SH Spotlight Hey gang, guess what? Some of your most favorite albums in the world use tape dubs as masters..

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Jul 19, 2022.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Just a reminder, when two songs blend together on an album (which I hate with a passion) you're listening to a tape dub. In order to get two songs to overlap you need to dub them both to a third tape, thereby going down a generation of tape every time.

    When Dear Prudence fades up from Back In The USSR, both songs are dubs.

    When on Santana Abraxas "Black Magic Woman" comes in over the opening track, yeah, that's a tape dub.

    When Stevie Wonder songs overlap, you're listening to a tape dub.

    When A Day In The Life comes in from the previous song, it's a dub.


    The master mix of Santana "Singing Winds Crying Beasts (or whatever it is called) is threaded up on tape machine one. The master mix of "Black Magic Woman" is threaded up on tape machine two. With me so far?

    Tape machine three is put into record and song one is duped over and tape machine two is started right before the end of song one so they fade in, both captured on the "new" tape.

    This new copy (dubbed) tape is now the MASTER and the actual first generation mixes of the two songs that were on the first two tape machines are rewound and promptly lost at Columbia for ever and ever.

    Whenever a song starts over the end of the previous song, both are from the dupe (copy) tape.

    I bet you can name 50 examples in the history of rock where this happens. Guess what, all dub copies marked master.

    Once again, whenver two songs segue on an analog recorded album, the resulting final is a tape copy. Just a reminder to drive the obsessive among us a little more crazy. :^)

    Such is life..
  2. Waiting For The Bus / Jesus Just Left Chicago ?
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  3. Otto Konrad

    Otto Konrad Forum Resident

    Richmond, Virginia
    Steve, I get that the "masters" sometimes are a blend of multiple other tapes recorded onto the new "master tape". But at the end of that retaping and blending process there is a discrete master that is used to make the lacquer. A copy of that tape, is not a master....
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    You're going to have to restate your question. Be careful using the words discrete, master, etc. It's confusing me.. Try again and I'll probably get it..
  5. rockclassics

    rockclassics Senior Member

    Mid-South US
    Thanks for the info Steve. It makes sense.

    I don’t even want to think about this in relation to Moody Blues albums. :shake:
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  6. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident

    It’s late here and I’m too tired to imagine what was going on with Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On.
  7. CrankSomeFrank

    CrankSomeFrank I need more ECM and CAN.

    Iowa City
    Those of us who started out recording to cassette, and later 4 and 8 track cassette (!) understand this implicitly. I hear cassette is coming back.
  8. jamiehowarth

    jamiehowarth Senior Member

    That’s incorrect. The segue is a recording of a cross fade between the two masters recorded on a third machine, then that clip ONLY is insert-edited between the two cuts. only for the duration of the cross-fade.

    How so many can be so sure with so little experience.

    CBS doesn’t throw out the originals.

    Dubs are not masters.
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  9. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Sorry, you're wrong, I've seen maybe two albums that bothered to edit just the segues into masters and store the original edit pieces at the end. All others are dupes. Just the way it is. I've mastered enough of them to cringe every time I hear the drop in quality during a dupe-down.

    I was playing my DCC Gold CD of the first CARS album and on side two when the two songs blend together those two songs were so duped sounding I remember having had to back off on the EQ during mastering so they would match with the rest of the album. Where are the two original mixes? Lost, of course.
  10. Otto Konrad

    Otto Konrad Forum Resident

    Richmond, Virginia

    I struggled with the language. I'll try again. You are saying, I think, that a master tape can be a rerecording of two or more discrete tapes to blend multiple and unique recordings onto one tape. That copy of tapes, is the finished album, and the "master tape". And it is that master tape that is used to make the lacquer that ultimately results in records that are copies of that master tape. However, a copy of that master tape, is not a master....

    Is that clear?
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2022
  11. StingRay5

    StingRay5 Important Impresario

    As I understand it, there were so many generations involved with a typical all-analog production chain that one more or one less isn't really all that significant.

    You start with original recordings on multi-tracks. In the '60s, maybe you bounce down tracks to make room for more, in which case you have one or more generations of loss before you even get to the final mix.

    Mix down to stereo or mono (or worse, mix to stereo and then fold to mono, two generations of loss).

    Safety copies are made from the master mix tape.

