I haven't done that much crate digging recently, but I did stick this on last week: Trent Reznor's soundtrack for Quake, originally released (within the game) in 1996, and finally issued for the first time independently in 2020.

Quake LP cover and inner covers

Quake LP cover and inner covers

I picked it up the Nine Inch Nails gig in Cornwall, 2022.

An interesting factoid about the original release was the CD was mastered with the little-known pre-emphasis flag set to "on". This was relatively unusual at the time (1996) that it was never clear whether it was deliberate or not. CD ripping back then usually used an analog audio path from the CD-ROM drive to the PC sound card, and the CD-ROM would apply the necessary pre-emphasis. Therefore, ripping software didn't need to deal with it, and so most of it (then and now) doesn't, even though the path had long since changed to a purely-digital extraction. Thus, the various copies of the soundtrack circulating may or may not have had pre-emphasis correction applied, and if they did, it may or may not have been required to hear the soundtrack as it was intended.

I spent a bit of time a few years ago, before the reissue, trying to determine what was "correct". There is certainly an audible difference with pre-emphasis applied (or not), but it wasn't clear which was the intended experience. The reissue should have cleared this up once and for all, but I haven't gone back to check what the outcome was.


comment 1

Early audio cd's were recorded with -0,5 or so db applied, to compensate for average dac's, which - if outputs above 0db - would blow the tweeters. So maybe Quake mastering team was a little overcautious and made up for it by squasing the whole thing. This music could be... sometimes unpredictable with what it could do to a speakers.

So it could be just technical limitation of the time.

Nice find.

Comment by SeeM,