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. btomarra

    btomarra Classic Rock Audiophile

    Location:
    Little Rock, AR
    Steve, thank you for clarifying. I love this album a lot. And I especially appreciate the effort you put into each track making it special.

    Thank you! I look forward to getting this!
     
  2. Vinylsoul 1965

    Vinylsoul 1965 Forum Resident

    You are correct Hawkman. :)
     
  3. Hawkman

    Hawkman Supercar Gort Staff

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Thank you. Went to my local indie store today and all they had left were the 33 & 1/3 RPM version. Once he restocks after Record Store Day, I'm going back for the 45.
     
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Alignment tones are all the same constant level (0 vu or +3 these daze). So you have a tone at 50 cycles, 1,000 cycles, 10,000 cycles and a bunch of others. They should be adjusted so the level is the same for all the tones during playback. This will help your machine sound as much like the original mixing machine as possible. See? In other words: Just a way to calibrate a tape machine in X Land to have the same tonality as a machine in Y Land. Insures that 10 years later (or 30 years later) the playback tonality and levels will match and that the proper Dolby A calibration is enacted.

    Proper alignment tones are CRUCIAL to getting the playback to match the original mix machine. Crucial. You'd be surprised how many tapes have NO tones whatsoever or tones that don't match the music on the tapes. Funkyweird.
     
  5. Vinylsoul 1965

    Vinylsoul 1965 Forum Resident

    Test tones are a series of reference tones recorded to tape that show how the particular tape machine was set up. If you record a tape on one machine and play it back on another, you cannot assume that both machines will make the tape sound the same. So, the test tones are recorded onto the master tape so that you can calibrate the playback machine (i.e. mastering tape machine) to sound like it did when it was recorded.

    This link might help explain it better: http://audio.utac.net/pg/tape/align.html
     
  6. Vinylsoul 1965

    Vinylsoul 1965 Forum Resident

    (and what Steve said - lol...he beat me to it)
     
  7. Driver 8

    Driver 8 Senior Member

    The matrix numbers on my copy are as follows:

    MASTERED BY CAPITOL

    BSK-1-3010 JW7 F39 #1

    BSK-2-3010 JW6 F38 #4

    At the time I bought this copy, I didn't really know anything about matrix numbers - I was just looking for the cleanest, most mint condition copy I could find. But I'm guessing that this copy reflects what you were talking about in the "Gold Dust Woman" mix variation thread:

    I did an A/B comparison of my vintage copy with the new 45 RPM version, and the difference between the sound of Lindsey's solo isn't as great as I thought it was at first. However, on my vintage copy, his solo sounds overdriven, whereas on the 45 RPM version, it still sounds overdriven, but you can also hear a bit of the clean tone from his amp as well. Maybe that doesn't make much sense, but it's the kind of nuance that keeps me obsessively listening to these records. While I was comparing the two different versions, though, the thing that leapt out to me again was the drums. On the "Mastered by Capitol" LP, it sounds like Fleetwood is playing a set of cardboard boxes compared to the 45 RPM version, where it sounds like he is playing something resembling a real drum kit. One the Music Matters 45 RPM albums and on this new Fleetwood Mac 45 RPM album, it's the drums that leap out to me more than any other instrument. And I suspect that my el cheapo turntable and cart aren't even retrieving all of the information in the grooves, either.

    One other question about this album, if I can bother you - if "Songbird" is a live recording, how did they get that fade on the last note without any applause? Was the audience just polite? Did they wait until the last possible second and then fade out or cut the tape before the applause kicked in?
     
  8. Parkertown

    Parkertown Howlin' at the moon

    Live, in an empty auditorium...
     
  9. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    Location:
    The OC
    In addition to what Steve said, tones are used to allign the azimuth of the playback head.

    If it's off, even slightly, you can sometimes hear sonic degradation.

    Usually the stereo output of the tape deck is viewed on an oscilloscope, usually in a lissajous pattern, also known as xy display. This puts the left channel on the vertical axis and the right channel on the horizontal axis.

    A mono signal will appear as a straight line, positioned diaganally between the x and y axises.

    When looking at high frequency tones on an xy scope, the goal is a straight diagonal line. If your azimuth is off, that straight line can become an eclipse. By adjusting the head, the hope is that you can get as straight a line as possible.

    In practice, sometimes you can get a flat line and sometimes you can't. Sometimes the shape is constantly changing as the phase and/or levels are varying.

    Also keep in mind that the higher the frequency of the tone, the easier it is to see the phase error. You can't really adjust azimuth well with 1k tones. There just isn't enough 'resolution' on the scope. It's much easer with 10k tones, but 10k tones aren't always as steady as 1k tones.

