Elvis at the International Hotel Las Vegas 1969 Box Set

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by emjel, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Elvis' Las Vegas recordings have been favored by me BECAUSE they are drier than the arena recordings and have better separation. Now this Dick comes along and makes them sound closer to an arena recording.
     
  2. RoyalPineapple

    RoyalPineapple Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    It's not so much the reverb (the long trail off to the sound that you'd expect to hear in any large room) but the more abrupt-sounding slapback echo which, as I've said in various comments, I'm not a fan of. It seems to be a Ross-Spang hallmark, but it sounds out of place to my ears, particularly on the monologue sections.

    The overall sound though is vibrant, very lively and punchy. Ross-Spang makes some effort to simulate the sound of a cranked-up PA system in a large room, an immersive experience which I imagine a lot of people will enjoy.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  3. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    I have yet to attend a concert at a live venue where I prefer that sound over my stereo. I DO NOT want the "excitement" of the arena on my live recordings, thank you very much.
     
  4. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    I like Ferrante's work on the 70s box and on Promised Land expanded.
     
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  5. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    What I DO like about Ferrante's On Stage is he did not include Jarvis' "sweetening" post production overdubs nor interjected audience reactions. But the sound was quite bad in spite of these preferred editorial decisions.
     
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  6. CBackley

    CBackley Chairman of the Bored


    The discs are RIDICULOUSLY tight on this set. Some of the worst I’ve ever seen.

    My TTWII box set was missing Disc 8. That sucked.
     
  7. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Yes, I understand. I have been listening to this set since yesterday.
     
  8. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    The original Sun recordings of That's All Right did not have the slapback. When RCA got ahold of the Sun material they compressed and added reverb to all of the material whether it was on tape or mastered from Sun 45s and 78s (because not all the material survived on tape). On A Boy From Tupelo, for the first time on CD we can hear the original dry version of That's All Right. I MUCH prefer the dry version. Reverb and slapback blurs transient information. It takes away the intimacy and the immediacy of a recording. It a commercial tool that people have been conditioned to expect in a recording.
     
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  9. RoyalPineapple

    RoyalPineapple Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    Agreed on the echo: but reverb is different, because a performer adjusts his performance to the venue he is in. Singing in a completely dry room with 3 people in the audience inspires a different dynamic to a 2000-seat showroom or a cavernous 20000-seat arena.

    So although simuating the room sound via the mix is never going to be strictly authentic, it does still bring us much closer to what the audience and performer heard, and therefore I find it preferable, and certainly more authentic than a completely dry-sounding live album.

    And even when the room is naturally flat, such as in the studio, many performers (apparently including Elvis) tend to prefer some added reverb, which can create a more dreamlike and multi-layered sound.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  10. Reeves Music

    Reeves Music Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Texas
    I saw Elvis live twice - once at the International way back in 1969 - when these songs were recorded.

    And saw him way, way, way back when in 1954. He was still unknown but was getting a little exposure from the Louisiana Hayride. They'd organized a mini tour which included a stop at the old Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston for the "Fat Stock Show" (Now the more politically correct Houston Livestock Show.)

    He was outside the hall over by the carnival rides - playing (he was a decent guitarist) and singing from atop a flat bed trailer!

    How the world has changed.

    Reeves
     
  11. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Reverb is simulated echo.
     
  12. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    For my listening pleasure it is irrelevant what the audience heard. I do not want a dreamlike and multi layered sound. I do not want "atmosphere". Listen to the raw binaural Jailhouse Rock recordings on FTD. I want the undoctored studio sound, not some commercially driving product. The FTD Jailhouse Rock CDs sound like you are right there in the studio, warts and all. I guess I would say it sounds more like the studio is in your living room. Goosebumps my friend!

    King Creole was also recording on binaural tape. They used this source to mix, balance and add compression and reverb for the final product. However the live mono feed tapes survived and are featured on the FTD King Creole. They sound cleaner and more dynamic, more lifelike.
     
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  13. RoyalPineapple

    RoyalPineapple Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    I'm using "echo" (sometimes referred to as delay) to refer to the artificial doubling of Elvis's voice, everything repeated a fraction of a second later, as heard on the new Live 1969 mixes.

    And "reverb" to refer to the extended trail off that you would expect to get from shouting into a hall, cave, cathedral or arena.
     
  14. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Understood. I like neither. And it seems I like the Live 1969 "echo" even less than the more subtle "reverb" found on the best of the previous incarnations of this material.
     
  15. RoyalPineapple

    RoyalPineapple Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    The thing about the Live 1969 echo for me is that it doesn't sound very "real". It's clearly an effect. So fans of a dry, clearly-defined mix will not like it under any circumstances, and fans of a lively reverb-laden mix will likely find it to sound inauthentic.

    For most it won't be a deal breaker, but I'm not sure many will be thrilled at its inclusion, either.
     
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  16. Reeves Music

    Reeves Music Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Texas
    Just saw the reverb discussion. Live performances and their recordings are always different than what comes out of the studio. The environment is so different - and so are the musicians. If you are unfamiliar with studio sessions, take a look at my mini article at

    Reeves Piano and Synthesizer Music The Unsung Magicians Behind the Music Page

    There's a couple of links on the page into Wikipedia about Session Musicians

    Session musician - Wikipedia

    and offstage musicians.

