[mb-style] policy on merging of recordings

Paul C. Bryan pbryan at anode.ca
Mon Jul 11 19:23:29 UTC 2011


Three examples:

1. Remasters take original source material, transfer those to digital
medium, with levels typically adjusted¹ (often to the detriment of the
recording's dynamic range), then use this new master recording as the
basis for releases. In most cases, I would expect such a recording have
the same fingerprint over its multiple releases. Same recording as the
original release?

2. I have demonstrable examples where a known recording was transferred
from master to digital medium more than once. This is not a remaster per
se—it's the exact same master recording—but levels were appreciably
different because the audio data was sampled under different
circumstances, and track time is occasionally different (e.g. slightly
different fade-outs). Depending on what audio fingerprinting algorithm
you use, each could have a different fingerprint. Are these the same
recording?

3. The same recording is released with multiple encodings, each of which
exhibits its own its own (arguably audible) artifacts: DSD, 96 kHz 24
bit PCM, 44.1 kHz 16-bit PCM, MP3, AAC, Vorbis. Are these all the same
recording?

I would lean toward having all of these examples be considered the same
recording, though I expect someone will probably make a case that the
remastered release is notable enough to warrant a separate recording. To
me, it's kind of a content vs. presentation question—do we consider
mixing levels, for example, to be content? If we do decide to make such
distinctions, then it's important to come up with some objective methods
of distinguishing between different recordings, including a textual
method for expressing such differences.

Paul

¹  I was tempted to say "remixed" here, but I'm not implying a change to
the content, just the mixing levels.
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