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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Syd Barrett Olympia - Show Upgrade

Syd Barrett Olympia

There is an upgrade of the Syd Barrett Olympia show on torrent now over at Yeekshul:

"Syd Barrett_1970-06-06 Olympia_16-44

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Syd Barrett Extravaganza '70 Music And Fashion Festival Kensington Olympia, London 6 June 1970

Lineage: Maxell UD C-60 cassette > *Technics RS-B965-M > Focusrite Saffire Pro 14 > Audacity 1.3 > Wav (24bit/96kHz) ----> Adjustments (32bit/96kHz) > Wav (16bit/44kHz) > CDWave (1.98) > FLAC

*The Technics RS-B965-M is a deck heavily modified by expert tapehead A.N.T.- for details see the forum

1 [04:24] Terrapin 2 [01:41] Audience/Tuning 3 [04:58] Gigolo Aunt 4 [01:14] Effervescing Elephant 5 [05:58] Octopus .. [18:17] Total Syd Barrett - guitar and vocals David Gilmour - bass Jerry Shirley - drums
***Neonknight's Notes***

Kbrubaker very kindly sent me this tape amongst a number of others that he obtained around 1980 to see whether it merited transferring and torrenting. My reference point was the late Bernard White's reel copy of the orginal recording, which many trade copies and releases have been made from over the years. After a number of listens it became clear that Kbrubaker's had a smoother, clearer sound.

According to Bernard (I knew him pretty well) the recorder was a 15-year-old who wandered down to Olympia with his girlfriend and tape machine. He chose to stand right in front of Syd's guitar monitor, explaining why his guitar dominates the mix.

The performance probably commenced at around 8pm and Melody Maker announced the festival line-up on 28 March 1970. Promoter Bryan Morrison was quoted as saying "In addition to the pop and fashion attractions, record companies and all ventures allied to the record business will be taking part. There will be film shows and high divers. £10,000 in rent has already been spent so far".

Barrett, Gilmour and Shirley seemingly played for less than twenty minutes. Because of a bad PA the vocals were barely audible until part-way through Octopus when somebody balances the mix out properly. Listen carefully and you'll note that a member of the audience shouts for the vocals to be turned up. At the end of Octopus you can hear where Syd unplugs his guitar before leaving the stage.

It took me a little while to get used to hearing this recording at the correct speed after many years of hearing versions that were too fast. Listening to it afresh really adds to the feeling that this is an underrated performance and the band were showing strong promise for what might have been had they gone on to perform again.

***Littlepieces' Mastering Notes for -Syd Barrett_1970-06-06 Olympia- version***

This recording had a lot of level fluctuations, some caused by the recorder, some by Syd, and some by the person running the board. Neon provided me with three different transfers at different levels to enable me to splice the parts together to complete the show and avoid making broad digital gain changes.

Kbrubaker's cassette is a mono recording that was dubbed as two channel stereo. It has a significant phase shift that varies from 18 to 28 samples and its left channel's output is a little higher than the right channel and it also has more high end than the right channel. Given this is a mono recording, the best solution was to eliminate the inferior right channel which eliminated the phase shift and the channel level differences.

For the corrected version I took steps to diminish a series of buzzes and hums during the 30s preceding Octopus, removed several noise artifacts and edited and smoothed a number of recorder stops and starts. I also adjusted the speed which was very fast and varied a little as well.

When comparing this recording to previously torrented versions I noted that it has 15s more audience/tuning before Terrapin and two separate segments of 76s and 18s more audience/tuning after Terrapin. Also, 15s more audience/tuning before Octopus and 5s more after Octopus. The total additional audience/tuning is 2:09m.

Syd's vocals begin to come back into the mix at about 13:25m, around 35s into Octopus. Shortly after his vocals are more stable and the overall mix seems more balanced and at this point is when the thought came to me..........what if? What if these guys had continued the gig then stuck together for a while. A few minutes later the track finishes and you can hear Syd put his guitar down.

***Littlepieces' Mastering Notes for -Syd Barrett_1970-06-06 Olympia_LPP version-***

To accompany the corrected version I have produced a LPP version. Other common versions that have been torrented previously are EQ'd, dehissed-NRed, and possibly compressed. Generally, these kind of subjective changes are not appropriate for an initial release so I decided to produce a LPP version featuring some additional modifications.

Splicing parts of three transfers completed at different levels helped to even out the differences among large parts of the recording but it couldn't address the many level differences and drop downs within these parts. I applied various gain changes to several dozen segments in order to further reduce and smooth the level differences. These often required a relative reduction in hiss in order to make the transitions transparent. Some of the more significant level changes that were adjusted occurred during the first 35s of Terrapin, the first 10s of Gigolo Aunt, and the first 90s of Octopus.

There wasn't a lot going on after about ~8k, so I rolled off the hiss starting around this point varying my approach according to the gain adjustment of the segment.

Finally, I applied some EQ to the low-mids and a modest increase to the upper end which sloped to zero before 6k. After this point any increase introduced bad artifacts.

Generally the objective was to maintain the natural sound of an unprocessed lower generation source.

Kbrubaker Cassette / Neonknight Tape Transfer/ Little Pieces Production (LPP)/(June 2011)"

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