Elvis Costello on Rhino--time to reevaluate?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by edb15, Oct 10, 2007.

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  1. CardinalFang

    CardinalFang New Member


    You're a class act. Your statement was tactful and honest. It's appreciated. :thumbsup: This coming from a guy that likes his mastering "with less top end and upper mids." I haven't heard the Demon CDs (I don't think I've ever seen a copy here in Ohio, aside from the Bloody Marys comp), but I do really enjoy the Rhino editions. You've pretty much confirmed what I suspected: these albums were recorded that way! :)
  2. onlyconnect

    onlyconnect The prose and the passion

    Winchester, UK
    Thanks for the comments.

    I'm not sure who it would be unfair to. Like you, I think is OK to prefer a CD from an inferior tape, if you prefer its EQ, lack of NR, or other characteristic. But I for one would still be interested to know which issues used which tapes.

  3. Downsampled

    Downsampled Forum Resident

    Ah, I just saw a Demon Trust in Amoeba in Berkeley the other day! (But I already own it.) I think it was $10.

    But you're right, they do not appear very often.
  4. DrJ

    DrJ Senior Member

    Davis, CA, USA
    PlusMinus - you're killin' me! $10?! I ain't never even seen one, including at the Berkeley Amoeba. :)
  5. GabeG

    GabeG New Member


    Andrew...thanks a million.
  6. Paul K

    Paul K Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada

    Please tell us what was used. I don't mind eating crow...but I would like a definitive answer on sources and what was done wrt. the Rhinos...

    I stand guilty on all counts of liking the Demons the best....but please for the record understand that I went out and purchased ALL of the Rhinos already. That doesn't warrant a hero biscuit, but at least my opinion can't be swayed against purchasing them...

    So, if I may pretty please ask you Andrew, what made the older CD's and what was done generally to the Rhinos?

    Thanx so much!
  7. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Luckless Pedestrian

    Andrew, you rock.

    Thank you for the care you put into all of the releases you're involved with, especially the Costello stuff, but not limited to those. There are a couple of the Rhino Costello ones that I don't prefer the sound of over older issues, but that is MY problem! :winkgrin:

    Please keep coming back and help to maintain the humble quotient of these here forums.
  8. Andrew, I'm a fan of both your tape research/mastering work
    and your compositions/original recordings. "A Beautiful Story", indeed!

    So, coming from a fan, here's the question: were the Costello Rhinos
    created using dynamic range compression, or not? Are people
    imagining this? If compression was indeed used, would it have created
    a playback-on-consumer-equipment problem if your team had used
    no dynamic range compression at all?

    Thanks in advance for your response!
  9. Oh...not again! :rolleyes: :help:
  10. Downsampled

    Downsampled Forum Resident


    The funny thing about Demon's Trust is that it must be the crappiest-looking one of the various Demon ECs. The artwork looks like a multi-generation copy, like a bootleg. Maybe it got priced on its looks!
  11. RayistaGeoff

    RayistaGeoff Forum Resident

    Man, no joke there! As I mentioned a page or so ago, I happened to find that one the other day and I picked it up and put it back like twice thinking it *must* be a bootleg. The back artwork in particular is really fuzzy. But the sound is :righton:

  12. lbangs

    lbangs Senior Member

    Okay, I finally found some free time (12:40 AM!) to pull out my book and type these. I'll list the album, then the stated running time of the original Columbia issue, then that of the "secret" remastered version, all according to Bill Shapiro's Rock & Roll Review. He claims the remasters were released in 1989 and uniformly prefers them to the originals.

    My Aim Is True - 36:38 - 35:59
    This Year's Model - 33:24 - 33:14
    Armed Forces - 36:50 - 36:14
    Get Happy!! - 48:20 - 48:27
    Trust - 41:45 - 41:45 (Good luck!)
    Punch the Clock - 45:34 - 45:28
    The Best of Elvis Costello and the Attractions - 64:25 - Mentions remaster in 1989, but doesn't list running time for the version.

    He doesn't mention remasters for Almost Blue or Imperial Bedroom or any album after Punch the Clock.

    I personally have no idea if these are from the Demon masters.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs
  13. jstraw

    jstraw Forum Resident

    Bill Shapiro writes books? Thanks for the warning.

    Sorry for the threadcrap...I just can't stand that guy. I'm sure the books are well-researched but I wouldn't pay any attention to his opinions about anything.

