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ARSCLIST  November 2013

ARSCLIST November 2013

Subject:

Re: The new "Kind of Blue" remasters explained

From:

Andrew Dapuzzo <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Fri, 22 Nov 2013 14:06:45 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Hi Jamie

First, although way over due, thanks for using Agfa.  Culture also has
something to do with this. The "Agfa Sound" was much more popular in in
Europe while Ampex dominated the US.

Second, I think the question is "where does the art stop"?  I can't say I
100% agree with John.  Which two track master do we use?  The one supplied
to the mastering studio or the one produced by the mastering studio?
 People like Robert Lugwig were highly sought after for their contribution
to the final product.  If we agree the mastering studio contributes to the
art then what master do we use?  LP, cassette or CD?  I saw a shift from LP
to cassettes in the 80s and then a shift to CD.  In most cases, the
dominant format received the most attention.  (let's just forget about
8Track)

I don't believe there are any easy answers.  But I am convinced that the
two track tape provided to the mastering studio without the artistic
contribution of the mastering engineer comprises the integrity of the full
artistic vision and, like a truly professional mastering engineer, you need
to consider the final home delivery medium.  The better engineers
understood this and created a master that would deliver the desired musical
vision AFTER the home deliver medium "did what is did"

Andrew


On Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 1:00 PM, Jamie Howarth <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> If it sounds clinically pure it's wrong. The notion that vintagjng it up
> to make it more "emotional" is nostalgia and "algias" are dis-ease. If it's
> accurate it will not be clinical unless it's revealing deficiencies in the
> tech in the original (monitors usually) which need to be compensated for
> and matched. This is not about science triumphing over art. To perform the
> compensation for past performance it's often necessary to go to original
> gear, at least as a reference.
>
> I had the same experience with Agfa. If I was making dupes I would use
> Agfa. That's archiving. If while mixing or tracking drums the natural
> de-essing of 456 or 250 was what I wanted for punch, fine. But not for
> copies. I don't want two de-essers.
>
> It's commercial art - if it's not emotional it won't work. More Accurate
> is usually more vibrant and true. And still needs mastering.
> Please ppardon the misspellings and occassional insane word substitution
> I'm on an iPhone
>
> > On Nov 22, 2013, at 11:49 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >
> > Andrew's post gets right to the heart of what I've been saying. I'd add
> that there are BUSINESS reasons to be very sure that your end product is
> liked by descision-drivers like critics and hardcore fans. In the case of
> beloved older recordings, that means you don't mess up the "sonic memory."
> You can enhance it and even improve it, but if you get radically different
> from what people expect to hear from a recording they loved long before you
> came along to re-package it, they'll turn on you and your business model
> will be shot. By "you" I mean the "royal you" of all players in the
> commercial recording business, particularly remastering engineers and
> producers.
> >
> > That said, I do think that the market has proven that taking care to go
> back to first-generation tapes, playing them back carefully, and watching
> what you do in the digital domain (for instance, have an excellent A-D
> chain, be tasteful and conservative with DSP, compare remixing outside the
> box and make sure it doesn't sound better or more "authentic" before you
> default to mix in the box, etc) will often lead to an improvement of the
> "sonic memory" and will succeed in the marketplace.
> >
> > I would also suggest that anyone who thinks that re-issue producing and
> remastering isn't a good part art as well as craft will not be good at it
> nor will they succeed in the marketplace. It's music, not test tones, so it
> ain't pure science. In some cases (definitely not all), what makes a hell
> of a lot of sense in theory or in the lab, just doesn't work in the
> real-deal marketplace (and vice-versa -- consider the niche market for
> "hifi tweaks" and expensive wires that I have yet to see any standard
> electrical measurements proving their superiority).
> >
> > I'd also suggest, bottom line, that people who buy recorded music want
> it to connect emotionally more than they want it to sound clinically-pure.
> This can mean various things at various times in the business of recording,
> producing and mastering music. And the aesthetic of the marketplace changes
> over time, so it's a moving target.
