| 2007-09-18 07:53
Q. What is this forum about?
This forum, as it name may imply, is for "samples".
Q. What exactly are "samples"?
Samples are small portions of longer recordings which we use to quickly compare different sources of the same show.
Q. Can I post samples here?
Sure! If you have any recordings that are not on the tracker, or if you have recordings that you think might sound better than what is already on the tracker, then post them here. Read below for more details.
Q. If I don't have samples of my own to share, is there anything else I can do?
Yes! Lend us your ears! When you see multiple torrents of the same show in this forum, grab 'em! Seed 'em! Listen to them, and let us know what you think sounds better, and why. If you think both sound good, let us know!
Q. How do I make samples to share?
First, you should know how to create .FLAC files. Assuming you already know the basics, then simply make .FLAC files of the "landmarks" of the show. "Landmarks" are points such as tape-flips, weird drop-outs, over-laps, and the start and the end of the show. When I (Zappa Penguin) create samples, I usually include:
- The first thirty seconds of the tape.
- The first thirty seconds of the first song of the tape, if the tape begins with just the crowd.
- Thirty seconds from the middle of each side. These help determine whether the pitch of the recording will need to be adjusted.
- Thirty seconds from each side of the tape flips. For instance, a sample of a tape flip during Bobby Brown might go "Hey there, people, I'm Bobby Brown, they say I'm the cutest boy in town. My car is fast, my teeth are-- (tape flip) --am, at a famous school. I'm dressing sharp, I'm acting cool. Got a cheerleader here, wants to help with my paper..." This way, there's enough material on both sides for people to compare with their versions and see if one of theirs has the words " . . . shiny, tell all the girls" before the tape flip.
- Thirty seconds from each of the encores. Each time the tape is paused and un-paused during a recording, the speed may change. Tapes are usually paused before the encores, so this way there's a sample of each area.
- The last thirty seconds of the tape. This is especially useful if a source ends before the show is over. Other people may have the complete version - you never know!
Q. So, why do we post samples, anyway? Why not just torrent entire shows if you have them?
The Zappateers have a wealth of tapes - likely over 5,000 tapes in total, probably even more. These tapes are in their private collections - in everything from shoeboxes to shelves, and everything in between.
Being that there are less than 1,000 known shows and unreleased recordings for Frank Zappa, this means that there is a lot of duplicate material.
If we just torrented whatever was in our shoeboxes, all that duplicate, redundant material would end up on the tracker. Zappa shows tend to be sourced from one master. Do we really want to have 10 different torrents of the same show with the same tape-flip, some of which may be copies-of-copies-of-copies-of-copies-of-copies? Of course not! We want only the best, n'est-ce-pas? Of course!
So, posting quick samples of our recordings allows us to pool our resources and figure out who truly has the best sounding tape. This way, there aren't ten different seeds of the same original source. We can also make new discoveries this way. To go back to my hypothetical "Bobby Brown" example above, someone may have a tape recorded by someone else at the same show that has the missing lyrics. We can then edit both sources together for one complete representation of the show.
Q. So, wait, if two different people recorded the same show, you mean only ONE of them will be posted?
It depends. Sometimes, one recording is really good, and the other recording is really, really lousy. In this case, yes, the lousy recording may not be shared, or may be put on the "to-do" list - you know, right after we mow the lawn, do the taxes, retire...
However, in many instances, two perfectly good recordings will surface. One of them might have really clear vocals, but not much bass in the mix. The other may have great-sounding instruments, but indistinct vocals. In this case, usually both recordings will be shared, each one of them "patched" during the tape-flips.
Q. Is there anything else I should know about samples?
Probably! If you have any questions, feel free to contact any administrator - or ask in a thread. We may have an odd procedure, but we're not slaves to it, and nobody's going to lose their Zen if a question is asked in a thread - it may save a lurker from having to ask as well.
In summary - feel free to check these samples out and offer your opinion on what sounds better to you. If you have recordings of your own, feel free to post samples yourself! If you need help with anything, just ask, and the Zappateers will rush to your assistance.
All for one... one for all... but every sample for itself!
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