SH Spotlight Distortion free trumpets in the 20s-40s. But BLUE NOTE? WHAT HAPPENED? RVG Evil Neumann mics?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    The Neumann microphone is not the problem, as we've told you time and again. We love and respect them. The USA microphone pre-amplifiers overloaded with the Neumann microphones (as they needed padding down to not have this problem especially on brass instruments). And often got overload distortion because of this problem. And brass instruments especially so. Please understand this. Also, the USA studio monitors didn't let engineers hear it until it was over the line into buzzsaw distortion. And many a Blue Note has audible limiter splatter. Facts!! The RCA microphones were a lot better than you give them credit for too. I've used them over many years, they did fine with skilled engineers. The better equipment in use by many here, makes a lot of this very audible.
     
  2. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Landed here after noticing distorted trumpets more recently for some reason. Freddy Hubbard "Open Sesame" for example used to be a favorite but now it seems like the distortion is worse.
    Lee Morgan "Cornbread" and many more.

    Anyone have any hardware (phono cartridge?) suggestions to help minimize the impact pf the distorted trumpets on Blue Note LPs?
     
  3. William Bryant

    William Bryant Forum Resident

    Location:
    Meridian, ID
    Freddie Hubbard’s sound was distorted in real life. A tragic combination of jazz genius and chops problems that got worse and worse, and finally put an end to his career.

    Lee Morgan had real life chops problems himself (that sometimes distorted attacks), but not as badly as those of Hubbard.

    There may have been mike problems too of course.
     
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Remember when all we had to worry about was this?
     
  5. kamchatka

    kamchatka Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    I've always been frustrated by the vibraphone distortion on some of the Blue Note Thelonious Monk/Milt Jackson recordings. Would this also be due to the Neumann mics overloading the preamps? (I am definitely not an engineer). Also, would ribbons have been a better choice for vibraphone?
     
  6. Jelloza

    Jelloza My hard drive is full of vinyl

    Location:
    New York City
    Can someone list a few Jazz recordings where the Trumpet is recorded correctly?
     
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  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Yes, no.
     
  8. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Sure, 1932.

     
  9. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    puts things into perspective, that's for sure.
     
  10. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
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  11. yasujiro

    yasujiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    tokyo
    From a forum favorite.

     
  12. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    man that sounds good ! thanks for making me spend more $ on music !!! :)
     
  13. mikemoon

    mikemoon Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    If most these RVG BN titles have these issues, is it advisable to avoid the the audiophile vinyl reissues MM, AP, TP, etc.? Are we just wasting our money?

    As a jazz novice, I'm just trying to learn. I read through each page on this thread so forgive me if I'm just confused. I've always thought these reissues sounded great but I've never been exposed to much live jazz.

    I just watched the Ken Burns Jazz doc and found it fascinating.
     
  14. Bobby Buckshot

    Bobby Buckshot Heavy on the grease please

    Location:
    Southeastern US
    No, these releases are pleasing most jazz fans buying them (aside from some of the TP albums which have issues being addressed in a dedicated thread).

    I wouldn't advise avoiding any BN titles as they're some of the best recorded jazz from the late 50s through the 60s (and beyond), and if you avoid them then you're missing out on a ton of legendary music. Personally I love all of these titles across various media, audiophile and non. My advice is to preview the titles and if you like them, buy them in whatever medium you prefer. Enjoy the ride man! :cheers:

    Edit to add: If you want some of the best sounding BN jazz from the 60s, and are just getting into the music I can't recommend Mosaic's new Hank Mobley 63-70 sessions box set highly enough. These CDs sound remarkable and the music is ridiculously great.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
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  15. mikemoon

    mikemoon Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Thanks for the response. I'm mostly vinyl only in the home. I've been purchasing a little at a time over the past 10 years mostly from the labels that I mentioned (MM, AP, TP, etc.) as I have always heard they were top notch pressings (mastering, music, pressing and packaging). I have 50+ of these in my collection. After reading through all this thread it had me scratching my head and well aware of the little I know about this genre and many of the recordings. I'm always researching and learning.
     
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  16. NorthNY Mark

    NorthNY Mark Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canton, NY, USA

    You're not wasting your money if you value the tonal improvements that the audiophile reissues make to previous versions. They're usually a lot less edgy, and provide more depth and dynamics, etc. They won't cure distortion that's on the master tape, though, so if your goal is to avoid any hint of distortion in a jazz recording, RVG recordings probably won't be for you. But not all of them have really obvious distortion, and even when they do, you may find the other sonic (and let's not forget musical) qualities outweigh the flaws. It's like any other audiophile mastering from a less-than-perfect source. Some listeners take the position that only the most pristine original recordings are worthy of audiophile treatment. Others are still willing to pay more for the best possible presentation of even less-than-perfect material (I'm in the latter camp, for what it's worth).
     