> >
> > -- Tom Fine
> >
> > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Andrew Dapuzzo" <
> [log in to unmask]>
> > To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > Sent: Friday, November 22, 2013 9:41 AM
> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The new "Kind of Blue" remasters explained
> >
> >
> >> I agree, "everybody's goal is the same. It has to sound like original
> >> intent."  What was that?
> >>
> >> I worked for Agfa back in the 80s and I remember setting up thee
> multitrack
> >> recorders to compare Ampex 456, 3M 250 and our Agfa 468.  I was able to
> >> demonstrate that the Agfa tape sounded closer to the live music.  My
> >> youthful enthusiasm was crushed, however, when Murray Allen said, "OK,
> if
> >> Ampex is distorting the sound I like it".  We can't assume something,
> even
> >> third harmonic distortion, is a bad thing.
> >>
> >> On the other hand, back in the day Bruce Swedien used both analogue and
> >> digital recorders synced together to record some off the biggest
> records in
> >> history.  He didn't like what digital did to the vocals (or he liked
> >> what analogue did to vocals?).  I wonder how he would feel about today's
> >> digital processing of his recording.
> >>
> >> Finally, I worked very closely with mastering studios that would often
> >> provide three different masters.  One for LP, one for cassette and one
> for
> >> CD.  Each medium had challenges.  I often thought, at the time, that you
> >> wouldn't need any additional processing for CD but I was wrong.  So in
> the
> >> end, what is the correct sound?  The LP, the cassette, the CD or the
> >> original two track master delivered to the mastering studio?
> >>
> >> Andrew DaPuzzo
> >> Sony DADC
> >>
> >>
> >>> On Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 9:02 PM, Jamie Howarth <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Thank you. A clear clean accurate time-stable flat tape playback is the
> >>> best source since it replicates and extends the performance designed
> into
> >>> the scribe, the medium, the canvas. No amount of color-shifting could
> bring
> >>> back the luminosity and color balance in the famed Tintorettos in the
> >>> ceiling of the Doges Palace in Venice. When they were cleaned a small
> >>> handful of the viewers still wished they looked varnished and old. But
> for
> >>> the vast majority, including many who initially decried the
> intervention,
> >>> the results were a revelation - again cleaned, not repainted. They are
> >>> beautiful.
> >>>
> >>> If the original producer and engineer were working around the tape
> >>> playback sonics and the only method to match the original seems to be
> to
> >>> utilize the original tube machine it would imply a choice made at the
> >>> original session to compensate for the recorder - If the original team
> made
> >>> adjustments because of inaccuracies in the NAB de-emphasis of the 300
> >>> (which exist) those inaccuracies may need to be re-introduced and then
> >>> analyzed in order to sort out what's going on - as in the strategy of
> >>> listening to a seriously "hyped" tape on the actual original speakers
> the
> >>> hype was meant to counteract - not to master upon, but to gain proper
> >>> perspective to cross-EQ it for today's audio systems. Notice I didn't
> say
> >>> for today's market. Do the former scrupulously and the latter will take
> >>> care of itself- it will match "sonic memory". So I can envision a
> scenario
> >>> where a set it 300 electronics attached to our off-the-head pre-emph
> >>> output, listening through the original inaccurate NAB could lend that
> >>> perspective. If indeed that was an improvement it would be the result
> of an
> >>> awareness of the 300s inaccuracy among the originators of the material
> that
> >>> was compensated for: by anything from mic choice/placement, or a
> click-step
> >>> on the Pultec.
> >>> But I'd then shoot the system to see what the counteraction is that's
> >>> required ...and I wager that it's going to be a small but crucial
> frequency
> >>> response tweak - and once madeyou can then cut out the 300 electronics
> and
> >>> it will sound right. If not, f=+k it use the electronics as a
> passthrough,
> >>> and enjoy the result.
