On this page you will find a comparison by Tom S of the mastered version of Live Forever (from the original Creation CD) and the un-mastered version on the safety copy of the Definitely Maybe master tapes. The aim is to offer a more technical insight into how the mastering process shaped the sound of the album, and to show the difference in dynamic range (or ‘crest factor’) between some of the different versions currently available. Huge thanks to NoelsOasis of the excellent Supernova Heights Oasis forum for providing the source material, and to Tom S for the analysis that follows.
Here is the dynamic range data (calculated by the TT DR Meter) for the version of Live Forever on the safety masters, compared to the mastered version on the original Creation CD.
Dynamic Range: 9 dB
Dynamic Range: 7 dB
There are at least three different masterings of Live Forever. (Another unique mastering, by Vlado Meller of the US promo CD version, was unavailable for the purposes of this comparison; thanks to deadman for letting me know about this additional master). The main three masterings compared in this article are available on…
- The Live Forever CD single.
- Definitely Maybe (1994 UK CD and 2006 Japanese CD reissue – same mastering).
- Stop The Clocks and Time Flies (same mastering).
The Live Forever CD single and the version on Definitely Maybe *almost* stay in sync. The drift is tiny. The single is quieter than the album, but only slightly. The mastering used on both Stop the Clocks and Time Flies is noticeably faster, perhaps due to the track having been varispeeded when it was originally mastered. The speed difference accounts for about 2.5 seconds over the duration of the song.
The version of Live Forever on the safety copy of masters is slightly more dynamic – but there is not a lot in it really. The EQ seems identical. They don’t sync perfectly but it’s pretty close. They cancel out for brief moments so I’m thinking they are the exact same recording. Slide Away was “night and day”, with 5 dbs of additional dynamic range on the unmastered version. There is maybe a difference of 0.5 db here. Pretty negligible really. It seems as though, with Live Forever, the safety copy is a back up of a mastered version, unlike most of the other tracks in the collection.
- Tracks recorded to 24-track analogue tape.
- Mixed down to DAT, with added mixing compression (rather than mastering compression), reverb, processing etc. Then that DAT was copied to both 1/2″ tape and DAT, giving a choice of which version to use in mastering.
- Tracks mastered to DAT via Apogee A/D converter with “Soft Limit” mode on (workflow described elsewhere on this site, on the page titled “Owen Morris: How I mastered Morning Glory“).