Quality of CTA bootlegs

2010 January 3
by Simba


Usually, I don’t buy bootlegs, but when it comes to tango music, there is some material that is not available from the commercial releases like Reliquias, Tango Argentino etc. I always concentrated on the commercial releases, but now that I have most of the interesting material from these releases, I have moved on the the more exotic releases, like the Club  Tango Argentino by Akihito Baba. They are unfortunately hard to get by, and several are out of print.  I heard that in some places they are selling bootlegs of some of these discs in Argentina,  so I went to check it out.

From what I could hear, quality wise it was all good. I heard rumors that some bootlegs were processed versions, i.e. with filtering applied to the sound, and some of the point with the CTA releases is that they are not processed, but there was lots of noise in the ones I got to check out.

The covers were in color, and seemed to be copies of the original, copyright notice and everything.  So I was hoping the producers also just copied the sound verbatim. That there was a lot of high frequency noise indicated that the source was not mp3 files, but to check it out further, I ran a couple of discs through the program Tau analyzer, which indicated that the source of all tracks were indeed cds (CDDA).

The frequencies are shown in the first illustration and the spectrum plot is shown below (both from Tau analyzer):


8 Responses leave one →
  1. 2010 January 5


    Just curious how you came to the conclusion that the source was CDs simply from looking at the spectrogram?


  2. 2010 January 5

    The program came to that conclusion by itself based on its algorithm. If the source were mp3s, chances are we would see it as cutoff at certain frequencies, as the mp3 encoding usually applies a lowpass filter, I think at 16 or 18 kHz.

  3. 2010 February 16
    Martin permalink

    I’m just on the same track and was wondering about the quality of the bootlegs. Thanks you for the research! I bought a few CTA bootlegs in Bs. As. some years ago at the Tango Kiosko in Corrientes. I was wondering where did you get your copies?
    Thank you

  4. 2010 February 16

    I think you can get them several places. I got my copies at Tango tienda in Lavalle.

  5. 2011 April 3
    Baba permalink

    Who are selling my CD of Tango ?

  6. 2011 April 5

    @Baba, as mentioned in the comment above, this was at Tango tienda in Lavalle. There was a lot of bootlegs/pirated material for sale in the area of Lavalle/Florida which one would notice just by passing on the street, at least at that time.

  7. 2013 March 15
    Polo permalink

    Simba, that Tau analyzer says that there is high freq content, may hint at the fact that the material comes from a CD track, but doesn’t say anything about it being a bit-to-bit copy of the original. It can be filtered and still have high-freq content. I rarely found a bootleg in the various outlets in Buenos Aires that was not processed, or that didn’t have tons of digital gaps and digital noise. In fact, 80-90% of what I bought was garbage, with a significant part of it unusable.

  8. 2013 March 27

    @Polo: True, it doesn’t prove anything. As far as I can tell (by listening), 100% of the few bootlegs I bought were fine 🙂

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