  17. mikemoon

    mikemoon Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm a music lover first. I like audiophile reissues but I don't consider myself an audiophile but I respect the term. I had a hearing exam before I made any further audio investments and my results were great and I got custom ear plugs made! Didn't make any more audio investments though, just music.

    What you explain makes sense. I just had no idea about the distortion (which is good to know. I guess if I can't tell it's there well...ignorance is bliss. I always want the best sounding version of music I love. Last year my interest for jazz began to grow and this past month I'm digging deeper, particularly with Coltrane, Rollins, McLean, Ellington and Miles (2nd quartet + electric). This list continues to grow as my wallet shrinks!

    I really do appreciate your kind and informative response.
     
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  18. GreatTone

    GreatTone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Falls Church, VA
    Could you elaborate on this? I'm curious because I've heard some unamplified live trumpeters where they sounded distorted, and it made me wonder. Maybe distortion is the wrong word, but kind of a buzzy sound that is very similar to overload distortion or vinyl mistracking. Also prevalent on Grachan Moncur's trombone recordings. Any insights would be appreciated.
     
  19. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'm going to have to give it a listen again but I do believe there is some distortion there. Does anyone know for sure what kind of mics were used?
     
  20. Mike M

    Mike M Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maplewood
    The RCA/Victor stuff does sound great (wish his 29-31 recordings sounded as good), like the Ellington stuff recorded by them as well, but in his case, how much of that was because of the new Selmer trumpet he was playing? Just curious
     
  21. William Bryant

    William Bryant Forum Resident

    Location:
    Meridian, ID
    FWIW I've played trumpet since 1969, and I studied with several top Los Angeles pros back in the 70s and 80s.

    Embouchure is a fancy word for the shape of your face with an instrument mouthpiece attached. Some musicians are naturally gifted and/or tutored to have better or worse embouchures, and a trained listener/teacher can detect certain technical tone production problems (or solutions) blind-folded. One teacher I had could listen to a trumpeter on an LP or tape and describe his embouchure without looking at a photo. "Mouthpiece is too low." "Thin, stretched lips." "Lips too thick not to get that double buzz attack from time to time." "OK, now that guy has a perfect set up. Everything is vibrating properly." --Those sorts of comments.

    Many of the great bop trumpet players were stellar musicians but second tier trumpeters either by nature or by lack of formal training or both. Dizzy Gillespie is the obvious example, but many others had embouchure issues as well. Typical of black trumpet players (who dominated the 50s jazz scene*) was a tendency to let the inner ring of the mouthpiece ride down in the fleshy part of the upper lip instead of up on the surrounding muscle. This low placement worked for some of them, at least short term, but it led to diminishing returns and ruined careers for others. Of course, some like Clifford and Lee never found out how long their embouchures would last because their lives were cut short.

    Listen to early Dizzy and late Dizzy to get an idea of how a poor embouchure won't stand the test of time. Same with Freddie Hubbard only worse because of a self-inflicted injury caused by trying to do more than his poor embouchure would allow. Note to aspiring trumpeters: Unless you have perfect chops, do not get into a high note contest with Jon Faddis (embouchure looks strange on the outside but is absolutely perfect inside the mouthpiece).

    Then listen to early Doc Severinsen and Doc again in his 60s and you'll get an idea of a how a good embouchure holds up long term. Doc is a second tier musician but probably the best trumpet player ever in terms of tone quality, clean technique, range, etc.

    *Listen to Conte Candoli, Don Fagerquist, or Jack Sheldon to hear trumpets attached to a different type of (white) embouchure and thus a different type of sound.
     
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  22. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    That topic almost demands an entire webpage with embedded video of famous trumpeters.

    Thanks for sharing, share more when you have time.
     
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  23. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Just note that there is a big difference between a buzzy trumpet technique and a recorded distorted buzz cut version of a trumpet. When you combine the two? Ear bleed.

    You want to see the difference? Look at a distorted sounding horn on a peak meter or VU meter. If it's not moving and distorted, it's clipping, overloaded by operator error (or on purpose). If it's well below a meter peak, it's the player.

    Any good engineer would never combine the two..
     
  24. GreatTone

    GreatTone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Falls Church, VA
    This is fascinating, thanks for taking the time to explain it.
     
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  25. William Bryant

    William Bryant Forum Resident

    Location:
    Meridian, ID
    Here is Doc in his prime. Listen to his sound at 2:13. Big as a house and stunningly beautiful. Just overwhelming. I heard him several times back in the 70s live and went back to my car weeping. No exaggeration. Miles and Dizzy and Freddie and just about everyone would live in a trailer house the rest of their lives to have his sound. Doc, on the other hand, said on more than one occasion that he would give up his sound for just one night of Miles’s jazz creativity.

     
    Last edited: May 2, 2020

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