SH Spotlight Fleetwood Mac "Rumours" 45 & 33 1/3 RPM Hoffman/Gray vinyl mastering & equalization notes..

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    For those few of you who care about such things:

    Many of you have asked me for my mastering notes regarding the 45 RPM and 33 1/3 RPM Warner Bros. 2011 pressings on vinyl. Normally this stuff is not made public but if you're interested, no harm done.

    As you can see, in our mastering the music was gently massaged to bring out the best while not damaging dynamic range or the natural tones of the instruments and voices. The actual cutting information (lines per inch, etc.) and all SH/KG "special tricks" have been left off as that info is proprietary.

    Before mastering I looked over all of Ken Perry's original mastering notes and how they evolved from 1977 to at least the middle 1980s. Hundreds of different cuttings by Ken, mostly from a well worn EQ dub after 2/77. At the end there he was adding 15 db at 10,000 cycles to everything plus additional plate or digital reverberation. I guess his mastering gear killed a lot of transients and top so he compensated by boosting everything on his parametric. Needless to say, we didn't have that problem.

    Glancing at the notes below you can see how well their original set up tones worked in keeping everything correctly balanced from channel to channel and from song to song. Just a db or two up or down and that was it, level wise. Same for EQ. The hardest part in something like this is to resist "fixing" stuff in old mixes and not massaging everything up to an even level. But we didn't. Just a little push here or there with EQ and a few tubes in the path brought out the best in the original sound.
    Transcribed by KLH, 1/4/2010 for file.

    FLEETWOOD MAC “Rumours” Mastering EQ for Steve Hoffman-Kevin Gray vinyl versions, 45 RPM and 33 1/3 RPM, June 6, 2007. Edited.

    Sontec analog equalization (all with "6" slope)

    Side One:

    1. +2@ 3400, +2@ 6800, +1@10k Shelf, +1@50 Shelf, +3@42
    2. +2@ 3400, +2@6800, +1@ 10k Shelf, -2@ 100, -1@ 50 Shelf
    3. FLAT
    4. +1@ 3400, +1@ 6800, +1@ 10k Shelf, +1@ 42
    5. +1@ 3400, +1@ 6800, No 10k, +2@ 40
    6. +1@ 100, +1@ 50 Shelf

    Side Two:

    1. +1@ 3400, +1@ 6800, No 10k, -1@ 100
    2. +2@ 3400, +1@ 6800, +1@ 10
    3. +2@ 3400, +1@ 6800 --------
    4. +2@ 3400, +1@ 6800 --------
    5. +1@ 3400, +1@ 6800, +1@ 42, +1@ 50 Shelf

    Song titles and final relative levels for both sides @ 33 1/3 RPM using the following set up tones:

    Side One set up tones including Dolby A tone @ head of Capitol master reel one. Side Two set up tones including revised Dolby A tone @ tail of Capitol master reel two except *.


    Side One:

    Second Hand News +1/+1 (ORIGINAL PIECED ENDING PROMO VERSION) Do not massage.

    Dreams 0/0

    Never Going Back Again (ORIGINAL 2:02 VERSION) -1/-1


    Go Your Own Way +1/+1 (15 IPS ALBUM MIX) *Use Producers Workshop version 12/18/76

    Songbird +3/+3

    Side Two:

    The Chain +1/+1 (COLD INTRO) Do not massage.

    You Make Loving Fun
    +2/+2 (1st HALF PRODUCERS WORKSHOP to second edit, then CAPITOL to end) Use Capitol tones

    I Don’t Want To Know 0/0

    Oh, Daddy +1/+1

    Gold Dust Woman -1 1/2 | -1/1/2 (COUNTDOWN, COLD START, ORIGINAL SCREAMING PIECE, COLD END) *Use Producers Workshop version 12/19/76. Do not massage.

    45 RPM versions hotter to taste.
    Swansong, Garson, mitchcortes and 8 others like this.
  2. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector

    Fab information!

    I've been greatly enjoying my 45rpm copy.
    Swansong and wwright like this.
  3. Both Records Are Real And They're Spectacular

    Swansong, mopper, Lanark and 3 others like this.
  4. warren

    warren Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ
    You know, I always wished there would be such a post by Mr. Hoffman, but I thought it was a pipe dream. This is awesome stuff.

    wwright and Swansong like this.
  5. Vinylsoul 1965

    Vinylsoul 1965 Senior Member

    My copy is on order, as the shop hasn't received their copies yet. Going for the 45 version ALL the way!

    Thanks Steve - so many of us LOVE this kind of detail! Happy Record Store Day!
  6. bw

    bw Forum Resident

    Cincinnati, OH, US
    Thanks Steve. Picked one up today at Shake It Records. Anxious to spin it tonight!

  7. Holy cow, Steve. What a gift to give us on RSD 2011~!
  8. bresna

    bresna Senior Member

    York, Maine
    Steve - Why does "Dreams" sound so fast? Is it a different take?
  9. I'm not hearing that. :confused:
  10. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    The OC

    How do you adjust your playback head? Do you simply use the tones or do you use other methods?

    On our last set of masterings, we discovered that the tones didn't always yield the best allignments. Of course that depends on the studio and the tones, but sometimes the tones are not from the same reel as the takes. The improvements we were able to make were often subtle but really improved the delicacy and high frequency extension.

    The modern tools we had available to use were able to do such a better job than anything we had back in the day.

