What are we looking at? What's the scale? Off-hand, looks about the same to me.
For each pressing, there are two waveforms. The top waveform is for the left channel, and the bottom waveform is for the right channel.
The x axis is time. As I understand it, the y axis shows how loud the sound is in that channel, at that point in time. Times with large height are loud, and times with small height are quiet. For example, on both pressings, the end of the track is completely silent in both channels.
On the y axis, I believe that 1.0 represents the loudest allowable volume. CDs have such a maximum, meaning that, for example, it would be impossible to make a CD which would blow out your speakers when played at low volume.
Now, for the Japanese pressing, notice that the peaks in the left channel reach near 1.0, but the peaks in the right channel only reach 0.5. That means the peaks in the right channel are only half as loud. For the American pressing, this isn't the case.
Ashley Winchester wrote:
what made you look at these songs in a music editor? Did you catch this from an auditory standpoint?
That's a good question. While listening to the Japanese pressing, I took out my left earphone (but not my right earphone) to talk to someone. When I did this, it seemed like the volume in the right earphone was surprisingly quiet. I then tried listening only to the left, and it was much louder. That got me to fire up an editor.
While the balance issue may not look meaningful, I can say that the American pressing sounds like true stereo sound, while the Japanese pressing sounds somewhere in between mono and stereo - because the right channel is de-emphasized. At least on headphones, the difference isn't subtle (IMO).