> >>>
> >>> I'm convinced everybody's goal is the same. It has to sound like
> original
> >>> intent. And I remain utterly unconvinced that vintage tape players are
> the
> >>> best way to achieve that. Where the original tools work is in the
> mastering
> >>> phase, and again, a Pultec exact emulation of the one on the LP master
> that
> >>> the original experts used - expertly re-employed - will do the trick
> even
> >>> if it's a box full of DSP or ICs.
> >>>
> >>> And carrying this to the wall?
> >>> We had a great compliment wherein a big record was described in a
> >>> comparison of the existing transfers (excellent) compared to our recent
> >>> transfer was that the existing sounded like polished stainless steel,
> and
> >>> ours sounded like polished chrome. And it was clear they'd been
> shooting
> >>> for that from the original console output. Not bragging. Too humbled
> to do
> >>> so. But it was telling. And it taught us. Getting closer to what was
> >>> actually recorded was the goal.
> >>>
> >>> Playing that through a transistor radio and sub mixing it in along
> with 5
> >>> compressors and a tube stage for fun, and three Pultecs set flat might
> have
> >>> romanticized it and made it more nostalgic, but that would have been
> >>> aesthetically and commercially crazy.
> >>> And yeah it needed some expert mastering to get the most out if it,
> not by
> >>> us. By one of the best. And he was able to do his thing better with the
> >>> original intent even more obvious to him than before.
> >>> And when it's released if ever, it will sound like chrome. Which is
> what
> >>> the original guy was sweating bullet to get across.
> >>> That's the work.
> >>> We all want the same thing, do the best, do no harm, stay humble, and
> >>> transparent. And we have to render judgment constantly and carefully to
> >>> deliver wonderful material recorded with technological challenges
> unknown
> >>> today, in such a manner that the real deal, the players, the room, the
> guy
> >>> sweating bullets at the console, everybody, gets the props and we don't
> >>> throw a today listener out of the record with some bone/headed choice
> based
> >>> either in hubristic futurism or dogged colonial retrograde methodology.
> >>> It's possible. That's the job.
> >>> And it starts with as accurate a rendition of the recording as is
> possible.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> Please pardon the misspellings and occassional insane word substitution
> >>> I'm on an iPhone
> >>>
> >>> > On Nov 21, 2013, at 10:46 AM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >>> >
> >>> > Thanks Mr. Howarth. There is much insight offered in that message and
> >>> thank
> >>> > you for sharing it. I do sound engineering, but am not engaged in
> this
> >>> work,
> >>> > so I'm more a consumer who has some technical insight than a
> practitioner
> >>> > who has opinions earned by experience. The most interesting bit of
> Mr.
> >>> > Wilder's info for me was this:
> >>> >
> >>> >>>> An upside to working from the archive files was the ability to
> chase
> >>> >>>> the original fader moves done during the mix in 1959. We
> constantly
> >>> >>>> compared to an early pressing - mono and stereo - and worked bar
> by
> >>> >>>> bar to duplicate the level moves on the three tracks to match as
> well
> >>> as
> >>> > possible.
> >>> >
> >>> > I assume he means he drew volume curves in his DAW to replicate the
> fader
> >>> > adjustments audible in the finished product. How cool is that?! With
> the
> >>> > three tracks isolated, he could figure out what they originally did.
> >>> This is
> >>> > essential, and an aspect of some reissues that I've found
> dissatisfying.
> >>> > I'll pick one track to illustrate, which also happens to be from
> >>> Columbia:
> >>> > I. Berlin's Russian Lullaby, Jimmy Rushing and band. I first heard it
> >>> from
> >>> > the CD collection Jazz: The Singers 1950s, part of a Columbia Jazz
> >>> > Masterpieces series.
> >>> >
> >>> > Although the CJM issues are mostly frowned upon, when the sources
> were
> >>> > decent, the discs sound okay, and this tune comes up great. It
> cooks, it
> >>> > steams, it almost boils over with energy. After the vocal intro,
> there's
> >>> a
> >>> > long organ solo by Sir Charles Thomson, a bit understated but sharp,
> that
> >>> > builds tension. Then Buddy Tate enters like an after-burner and draws
> >>> that
> >>> > groove even tighter up to Rushing's final chorus. It's about the most
> >>> > exhausting and joyous 5+ minutes I know of in recorded music.
