Adventures In Mastering: "Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits" 360 Stereo Gold CD from AF..

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Los Angeles
    When I was a lad it was in Summer Camp '65 that I first heard Bob Dylan. LIKE A ROLLING STONE came over the radio one day when we were going to horseback riding and it was STILL playing when we got there. It was a blowmind to us, first, that the song was so long. Not since EL PASO was there such a never-ending story song on the radio. Secondly, the guy seemed to be just yelling at this girl, really giving it to her.

    We liked it, especially the "HOW DOES IT FEEL?" part which we used to scream out (to the dismay of the camp counselors). After a week or so we knew the thing by heart. Both KRLA and KFWB tried to get away with playing the short version of the song (cutting it off at the three minute mark initially) but it was too late, by the end of the first week it had to be the long version or the button was pushed on the car radio. LA radio quickly realized they had to play the entire song. They lost ad time but gained a generation of grateful kids. I still remember the wonder of hearing this (as it seemed to us) really long bitch-fest of a song. Dylan sang it like he really meant every word (and I'm sure he did)..

    Well, that was my introduction to Bob Dylan and although I heard more Dylan (in the demo booth of Music City, Woodland Hills), my favorite LP at that time was his GREATEST HITS which was the first Dylan I actually bought (my Dad bought it for me). Must have been very late 1966 or so. I had my Zenith fold-out stereo so we got the "360 Stereo" Columbia LP and the stereo mixes of those 10 great songs are the ones that imprinted on my tiny brain.

    In the 1970's when I got a job and actually had money, I got most of the old Dylan albums and I enjoy the man's work. I saw him live with THE BAND in 1974 and with TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS in 1985 or so. The soft spot in my heart for his original Greatest Hits album has never gone away.

    When Marshall of Audio Fidelity (basically my boss since June 1, 1987) mentioned that he was trying to get Dylan's GH from SONY at the beginning of this year I welcomed the news. A chance to master that album from the correct stereophonic analog sources in my "style" was a pretty exciting thought.

    It took about five months to get all the right versions together but a few days ago we finally mastered BOB DYLAN'S GREATEST HITS in 360 Stereo over at Marsh Mastering. Stephen Marsh has done hundreds of Sony projects and we both knew that eventually they would find exactly what we needed to make this project work. Stephen and I have worked together on many projects but the day we did the final mastering on Dylan, Stephen exclaimed with a tired look on his face "Never has it taken so long to do just 10 songs!"

    Today I received the final check disk and I'm happy with the results. We resisted the temptation to "clean up" some of the acoustic songs by going back to the multi tracks and basically mastered each song like it was the only song that mattered in the world (in other words our usual deal).

    Each and every song is an ORIGINAL era mix, no remixes.

    Didn't want to lose that "Stressed Out" Columbia Studio sound that all of these songs have. A trademark sound of the era. After all, these songs would sag without that 30% distortion on the original Columbia Studio mixes. The attempted remixes (like the Motown remixes) lack that urgency and just don't sound right. Thanks to the help of East Coast Columbia Engineering Legend (and SH Forums member) MARK WILDER, we used all the tapes from that era, which means NO bass cut EQ'd cutting dubs, NO extra compression and NO lower treble screech that has been built into most every version of this album ever issued. We resisted the temptation to give every song a similar sonic signature, choosing instead to respect the tonality of each individual mix, not wishing to disturb the "energy" of the sound of each. Nothing sounds like anything else on the disk. This is intentional, a nod to the pioneering efforts of the original producers, engineers and artists.

    So much Bob Dylan is out there already, why THIS album? Marshall and I both agreed that this album is an important stand-alone document of Bob Dylan's music. What he will be remembered for. His crucial recordings, now Audio Fidelity style.

    I'm thrilled that the songs now have Dylan's voice sounding closer to a living person singing. At the right level it's sometimes spooky real. Blasting out it's powerful and exciting, like it was meant to be. The stereo mixes of songs like JUST LIKE A WOMAN, LIKE A ROLLING STONE, etc. now have more authority and stature, won't hurt your ears and can be really enjoyed for what they are: Monumental ground-breaking creations that really changed pop music forever.

