Grading is a very subjective thing. Because everyone's
taste, ears, likes and dislikes vary widely, it would be a rare thing for
two different graders to have the exact same reaction to every piece. The
star grade system incorporated into this site will assume the listener
to be an average and/or casual fan. The star system grades compare only
boot to boot recordings. (Royal Albert Hall, for instance, will be spoken
of and compared only as a boot. The perfection that Sony Records can attain
when it decides to release new material would not be a fair standard to
judge any non released material by.)
What is being judged? The star system grades the
quality of the sound of a particular piece only. Not the package. Not the
performance. Not the best copy and/or tape in circulation, but the actual
sound produced by the record album or CD being graded.
What is not taken into account on LPs, is surface
noise - which can vary from piece to piece (unless it is known that the
entire run of an album suffers a common problem). CDs
are graded using the same numeric system, although the flaws revealed by
the digital process can sometimes lead to the same analog recording having
a slightly higher grade on vinyl.
|8-10 stars Even
non Dylan fans will love it.
||6-7 stars All Dylan fans will enjoy it.
||4-5 stars True Dylan fans can appreciate it.
||2-3 stars Only for the die hard collector.
||1 star Only for the completeist.
Star Rating Specifics:
10 stars: The absolute best. As good
as it gets. Could be an official release.
9 stars: Near perfection,
with only a few minor technical difficulties. (This
might be a time or two where there's feedback, Bob is too far from the
mic, a word or two is heard from the audience, etc., Problems are spontaneous)
8 stars: Great overall
quality, may come and go slightly. Slight tape hiss. (Above
Problems are recurrent)
7 stars: Very good quality.
Noise to sound ratio has increased (hiss). (LP
'pops' or white noise on CD or audience slightly, but continuously too
loud. Audience conversations are clear, but not continuously so. Or music
is a tad thin, or problematic mixing)
6 stars: Good quality. May
be a little distant and/or muffled and/or audience is too loud. (Audience
conversations are clear and continuous. Or music is too thin, or too bottom
5 stars: Average quality.
A little too distant and/or muffled, though the casual fan should have
no trouble listening. (All of
Bob's words can be heard. It's questionable whether this quality should
be committed to commercial CD)
4 stars: Slightly below average.
Noise level has increased up to 50% of music level.
(Audience overbearing at times.
Some words can't be heard. 'Hand cupped loosely over your mouth' sounding
vocals. Doubtful that this quality should be committed to commercial CD).
3 stars: The casual fan will
not be able to accept this. (Music
and most words are discernible, but buried and/or overpowered by audience.
Or tape is far too high generation with 'hand cupped tightly over your
mouth' sounding vocals or tape warp. Not for silver disc).
2 stars: This is best left
to the hard-core collector. (Some
vocals are discernible, some are not. High noise levels. Some parts
of performance are obliterated by audience. Continuously loud conversations.
'Wadded up towel pressed into mouth' sounding vocals)
1 star: You can tell
that it's Bob (At least part of the time). The recorder was outside the
room :) Only for the completeist.
For the purposes of this rating system, recordings
will be judged equally. There will be no consideration given as to whether
the original source for the album was tape, CD, or
vinyl. Nor will there be separate allocations for field, soundboard, multitrack,
or studio recordings. In general practices, a studio recording should have
a better overall sound than, say, a field (audience) recording of a concert.
In the world of boots, however, this is not always the case. Everything
must stand on its own merits.
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