> >>> >
> >>> > Enter a later reissue of the whole Jimmy Rushing session. Where the
> >>> earlier
> >>> > version was clearly from a mix master, the new project apparently
> went to
> >>> > the multitracks. Clearer, more room sound, less fuzziness, more
> dynamic
> >>> > nuance. Trouble is, Russian Lullaby just sits there, politely. In
> >>> > comparison, there is less density, less of the sense of interaction
> >>> between
> >>> > solos and rhythm section. The big clue was the organ, which is
> clearly
> >>> at a
> >>> > lower volume than before, which was confirmed when Tate entered at a
> >>> higher
> >>> > level. I imagine they were careful with the organ, in case Thomson
> threw
> >>> in
> >>> > some 'stings'. They knew that Tate would have a smooth delivery.
> >>> >
> >>> > Going back to the CJM version, it was clear that much of the magic,
> >>> though
> >>> > the product of the players, was conveyed in the mixdown. It was an
> active
> >>> > mix. You can hear them ride gain. IIRC, there's a short guitar solo
> from
> >>> > Skeeter Best, which is made to sit with the other sounds. There
> seems to
> >>> be
> >>> > some gentle variance in the rhythm section balance that helps
> underline
> >>> the
> >>> > forward momentum. Having brought the organ up, they backed off on
> Tate
> >>> and
> >>> > gave him room to work his accents. It's probably a gentle push
> against a
> >>> > limiter that helps to create that density and a feeling that you are
> >>> sitting
> >>> > right there with the band.
> >>> >
> >>> > If you were sitting right there with the band, that's how you would
> have
> >>> > experienced it, with the mixer in your head. The active mix helped to
> >>> > recreate that sensation. The producer knew the effect. He'd been to
> the
> >>> > clubs, sat a few feet from the stage, and knew what the experience
> was
> >>> like.
> >>> > And he knew the task of recording was to recreate that experience.
> The
> >>> later
> >>> > reissue, impressive as a technical exercise, leaves you on the
> sideline
> >>> > because it is only half done. The record was only begun at that
> stage.
> >>> >
> >>> > You could say that the value of the neutral remaster is the insight
> we
> >>> can
> >>> > gain into the process. You might also say that it is more true to a
> >>> Tuesday
> >>> > afternoon at 3 o'clock on a brightly lit industrial factory floor,
> where
> >>> the
> >>> > men may have had to close their eyes and imagine themselves to be
> where
> >>> this
> >>> > music was supposed to be made. The original mix might have been done
> in
> >>> one
> >>> > pass. They probably smiled, muttered 'damn!', lit smokes, and moved
> on to
> >>> > the next tune.
> >>> >
> >>> > Recreating it could take hours. There was a budget, there was a time,
> >>> > neither as lavish as Miles would get. The market clamored for a
> supposed
> >>> > master-tape realism. It's better to have the music than not have it.
> >>> > Granted. I'll take all those insights and add appreciation for how
> >>> > challenging a thorough recreation is to accomplish. But, when I want
> to
> >>> > experience Russian Lullaby, I know which disc I'll put on.
> >>> >
> >>> > -----Original Message-----
> >>> > From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> >>> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jamie Howarth
> >>> > Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 9:51 PM
> >>> > To: [log in to unmask]
> >>> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The new "Kind of Blue" remasters explained
> >>> >
> >>> > Tape is in good shape, just some riffling on the edges that any
> decent
> >>> > machine will take in stride.
> >>> > Wilder knows the tape and the catalog and he's really good. Enough
> said.
> >>> >
> >>> > Matching the sound that people are used to only makes sense if the
> sound
> >>> > they are used to is correct. Otherwise they should have remastered
> it 1/4
> >>> > tone off-pitch. Accurate playback never undermines the validity of an
> >>> > archive or a remaster, it's the remastering choices that can screw
> it up.