    For these reasons, and the fact that tones aren't always from the same piece of tape as is the mix, sometimes azimuth has to be adjusted by other means.
     
  10. dachada

    dachada Senior Member

    Location:
    FL
    I would like to know, where i can read more about the lacquer made for this 2xLP and how many LP could be pressed with the original laquer>mothers>stampers
     
  11. dachada

    dachada Senior Member

    Location:
    FL
    Yes, with the tones the head can be adjusted to have the proper phase and optimal audio levels. XY display is good for the fine phase adjustment but before that there are some critical adjument that some times are not easy depending of the machine
     
  12. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    By the 38th cut who knows what the idea was in mastering? Some of the first cuts were rejected by the plants due to non-fill and other stuff as a result of too much dynamics or whatever. Ken was probably so sick of RUMOURS by then he didn't much worry about it, just got the loudest, most aggressive level he could while keeping dynamics to a minimum.

    A funny thing. Wherever Ken went (whatever studio he worked at) RUMOURS masters went with him. I saw them at Capitol when he worked there, I saw them at K-Disc Mastering when he worked there, all over. He was the Mastering MAN on that album regardless of the studio.

    Regarding SONGBIRD, that's a recording question and I have no idea. I always understood it was a rehearsal taping but I don't really know..
     
  13. Driver 8

    Driver 8 Senior Member

    That would make sense.
     
  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Most cases, adjusting for az is pretty pointless in record cutting as it could change from song to song. On RUMOURS they were very careful to keep things constant. However, if you read my notes, Ken was very specific as to what tone sequence to use with which songs and I followed his notes exactly. What he didn't count on was the mixing and matching of the two sets of master mixes over the years. That really fu***d things up and several az tweaks had to be done live by hand during cutting. Makes ya sob.
     
  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    One set of Transco lacquers were cut for each speed with a recut of the 45 side three due to it being blown in processing. The lacquers were processed at RTI and several sets of mothers were made from the masters. One set of the mothers went to Germany and the other stayed domestic. If WB is smart they will have RTI send the other set over there as well.

    Each stamper made from a mother can do about 500 disks before starting to die. Many stampers can be drawn from a mother but eventually the mother will die and a new one made from the metal master. When the metal master dies parts will have to be recut. As you can imagine, I doubt that will ever happen or if it does, you won't get a Gray/Hoffman version.

    Remember, it goes: Lacquer/Master/Mother/Stamper.

    Any of you go on the RTI tours with us?
     
  16. Phoney Baloney

    Phoney Baloney Member

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    This is one of the coolest threads ever on the forum.
     
  17. Myke

    Myke Rock Geezer

    I let my 45rpm sit for 24 hours...listened to nothing but Roy Orbison, now, after 24 hours, Rumours is back on the TT. Don't want to burn out on this sonic work of Art. :cheers:
     
  18. Phoney Baloney

    Phoney Baloney Member

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    This issue sets a quality standard for sonics and packaging. It just might ruin peoples love for ordinary vinyl.
     
    Vinyl Socks likes this.
  19. Myke

    Myke Rock Geezer

    I said that very thing to a friend today about another record I'm considering. Steve & Kevin have set the bar very high now.
     
  20. Phoney Baloney

    Phoney Baloney Member

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    I hear ya. I have been a little soured on some vinyl and curved my habit. But when you see that release in the store it screams quality. On RSD there were even some girlfriends asking if Rumours was a "new release." Those ladies know a jewel when the see it. The sound is almost demo like in places. Like at the end of Second Hand News. You just keep bringing her home until those drums end and maybe a little after just to make sure!
     
  21. aberyclark

    aberyclark Well-Known Member

    Steve, If the tapes have no test tones, how do you align the tape to the current Tape playback machine you are using. You adjust by ear and try to hit a sweet spot?
     
  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Very good question. Most tapes from 1948 through 1969 have NO tones at all. No Rudy Van Gelder tape does, no Capitol or RCA tape does. None do.

    We use an "MRL Alignment Tape", the industry standard to neutralize the machine. Then, we play the master and evaluate to taste by ear. Sometimes out of desperation I align to tape hiss. We take it from there for actual mastering using EQ or not, etc.
     
  23. TheHypnoToad

    TheHypnoToad Forum Resident

    Given the initial 2,000 piece press run of the 45rpm pressing, I'm guessing that they can do the rumored second run off of the current mothers or go back to the metal masters to make new mothers if needed without need to recut.
     
  24. Nothing quite like that on the edge rush when a lot of detailed prep and work all comes down to and is riding on and in the moments of actual creation. :D
     
  25. Shrevie

    Shrevie New Member

    Location:
    NYC
    Does that mean the copy I ordered from WB online store was not pressed at Pallas? No info on website.
     

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