DCC Archive CBS Mastersound LP's = CRAP???

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Unknown, Nov 14, 2001.

  1. Unknown

    Unknown Guest Thread Starter

    Here's another juicy tidbit from Gregg Schnitzer, who served as Director of Product Development at Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs from 1980 to 1986.

    <<CBS sent me a catalog and invited me to pick a baker's dozen of titles that I would like to do on vinyl. So I picked lots of neat stuff like Abraxas, Joni Mitchell, Ten Years After, Earth Wind and Fire and so on, and ordered the records for tech review. I sent the list of my choices back and they sent me records but I never heard from them again. Several months later I was cruising a record store and I see this glitzy rack with the 13 titles I had picked. It said, "CBS Master Sound - Audiophile Pressing - Half Speed Mastered." Boy, was I pissed. I bought one of each and went back to the lab. After I cooled down I called Gary to see if he could do some listening with me.

    Thirty seconds after dropping the needle on the first disc we stopped and looked at each other in horror. Then we tried another of the CBS discs. We stopped that one, looked at each other, and laughed till we had tears in our eyes and cramps in our sides. CBS tried to do an end run on us by having us do the A&R work. The problem was that they, apparently, cut the discs at half speed but didn't adjust their EQ or Dolby systems down an octave. They just cut it at half speed with their real time mastering notes for processing. Man, it sounded like watermelon seeds shooting out the speakers. Those poor guys looked real bad after that and we looked real good. They never did get it right and eventually stopped trying.>>


    Amazing. Simply amazing. I can't believe CBS could screw things up like that. Well, actually I can. But still, I bet plenty of audiophiles snapped up these LP's anyway. Has anyone here actually heard any of the Mastersound LP's? Are they every bit as bad as Gregg Schnitzer says?
     
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  2. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    Location:
    Hyannis Ma
    I have one, Men At Work "Business As Usual", and it DOES sound like a "basket of snakes".

    Yeah, they forgot to drop their EQ down.
     
  3. Sam

    Sam Forum Resident

    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Maybe most sound bad, but ONE stands out and has been hailed by many for being one of the best sonic copies available of this title. That's Pink Floyd's Wish you were here. Mine sounds fantastic. Tom Port and Bob from Elusive Disk have both told me that this CBS gets the nod. What do you other members think?
     
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  4. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    Sam I have the CD version of WYWH on Mastersound (if I recall correctly). It's pretty good. But I don't have the vinyl.

    Are you saying the vinyl is pretty good, too?
     
  5. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    Location:
    Hyannis Ma
    The vinyl Masteround 1/2 speed of WYWH is a completely different animal. I've heard the same about WYWH. They must have caught the ball after they dropped it there.
     
  6. Randy W

    Randy W Well-Known Member

    The Wall and Blood on the Tracks CBS Mastersound LPs aren't bad either - though IMO most are not a big improvement over a clean original copy, for example Heart/Little Queen.
     
  7. Paul C.

    Paul C. Active Member

    Location:
    Australia
    I had a few of those things, but never thought much of them. I don't have any of them now, but kind of wish I did. I had Wish You Were Here, and I think also a Billy Joel (The Stranger?), and also "Heavy Weather", I think.

    The packaging was supposed to be super, but in fact was rather ordinary. And as i recall, the track Palladium on "Heavy Weather" had an abrupt edit at the end, omitting the fadeout that was on the original LP.

    I wouldn't spend much time seeking these out now. They were no doubt better than some of the standard LPs, but not by a big margin. I would think they are more of a historical curiosity.
     
  8. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    Location:
    Arizona
    I bought two or three of them, Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall", Boz Scaggs "Silk Degrees", and Billy Joel's "Songs In The Attic" on cassette. The cassette was quite good, rivaling the CD remaster, but the LP's were thin and blurred, as I recall. They were about as bad as the Nautilus Diana Ross' "Diana" half-speed LP effort.

    Anyway, I didn't think much of the Mastersound LPs and got rid of them, favoring the regular pressings as sounding smoother and more balanced in the EQ, and we all know what kind of crap CBS put out, quality-wise.

    [ November 14, 2001: Message edited by: Grant T. ]
     
  9. feinstein

    feinstein Member

    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    I can testify that CBS and later Sony DID manage to badly mangle an "audiophile" reissue. Listen to the SACD version of Billie Holiday's "Lady In Satin". The idiot who mastered it (Mark Wilder) seems to have used the wrong equalization setting on the playback deck. Therefore, the sound is an incredibly thin sounding mess. It's unbelievable that Sony allowed this trash to be released.

    By comparison, the original stereo LP and Classic Records reissue, while not "records to die for" at least have the warm, full sound characteristic of Columbia's late-50's large ensemble recordings.
     
  10. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    Speaking of Billie Holiday, don't forget the old MCA boxed set that Steve did when he was with MCA! Don't recall the name but by golly, I'm gonna find it one day! :)

    And thanks for the SACD warning re: Lady in Satin!
     
  11. joelee

    joelee Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston
    I have Sprinsteen's "Darkness" and Chicago's "Greatest Hits" half speeds and they sound inferior to the original releases also! I was never happy with the Nautilus LPs I owned either.
    Does anyone remember the CBS Quiex(sp) LPS?
    I have Boz Scagg's "Silk Degrees" on Quiex and it sounds great.
     
  12. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    Location:
    Arizona
    I wouldn't be so quick to bash Mark Wilder. He has done lots of fantastic work for the Sony Legacy label.

    What would be nice is to have some kind of forum something to let the engineers/producers explain themselves or the situation before we judge their work. Yes, we all do it, but they know the full story of what happens. Maybe a project sounds less than stellar because of something that was beyond their control.
     