> >>> > Which in this case clearly didn't happen.
> >>> >
> >>> > I guarantee Mark would never just "antique" a tape playback for
> marketing
> >>> > purposes. He's too good. Running something through tubes is not why
> Mark
> >>> may
> >>> > (or may not) have used a Pultec, it's simply because that's what was
> >>> used on
> >>> > the original, and Laico knew what he was doing, and to get it to
> sound
> >>> right
> >>> > you gotta use the same filter curves. If those curves were readily
> and
> >>> > exactly available in top-notch DSP (they're not) then that would have
> >>> been
> >>> > fine. That's not  "thinking too much as a scientist or engineer"
> that's
> >>> > thinking as somebody who has never yet seen a case where a faulty or
> >>> > diminished playback yields more aesthetically valid results compared
> to a
> >>> > more accurate rendition of the recording's original intent. And
> Wilder
> >>> > didn't play it on an Ampex 300. QED. He knows that the ATR is more
> >>> neutral,
> >>> > and more of the music will come through.
> >>> >
> >>> > We tried to get in with Battery on this one and missed, not sure why
> -
> >>> and
> >>> > pitched hard for it, on the premise that we might be able to pull
> >>> slightly
> >>> > more from the tape with our electronics than the 1975/Spitz ATR, as
> we
> >>> have
> >>> > done elsewhere.  And that the tape speed issues would automatically
> >>> correct
> >>> > themselves, that part is a no-brainer.  Mark expressed the reasonable
> >>> > disinclination to play the tape again...  the producer OTOH actually
> >>> states
> >>> > that often he favors the lower-fi vibe of his recollection than
> going for
> >>> > precision audio. I think he suspects that if it's too pristine it
> will be
> >>> > less emotional. I don't see how that's the case, seems to me that
> >>> whatever
> >>> > takes the intervening noise and distortion out of the way of the
> >>> performance
> >>> > is to the good. Above my pay grade. He gets good results, and is
> >>> > well-regarded and on this point we simply disagree a bit.
> >>> >
> >>> > But there's no way a slightly clearer tape reproduction would have
> thrown
> >>> > anybody out of the record. And again, 90% is the mastering skill -
> >>> obviously
> >>> > having the best raw source is important. And a top-notch playback
> with
> >>> speed
> >>> > correction is not going to circumvent the art and tech burned into
> the
> >>> tape,
> >>> > it will simply convey it more exactly. And then Mark does his thing,
> and
> >>> the
> >>> > result is beauty.
> >>> >
> >>> > Another thing I think is commonly romanticized about the older
> equipment
> >>> and
> >>> > which is misguided is the notion that their guts are mystical, and
> that
> >>> you
> >>> > gotta have these because they sound "better" than anything
> contemporary,
> >>> > which is nuts. The reason the vintage gear is popular (maybe too
> popular)
> >>> > is because it's the stuff that has survived because it was good. API
> 550s
> >>> > would not have worked on this record because the Q is sharper and the
> >>> > frequency points are different, not because of the transistors. It's
> a
> >>> > compatibility issue, in a sense. You simply could twist the API's
> knobs
> >>> > until doomsday and not match the Pultecs. Neither is better than the
> >>> other.
> >>> > They're different, not so much because of how they achieve gain, or
> the
> >>> > circuit topology - but because the knobs sound different when you
> twist
> >>> > them. And unfortunately most of the recent digital stuff doesn't
> really
> >>> > operate like the old stuff - because the old stuff was designed with
> a
> >>> slide
> >>> > rule based on what sounded good to the engineer, not the other way
> >>> around. A
> >>> > lot of the effects devices of that era were designed by ear, and the
> >>> curves
> >>> > were purpose-built for the studios and styles of the day - they
> worked.
> >>> They
> >>> > call it "work" for a reason. These were working guys, listening and
> >>> twisting
> >>> > knobs until it "worked". The Rupert Neve 80xx equalizers were broad
> as
> >>> hell,
> >>> > and had really useful carefully chosen frequency points (by real
> mixers)
> >>> and
> >>> > that's why they sounded good and have survived as classics, not
> because
> >>> they
> >>> > were using slow 3055's driving a transformer.
