Rudy Van Gelder mastering notes for a BLUE NOTE LP from 50 years ago.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Sep 23, 2011.

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  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    I had a Xerox of some Van Gelder mastering instructions for an ancient Blue Note album. Don't know what the album is but I bet with this number a few of you could tell us what this album is off the top of your head:


    Guess I could look it up in some Blue Note discography but I'm on a dinky 3" screen right now.

    At any rate, get a load of this, mastering notes from over 50 years ago:

    Cutting instructions: LOW FREQ CUTOFF: 45 cycles, HIGH FREQ CUTOFF: 12,000 cycles

    Compression ratio: 8:1

    High EQ: +5 @ 5,000 cycles

    As a collector, I guess an old LP like this from the 1950s is rare and valuable but I'd never use it as the final word in RVG sound quality. His master tapes sound so much better than this!
  2. pig whisperer

    pig whisperer CD Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    LD + 3 / Lou Donaldson with The Three Sounds BLP4012
  3. monkboughtlunch

    monkboughtlunch Forum Resident

    Kansas City
    Heh. That compression ratio sounds like Rudy's remastering notes for the RVG CD reissue series in the 2000s. ;)
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Ah, thanks!
  5. pdenny

    pdenny Blow up your TV

    Ouch. Evidence enough to steer clear of the RVG series.
  6. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Marysville, WA
    From the GET OF MY LAWN files:

    I went to iTunes just to have a listen to the album, to see if maybe there was some obvious reason for the tweaks ordered. The source there? Some EU grey-marked travesty on Hallmark, NOT a Blue Note release. Sounds like utter gar-baje.

  7. chewy

    chewy Forum Resident

    West Coast USA
    hi, im very interested in this post as i collect blue note records for a very long time. what do the low and high freq. cutoffs do? what does the "high EQ..." do? i think i understand what the compression means, it means its really really compressed, right? so what this means, is the old blue not vinyl sound, is not a 'true" sound of what was happening in the studio, but really, um...boosted (?), to "jump out" at you on vinyl or something. so the lps sound nothing like the tape. i remember you mentioned a post about relaxin with the miles quintet prestige lp, how it was all maximized like that. no where near what was on the, the "LP SOUND" and "TAPE SOUND" are two separte things, i guess what i wanna really know, is, why is the vision of the LP SOUND necessarily supposed to be different from the tape sound? oh, and did you just find a pile of old blue note papers? do you have any mastering intructions for any hank mobley or lee morgan albums. i would be really really interested in seeing a pic of that, if you would be so kind....great thread
  8. kt66brooklyn

    kt66brooklyn Forum Resident

    brooklyn, ny

    Your assumption is correct: the sound of the lp's is NOT the sound that was happening in the studio. The tapes were initially made in sort of a futzed with manner and then compression and limiting (are those the right terms?) were added for the lp cutting.

    Still, I like the sound of LD+3 on the original Blue Note stereo. The Music Matters release is much closer to the sound of the original studio session, though, and I think it is much better than the original record.
  9. MikeyH

    MikeyH Stamper King

    Berkeley, CA
    LPs really need to be considered musical products on their own. They were never intended to be a representation of a studio performance, only a performance for home enjoyment on their own terms.

    Some do both, some do one or the other, some do neither.

    Original Blue Notes have a good, loud sound that's enjoyable. It doesn't surprise me to find they're loaded with eq and compression. So are many other discs from that period and later.

    8:1 sounds like a lot but by my reckoning reduces the total dynamic range by 9dB. That could be 39 to 30 or 19 to 10, but probably somewhere between those.
  10. Ramos Pinto

    Ramos Pinto New Member

    Southeast US
    On a 1960's, 10-watt hi fi console with 4" full range paper cones and the speakers only 3 feet apart . . . I'll bet this album was the cat's pajamas.
  11. LarsO

    LarsO Forum Resident

    Newbie questions coming in:

    1) Can "cycles" be translated directly to hertz? So that LO and HI FREQ CUTOFF are the minimum and maximum limits of frequency in 45Hz and 12kHz?

    2) Compression ratio: 8:1. Does this mean that the maximum amplitude have been squeezed to 1/8 of it's original peak?

    3) High EQ: +5 @ 5,000 cycles = volume at 5kHz?

    Anyone? :wave:
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Beaver Stadium
    Yeah, it makes you wonder if he made mastering notes like that for many titles years back and followed them for the RVG remasters.

    I bought several RVG discs cheap when Borders was still around. They exposed me to new jazz for $5-6. Not a bad deal. Now that Borders is gone, however, I will expand my collection of better versions.

