Sinatra / Capitol: General Purpose Sound Quality (and more) Discussion Thread*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by hodgo, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. hodgo

    hodgo Tea Making Gort (Yorkshire Branch) Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Yorkshire
    [Edit - Note: Note: In October, 2009, member Randy9700 started an excellent, informative thread (see here) about the new 180 gram Capitol reissues of three titles: IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS, COME FLY WITH ME, AND COME DANCE WITH ME! This thread started to wander in all different directions of sound quality discussion, eventually (almost completely at times) ignoring its original topic. Problem was: For anybody wanting to learn specifically about the three reissue titles, it became virtually impossible at times to wade through the waters and find that specific discussion within the broader discussion

    The thread you are reading now is intended as a place to discuss sound quality on Capitol Sinatra releases OTHER THAN the three titles listed above. The first posts below are ones that were pulled from that original thread because they did not (primarily) discuss those three titles.

    For discussion on the three titles that have been released on Capitol LP, please go to Randy9700's original thread. Click here. ]


    Bob is indeed right about the london box it's fabulous and certainly the best way to get the Capitol era albums, Bob and the guys over at SFF were fundamental in my buying this box and it's not something I've regretted doing at all, in fact CD's from that box are what I've been playing over the last few days. Whilst the Larry Walsh CD's are really good but a little inconsistent, and the Norberg CD's truly awful and an insult to the great Man FS, the UK set is truly marvelous and can be bought quite often at reasonable prices on E Bay.
     
  2. salleno

    salleno Forum Resident

    Location:
    So. Cal.
    I stand corrected.:angel: Leave it to Bob to have everything Sinatra. :righton:
     
  3. ArneW

    ArneW Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cologne, Germany
    The british box is very good for the most part. Probably the best commercially released CD transfers.

    Arne
     
  4. johnny33

    johnny33 New Member

    Location:
    usa

    What are the drawbacks to the set?
     
  5. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    Opinions differ about the sound quality on the later (stereo) albums, but the mono ones are very nice (dry, unprocessed). However, the first two albums, Songs For Young Lovers and Swing Easy!, are the (separate 12-inch LP) reissues from the early '60s, with extra tracks and reordering of the original 10-inch LP songs. Not my preference for those two albums.

    There is a minor CD mastering error on one of the discs, where the track index start times are off by a few seconds. (Where Are You?, IIRC.)

    There is no substantial booklet, other than a flimsy one which came with the 1980's 20-LP box set. However, the individual jewel cases contain some nice additions to the "stock" Capitol liner notes, by Alan Dell.

    There are no bonus tracks (except one on No One Cares), although I view that as a plus not a drawback. The singles compilation albums such as This Is Sinatra! and All The Way are included, as is an extra disc of bonuses, The Rare Sinatra.

    It's missing the Jolly Christmas album and the three film soundtracks, but all in all, it's the best way to get the bulk of Sinatra's Capitol catalog on compact disc in one place with respectable sound.
     
  6. johnny33

    johnny33 New Member

    Location:
    usa
    stereo started with Only the Lonely right? i can never keep all this straight :(
     
    Michael P likes this.
  7. ArneW

    ArneW Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cologne, Germany
    While the sound is quite good, the U.K. tape copies from which this set has likely been mastered can sound quite wet at times (too much reverb). Still, this set is a pleasure to listen to (in most cases, better than the original Larry Walsh-mastered U.S. box).

    Arne
     
  8. Jack White

    Jack White Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    "Where Are You?" (1957, a year before "Frank Sinatra Sings For Only The Lonely")
     
    Michael P likes this.
  9. johnny33

    johnny33 New Member

    Location:
    usa

    Thanks Jack! i have all this stuff written down somewhere when i was looking for Sinatra lps. i finished about 3/4. of my collection and then gave up. I think ive blocked out half of what i learned from post traumatic grey label syndrome :laugh:
     
    Sneaky Pete likes this.
  10. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    Where Are You?, actually, as far as Sinatra RECORDED in stereo at the Capitol Tower. I think Only The Lonely was the first LP RELEASED in stereo. (The earliest recordings of FS in stereo were on the High Society soundtrack, but those were recorded at MGM in 1956 and not released in stereo until years later.)

    If you look at the chronological album list at my signature link, everything before Where Are You? was mono only, as was A Jolly Christmas later that year (1957). Everything else from 1958 onward had true stereo issues, except the singles compilations, This Is Sinatra, Volume Two and Look To Your Heart. (This Is Sinatra, Volume Two actually had some tracks recorded in stereo, but they weren't released as such until the CD era.)

    [Overlapped with Jack's post.]
     
  11. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    And I forgot to mention that the original stereo issue of OTL was incomplete. missing two tracks from the mono issue. It was many years before you could get a stereo version with all twelve tracks (in the UK).
     
  12. johnny33

    johnny33 New Member

    Location:
    usa
    man im glad you guys are here to keep this straight. tough catalogue to keep up with at times.
     
  13. shicorp

    shicorp Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austria
    If you are counting all existing stereo masters, you would have to go as far back as to the 1940s MGM recordings. "The Tender Trap" also had a stereo soundtrack, when released theatrically.