> >>> >
> >>> > In the case of this recording, where Teo and Laico made a great
> effort
> >>> to be
> >>> > as realistic as possible, and where some correction had to have done
> on
> >>> the
> >>> > original LPs  - because nothing matched the control room without more
> >>> "work"
> >>> > done on it - you gotta assume that they were the best judges at how
> to
> >>> get
> >>> > the control room sound onto the vinyl. And using a Pultec or LA-2A or
> >>> > whatever doesn't do that because its tubes, or its vintage, it does
> that
> >>> > because that's the tools they used, those are the filter curves they
> were
> >>> > hearing. Recently I've been trying to figure out how to un-hype the
> >>> elevated
> >>> > top of a Bones Howe recording, wherein the tones are perfectly
> spot-on.
> >>> > Notwithstanding the fact that I don't have the exact mastering gear
> he
> >>> and
> >>> > the mastering guy did, it's possible to mock up a system that is
> similar
> >>> to
> >>> > what they might have had in their homes when listening to the
> >>> check-lacquers
> >>> > that this EQ master is a derivation of.  And listening on a pair of
> AR
> >>> 4xs
> >>> > lent great insight into what they thought sounded right, because on
> those
> >>> > speakers it sounded like it should - "by the tones" on an
> Plangent/ATR -
> >>> > only  if the tweeter level was backed off a quarter turn. Which they
> >>> > probably did to make sure they didn't release something too dull for
> AM
> >>> > radio.  So there you go, Reverse engineering that transfer-function
> with
> >>> a
> >>> > DSP equalizer came very close to their original intent on modern
> >>> equipment,
> >>> > and when it got to be exactly what it took to un-ring the bell of
> the AR
> >>> > speaker (considered as a "filter") suddenly the tape sounded right,
> all
> >>> on
> >>> > modern gear. A lot of cross-EQ but it wasn't done by going back to
> >>> ancient
> >>> > equipment So there's where the use of vintage equipment can lend
> insight
> >>> > into original intent without being strapped with the obvious
> downside of
> >>> > lower-fidelity gear. . And probably if I could mime the exact
> equalizers
> >>> in
> >>> > the mastering chain i'd do even better. And probably the easiest way
> to
> >>> do
> >>> > that would be with a Pultec likely to have been in the mastering
> chain on
> >>> > the day it was cut - but not because it's tubes, but because that's
> >>> probably
> >>> > what was in the room in 1965 as Bones and the mastering guy
> corrected it
> >>> for
> >>> > release.
> >>> >
> >>> >
> >>> >
> >>> >
> >>> >
> >>> >
> >>> >> On Nov 20, 2013, at 9:57 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
> >>> >>
> >>> >> Hi John:
> >>> >>
> >>> >> The rationale was three-fold:
> >>> >>
> >>> >> 1. play the tape as little as possible because it's not in good
> shape
> >>> >>
> >>> >> 2. try to match the sound to what people are used to. This album
> has a
> >>> > huge "sonic memory" out there with the buying public and critics. If
> the
> >>> > reissue team didn't reference the original LPs for the mix and the
> >>> general
> >>> > sonic ambience, they'd get slammed by critics and careful-listening
> fans.
> >>> > Those who don't "get" or accept this rationale are thinking too much
> as a
> >>> > scientist or engineer and not enough as a music business person. One
> has
> >>> to
> >>> > understand the market, plain and simple. Deviating too far from what
> I
> >>> call
> >>> > a "sonic memory" is toxic to sales. I can cite numerous examples.
