Within this blog, you will find links to my 'remasters' of audience recordings, available in FLAC and mp3 format. (I am currently working on uploading the FLAC files, starting with the Dec. '95 shows)
Music became an integral part of my life in 8th grade as i began listening to bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Beck, and others in 1990. I began playing guitar and my musical interests planted themselves squarely in the 'alternative' genre. In early 1995, i was introduced to the Phish, from Vermont, and the rest is history. Songs like You Enjoy Myself, Gumbo, Harry Hood, Chalkdust Torture, and David Bowie (just to name a few) had me hooked from day one. Sure there are several other bands that I still enjoy listening to and seeing live, but none of them have the ability to take me to 'that place' like our beloved crew from Vermont. And none would have me eager to travel great distances to spend a few hours basking in their glow.
I have been an avid tape trader since 1995, back when rules like 'no high-speed dubbing' and 'Maxell XL II's only' were all but common knowledge. I can remember spending lots of time on AOL's phishbowl, and searching out other fans trade list to find those specific shows that i had been dieing to hear (and hoping that their copy was lower than a 5th generation, and higher than a B- grade for sound quality). There were few joys in life that were greater than seeing that padded manilla envelope peeking out of the mailbox! Oh the happiness those days brought! But sometimes, when I finally popped the cassette in, those B+ graded tapes were C-'s at best. Fortunately i had a pretty good home system with a stand-alone equalizer that would help
to even it all out and give a decent sound.....but the simplistic bass/treble adjustments in the car left much to be desired.
Fast forward about 20 years and we have jumped right into the digital age. Now, the overwhelming majority of the shows are available at the click of a mouse. Soundboards are made available to every show, and most people are able to download a show within hours of the final note being played (no more searching and waiting months to get a copy of recent shows you have seen). Soundboards are great and all, but most of the time they fall a little flat. Audience recordings are great and all, but you never know what kind of quality you are going to get from a particular source. In my opinion, there is nothing better than a nicely mixed Matrix (especially for 3.0 shows).
What I do here with my 'remastering' efforts is not rocket science, but it does take a well trained ear, and some careful attention to detail. I try to impact the original recording as little as possible, while striving to achieve, what is in my opinion, optimum sound. I balance the channels, adjust the decibel levels, make simple adjustments to tracking, adjust the equalization, tag the songs, and add album art. I maintain the source information when possible and include it in both the FLAC and mp3 downloads. For my 'remasters', I only use sources that comply with Phish's recording policy (Matrix mixes of un-circulated shows are not posted to this page, but i know a guy if you are interested in these ;)
I began my journey into 'remastering' in late 2009. I have been so happy that I have given new life to shows that I loved but stopped listening to because of the sound quality. I know that many others feel the same way, and i truly appreciate the unbelievable amount of positive feedback that i have received thus far. I am still amazed at how many downloads my 'remasters' have gotten.
I understand that there are some people who look at what I do as glorified equalization, and scoff at my effors. To that, I say: To each his own. I know that there are many people out there who appreciate what I do, because at this time, the majority of the shows I have posted have received between 1,000 and 1,500 downloads, and 8/9/98 has been pulled over 2,500 times! While it is nice to have these shows for my wife and i to listen to, I also take pleasure in feeling like I'm giving a little something back to you all as well.
Finally, please feel free to leave comments throughout this blog, request shows to be remastered,or just say hey!