the 1st 3 tracks, some 189Hz was attenuated using the UA Precision Mastering EQ. A somewhat aggressive move but there was so much saturation in this range in these 3 tracks that I was able to increase the overall level to match the rest of the show by doing this.
At this point the program is at it's maximum level (before clipping) on a track. The high end starts rolling off above 2k and is rather subdued by 8k so I want to increase these frequencies. I created a new track with a copy of the program (perfectly in sync/phase with the original to the sample - regardless of any processing used). On this I filtered out everything except the frequency range I wanted to increase. I then mixed this into the main track at 6.1%. Remember that the original track was at maximum level. I'm only using the extra headroom in the frequency range that I want to add - and since it was low in the first place, there's room to add these frequencies without clipping or having to turn the original down to accommodate. The eq was the UA Precision Mastering Multiband (no compression, just crossover features used for eq).
Sound quality is C- (beginning of show & loud parts) to C+
Download this bootleg here