    Presumably Alan Yoshida did not follow Van Gelder's advice when mastering the XRCD. The XRCD sounds great.
  13. Baron Von Talbot

    Baron Von Talbot Well-Known Member

    Those were from 50 years ago according to Steve; so not the notes for the RvG CD edition.
    I don't know what an 8:1 compression actually means but 50 to 12 khz cut on LP prettyy much covered most of the frequency the average or even better ceramic styli of the time could transfer via the amps and actually deliver to the speakers.
    What many people do not consider is, that very few tones on acoustic instruments reach below 55 hertz . In general the lowest tone is 45 hertz, the lowest church organ pipe, but only in a large cathedral where there is enough room for that long note to wander - 19 meters or sommething is the length of that tone afaik - the actual lowest notes in a room esp. as small as that studio in Hackensack are even higher... The cut off is more for the rumble in the Vinyl pressing/replay process I bet ?! With todays equipment you can use the full frequency of course (On digital sources at least)
    What is left is a push up in the 5 khz range; probably the tone of the lead instrument...
    Compression was and is a means to pump up the sonics; today the do it for the ear phone guys and back then for those with 3 watt mono or stereo gear and of course for the radio.
    The sound is important, not the sound
  14. violarules

    violarules Forum Resident

    Baltimore, MD
    I guess this debunks the whole "the original vinyl is better" line.

    On another note, looking at this thread with people who have thousands of posts here not knowing what a frequency cutoff is (hint: it's the threshold at which frequencies are cut off) or a compression ratio (if the ratio is 8:1, that means that an 8db peak on the master tape would result in only 1db on the vinyl due to compression) leads me to believe you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him think. Really? We talk about how compression is evil here all the time and people still don't have a basic grasp of what a threshold or compression ratio is. Really?
  15. robertawillisjr

    robertawillisjr Music Lover

    Hampton, VA
    What speakerS during the early 60's it was more more like speaker in the singular. :D
  16. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    No, you can't 'debunk' the 'whole' vinyl preference using one example

    Really? One forum member has a legitimate question about compression and instead of answering you belittle them? Really?
  17. action pact

    action pact ^^ Sandy Warner, "The Exotica Girl"

    No, it debunks the "vintage RVG-mastered vinyl is best" myth.
  18. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    Cycles per second = Hertz
  19. Michel Jazz

    Michel Jazz Forum Resident

    Antwerp, Belgium
    Oh boy, this is going to be a looooooong thread !
    2xUeL likes this.
  20. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Beaver Stadium
    Yes, really. No need to be so critical. Not everyone is a techie and gets involved in technical discussions. We accept all types here. This is not an elitist forum.
  21. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    Of course RVG was mastering for his time and the type of equipment that was available to consumers to play these records at the time. It's very harsh to have a go at him now as compromises had to be made back then. This stuff wasn't aimed at audiophiles back then who had expensive equipment but just music fans.
  22. MikeyH

    MikeyH Stamper King

    Berkeley, CA
    Is there an audio engineer in the house ?:angel:

    I don't think the dB range is divided by 8, but the linear voltage range.
  23. GroovinGarrett

    GroovinGarrett Mrs. Stately's Garden

    Atlanta, GA
    And here I thought your approximations for what was used on Pet Sounds were rough. Those original Blue Notes and Capitol rainbows are nice to look at, but that's about it.

    Low cutoff -5 @ 100 cycles, high cutoff @ 10k.
    +3 @ 5k
    2:1 compression

    Thanks for sharing with us, Steve.
  24. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Of course. Don't get the idea that I'm trashing his choices. He did what he had to do back in the day. Like the director of THE BRADY BUNCH overlighting the sets on the TV show so people with crappy TV's could see the picture. Now it looks silly but back then it was NECESSARY!

    What cracks me up is that there are people TODAY who think that this old "sound" is the correct way that this music should actually sound. It's not and unless you're a collector, why pay $1000.00 for one of these albums when the sound you get is "compromised'?

    That being said, there are many, thousands actually, of old LP's that sound wonderful, RVG mastered LP's included. It all depends. For example, some jazz recordings really needed that Van Gelder mastering "push" to sound forceful and immediate, relevant, exciting and all that. Some records made by Roy DuNann or Howard Holzer just lay there without forceful mastering and of course we all know that the magic of the stereo tube cut BEATLES FOR SALE is all in the mastering and even though it sounds nothing like the actual tape, that sound is magical and seducing. Wouldn't want to be without it.

    So, don't mistake me, I love old records and I love the sound of old records. I don't expect them to sound like real life but I expect them to sound like music.
    rxcory and 2xUeL like this.
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