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Posted By : Quidsane | Date : 18 Oct 2021 14:57:29 | Comments : 6 |

Metallica - Death Magnetic: Guitar Hero III Extraction/Preservation (2008)
GH3 Rip | FLAC Files, No CUE/No LOG | 526 MB | 11 Tracks | Total Time: 1:24:34 | Full 300dpi HQ Artwork by The Quidsane™
Genre: Thrash / Heavy Metal | Label: Guitar Hero III | Release Date: 8 September 2021 | Rapidshare/MegaShare

According to mastering engineer Ian Shepherd, Metallica’s new Death Magnetic album has a serious sonic problem: it has been compressed (in the audio sense of the word, not the file size sense) just about as much as it’s possible to compress audio.

Part of the "loudness war," this type of compression is designed to make music sound as loud as possible at the expense of dynamic range (the difference between loud and softer sounds). Television advertisers use similar technology to get the most bang for their buck volume-wise, which is why ads often sound so much louder than television programs.

However, according to Shepherd, the problem goes beyond compression. He says some parts are actually distorted from digital clipping. "As you can easily see," he writes, "the CD version on the bottom has been heavily compressed, limited and/or clipped, and sounds massively distorted as a result." Later analysis showed that the CD is 10 dB louder than the Guitar Hero version, which sounds about twice as loud to the ear, according to one description. That’s some wicked compression.

Analysis: Metallica’s Death Magnetic Sounds Better in Guitar Hero


Shepherd’s audio analysis (pictured above courtesy of using the free open-source audio editor Audacity), demonstrates graphically the severe nature of the audio compression applied by Metallica’s engineers to the CD version of the album, by comparing it to a recording from the Guitar Hero video game. This version of Death Magnetic, featuring extended solos from James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, became available within the game on Friday, September 8, 2021 as an $18 download.

According to this analysis, audiophiles would be better off recording the songs from the videogame than buying the album because the Guitar Hero version has far more dynamic range than the hyper-compressed CD version.


Shepherd spotted a comment by oneway23 on a Metallica forum that appears to contain a note from head engineer Ted Jensen of SterlingSound, the company that mastered the album.

"I’m certainly sympathetic to your reaction," read the note, "I get to slam my head against that brick wall every day. In this case, the mixes were already brick-walled before they arrived at my place. Suffice to say I would never be pushed to overdrive things as far as they are here. Believe me I’m not proud to be associated with this one, and we can only hope that some good will come from this in some form of backlash against volume above all else."


If this is true, and Jensen (whom the Death Magnetic liner notes identify as having mastered the album) received the mix in such a compressed form, it looks like the engineers who mixed the album before it was sent to the mastering facility — identified by Chris Vinnicombe of MusicRadar as Greg Fidelman and Andrew Scheps — are to blame, although ultimately, the fault lies with the arms race to have the loudest sounding albums regardless of what that does to musical nuance.


Shepherd links to a Metallica forum claim that the band was not present during the mixing or mastering of Death Magnetic. User Hetfield1963 says James Hetfield told him via telephone, "I think things came out really good. They’re going to be mixing it while we’re away in Europe. Yeah, and that will be… well, we haven’t done that in a while. We’ve usually been around for the mixes."

Update: Ian Shepherd, a mastering engineer at SRT, appears to have pinpointed and analyzed the problem first. He credits Metallica fans with the idea of checking the compressed CD version with the Guitar Hero version. "There’s no analysis needed, you can hear it plain as day," he said via email. "The real credit lies with the fans on the Metallica forums who spotted this and pointed it out."


NMR (Not My Rip) - Got this off Kerrazy a few years back and created artwork for it. No password required.
Track 9 has Hammett solo, track 11 has Hetfield solo.

From original NFO:

Lineage: Xbox 360 optical out > Firewire 410 > Audacity (.wav) > dbPowerAmp (.flac w/ verify)

Notes: This rip was created because of the backlash over the sound quality of the official release of Death Magnetic. A few astute folks found that the versions available for download on Guitar Hero III did not suffer from the compression and clipping that plauge the official release, so a project was launched to rip the GH III versions to a lossless format. This is the result of that project. As for the sound: this rip is noticeably quieter than the official release; the levels were not boosted because there were already peaks in the waveforms that were close to 0dB. The only way to adjust the volume would be to compress the tracks, which would have been difficult to justify given the purpose of this project. You can easily compensate for this by turning the volume knob on your audio equipment :)

RapidShare Lossless FLAC + Cover Art:

Metallica - Death Magnetic: GH3 Version - Part 1
Metallica - Death Magnetic: GH3 Version - Part 2
Metallica - Death Magnetic: GH3 Version - Part 3

MegaShares Lossless FLAC + Cover Art:

Metallica - Death Magnetic: GH3 Version [all in one file]

Dead links? PM me.


Posted By: rohitbhalla Date: 18 Oct 2021 15:11:44
thanks for this post! Do look forward to trying this album in a nicer non-brickwalled sound! :-)
Posted By: kwork Date: 18 Oct 2021 15:56:40
Thank you very much. This is a great alternative to the brickwalled sound of the retail cd. It was so bad that I wanted to keep turning the volume down, even when it was barely audible. I can now only enjoy this album from the GH3 rips. Thanks again.
Posted By: oXbow Date: 18 Oct 2021 21:31:03
Thanks for this one. The music industry is going crazy for optimizing for tiny weeny little micro sound system you barely can see. They produce for cell phones. The last one from Ozzy is a good example, and it was a disaster as well.

About dB. 6dB is 2 times as loud. 12dB is 4 times as loud, so 10dB as stated above is around 3 times louder.
Posted By: tbmusic Date: 18 Oct 2021 23:44:04
Posted By: Wooden Ear Date: 19 Oct 2021 06:40:18
Thank you. Looking forward to check it out.
Posted By: Dr_G Date: 19 Oct 2021 09:19:15
Already dead...
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