    Coming as soon as AF can get it pressed, final OK by Sony and into the hands of the distributors: Enjoy.

    Below, cover mock-up, not actual song order.

    Attached Files:

  2. MikeP5877


    Northeast OH
    Awesome. I love the flow of the album, especially side 2 which is one of my favorite album sides of all time. I eagerly await.
  3. Yankee8156

    Yankee8156 Senior Member

    New York
    Very interesting. Can't wait.
  4. Taxman

    Taxman Senior Member

    Fayetteville, NY
    I have everything Dylan but still this is an automatic purchase for me.
  5. Fantastic news, can't wait.
  6. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    This is indeed THE perfect Bob Dylan compilation there is.
  7. Pureprairie1972

    Pureprairie1972 New Member

    USA Heartland
    Oh hell yes!!!!!!!!
  8. mozz

    mozz Forum Resident

    Madrid, Spain
    Count me in.
  9. Myke

    Myke Trying Not To Spook The Horse

    Wow ! I've never owned this album before, PLUS you're a guaranteed an additional sale to a guy that's NEVER bought one of yours before Steve. My buddy for the last 29 years, a HUGE Dylan fan.

    Can't wait ! :cheers:
  10. Vinylsoul 1965

    Vinylsoul 1965 Senior Member

    Steve, I would be OK if you did the ENTIRE Dylan catalog!!!! I just finally found a used DCC copy of Highway 61 and was quite seriously shocked at what I was hearing...that classic album has NEVER sounded so good.

    Any album that has your mastering of Positively 4th Street has me hooked...REALLY looking forward to hearing this!!!
  11. Taxman

    Taxman Senior Member

    Fayetteville, NY
    Great, let's remaster the enclosed poster too! Bluer blues and redder reds.
  12. Beech

    Beech Forum Resident

    Dublin, Ireland
    Looking forward to it.
  13. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident

    Freaking sweet! My first Dylan "album" too.
  14. hi_watt

    hi_watt The Road Warrior

    San Diego, CA
    Man, this is going to be a must purchase for me! :O
  15. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Milwaukee, WI
    I'm not an expert...does anyone know what mix was used on the original GH for I Want You?
  16. PH416156

    PH416156 Alea Iacta Est

    Where is the preorder link? :D

    Thanks, great news!
  17. Roland Stone

    Roland Stone Offending Member

    Okay, this is the last time I'm buying this album!

    The DCC of HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED is one of my desert island discs, so I'm looking forward to this.
  18. Myke

    Myke Trying Not To Spook The Horse

    I :love: being this excited about a new release !!!! :laugh:
  19. Bob Lovely

    Bob Lovely Super Gort In Memoriam

    I look forward to hearing Steve's mastering of this classic LP...

  20. theanswer337

    theanswer337 Forum Resident

  21. therockman

    therockman Senior Member In Memoriam

    Wow man; just freaking wow!!!
  22. PH416156

    PH416156 Alea Iacta Est

    :laugh: :thumbsup:
  23. I found out about this project when you tweeted to your wife Karla on Twitter about it, Steve...I damn near fainted when I realized what you were working on!!! When's this sucker coming out, I can hardly wait!!! "Highway 61" was my very first DCC Gold Series purchase back in the day, and I've been waiting for you to return to the vintage Dylan catalog ever since that...glad you finally got to scratch that itch again...:bigeek::cheers:
  24. ivan_wemple

    ivan_wemple Senior Member

    I've been hoping AF would venture into compilation "territory" a bit more. This is awesome news... a superb choice.
  25. Soundman

    Soundman Senior Member

    U.K. / U.S.
    I don't own ANY Dylan and just couldn't get into the bits that I've heard, BUT....I'll be giving this a shot. :)

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