KEY                                                           Back to the trade page

QUALITY

The quality rating is entirely my opinion, not fact! These need to be read in conjunction with the source. In other words "B aud" will not be as good as "B SB" or "B radio", but will be very good for an audience recording. A "B radio" is slightly below perfect, but still probably much better than any audience recording could be. I never give an audience recording A. I do occasionally make mistakes in my ratings or miss faults in recordings. If you are a victim of this I will supply an alternative boot of impeccable quality and re-list or remove the offending bootleg. I try hard to keep the quality up as I get pissed off when I receive crap myself.


A+ = proper released recording
A  = excellent, bootlegs don't come any better
B  = good,  top audience or normal sound board
C  = okay, standard audience bootleg perhaps
D  = dross! pretty poor - only if you're a completist

SOURCE

SB = recorded from the sound board at a gig - generally the best live bootlegs
aud = recorded onto a walkman (tape or MD) - often okay but may be audience members talking about what beer they like! See below about my own recordings.
radio = nearly always FM if not stated. Any MW will get a poor quality score.
TV = television, encase you couldn't guess! May be mono for older recordings.
demo = recorded by the band usually onto cassette tape originally
MP3 = I never source from MP3 unless there is no other choice. Some bands do webcasts now.
hiss = many older bootlegs are sourced from cassette tape. Sometimes repeat dubbing may result in very audible hiss. This will get a lower quality score.
SHN & FLAC This is a lossless file compression format that make wav files about 50% smaller in order to allow quicker digital file sharing. It is infinitely superior to mp3 as there is absolutely no loss of quality involved. Tracks obtained in this way are equal to CDR in quality.
MASTER = I recorded this myself, live, from radio or TV, or from vinyl to my own high standards!
Master audience recordings are recorded using Mini disc, high quality Sound Professionals microphones and battery box. Mini disc is transferred to PC by digital optical link (absolutely no loss of quality).
Radio broadcasts recorded direct from FM tuner or from DAB receiver. TV from Hi Fi stereo VHS. Lots of the rare vinyl I offer for trade is sourced from my own copy of the record, recorded directly onto my hard disk, via a NAD pre-amp, and then put onto CD. I occasionally clean up large pops using a wave file editor, but never to the detriment of the recording.
Some vinyl is cleaned using CoolEdit Pro, which gives exceptional results.

GENERATIONS

Where known the generation is stated. I do not have master source recordings for most of the bootlegs. Therefore I cannot in all honesty, make any claims about the generation of copy for many of my bootlegs. The "Quality" rating is my guide to how good the recordings are. Heavily copied old cassette boots will be dulled and hissy and will score no more than D. These quality scores are my own subjective view. I am more than happy to email short MP3 samples (say 300kb) to you if you are concerned about quality.

EQUIPMENT

If it matters to you:
I use a generic CD writer, and always burn at low speed (usually 4x). I read discs from a generic DVD drive. I use EAC (Exact Audio Copy) software for most copies and Easy CD Creator 6 for cut and paste CDs. I use CD Wav for wav file splitting and  Adobe Audition for any file editing or sound processing. My sound card is a Creative SoundBlaster Live 5.1 which handles all sound in the digital domain at 48,000 khz. I have an Optibits connector to input digital optical signals from Minidisc direct to SoundBlaster.

My portable recorder is a Sharp MD-MT88H minidisc with Sound Professionals binaural microphones (SP-BMC-2) and Sound Professionals 9V battery box (SP-SPSB-1) more recently with a bass roll off (usually set to 107 Hz). The battery box enables recording through line-in socket (as opposed to microphone socket) and so minimises distortion and limits excessive bass. I copy to my PC digitally from my minidisc deck which is a Sony MDS-JE510. I may use a Graphic Equaliser and/or Compressor using Adobe Audition to improve listening quality but will state this.


Back to trade page