SH Spotlight Recording and Mastering Questions---Answered here. Any more?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    I received a PM from Forum member Aftermath:

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    Hi Steve,

    Can you help me out with a couple of terms?

    I may have a couple other questions after this.

    Thanks!!
    Mike
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    So, here are the answers. If you have any mastering questions, ask them here. Those of you who know the answers, chime in; no need to wait for me.

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    If multiple tracks are recorded onto a tape, is the tape called a multi-track master or something else?

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    It's called a multi-track tape or "multi" work part. Not called a master, no. Only something finished is a master or "Something to master from".

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    When this first tape is mixed down to stereo or mono, what is that tape called?

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    If you are talking about a finished mix, it's called a stereo master or a mono master.

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    Is this process of going from the multi to mono or stereo called a reduction mix?

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    In the old days, a three-track tape was "reduced" to two-track or mono for cutting records. No one uses that term any more; it's called mixing now. In the film industry it's called rerecording as in your favorite movie's credits: "Rerecorded at Todd-AO Studios".

    However, when you speak of a "reduction mix" you could be talking about the process of bouncing down a full multi-track tape to another tape machine for further overdubbing". The Beatles HELLO GOODBYE was probably recorded using many "reduction mixes". These are work parts. The final reduction mix on four track tape usually had one channel crammed with many generations of music bounces plus two channels of vocals and possibly the fourth track of a "spotlight instrument" like the bass guitar in PAPERBACK WRITER or the kazoo in LOVELY RITA. This is why later Beatles music tracks sound so "clanky".

    Make sense?

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    Any other recording questions, Forum Folk?
     
    lightbulb likes this.
  2. nosticker

    nosticker Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ringwood, NJ
    I have a question: does "bouncing" refer to either or both of these:
    --moving or mixing two or more tracks down to one track;
    --tracks being mixed from one multi-track tape to another, say 8 tracks mixed down and recorded onto 2 tracks on another, second eight track reel(also called a "reduction mix")?


    Dan
     
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    Yes, that is bouncing. Any time music is rerecorded on to another tape machine while adding something, either on the same new track or another track right next to it.

    At my old radio stations that is how we produced local commercials. We "bounced" the narration to a new tape while adding music, effects. It's been sneakily going on since the advent of tape (see any Mel Blanc Capitol recording from 1949, Billy Haley And His Comets "Shake Rattle & Roll" from 1954, etc.)
     
  4. tgc225

    tgc225 Member

    Location:
    California, USA
    Question: I'm a little confused by the term "overdubbing". I used to think the term referred to when a tape was being bounced on to another tape, with a new recording being combined with at least one track from the old recording. For example, Hold Me Tight was recorded on a two track, then, it was bounced to another two track, with McCartney recording a harmony vocal that was being combined with the original vocal track.

    However, I've also seen this term used in general to refer to any new track recording. For example, first, the instrumentation to "Help" was recorded on the first two tracks, then vocals were overdubbed on the remaining to tracks.

    Can anyone clear up exactly what "overdub" means?
     
  5. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    The word overdub just means that something was added to an existing "track". Doesn't matter how it was added, if it wasn't a part of the original live recording it's overdubbed.

    One could say that adding in echo during mixing to the final master mix is overdubbing in the most general sense.

    Make sense?

    If not, let me know!
     
    Folloni likes this.
  6. Aftermath

    Aftermath Forum Resident

    Thanks for the info Steve! Your explanations are very clear--much appreciated.

    Mike
     
  7. marcb

    marcb Forum Resident

    Location:
    DC area
    I have a question...would you consider it mixing or mastering to add reverb and compression to a master tape to make another master tape (ala Dexterization)? Thanks
     
  8. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    Me? No. I'd call it "futzing". :)

    Mastering would be taking that "futzed-with" tape and cutting a record or making a CD with it.
     
    David P. Hill likes this.
  9. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    Location:
    Arizona
    What confuses this all a bit is that in the 50s and 60s, the British had a different termonology than the U.S.. So, if you're a Beatles fan who is interested in their recording, you have to make the adjustments in your head when reading.
     