    I live in his radio show's listening area. He's a guy that would never use three words where 20 would do. He plays great music and talks all the life out if it. If someone were to write sketch comedy about a rock critic, he'd be the perfect model. If he'd limit his remarks to what's worth saying he could play three or three more songs per show.
  14. namretsam

    namretsam Senior Member

    Santa Rosa , CA
    I find it ironic that the preferred sound here often seems to be the 1980's compact discs that have embedded high-frequency limiting often present in EQ masters they were derived from.
  15. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Luckless Pedestrian

    :D :hide:
  16. johnny 99

    johnny 99 Down On Main Street

    They're only preferred by a portion of the forum; not by all.:D :hide:
  17. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    :agree: Like listening while sitting under a blanket
    No Blue Skies likes this.
  18. mark f.

    mark f. Forum Resident

    I'm a fan of the Rhinos but the two Demon CDs I have do not sound like what you are describing.
  19. Paul K

    Paul K Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    I know...it is crazy! I know it makes no sense...I just prefer the sound of them...I have my answer now...thank you namretsam...
    I suppose the real problem here is me...not the Rhinos....(and I'm not being smart alecky....I just scratch my head with all this stuff!)

  20. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    You guys are just speculating that the older CDs have high-frequency limiting. Mr. Sandoval did not say that, unless I missed it. He implied that the old Demons were not drawn from the master tapes, but he didn't say anything about the EQ. My guess would be that the Demons are relatively flat transfers of whatever tapes they had around, and the Rhinos are sourced from the master tapes but have some upper mid range EQ added. Kinda similar to the Beach Boys JPN past masters vs the current Gastwirt masters.
  21. His Masters Vice

    His Masters Vice W.C. Fields Forever

    Sydney, Australia
    Thanks Andrew, you are most gracious! I certainly appreciate the effort behind the Rhinos - certainly a marvellous collection of bonus tracks, and the packaging/liner notes/photos etc, that's all top-notch.

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned much is the Rhino reissues of the Elvis Costello albums from the "CD era". I mean "Blood and Chocolate", "Spike", "Mighty Like a Rose", "The Juliet Letters" and "All This Useless Beauty". The original CDs of these albums were most definitely taken from the masters.

    I know the sound of original "Spike" WB CD has been compared to the Rhino reissue, and that's one where I find it hard to prefer the original CD. The Rhino seems less brittle to me, and has a more realistic soundstage. More like the LP - and I have all the UK LPs.
  22. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Huh. I find that the original WB CD of Spike sounds much more like the LP to me than the Rhino CD does (the Rhino is notably brighter). The original LP and CD were both mastered by Bob Ludwig. Was the UK LP of Spike mastered by someone else?
  23. GabeG

    GabeG New Member


    That's your guess, but many production masters WERE tweaked for lp. Sandoval DID say that many of the rhinos were not tweaked - in fact albums like spike sounded NOTHING like the master in original cd form. Same of imperial bedroom (at least in the ryko edition) - they couldn't figure out how the ryko came out the way it did given the sound of the master.

    You may prefer the sound of earlier issues, but not because of any strange things done to the rhinos.
  24. GabeG

    GabeG New Member

    I'm afraid this is a case where I also think the new cd sounds much closer to the original us vinyl.
  25. DrJ

    DrJ Senior Member

    Davis, CA, USA
    Folks, there are clearly different ears and different preferences on the SH Forums and this discussion really has nicely driven that home.

    Yesterday I received the first 2 of several original 1980s UK Demon CDs I ordered last week - GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS and OUT OF OUR IDIOT.

    To my ears, these sound fantastic. Way more dynamic than the recent Rhinos, and they breathe. The highs aren't harsh, and the louder you turn them up, the better they sound. And the low end is tremendous. Now I know what the person in this thread was talking about when they said earlier that the intro to "Watching the Detectives" would nicely illustrate the advantages of the Demon CDs. Wow!

    I have no idea what source the Demons came from. Hey, they might have been made from 12th generation tape copies that had been stored in a garbage bin for a few years, and were covered with cigarette ashes and rotting food, for all I know.

    What I do know is that to me they sound miles better than the Rhinos. The Rhinos aren't bad by any means for a few tracks, but are ultimately quite fatiguing on prolonged listening (though are great for the bonus cuts and liners). Perhaps that is a faithful reproduction of the sound of the original masters. If so then it seems to me that the apparent choice of doing "flat transfers" was not to my preference. Even our host Steve, who has a wonderfully light touch with EQ, picks and chooses, reserving completely flat transfers for masters that sound great already and working his EQ magic on "sonically challenged" ones to tame harshness, add some fullness, etc.

    Trying to describe tonality etc is a difficult game. The best way I can summarize the advantage (to my ears) for the Demon discs so far is this: I literally cannot make it through a whole Rhino disc; severe enough ear fatigue sets in at about the half way point that I have to take off the disc. By contrast, I enjoyed listening to Disc 1 of the Demon GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS set so much it was over before I knew it. I tend to prefer a softer, more tonally balanced sound (Andrew said "duller" which is not how I'd put it but I know what he was getting at), so this is probably the key.

    So - probably the closest thing to a win-win for E.C. fans who have similar preferences is to get both the original Demons and the Rhinos, IMHO.

    Will post updated impressions as the rest of the Demon CDs (as well as both the Japanese and German RCA/F-Beat CD versions of KING OF AMERICA and the RCA/F-Beat PUNCH THE CLOCK) arrive over the next couple of weeks.
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