> >>> >>
> >>> >> 3. given that Mark Wilder has a long track record of excellent
> remasters
> >>> > that sell well, I tend to trust his judgement to mix outside the
> box. In
> >>> my
> >>> > own experiments with using, for instance Izotope's "mastering EQ"
> >>> plug-in in
> >>> > Sony Soundforge vs. going back out to analog and using my Great River
> >>> > mastering equalizer, I always prefer the Great River. I do not
> believe
> >>> that
> >>> > DSP has gotten as good-sounding as the best analog gear for
> "sweetening"
> >>> > something to an individual's taste. I'd trust the Great River or my
> >>> trusty
> >>> > Pultec equalizers anyday over any DSP I've heard. I would also trust
> >>> Mark's
> >>> > analog mixer over, for instance, the ubiquitous Protools mixing
> >>> interface.
> >>> > Again, this is not worth arguing if someone is a hardcore believer in
> >>> doing
> >>> > these things in the box. Tomato, tomahto. Wilder and Sony have a
> proven
> >>> > track record of sales to back up their work methods.
> >>> >>
> >>> >> I also think they cut new LPs out of the mixdown process. Like the
> LP
> >>> > niche-renaissance or not, cutting an LP that will retail for $30
> with a
> >>> $10
> >>> > profit for the issuer is a good business move for a popular title
> like
> >>> this.
> >>> >>
> >>> >> Regarding why the mono -- purely a marketing choice. There are many
> fans
> >>> > out there, myself included, who prefer the mono version of this
> album and
> >>> > are thrilled to have it in a high-resolution new version (I'm
> probably
> >>> not
> >>> > alone having worn out my original mono Columbia LP). Like the mono
> >>> Beatles
> >>> > albums, at least up to Sgt. Pepper -- and we can debate whether this
> is
> >>> true
> >>> > all the way through their last mono offering, the White Album --
> with the
> >>> > Miles Davis small-group albums of the late 50s and early 60s, the
> music
> >>> > hangs together better in the mono mixes. I immediately notice that I
> hear
> >>> > complete ensemble songs instead of compositions of well-played sounds
> >>> coming
> >>> > from three different directions. I feel the same way about the Blue
> Note
> >>> > small-group records up to the mid-60s. Small-group jazz does lend
> itself
> >>> to
> >>> > close-in mic'ing in order to get all the details of playing. But,
> then
> >>> > taking those close-mic'd signals and building them into a
> non-distracting
> >>> > stereo image took some learning and practice. It still wasn't right
> in
> >>> the
> >>> > 70s, when you'd have close-in wide-spread stereo mic'ing of the piano
> >>> > (inside the lid, invariably) and drums, but have single-mic'd horns
> then
> >>> > spread across the soundstage (think of Pablo small-group records
> made at
> >>> A&R
> >>> > or Group IV studios). It was unrealistic, like one's head was
> >>> simultaneously
> >>> > inside the piano, drum set and yet out in the room to hear the horns
> >>> spread
> >>> > across a plain. One can get used to it, but an excellent mono mix
> keeps
> >>> just
> >>> > the music and the ensemble front and center.
> >>> >>
> >>> >> Given how terrible the original CD reissues of Sony's jazz library
> >>> sounded
> >>> > (including "Kind of Blue"), I am thrilled that lessons were learned
> and
> >>> > budgets are being used to get us modern remasters that are faithful
> to
> >>> the
> >>> > "sonic memory" but also crisp and clear and dynamic as is expected
> in a
> >>> > modern setting. To my ears, the "Kind of Blue" remasters keep the
> balance
> >>> > and vitality of the original issues but remove several layers of
> fuzz and
> >>> > gauze, so you get the same instrument tonality and mix approved by
> the
> >>> > original team, but it's now like you're hearing it out of the
> original
> >>> > signal chain instead of behind a layer of cutting-master tape smear
> and
> >>> LP
> >>> > fuzz. Oh, and this stereo version is speed-corrected, unlike the
> original
> >>> > LP.
> >>> >>
> >>> >> -- Tom Fine
> >>> >>
> >>> >> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Haley" <
> [log in to unmask]>
> >>> >> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> >>> >> Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 9:30 AM
> >>> >> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The new "Kind of Blue" remasters explained
> >>> >>
> >>> >>
> >>> >>> Of course they should have used the session tapes, not later
> mixdowns.