  10. Dave D

    Dave D Done!

    Location:
    Milton, Canada
    Like what Grant? Not sure what you are referring to.
     
  11. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    He probably means the initials "SI". British studio talk for overdub; "superimposition".

    Use in sentence:


    Abbey Road engineers added Paul McCartney's second voice on the song "A TASTE OF HONEY" via an SI. (Translation: An overdub "bounce".)
     
  12. Dave D

    Dave D Done!

    Location:
    Milton, Canada
    Ah yes, thanks. Guess the white lab coats made them feel like they had to use big words. :)
     
  13. marcb

    marcb Forum Resident

    Location:
    DC area
    Thanks. So the earlier awful Dexterized US Beatles LPs would be different "mixes" (because it's on the Capitol master tape) with bad mastering whereas the awful later US Beatles LPs (Sgt Pepper, White Album, etc.) would simply be bad mastering? :angel:
     
    Somerset Scholar likes this.
  14. Lownote30

    Lownote30 Bass Clef Addict

    Location:
    Nashville, TN, USA
    I'd consider both of those scenarios bad mastering march. They didn't really mix anything on the Dexterized Beatles masters. He just added effects. To me, that isn't a new mix. It's still the EMI mix but with added reverb, delay between left and right channels, and EQing. That makes it a new master and not a new mix. I think Steve put it the best way. Futzing is definitely what happened to those tapes!

    Frank R
     
  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    The Capitol Beatles tapes should be just called "EQ'd Cutting Masters". Same like any production master made for the USA from a source in Gt. Britain, etc. They just sound much worse.
     
    vonwegen likes this.
  16. marcb

    marcb Forum Resident

    Location:
    DC area
    Thanks. I agree, but that begs another question about the Vol 1 & 2 boxes...(must resist the urge to thread crap...must resist the urge to threadcrap...)
     
  17. lukpac

    lukpac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Keep in mind the only LP that was really "Dexterized" (other than the stray fake stereo track) was Second Album. There's no added echo on the other albums.
     
  18. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    More of a recording question than a mastering one, but I've always wondered:

    When using a razor blade to splice analog tape, how precise did you have to be? Just cue up the part where you *think* you want to slice and then take out your blade? Seems even an inch or two in the wrong direction would make a splice stand out terribly.
     
  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    You rock the tape while listening to playback and mark the exact spot with a grease pencil. You cut on that line.

    Listen to the intro of the stereo version of the Beatles I CALL YOUR NAME for a slight goof:

    The splice occurs when John sings "I call your name..." SPLICE "But you're not there.."

    The splice that joins the single track and double track sections together is a bit off so the temp is goofed up there. A little too long; throws the tempo off.

    Hear it?
     
    Dr. Winston Ramone, Gardo and rxcory like this.
  20. lukpac

    lukpac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Another example: This Boy.
     
  21. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Uh Huh

    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    Except for the 'East Coast' pressing of Rubber Soul which has very noticible echo added. Plus "I'll Be Back", "I Feel Fine" and "She's A Woman" from Beatles '65.
     
  22. lukpac

    lukpac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I didn't count RS, since it wasn't on all pressings, and I think I did cover the rest with "other than the stray fake stereo track". Except...why do you mention I'll Be Back? I don't have an LP, but there's nothing different about it on the Vol. 1 box set.
     
  23. toptentwist

    toptentwist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, TX

    And then just to make matters more confusing.... the two tracks from "The Beatles
    2nd Album" that ended up on the "Long Tall Sally" EP were "Martinized" (not the
    infamous dry cleaning technique :) ) when the EP was prepared.

    I believe the songs on the EP happened to have MORE reverb than what ended up
    on the US LP.... inverting the usual rule at least once...

    The "usual rule" being

    "UK version - dry" and "Dexter/Capitol version - wet"
     
  24. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    Okey I heard the delay in I Call Your Name, but not on This Boy (unless it's at 0:06?)
     
  25. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Uh Huh

    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    The stereo I'll Be Back on the Capitol 1 box sounds like it has much more echo than my UK two-box Parlophone stereo pressing of A Hard Day's Night.
     

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