    Lacquer is cut from whatever tape the cutting engineer is given, usually a copy, sometimes not even a first-generation copy, of the master tape.

    Stampers are made from the lacquer after it's plated. (Not sure, should the plating count as another generation?)

    Record are pressed with the stampers.

    So what is that, something like six generations? Maybe only five in the best case if you cut using the original master rather than a safety? Maybe more if you cut from a tape that was actually a copy of a copy of the master?

    And then there's the additional problem that as more records are made, the stampers wear, and as more stampers are made from the lacquer, it wears also.

    With all this, should I really be worrying about whether the tape called the original master is actually a dub to facilitate cross-fades between songs?
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  12. WMTC

    WMTC Forum Resident

    On Close To You by the Carpenters, "Mr. Guder" fades into "I Kept On Loving You." "I Kept On Loving You" appears as a clean start on the flip side of the "Close To You" 45. It appears that this is one instance where a tape of the clean intro does still exist in some fashion, as the clean intro is intact on the Carpenters Complete Singles comp.

    I do have to wonder about "Maybe It's You," as there is a repeating piano note played over the outro of "Love Is Surrender," segueing into "Maybe It's You." When "Maybe It's You" was included later on as the flip side of the "Hurting Each Other" 45, it was included with a clean opening, but without the repeating piano note intro.

    From what I've read, there was so much overdubbing on those early Carpenters albums anyway for the harmonies and all (I believe they were 8-track in the early days) that it probably doesn't make that much of a difference. But a very interesting point for sure, Steve! Something I never really considered!
  13. morgan1098

    morgan1098 Forum Resident

    There are some great cross-fade moments on many classic analog albums and knowing how they’re made doesn’t diminish my enjoyment one bit. I like hamburgers too but I have no desire to visit the meat processing plant.
  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    No. But let me try. The blended tape, the tape that has the two songs crossfading together is second generation and even though a tape copy, it's marked master. It is used to cut phonograph records on the first pressing. During cutting a dupe tape is made with the mastering moves built in and that (now third generation tape) is marked cutting master which is used to cut the second pressing on..
  15. michiganman45

    michiganman45 Forum Resident

    I don't think they "blend together"... one just starts immediately after the other. I could be wrong.
  16. Otto Konrad

    Otto Konrad Forum Resident

    Richmond, Virginia
    I got it. That's what I understood. Sorry I couldn't articulate it.
  17. StingRay5

    StingRay5 Important Impresario

    That's what I recall too. It's a sudden cut, not a cross-fade. Though whether they created that effect by splicing or dubbing, I don't know. You could do it either way, I think.
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  18. Yeah, but by the time it dawned on me, my 30 minute window had closed.
    I remembered how even live, Billy and Dusty came to a dead stop...split second...Jesus begins.
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  19. :shrug: The album rips. All that matters.
  20. Merrick

    Merrick The return of the Thin White Duke

    For the cutting master, since the mastering moves are built in, does that mean the cutting master cannot be used as a source for remastering, since you cannot undo the moves that are baked into the tape?
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  21. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Well that's the big question. I avoid them because I don't want to master someone else's mastering. But, in a few cases that is ALL that is left.

    If the sound is good it can be used but I've tried always to avoid. In a few cases that will be nameless, the actual master was lost, trashed or actually destroyed and all that is left is the cutting dupe. Gotta use it in that case.
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  22. bRETT

    bRETT Senior Member

    Boston MA
    Every Moody Blues record ever, then?
  23. crustycurmudgeon

    crustycurmudgeon We've all got our faults, mine's the Calaveras

    Hollister, CA
    Another example is "Ride My See Saw" by The Moody Blues. The single has the clean drum intro, where the album fades "Departure" into it.

    edit: I just listened to the single, it starts after the drum intro but I have heard a version with the clean drum intro. But regardless, Departure continues well past the drum intro.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2022
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  24. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Levittown. NY
    Wow.....I never ever gave this any thought. Incredibly interesting!! Curious though, other than the tape dub aspect, is there any other reason you dislike one sing fading into the other? I'm kinda mixed on's great when you're listening to an uninterrupted album side but very annoying when you're programming on a CD. But now I'll be conscious of the tape dub thing forever.
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  25. rednoise

    rednoise Forum Resident

    The version with the drum intro is from the 1974 "This Is The Moody Blues" compilation album.

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