SH Spotlight By request: How I mixed Nat King Cole multi-tracks into stereo for SACD & 45 RPM LP.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    Yes! One more well deserved credit snatched from the mists of time. Score one for the home team.

    :shtiphat:
     
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  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    Indeed, yes.

    Those old-timers were SO nonchalant about their credits.

    Can't believe you have that guy's name and history. Amazing.
     
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  3. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    Years ago, I was waiting at an office. Because you never know when ideas might come, I had a pencil and notepad, to fiddle with a story for fun. Nothing doing, so I looked at the magazines and such. They had some Variety issues. Sheer luck, I saw "Capitol" and 1952 in an obit. Thought, "Say, he might have recorded some of Nat's." So I copied the obit. The name reminded me of that note (which with my memory might constitute a miracle). More amazingly, I was actually able to find the note in my closet. Funny how things go...
     
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  4. Ere

    Ere Forum Resident

    Location:
    Silver Spring MD
    Nice work, Chris!
     
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  5. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    Wow, you have got some memory there Chris!
     
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  6. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    Sometimes it remembers to work!
     
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  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    It works better than mine. The fact that you took the time to gather the information with the hopes that it might be useful later on is great. It was useful, even though it's too late for the AP album credits.
     
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  8. hodgo

    hodgo Tea Making Gort (Yorkshire Branch) Staff

    Location:
    East Yorkshire
    You guy's are amazing the depth of knowledge you all have is why I, just a humble music fan love this place.....

    THANK YOU guy's. :righton:
     
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  9. jtaylor

    jtaylor Forum Resident

    Location:
    RVA
    Did Bob Arnold do the mono or the album assembly?
     
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  10. wcarroll

    wcarroll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Steve: Thanks for taking the time to answer. Very interesting info!

    I'm not either. That kind of stuff is interesting to a point, but can really get fatiguing to listen to. Unless it's a really good alternate take I tend to think, "Well that was almost as good as the master take..." It is neat to hear a little studio chatter, etc.

    Wow. Thanks for the dedication! I didn't realize that it was that much of a needle in a haystack. So glad that Chad decided to fit this title into the series. In my opinion, it has the best sound. Don't get me wrong... All of them are wonderful.
     
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  11. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    St. Louis Blues mono?

    RB and ME. No idea who those people are. The problem is that album was reboxed twice! First was W-993. That legend was destroyed when it became W-1713 and song order scrambled up. THAT box label was destroyed when it became W-1929 in 1962.
     
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  12. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    The reason it is a needle in a haystack is a pretty recent development. A few years ago the tapes were stored in a real vault in RECORD NUMBER ORDER or MASTER NUMBER ORDER (for the surviving outtakes) or PHONO REEL ORDER (for the singles and safeties).

    That all changed when the tapes were pulled off the shelves, piled into file boxes (breaking the careful order they were in for 50 years) and put on shelves at Iron Mountain. People who had NO idea of Capitol's filing system took data from the tape boxes and put them on a (really crappy) computer program. Everything was marked master, nothing could be eyeballed anymore and the file boxes had tapes out of order. God knows who convinced them to do that but for the old stuff it's just chaos. Good thing I had a good person at Capitol who was actually willing to spend the days and weeks working on this. He is the guy who also pulled the GARY LEWIS & THE PLAYBOYS monos for me and the JAY & THE AMERICANS monos as well on the two projects I worked on. Without Jason Blaine I would have been in the tall grass because I wouldn't have been able to find a damn thing.
     
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  13. Ere

    Ere Forum Resident

    Location:
    Silver Spring MD
    My professional term for that is: archival violence.
     
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  14. Evan

    Evan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Petal, Mississippi
    Thats funny. I thought that the stereo mixes were the bonus tracks. Who knew? :D
     
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  15. jtaylor

    jtaylor Forum Resident

    Location:
    RVA
    Wonder why 1713 was never issued? At least, I've never seen it. It's that box which is on the AP insert of ST LOUIS BLUES, but I can't make out the name of the engineer in the lower left corner. Bob Arnold is credited on the inner liner.
     
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  16. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    I hadn't seen this before, sorry.

    The ZD-11 MIX tape is what I used as a guide as to how the stereo mix should sound. It's not the tape I used to mix, that was ZD-11/3, big difference!

