ZZ TOP: Best Of The Biscuit 1980 (Pre-FM Master) 320kbs
King Biscuit Flower Hour
original airdate Aug 31, 1980
Live from The Capitol Theatre, Passaic, New Jersey
Sourced from original broadcast vinyl, second edition of program
Recording date unknown
Poster's original notes:
ZZ Top live onstage > soundboard > multitrack recording > DIR broadcasting mixdown engineers > DIR broadcasting mastering engineers > records delivered to radio stations > the mysterious vinyl liberation front > me
Vinyl cleaned with Nagaoka roller record cleaner. Played back on Technics SL-1200 turntable with Stanton 681EEE cartridge through an Akai preamp into a SoundBlaster Live! 16 bit soundcard that has been grounded.
Wavelab 4.0 used for Digital ReMastering. Although I did use some compression techniques and De-Crackling plug-ins, in no way do they detract from the raw dynamism of the performance on stage.
Recording levels boosted and balanced, initial De-Clicker to remove most pops, stereo expansion 33%, multiband compression to re-enforce lows and air-out the highs, dynamics processing for smoothing, another De-Crackler to take out most ticks and picks, final mix compression and limiting.
Trader's Little Helper turned the wav files to FLAC level 8 files >320kbs MP3.
I originally first recorded this show in the early eighties from radio in Vancouver, B.C. This was still before all the videos and fur covered spinning guitars with television sets built into them, and even before their trademark beards were quite so bushy.
It made me a fan for life. Imagine my surprise a few years later to acquire the actual records the radio had played! What an upgrade! Wow. Working in a collector's record store had it's priviledges!
Through the years, I've taped these slabs o' vinyl for many many people. About a year ago I finally got around to transferring them to my computer to put them on CD. I wasn't happy with how flat and dull they sounded.
I spent several months (off and on again) doing listening tests and messing around with several mastering techniques. I tried EQ, several different filter-y thingies, harsh radio compression, etc... Lots of crazy tricks...
I finally settled on the settings I described earlier. I tend to go for 'less is more' and subtlety of processing is the key to success. I've heard some 'ReMasters' that really sound ReMastered! That is, you can hear how processed the sound has become.
The main criteria of my listening tests was that if I could 'hear the ReMaster' job, it was processed too much, and should be scrapped. I found settings that improved it but still let it sound analog.
This version is an improvement over my raw vinyl transfer, by far. The original's really OK, but had some surface noise due to repeated heavy-handed radio play. It also sounded thin, and the transfer was done at a slightly lower volume.
My ReMaster bumps the levels up to slightly less than average levels of today's CD releases. They sure do master modern discs too loud these days! I also killed probably 90% of the vinyl groove imperfection sounds, but left a reminder that the source was a record. Not over-processed...
I recently found out there is a bootleg of this 'out there', but I don't think it is from a pre-FM source like this is.
I included everything relevant on the records : commercials, test tone and all! I re-ordered the promo spots, and cut the silence bands between commercials and program, but everything else is there. Honest.
01 ZZ TOP KBFH show promo announcer
02 ZZ TOP KBFH show promo blank
03 KBFH ZZ TOP test tone
04 ZZ TOP KBFH show beginning
05 honda commercial
06 I Thank You
07 Waitin' For The Bus
08 Jesus Just Left Chicago
09 I'm Bad I'm Nationwide
10 Low Down In The Street
11 A Fool For Your Stockings
12 Cheap Sunglasses
13 Arrested For Driving While Blind
14 budweiser commercial
15 She Loves My Automobile
16 Hi Fi Mama
17 Dust My Broom
18 Jailhouse Rock
20 honda commercial 2
21 ZZ TOP KBFH show wrapup