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ARSCLIST  February 2013

ARSCLIST February 2013

Subject:

Re: New MLP box set promo video now on YouTube

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 17 Feb 2013 09:21:16 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (76 lines)

People are welcome to believe whatever they want, but the FACTS about the CD mastering of the 
Mercury Living Presence catalog are well-documented, with many photos published, as well as many 
first-person interviews. I can assure you that no digital "processing" took place, and all 3-2 
mixing was done in the analog domain, before conversion. The only digital "editing" that took place 
was the occasional insert-edit over a damaged splice, when the same audio could be located on the 
un-edited B Reels. Even in the cases where only B Reels were in the vaults, so re-editing was 
required, that was done in the analog domain (you'd _never_ do that today -- it would be done in a 
workstation, at high resolution, but it was still common in the 1990s). There was a basic dislike 
(from years of careful listening) of any processing in the digital domain, circa 1990s. So it wasn't 
done. In my own experience, extensive digital editing and processing got much more transparent, 
efficient and sophisticated in the past 10 years and modern equipment and techniques would probably 
pass muster with the original Mercury team. That was definitely not the case in the time the CDs 
were being reissued. It took a year of testing and listening to find a suitable A-D converter (the 
dcs), and it was brand new and developed using Philips technology so it was a step forward at the 
right time and right place.

Why Philips decided to go with ADD on the MLP CDs is unknown, but they did from the first to the 
last. I agree that by strict definitions they should be AAD. But it's not really relevant since the 
whole process was well-known, well-explained and widely-documented. Philips thinking may have 
been -- you really didn't start with an analog master, you started with edited 3-track tapes, then 
did a 3-2 mix in the analog domain, so the MASTER was actually digital. What was intended by AAD 
would be something like a rock album from the 70s -- recorded on 24-track analog, mixed to 2-track 
analog, transferred to a digital master for CD. You could say the same about the 1990s RCA Living 
Stereo reissues from 3-tracks because they started as analog 3-track session tapes, were mixed to a 
2-track "cutting master" and the CDs were transferred from those cutting masters. So that's more a 
AAD product than the MLP because the MLP actually had a digital master, but it was made at the same 
time as the A-D transfer. I can see the logic both ways.

As for the organ-music edits, I would say that if they annoy you, don't buy the CD, choose a 
different performance. That's what was possible in the time and place, and the LP and CD sold quite 
well (although almost no solo-organ material sells as well as symphonic material).

-- Tom Fine


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "DAVID BURNHAM" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, February 17, 2013 12:43 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New MLP box set promo video now on YouTube


You are absolutely correct; you should never go into a take at the beginning of that take, except at 
the beginning of the selection. Editing organ music with a razor blade was far more difficult than 
editing other kinds of music, but with proper care it could still be done seamlessly. When editing 
digitally in a computer, the process is far more accommodating and there should never be any audible 
artifacts caused by the edits. As is implied in your e-mail below, for successful editing, (digital 
or analog), the take you're coming out of and the take you're going into should ideally both be 
musically correct on both sides of the point of the edit. According to SPARS code designation the 
second "D" should indicate that the recording was mixed down and edited in the digital domain and I 
believe all of the Mercury Living Presence recordings are designated "ADD"

db



>________________________________
> From: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
>To: DAVID BURNHAM <[log in to unmask]>
>Cc: [log in to unmask]
>Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2013 3:22:05 PM
>Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New MLP box set promo video now on YouTube
>
>
>Because of long reverb periods, organ records are notoriously difficult to edit perfectly; in fact, 
>it's sometimes not best to try.
>
>
>Best practice for retakes or inserts is to start several bars earlier than the bars intended for 
>remaking, so that the reverb trail will be included after at the edit point.
>
>
>Mike
>
>

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