    That dreadful vocal distortion you're hearing on your ZD-11 open reel tape is the dubbing machine distorting on the "sss" sounds. That vocal distortion isn't on the actual three-tracks (or my mixes). It's the tape dubber overloading during mixing (which was done at 7 1/2 ips!). Note, I wasn't worried about that, I was just listening for proper vocal to instrument balance and reverb levels', etc. I mean, that ZD-11 was mixed back in early 1957 and that's what they wanted it to sound like (without the overload distortion, obviously). The "remix" they did in 1958 for the stereo LP was way worse in many ways. The distortion was gone but the echo was over the top and the voice to music level wasn't right..

    Sorry for not answering this sooner..
     
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  17. wcarroll

    wcarroll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Thanks, I guess I just looked past the "/3" when I read that before. ZD-11/3 is the 3-track.

    It's too bad about the distortion on the ZD-11 open reel tape. It sounds really nice otherwise. Looks like "Just One Of Those Things" was available as ZD-28 and "St. Louis Blues" was also available, but I can't read the catalog number in the attached picture. (The picture was posted in another thread by MLutthans from a recent eBay auction.) Guess I won't be listening to one of these any time soon... :)

    Again, thank you Steve. I'm learning a lot here.
     

    Attached Files:

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  18. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    Yes, Wes, those 2-track open reel tapes are not all they are cracked up to be.

    I was told for years that all the ZD mixes were ash-canned but they are all still there at Capitol. Besides me, I doubt anyone has listened to one of them in 55 years! They are usually missing a song or two though (the open reel tapes could only hold so much and you couldn't turn them over so just one side was used. That was why that format died and the "new" open reel format of quarter track/four track was invented. You could flip the tape over thus the albums could be complete. Sound suffered a bit though, thinner tracks and the "remixes" from 1958 or so were always inferior to those first stereo attempts at Capitol in 1957..)
     
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  19. Espen R

    Espen R Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norway
    Love is the Thing SACD is amazing. It's just perfect mastered. The presence of the Nat's voice is incredible, so is the sweetness of the strings. From my memory the presence and nearness of Nat's voice is especially strong and well recorded on "When I fall in love" and "Ain't Misbehavin".

    Today they played "When I fall in love" on the radio. Even in my car I could hear how much poorer (mechanical sounding) that version was compared to Steve's.
     
  20. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter




    Thanks, much appreciated.

    Nice term "Mechanical sounding".

    You would be surprised at how many people (and almost all record company execs) love mechanical sound.:(
     
  21. Espen R

    Espen R Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norway
    I know, I know... :(
     
  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    I agree, AFTER MIDNIGHT has the best sound. The first Nat King Cole recorded in the new Capitol Tower Studio. Full-track mono, 15 ips NAB, Ampex 350-1. Just a light splash of echo chamber to give it some body and take away that slightly dead studio sound. Just an amazing recording achievement for 1956. By the next year Capitol was dumping way too much reverb on everything which is why I'm always thankful that AFTER MIDNIGHT was recorded before that started to happen. Our version is a pure full bandwidth transfer, first time ever from the session masters right to 45 RPM vinyl and DSD. A pleasure to master this one.

    Think I'll go play it right now. SACD version..
     
  23. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    Bob Arnold probably did the mono, yes. Capitol came up with that, not me.

    I don't have the ST LOUIS BLUES booklet handy but if it is a tape box, the name in the lower corner is Brittan as mentioned above.
     
  24. Ere

    Ere Forum Resident

    Location:
    Silver Spring MD
    In your earlier reply about using the "mono original" to help gauge the amount of echo you would use on the stereo mix of 'Love is the Thing,' did you listen to the original mono tapes or to the mono lp?

    Since AFTER MIDNIGHT was mono, with the echo on the tape, was your transfer basically straight from the full track mono tape without anything added or taken away? I seem to recall on the 45rpm lp there is a partial take/false start on one song that is the dry tape....
     
  25. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    I'm confused. There is a funny outtake of "I Thought About Marie" on the 45 that is dry but that's on LOVE IS THE THING.

    The outtakes on AFTER MIDNIGHT are all with printed echo. If the music is soft there is no echo, if it's louder there is a bit. That's it. There is no reverb on producer Lee Gillette's talkback mic. Is that what you're thinking of?

    I used the mono tape of LOVE IS THE THING to judge echo for my remix but mainly I used the master of the open reel consumer tape from 1957 (ZD-11). It has the perfect echo/music ratio...

    Did I answer what you wanted?
     
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