    In terms of commercial recordings, it started with "Where Are You?" IIRC some of the CD issues still have duophonic versions of the tracks that were left off original stereo pressings. There's plenty of work left - but my prediction is that Capitol won't do anything about it. The ideal representation would of course be CDs with both, the mono and original stereo mixes (along with alternate takes that have been issued through the years). In some cases, this would require 2 CDs...
     
  14. johnny33

    johnny33 New Member

    Location:
    usa
    Arne, do you remember which albums are wet and which are dry on the Capitol UK set?
     
  15. johnny33

    johnny33 New Member

    Location:
    usa
    Is there an album that is served well by the added reverb? Only the Lonely perhaps because it gives that hollow feeling to a beyond lonesome album. I always see the subject as being in a room by himself closed in on IWSH. But on SFOTL I see him out in the abyss of the nightlife. Therefore dry intimacy serves IWSH better where as the vortex sound of reverb serves the hollow abyss of SFOTL better.
     
  16. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    She Shot Me Down had lots and lots of reverb from day one.
     
  17. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    In fact, She Shot Me Down made the best use of reverb. Frank Laico beautifully caught Frank's voice on this album. Listen to "Good Thing Going" for late era Frank at his very finest. Superb song and arrangement. I own the Promo Reprise 45 and it is reference quality. This LP is cheap and very findable in nice condition. Grab one when you see a good copy.
     
  18. Gary Freed

    Gary Freed Forum Resident

    Bob, never heard of the London Box before.
    I guess you're referring the the THE CAPITOL YEARS UK 21-CD Boxset from 1998.

    I bought that set about 8 years ago. Overall I would agree it is excellent although there is a touch of graininess to the transfer on certain CDs.


     
  19. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    Of course. It's often called the "London" box, just as The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings from 1995 is often called the "suitcase."

    Nothing to do with the sound, but one of the cool things about this set is that the spines of the 21 jewel cases form a photograph of Sinatra in the studio. The second photo below is not too great, but it should give the general idea:

    UK-Capitol-Years-box.jpg UK-Capitol-Years.jpg
     
  20. hodgo

    hodgo Tea Making Gort (Yorkshire Branch) Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Yorkshire
    I've seen this UK 21 CD set sell twice in the last 2 months for ridiculously low prices and also in perfect condition too. The first one went for £43 and about 2 weeks later another went for £30 and each had pretty low postage costs associated with them.

    So if you keep an eye out you can get very lucky sometimes with these boxes.
     
  21. shicorp

    shicorp Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austria
    I realize that this may lead a bit off-topic, but I think this is a serious question nevertheless: does the fact that Larry Walsh used the 'right' tapes for his 'Capitol Years' anthology during the late 1980s/early 1990s mean that Capitol is already in the possession of 16 bit/44.1 dubs of all these albums? It would make little sense to me to search for a fifty year old tape (a bit younger back then) and then just copy a few tracks, but then again with record companies one never knows.

    It's kind of an irony, however, that the two key albums of Sinatra's Capitol discography (if not of his entire career) sound the worst.
     
  22. feinstei9415

    feinstei9415 Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    The "British Box" is a very early digital remaster and thus is not subject to any futzing. I have the LP set from which the 21 CD box originates from (the LP set lacks the "Sinatra Rarities" album which was later added to the CD set, but otherwise derives from the same masters) and the LP's sound okay, although very "Simpson's Rule" (rectangles approaching a smooth curve if you remember your "Thomas" calculus book) shrill digital sounding. The Linn/V15 combo smooths it out a bit, but these British remasters are NOWHERE-NEAR high-fidelity recordings and cannot even be compared with the grey-label Capitols. Remember all of you who bitched about the Beatles Capitol stuff, that the British LP and CD collection are 16 bit 44.1 kHz digital copies of copies of copies of the original U.S. Capitol LP masters.

    Other comments:
    There are some GOOD things about Norberg's work on the Capitol material. If you listen to Norberg's remix of "High Hopes" on the Capitol Singles 4 CD set, you'll hear a very pure, great sounding stereo remix from the original 3 track tapes. Before Norberg got his hands on "High Hopes", it was a blurry mess and very poorly mixed and mastered (including the original Capitol single!). "High Hopes" was first collected on an album called "All the Way" (which was briefly available on CD during the late 80's) which was released in '61 or so and generally sounded just awful. Norberg's remixing/remastering work on all of these later "All the Way" stereo-era singles restored these tracks to their rightful glory.

    Although it's been in-vogue to bash the Norberg stuff (and I've been part of the bashing for the last 9 or 10 years!!!!), I think that we owe him a lot of credit for his work on the Capitol Singles box and the "stereo" singles.
     
  23. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    "High Hopes" was also remixed (very nicely, IMO) by Ron Furmanek for CD in 1988, IIRC.
     
  24. feinstei9415

    feinstei9415 Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    On which disk are you referring MLutthans? I thought that I've heard all of the "High Hopes's" out there. Are you referring to the one on that "Capitol Collector's Series"???
     
  25. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Yes.
     

Share This Page