  13. Ian

    Ian Active Member

    Location:
    Milford, Maine
    I had a copy of this one too. The crappy speakers that I had at the time (I won't name them in order to avoid embarrassment) exacerbated the high end probs... I just thought it only on my system.
     
  14. Sam

    Sam Forum Resident

    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    In reply to Gary above---- I'm not saying that Wish you were here on vinyl from CBS is "pretty good." I'm saying it is THE BEST copy of this title I have yet to hear. It's that good. I had the cd from Mastersound--Junk. But that's because it was a seeeee deeeee. I have yet to hear the rare japanese half-speed of Wish you were hear. I'm gonna buy it one of these days just for that wonderful looking OBI wrapped around it.
     
  15. Unknown

    Unknown Guest Thread Starter

    Wasn't the half-speed WYWH issued with two different catalog numbers? Is there any difference between the two?
     
  16. Ronald

    Ronald Member

    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I agree with Sckott about the Men at Work Mastersound Lps. The original releases sound far better than the 1/2 speed versions. I wish I hadn't purchased them. They are so shrill sounding. The original releases possess excellent sound, IMO.

    That said, there are a few choice issues out there. Blood Sweat and Tears first lp "Child is Father to Man" is one I would recommend. That sound is excellent and the music is better than their self-titled second lp. The band was revamped with the second lp, as Al Kooper played a minor role in it and David Clayton Thomas was introduced.

    I like the Boss's "Darkness on the Edge of Town", but I didn't care for the 1/2 speed version of "Born to Run". Classicrecs got it right by my ears. Classicrecs sounds much better than the CBS Japan/Sony pressing as well.

    Billy Joel's "Songs in the Attic" is acceptable and better than the original release, but it is based on live performances and the recording is a digital master by Tom Jung (yes of DMP fame).

    It is hit or miss with the CBS Mastersounds. I think they did get it right eventually, but their initial releases are suspect.

    Pink Floyd WYWH does have two numbers HC-33453 and HC-43453. Boston's first LP and the Boss's "Born to Run" has two numbers as well. So do DF "Phoenix" and BJ "The Stranger". It would be nice to know why, but I don't think CBS will ever speak.
     
  17. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Location:
    Greater Vancouver
    Gentlemen,
    Both the numbers are for the exact same cd (sound-wise). All that it signifies is that one is the first edition long-box release and the other is the standard slip cover release even though the cds themselves appear phyisically different on the face of the cd. :D
     
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  18. Ben

    Ben New Member

    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Okay, okay...let me see if I've got this right...the Mastersound version on LP is great, but the Mastersound Gold CD is not - right?

    Is that possible? Wouldn't they have been cut from the same master tape? Are we attributing the difference to the nature of "cold" digital versus "warm" vinyl?

    Hmmmmmm,

    Ben

    :eek:
     
  19. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Location:
    Greater Vancouver
    Ben,
    The deal with the mastersounds is that most of the vinyl sucks because of the way they mastered it at half-speed (Steve gave details in another post). The gold cds are mostly fine with about half a doz. exceptions (ie Springsteens: Born To Run).
    Wish You Were Here is really good along with Santana and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
    Hope this helps ya.

    [ December 19, 2001: Message edited by: Dave ]
     
  20. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    Very interesting, gents.

    But Sam & Dave, have you or anyone compared the Mastersound CD or vinyl with the new Echoes WYWH parts 1-4 (or whatever it was) and the title track?

    Hey... have youse guys ever thought about singing t'geather? Youse got a catchy name ;) !
     
  21. Ben

    Ben New Member

    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Hey, Dave...hope all is well in the Great White North!

    Thanks, yes that helps...I really do like the Gold CD...it "thrums" in my ears...the lead guitar slices into the cerebellum like a hot knife going through butter...

    Boo-yah! (and Merry Xmas!)

    Ben


    :cool:
     
  22. Larry Naramore

    Larry Naramore Bonafied Knucklehead

    Location:
    Sun Valley, Calif.
    What boxed set??? All I've every heard was MCAD-5766 Billie Holiday, From The Original Master Tapes
     
  23. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Location:
    Greater Vancouver
    Hi Ben,
    Yeah all is well up here despite 3 major wind storms within the last week, gusts up to over 100km, oops I mean 65mph. ;)
    If you want get in touch with me off the forum and I'll send you a list of the ones that I know are good or bad, such as the case maybe. :cool:
     
  24. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Location:
    Greater Vancouver
    Gary,
    Nope haven't compared WYWH to Echos but I'm willing to bet that Echos is either exactly the same or inferior to the Mastersound.
     
  25. Ronald

    Ronald Member

    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I never did buy the MasterSound gold CD of WYWH. It went out of print quickly (or allegedly). Current asking prices for this disk are very expensive. I can imagine the longbox packaging is as pricey as a Quadraphonic version of the DSM lp.

    redtrumpet.com did sell a CD packaged in miniature original LP packaging. Yes it does have the black plastic on the cover and the postcards. The sound is very good. I would recommend it, but it is no longer available there. It may be available in Canada.

    There is a vendor for the MasterSound LP WYWH, audiophile-records.com . The version there is HC43453. I have the HC33453 version, but I do not know the differences, unless the later version (43) has the original postcards. The 33 I have does not have the postcards.

    If you want something really very extremely rare and hard to find (redundancy is repetitive), try to find a MasterSound re-issue of "The Wall". When it was first released, the price was of the regular two- LP set was $15.98, but the MasterSound version was about $30! I can imagine the reason it is hard to find was that few copies were ever purchased.

    It is horrifying to imagine that unsold copies were recycled into fuel oil.

    Ain't record collecting fun?
     

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