    Basically we used a hard hi-pass filter so that it sounded like we were only listening to the tweeters. That made it much easier to dial the allignment in, though on some recordings it was much easier than others. Also using spectrographs we could try to peak the high frequency extension. Finally in many cases the ears could find the sweet spot. In a perfect world, I'd expect all three methods to yield similar results.
  11. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter


    First MRL, then 1976 tones. Both sets of masters, Producers' Workshop and Capitol, had tones for each side with meticulous notes as to what to use, how to set, etc. Mainly written by Ken Perry (to himself). It's interesting to notice how his mastering style changed (or his gear) so that by the end of the analog era even on the EQ Cutting Dub he was boosting the mids by 10 db and the top by 15 while reducing the bass by at least 5 db and adding chamber or (at the end) Lexicon. Yikes.

    At any rate, in the case of this classic album, the tones for each reel actually matched correctly the mixes on the reel except for the cases in which we needed to use inserts from the other set of tapes. Then we cried a lot.
    wwright likes this.
  12. Steve,

    When my son, forum member Chris(Chrys) got home from work, I spun it for him. He's 27, so he's heard this album a lot, for his entire life. I have the original 1977 1st pressing / cassette / 32XD CD / DVD-A disc / 8 track before he was born. His jaw dropped. He thinks you and Kevin do unbelievable work, and says it's a "drummer's album." :laugh: Thanks again. Sincerely.
  13. PTgraphics

    PTgraphics Senior Member

    Great info Steve. Thanks!

  14. imarcq

    imarcq Men are from Mars, I'm from Bromley...

    Sydney, Australia
    Cool stuff! Thank you so much Steve and Kevin :)
  15. Master Shake

    Master Shake Forum Resident

    Fascinating stuff! Can't wait to get my copy, hope the 45 is still available!
  16. bluesaddict

    bluesaddict High Tech Welder

    Loveland, Colorado
    I like this album and have a few pressings but after reading this I will be buying the 45rpm version. Thanks Steve for the info.
  17. Hawkman

    Hawkman Supercar Gort Staff

    New Jersey

    Dr. Beaker has asked me to to tell you that your sonic sortilege on this album is MOST satisfactory.
  18. LeeS

    LeeS Music Fan

    :laugh: Sounds lyke you have a good father-son relatyonshyp. ;)
  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Any comment from the good Dr. is much appreciated.
  20. I am blasting this 45rpm lp out on the street in East Atlanta Village right now.

    I was almost afraid to breathe, sitting in my store, listening to
    "Never Going Back Again" or "Go Your Own Way" (the way this "window"
    opens up every time the voice cuts in on the former, and when the
    ringing rhythm guitar appeared in the latter).

    Most impressive. Unexpected little bits of detail and changes in
    scale/space among the instruments. Wowza.
    marcfeld69 likes this.
  21. Yeah, just had to take the Lynyrd Skynyrd off for a few minutes. :winkgrin: And The Byrds.(Another great job Steve !)
  22. Hawkman

    Hawkman Supercar Gort Staff

    New Jersey
    The good Doctor enjoys good music and he especially enjoys posts and threads on how it is made. :D
  23. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    The Sontec mastering EQ's were great, back in the day -- incredibly expensive now. Steve, were you using a 432? They look like this:



    I'm curious about the settings you had at "42" and "50." You mean 42kHz and 50kHz, or 40Hz and 50Hz? Either way... yikes! That's an interesting adjustment -- very, very subtle tweaks.

    I'd be very curious to get to the bottom of Ken Perry's mastering decisions from 25-30 years ago. Did the speakers change? Did the room change? Did his ears change? Was he being told what to do? K-Disc did great work in the old days. I assume Ken is long since retired, and only he could answer these questions.
  24. Driver 8

    Driver 8 Senior Member

    Posted this in the other thread when this one disappeared for a minute, but I'm curious about "Go Your Own Way":

    I played the 45 RPM version for the first time last night, and it is amazing. The name of the band is Fleetwood Mac, and Mr. Fleetwood and Mr. McVie really benefit from the 45 RPM format - the drums sound amazing throughout, and McVie's bass lines on "Dreams" and "The Chain" are so phat. "Never Going Back Again" is like a demo track for how lifelike acoustic instruments can sound.

    However, I did find "Go Your Own Way" to be a little startling here - I am so used to my vintage LP pressing of this album, where Buckingham's rhythm and lead guitar work is so much hotter than it is on this LP - the guitar tracks on the new 45 RPM "Go Your Own Way" sound very subdued by comparison. I'm assuming that this is what the original master tapes sound like, duh, and that later pressings were somehow tweaked in the mastering stage to amp up the guitar sounds on this track, but, on this one track, the contrast between what I'm used to and what this remaster sounds like is pretty dramatic.
  25. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    That is the Sontec we used, yes. A temperamental little bastardo, but nothing beats it for smooth analog EQ. The little toggle switch changes the bass shelf from 100 to 50.

    What I meant above is 42 cycles. Low bass reinforcement. A little "trick" when the bass is mixed too woolly or low. Also reinforces the kick drum. Take out 1 at 100 cycles and reinforce with 1 at 42. Very subtle. I use it on some Rudy Van Gelder Blue Notes when he overmodulates the bass and it goes wonky with overhang.

    No idea why Ken's mastering changed. I think the sound of the album was trying to be transformed to an 80's sound with added digital reverb and weird hard upper midrange and lower treble overload, something (as you can now hear) that the original mixes had NONE of and didn't need in the first place.

Share This Page