    Offstage musicians and singers in popular music - Wikipedia

    Reeves
     
  17. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Reverb as an effect is artificial echo. The "slapback" effect is a singular echo. In nature, reverb is multiple echoes bouncing off various surfaces different distances from the source which causes the blurring of the original source's sound. It is a distortion, whether natural or synthetic.
     
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  18. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    And I prefer the less doctored Las Vegas recordings over even the most natural arena recordings, BECAUSE the Las Vegas recordings sound more like a studio recording due to the venue. And when someone comes along to make the Las Vegas recordings sound more "live" by artificial and intrusive means, it gets my goat.
     
  19. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Southwest
    Your implication appears to suggest that Sony mainstream releases (and BMG before it) issued watered-down product for mainstream consumption, and reserved high-end audio for niche releases, which is not the case.

    With respect to the BMG era, Ernst set out to produce quality releases, but either had limitations with his own ability to judge the skill level of various engineers, or had budgetary and resource limitations at BMG (he also dealt with inferior tape source issues). The mainstream Sony releases have been overseen by a couple of different executives, most recently Rob Santos, who has his own preferences and relationships for mixing projects (notice Ernst continues to predominantly work with Jeansson and Anesini with many FTD projects, which suggests the mainstream product decisions are personal and political).

    There is also no correlation with 80 Amazon reviews (in a world with billions of consumers) and the general overall consensus by a wider audience of whether a release is good.

    Furthermore, we really don’t know why Vic was not commissioned to mix certain live tapes (or if he wanted the job or had time for the job); what we do know is that he has mastered nearly every mainstream catalogue release over the past decade. It is not about creating something for everybody, it really comes down to creative decision making at the executive level — sometimes they get it right, sometimes they don’t.
     
  20. Reeves Music

    Reeves Music Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Texas
    I totally agree with you about Las Vegas. If you're going to play live, it's about as good as it gets. Some of that has changed - now some show venues are more like auditoriums than what they were in the 50's and 60's. The old dinner shows were almost ideal. The architecture was professionally designed like a concert hall, there were people scattered every which way, table clothes, padded walls, everything to cut down on the booming and reverberations.

    Even then, the live sound and the studio sound were different. Some of that is just the amount of control - and some of it is that in a studio, you can fix things - even re-record a passage. It took the Eagles 11 sessions to nail down Hotel California. Playing live, the sound engineer gets one shot to make it work. In some ways, the guy sitting in the middle of the audience at a mixer board is the most important person in the room as to the final outcome.

    I do miss the old days.

    Reeves
     
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  21. aphexj

    aphexj Sound mind & body

    Location:
    Toronto
    What do you call the single echo of a tape delay caused by audience microphones not being time-aligned with the stage microphones and picking up the bounce off the venue walls a moment later than the dry stage mic signal does? That 'hiccup' after the dry signal is essentially all that a slapback effect is. It was a very live room... Elvis could hear his own voice through the PA from onstage at these shows, he routinely makes several funny noises on mic for laughs

    Doesn't seem impossible that this effect is actually there on the multis after all. I haven't heard the other mixes to check, but I suspect that's exactly what's going on here, rather than a deliberately applied slapback delay added at mixing. Just a hunch. If they had dumped these tapes to Pro Tools and done time alignment there, then this sort of artifact could be eliminated. One consequence of mixing direct from multi-track analogue is: you can't do that
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  22. RoyalPineapple

    RoyalPineapple Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    But who is to say that Prince From Another Planet is "watered-down product"?

    From my perspective, maybe. Personally I am not a fan of that release. But I know there are people who love it. They find the "on-steroids" sound much more appealing than the Legacy release of the original MSG album. Who am I to tell them that they are wrong? (I mean, the cantankerous fellow that I am, I do actually tell them they are wrong. But I don't expect to be taken too seriously).

    Likewise with the Royal Philharmonic releases. I've no interest at all in hearing Elvis posthumously augmented with superfluous instrumentation. But those records found their audience and delighted them. That's what matters.

    The market is split into sections, and part of the record company's job is keeping everybody happy via a variety of differing releases. Not an easy job!
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  23. RoyalPineapple

    RoyalPineapple Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    The slapback echo in question has been added during mixing: it's a Matt Ross-Spang trademark, and doesn't sound particularly realistic to me.

    A certain degree of spacious-sounding reverb, however, should be expected on a live recording, and for some listeners it will be preferable as it adds a sense of space to the sound and simulates the ambience of the showroom.
     
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  24. aphexj

    aphexj Sound mind & body

    Location:
    Toronto
    Was the ambience of the showroom not recorded on the tape? RCA were recording a live album, presumably they knew to capture SOME of the room on different channels. I'd like to see a mic plot or diagram of how this was recorded to multi
     
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  25. Reeves Music

    Reeves Music Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Texas
    I'd be curious, too, but you have to remember this was 1969. The technology and capabilities back then were way different that they are now.

    There were a lot of full symphonic orchestras recorded with nothing but a couple of mic's hung from the overhead. We did some live band recordings with nothing but the feed from the amps (or maybe with a mic parked in front of the speakers) and a feed from the PA amps. Sometimes we had 16 channels to work with, but there were times there was only four.

    Whatever ambiance you picked up was all you got.

    The problem with a lot of older recordings, is that instead of just re-releasing them as they were, they try to go back and "fix" things with the idea of trying to make them sound like a recording from today.

    That never works. The sound is what it was back in 1969 - just leave it alone.

    Reeves
     

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