DCC Archive Opinions on Stevie Wonder box

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Andrew, Nov 6, 2001.

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  1. Andrew

    Andrew Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'd prefer to get Stevie's box during the next BMG sale, as it has pretty much everything interesting to me. Any opinions (soundwise)about this set vs. the recent reissues of his 70's material? Thanks. :cool:
     
  2. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    I think it's the same mastering since they were done around the same time. It's a good retrospective, though the last disc drifts into lite pop (not to my tastes, but this was how his career went, and "I Just Called To Say I Love You" WAS a huge smash). The first disc is a great single disc retrospective of his early years, including BOTH parts of Fingertips.

    If you just want a box set retrospective, go ahead and get it, but the string of great albums he did in the 70's deserve to be heard in full. "Talking Book," "Innervisions," and "Songs In The Key of Life" are three of the best albums of all-time, and most of the others he did are solid as well.
     
  3. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    Location:
    Arizona
    But, you asked about sound quality.

    At the time of the remastering Harry Weigner said that Motown just didn't have access to the original tapes. Stevie Wonder owns the tapes and certain people claim that the master tapes are damaged and deteriorating beyond repair, paticularly "Fufillingness First Fanale". There are also those who dispute this. Whatever the case, second generation copies are all that Motown has, and that's what Harry used to master the new CDs and the box set from. He just EQed the tapes to bring back some of the punch. It should also be noted that Stevie Wonder has no interest in his past work. He was not involved in the remastering process.

    The results? I think they are a bit too bright, with some albums sounding outright edgy. The tape hiss and other anomalies from the copies are very obvious. But, to my ears, they are still preferable to the older CDs. One can tell from the sound of the copies that the first generation masters sound awsome.

    One MAJOR improvement is the "Hotter Than July" CD. This was Stevie's second all-digital recording and it sounded horrible. Mr. Weigner was able to bring back some depth to this recording.

    As stated before, everything on the remastered CDs applies to the box set.

    [ November 06, 2001: Message edited by: Grant T. ]
     
  4. rjp

    rjp Forum Resident

    Location:
    ohio
    one of my favorite box sets. it pretty much covers everything and the sound is very good. ;)
     
  5. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    This came up on the old board. In fact, someone on Amazon.com posted a bunch of reviews saying how the new remasters weren't from the original tapes.

    If memory serves, Steve said that Motown does have the original master tapes, and this is what they used. What Mr. Wonder has are the original multi-tracks.

    I don't know if the original tapes are damaged, but I don't think they're so damaged they wouldn't be used. Bill Inglot and Dan Hersch used a few tapes for the Hitsville II Box Set and they sound great.
     
  6. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    Location:
    Arizona
    Therein lies the controversy. Harry Weiner did not use the FIRST generation two-track masters and one quick listen shows that. It was said that Stevie had the multis AND the FIRST generation two-track mixdown tapes.

    Bill Inglot used different masters entierly. He used 45 RPM single edits. Listen again to "Superstition" on that Motown Singles Collection box. It's dull and compressed.

    [ November 07, 2001: Message edited by: Grant T. ]
     
  7. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    Steve, can you clear this up?
     
  8. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    Grant,

    I check with the Hitsville II set, and Superstition does sound duller than it does on the reissue of Talking Book.

    Just curious, though, do you have any vinyl or anything that used the first generation master tape? With all the crossfades done on these albums, in a way, many of the songs already sound a generation removed.
     
  9. I agree that the sound of the Stevie box falls into the "improvement over the old CD's but first generation masters not used" category. Overall, I am happy with the programming of the set, although anyone will come up with nits about particular favorites (I miss Blame it on the Sun and Summer Soft). It must have been a daunting task selecting the tracks, as it is not like there is wheat to separate from chaff on albums like Talking Book, Innervsions, etc. Can't fault most of Harry's choices, though. The only real disappointment I had with the thing is that I recall Stevie Wonder took an Executive Producer credit but still apparently has these better masters that could have been used. The last comment I can find from Harry on this matter was "Stevie Wonder has control over the use of his masters from 1972 - forward"; take from that whatever you want.
     
  10. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    Man, I can't believe Stevie would do that. Honestly, would it be too much of a hassle for him?

    Next question: does the MFSL gold CD of Innervisions use the original tapes, or do they just say they do?
     
  11. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    The MFSL CD of "Innervisions" uses the original master tape.

    BUT REMEMBER, even that tape is mostly second generation. The songs segue into each other, right? So, the actual mixes were threaded up on other machines and redubbed to the master, blending the intros and outros.

    Juz' one of those things....
     
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  12. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    Guess I'll have to put that title back on my shopping list...
     
  13. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    Location:
    Arizona
    Exactlt Steve! The CDs use COPIES of the crossfaded masters, not the absolute song masters or the crossfaded masters. Camarillo doesn't believe it but it's true.

    NOT using absolute master tapes for whatever reason still happens quite a bit in this industry. Just because it's a remastering job does not automatically assume that they used mixdown tapes.

    I have all of the remastered CDs, not just the box set.

    Yes, I do have the original LPs AND 45 RPM singles to compare to.
     
  14. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    What the hell are you talking about? I just admitted I was wrong on a previous post.
     
  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    Folks,

    Let me restate this. The MFSL version of "Innervisions" uses the CORRECT master tape. The only master tape.

    The individual songs without the blending are just "premixed workparts". The actual master reel has the songs blended together (like "Sgt Pepper"). Even though it is mainly second generation, using anything else would be a no no.

    Of course, for a box set, using the earlier generation work part would be the thing to do. Too bad they didn't...

    Try and find a copy of the MFSL "Innervisions". It's great! ;)

    [ November 08, 2001: Message edited by: Steve Hoffman ]
     
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  16. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    Location:
    Arizona
    Sure, that's what I meant. MoFi used the mnaster tape but Motown didn't. Why, we just can't be sure. The MoFi CD was made years before the remasters, so it is possible that Stevie asserted more control over the tapes when it came to Motown using them. Stevie has always had "issues" with Motown.

    The process back in the day would be to thread up two or more tape machines with mixdowns of the individual songs. Each tape would be turned on at certain intervals to create crossfades as the master tape recorded the sequence. What resulted was the album master for a side.

    Anyway, Camarillo, don't worry about it. I wasn't taking any swipes at you. I didn't see where you retracted anything but it's cool. It's not important.
     
  17. pdenny

    pdenny Blow up your TV

    Grant (or anybody else) is this still the majority opinion on HTJ? I want to get the best sounding cd of this title so here I am resurrecting a 12-year-old thread!
     
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