Monday, February 26, 2018

Pink Floyd 1971-02-26 Grosser Stadthalle Offenbach am Main, Germany

Band 29 1971-02-26 (24bit/96kHz)
** Recorder 1 - Marbal **

Pink Floyd
Grosser Stadthalle
Offenbach am Main, Germany
February 26th 1971

New High Definition transfer from Marbal's own 1st Generation backup reel.
Artwork production by Beechwoods.

Lineage History:

- Master Recording (1971-02-26): Philips EL3302 cassette deck, stock external mic, no Dolby.

- Cassette to Reel to Reel (~1981): unknown cassette deck > Philips N4510 reel to reel > BASF 1/4" tape

- 1st Gen Reel (2011-10-11): Pioneer RT707 > Tascam HD-P2 (WAV 24bit/96kHz) ===> Adjustments (WAV 32bit float/96kHz) > WAV (24bit/96kHz) > CDWave (1.98) > FLAC

    Set List
01 [09:01] Astronomy Domine
02 [03:52] Green Is The Colour
03 [10:36] Careful With That Axe, Eugene
04 [11:46] Embryo
05 [11:10] Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
06 [10:54] Cymbaline
07 [16:50] A Saucerful Of Secrets
08 [20:51] Atom Heart Mother
09 [02:04] Audience
10 [03:07] Atom Heart Mother (Reprise)
11 [05:56] Pink Blues

|| [106.15] Total

*** Beechwoods' Transfer Notes ***

This is the second in our Beechwoods / LPP series of Marbal tape transfers. Germersheim 1972 being the first. Marbal recorded his first Floyd show in February 1971, onto cassette. He no longer has the master cassette, but he made backups to both cassette and ¼" reel to reel sometime around 1981, and this is from his reel to reel copy of the show.

Versus the cassette, the reel sounded more open and so it was this that we decided to use as the source of this transfer.

Marbal was fastidious in the way he labeled his tapes. This one was numbered 'Reel 29' or in German 'Band 29'. We liked the sound of that, and so have adopted it as the name of this release.

In total I did 5 transfers of this tape. When working with old tapes I find it useful to try the tape on different machines and to work out the best source by ear.  After reviewing, the first 3 transfers were discarded. Transfer 4 sounded great, but there were occasional spots of bleed-through where the signal from the adjacent track was audible, and so a fifth transfer was done using the reverse play heads on the RT707. Evidently the alignment of these heads were slightly different to the forward-play heads, so the bleed-through was mostly gone but the transfer wasn't quite as open as the 4th transfer. Ultimately we compiled the best product by using the 5th transfer to patch the relevant bleed-through segments on the slightly better Transfer 4.

Marbal's reel was a mono transfer, recorded on one of 4 tracks laid down onto his ¼" tape. Old tape-heads will remember the way tape-decks would allow you to selectively record just one mono, or two stereo tracks to a side of tape in a single pass. Recording 4 mono tracks meant your tape went twice as far. So even mono recordings can experience bleed through!

Little Pieces worked with these raw transfers.

*** Littlepieces' Mastering Notes ***

This high resolution transfer is from the same 1st gen reel that Marbal torrented on Yeeshkul several years ago.  As Beechwood indicated the final solution was to use the original Pioneer RT707 transfer and patch the extended segments of bleed over with the reverse playback transfer.  I maximized the use of the superior Pioneer transfer by manually spectral cleaning segments of bleed over when possible.  Generally, when the bleed-through segments were too long and/or continuous for spectral cleaning, then the segment was patched with transfer 5. The process was a pain in the ass but it was the only way to retain and use the most of the superior transfer.

I would describe this recording as having three sections of different fidelity.  The first section is to near the end of Embryo about 33m into the recording.  It starts with the beginning of AD having some fluctuating levels and not quite as strong SQ as the rest of the section.  After AD stabilizes, this 1st section from about 3-4m to 33m has the best SQ in this recording.  The 2nd section begins near the end of Embryo ~33m and ends near the middle of AHM.  This section begins with a subtle falling off of the upper half which eventually becomes easily apparent.  The third section begins near the middle of AHM when the upper half falls off more and some lower frequencies, sub 200Hz, begin to be over-driven periodically. 

Marbal's wishes were to improve this recording including the use of EQ to achieve results.  As usual the objective was to lift the fidelity of the recording while maintaining a natural sound quality. 

As indicated the 1st section started with AD having level differences and some drop outs. The levels were smoothed and the dropouts repaired or improved and it's upper half was EQ'd variably in order to make it more consistent with the rest of the recording.  The levels of a big drop out at ~4:47m of AD were brought up significantly and smoothed in order to diminish its prominence.  The remainder of this 1st section to ~33m had some modest selective increases to the upper end.

The second section, which ends during the first half of AHM, required more and more increase to the upper half as it continued to fall off. The recording accepted this EQ very well and mostly obscured the differences between the first section and this second section.

The third section begins during the first half of AHM and required more increase to the upper half but it reached a point where further increases were no longer appropriate.  In addition this section had some of its sub 200Hz levels selectively reduced to help moderate the over-driven parts that began in this third section.  This also improved the mix somewhat since the upper half could not be increased any further without adversely effecting the recording.

Apparent throughout most of the recording particularly during quieter segments is a hum at various levels around 100Hz.  This was selectively reduced throughout the recording and is no longer prominent.

Throughout the recording minor dropouts were repaired or improved and the gain increased on some segments as well as noise disturbances removed manually.

On all tracks, I rolled off some hiss varying my approach according to the level and characteristics of the segment while being careful not to encroach on the harmonics.

Finally, I adjusted the speed as it was fast throughout the recording.

A couple of notes:

- There is 84s more audience between AHM and AHM reprise than the previous master torrent.
- Sounds like inside cut at 8:17m of STC.
- Interesting artifact that becomes apparent after the fall off of the upper half begins. A deficit or clearing is often visible on the Spectrograph or Spectral between 3-4k.  An example is during the footstep sequence on Cymbaline.
- Pretty Naked Women are good.

*** Marbal's Recollections ***

It was also a very cold day. The Stadthalle is a small venue, not comparable with the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt.  The little hall was very overheated due to outside weather conditions & in the beginning you can hear the crowd: "Heizung aus!, Heizung aus!" which means: "Heating off!".  Then at the beginning another comment from a friend of mine: "Hey seid mal ein bißchen leise" which means "Please keep a little more quiet" to the people around us showing to our recorder which was respected then most of the time.

After a few songs there was a little talking again about the comparison to Deep Purple which we've seen there before: "Deep Purple ist nichts dagegen - nichts dagegen? - Deep Purple ist SCHEISS dagegen!" which translates like this: "Deep Purple is nothing against this - nothing against this? - Deep Purple is SHIT against this!"

And so it was. Pink Floyd blew us away in a style which was incredible & for me only comparable with the Nektar show from 11.11.70.

It was an incredible sound & light in concert....

*** Note ***

Readers should not forget that ZDF arts show Aspekte recorded segments of the Offenbach show for broadcast on the 3rd March 1971, and that this footage was shared with collectors on the 'A Hamburg Moment' DVD, in stunning quality. Many thanks go to Marek and Pict who made that footage available. Stills from that DVD have been used to create the artwork for this release. Thank you.

Marbal Tape / Beechwoods Transfer / Little Pieces Production (LPP)
January 2012



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