Friday, August 26, 2011


That last checkbox is about radio and the rest really is not. This is more about audio than radio but it's pertinent because the art of the analog bootleg is being lost. Old tapes are sometimes labeled and sometimes not, the same way that  ID3 tags are sometimes filled in, and sometimes not. But because it does not appear to be consistently explained elsewhere, today I will detail the most crucial abbreviations I commonly see on analog bootleg cassettes.
  • SBD: A (SBD) labeled recording is a tape recorded directly from the outputs of the soundboard at a show.  These are usually the best that can be found as ancillary noise (ex. crowd noise) is as low as possible. These sometimes later find legitimate release.
  • AUD: A tape labeled (AUD)  is recorded from the audience at a venue. These may also be noted as Front of Board (FOB) which is just am observation of improved vantage. the sound could still be good or bad. Modern recording devices do a better job of noise cancelling than the old analog ones. generally I'm not interested in an AUD tape unless it's a band I am obsessed with.
  • FM: Radio Recordings made off of the radio are usually designated FM. With a good tuner, FM recordings can actually sound really clear. These are often even in true stereo, which many AUD recordings are not. But the downside is that some radio stations roll off their high frequencies, and the dynamic range is compressed. It can make the sound unnatural. This varies by format, and over time. The trend has been toward greater and greater compression. In modern FM bootlegs, the dynamic range can be severely compressed to the point of sounding distorted. These are undesirable, but so are those stations. There are AM bootleg recordings out there, but all the ones I have seen are recorded to acetates due to the changes in AM programming over time.
  • GEN:  This designated which generation the recording belongs in . The master recording is #1. You will almost never find these as there is only one of them by definition. A second generation copy is the best that can be found typically. Because if digital recording, now all bootlegs can be identical to the original since dubbing is now lossless. If the master is compressed to MP3 from an original in a lossless format like FLAC, then effectively it is diminished to a 2nd generation copy. Though, analog dubbing was often much worse.