> >>> >>> That's a given.   The part I don't get here is doing DA and AD
> >>> conversion
> >>> >>> just to use the analog mixer, if I understood that right.  The
> >>> >>> resulting
> >>> >>> 192/24 signal has thus been unnecessarily converted twice already
> and
> >>> >>> subjected to a bunch of old analog electronics.  Also, I don't get
> >>> >>> the need for a mono version derived from the same tapes, and
> >>> >>> personally, instead of that I would much rather have had a
> >>> >>> three-track SACD version, which they have precluded, but that's me.
> >>> >>>
> >>> >>> Best,
> >>> >>> John Haley
> >>> >>>
> >>> >>>
> >>> >>>
> >>> >>> On Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 6:44 AM, Tom Fine
> >>> > <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> >>> >>>
> >>> >>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_p7Qbb_LAo
> >>> >>>>
> >>> >>>> Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" archival transfer made by Mark Wilder
> on
> >>> >>>> an ATR-100.
> >>> >>>>
> >>> >>>> This text (below) copied from the Kind of Blue description at
> >>> >>>> HDTracks.com (HIGHLY recommend the new 192/24 downloads of BOTH
> >>> >>>> stereo and mono, they sound fantastic): The new mono mix is also
> in
> >>> >>>> the new Miles Davis Mono CD box set. As I understand the
> description
> >>> >>>> below and in other interviews with Wilder and Berkowitz, the
> 192/24
> >>> >>>> transfer from the 3-track was a straight, high-quality NAB
> playback.
> >>> >>>> Then all remixing and remastering was done by bringing the 3-track
> >>> >>>> high-resolution digital back out to analog, mixing and processing
> >>> >>>> using analog equipment, and then back to a 192/24 stereo (and
> >>> >>>> mono) master.
> >>> >>>>
> >>> >>>> -----------------------------------------------
> >>> >>>> Kind of Blue Becomes Digital, by Engineer Mark Wilder
> >>> >>>>
> >>> >>>> "Since the Kind of Blue mixed masters are multiple generations
> from
> >>> >>>> the original (due to excessive play/wear), we decided to go
> directly
> >>> >>>> to the original session reels. Not only does this put us at the
> >>> >>>> original session as a starting point, but it also allows us to
> deal
> >>> >>>> with the pitch issue as well.
> >>> >>>>
> >>> >>>> The three, 3-track half-inch tapes are in good condition, but age
> >>> >>>> has force them to "scallop" a little, meaning that the edges curl
> >>> >>>> away from the tape head. This changed the initial focus from
> mixing
> >>> >>>> from the originals to archiving them before mixing and working
> from
> >>> >>>> the archive files. This allowed us to gently guide the tape
> against
> >>> >>>> the playback head to get optimal contact and fidelity.
> >>> >>>>
> >>> >>>> The archiving was done at 192kHz/24 bits, played from a modified
> >>> >>>> Ampex ATR 104, and hard-wired to HDCD Model 2's directly patched
> to
> >>> >>>> a Lynx 2 sound card.
> >>> >>>>
> >>> >>>> An upside to working from the archive files was the ability to
> chase
> >>> >>>> the original fader moves done during the mix in 1959. We
> constantly
> >>> >>>> compared to an early pressing - mono and stereo - and worked bar
> by
> >>> >>>> bar to duplicate the level moves on the three tracks to match as
> well
> >>> as
> >>> > possible.
> >>> >>>>
> >>> >>>> Each channel was converted to analog and passed through a GML
> mixer,
> >>> >>>> bussed to stereo or mono - depending on the release format - and
> >>> >>>> converted once again to 192Kc/24 bits. At the GML, we inserted
> >>> >>>> processing where needed."
> >>> >>>>
> >>> >>>> - Mark Wilder, Battery Studios
> >>> >>>>
> >>> >>>> ----------------------------------------------------------
> >>> >>>>
> >>> >>>> -- Tom Fine
> >>> >>>
> >>
>

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