Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Aug 14, 2004.
nice job, Luke. : )
The Canadian CD listed for 1997 has the original catalog number, while the European release is of More Bob Dylan Greatest Hits. No idea of the mastering on the latter.
thanks. the Europe disc has an identical track list to GHII so I guess it was named differently over there. not that it's a foolproof metric, but I did a quick search online and it looks as if the peak levels of the '97 Europe CD match the 99 US disc (and both differ from the 2013 Audio Fidelity CD btw.).
This has a similar hype sticker, so it does seem to be the same:
Bob Dylan - More Bob Dylan Greatest Hits
I do wonder if the 1997 date is correct.
Wow never noticed the popping P's it made me pull out my early copy 1F/1J stampers (can't figure out the pressing plant and I'm usually good at this) bought it like 8 or 9 years back at a record show for $3 it is probably VG on the disc. I had pretty much put it to pasture, but this thread made me want to see for myself, It has been several upgrades since my last listen since acquiring a 1st run mono. It is an interesting listen in comparison but those P's are so noticeable now it detracts from the listen, I'll have to have a shootout with the mono next. I grew up on the original cd that started this thread, it's what it is ingrained it my brain and helped foster my love of Dylan (I am in my mid 30's but my parents graduated high school in 1969 so I grew up on the good stuff)
Is the version used on "Masterpieces" (Australia) the original mix?
I don't have that, but my understanding is that's a mono mix of the overdubbed version that was issued on the original Biograph.
@Roger Ford would know for certain.
Thanks for checking, czeskleba. I'm wondering, could that 6 in the A-side suffix possibly be mistaken for a G? It's just that on SFAG, someone else has reported a copy from this period which has a G in the suffix on that side, i.e. XSM-135312-G2B. In any case, it's interesting that the suffix has moved on to '2' versions, while all copies up to the mid-80s seem to have been '1's. On the evidence of other Dylan albums from the 1960s this would normally indicate a change in the master tape being used (e.g. a remix), but here the mix has remained the original one. Maybe there were other reasons, or maybe the system had changed by the late 1980s.
An amazing piece of research, Luke, and very useful - thank you. I don't even have some of these versions, e.g. of GHII. I look forward to reading what you say about the other two tracks, particularly in connection with the Biograph remaster.
No. The original 7” single was take 14. The version on Masterpieces is take 10 with overdubs.
See here for a breakdown of what versions you can find where:
1962 Mixed Up Confusion
Exactly right. It's the same outtake, overdubbed in late 1964, but in a mono mix. It seems that when they overdubbed the track, they also slowed it down by a semitone's-worth, which rather changed the character of Dylan's voice.
In relation to the first, recalled version of the 1997 Biograph remaster, it's worth noting that this only appeared in the USA. The UK, for example, had the corrected version from the outset.
Gosh Mixed Up Confusion has always been a nightmare. The 50TH Anniversary Collection gave us some more outtakes as well.
While my understanding is a change in number did signify a change in tape source, that didn't necessarily mean a remix, just...a new tape. While I can't speak to the veracity of this, it's been stated that at CBS tapes would be used until they began to wear out, at which time they were dubbed and those dubs became the new masters.
- JWH 2003 SACD (baseline)
- Same description as All Along The Watchtower: mono reverb and the stereo image pulls slightly to the right. Everything is a bit choked up and "lo-fi" sounding, and the stereo image is slightly narrowed compared to the other sources.
- JWH original CD
- Again, same description as All Along The Watchtower: stereo reverb and the stereo image is properly centered. More hi-fi sounding. Remixed.
- Biograph original CD
- Wider than the 2003 SACD, but otherwise similar.
- Biograph 1997 recalled
- Mono reverb and the stereo image pulls slightly to the right, but the stereo image is more stable and OOPSes more cleanly than the other original mix sources. More "hi-fi" sounding.
- Biograph 1997 corrected
- Identical to recalled CD. In fact, discs 2 and 3 on the corrected release are identical to those on the original recalled issue; only disc 1 was changed.
- JWH MFSL SACD
- Superficially this sounds closest to the Biograph remaster, but it has the issue with the stability of the stereo image present on the 2003 JWH SACD and the original Biograph. It's also slightly more choked up sounding than the Biograph remaster.
All of that is to say, pretty much the same as with All Along The Watchtower, only with Biograph replacing Greatest Hits Vol. II. With Watchtower I thought perhaps the MFSL SACD used the alternate tape source found/used in the late '90s, but Dear Landlord suggests otherwise, and (jumping ahead) I'll Be Your Baby Tonight seems to confirm that.
I see - and that would fit well with the facts in this case. It's interesting that they seem not to have done this with Blonde On Blonde, where US vinyl pressing appears to have stopped in the mid-80s. Maybe with that particular album the cutting tapes had deteriorated too far even to be worth copying.
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. Here things get even more interesting:
- JWH 2003 SACD (baseline)
- As with Watchtower and Landlord, the stereo image pulls slightly to the right and the reverb is mono. I've mentioned issues with the stability of the stereo image before, and it's actually much worse here: it sounds like the left and right channels may be EQ'd differently, resulting in the vocal and harmonica just sounding somewhat off, almost like fake stereo.
- JWH original CD
- As with the other tracks, a remix with stereo reverb and a properly centered stereo image. However, unlike with Watchtower and Landlord, there are two even larger differences: 1) while the pedal steel is mixed hard right in both mixes, the drums are hard right in the original mix but right-center in the remix and 2) the speed is almost 1% faster.
- Biograph original CD
- Other than some slight EQ differences, very similar to the 2003 JWH.
- GHII original CD
- This runs at approximately the same speed as the remix on the original JWH CD, but it's not the remix: the reverb is mono, the image pulls slightly to the right, and the drums are hard right. In addition, the stereo image has none of the issues that are present on the 2003 JWH. The fade was done digitally, and closely matches the 2003 JWH.
- Biograph 1997 recalled
- Other than slightly different EQ, this is extremely similar to the original GHII CD, except for the fact that it does not fade out at the end of the song, instead continuing for another 7 seconds until the song comes to a full conclusion.
- Biograph 1997 corrected
- Identical to the recalled version, but with a digital fade edited on (the edit point is at 2:25, and 109 samples got cut in the process). The actual fade starts just over a second later and continues for 10.5 seconds. This fade is extremely similar to the one on the original GHII CD.
- GHII 1999 remaster
- Extremely similar to the Biograph remaster, but with a fade that's approximately 2 seconds longer than the original GHII CD and corrected Biograph.
- GHII AF SACD
- As with Watchtower, this seems to be from the same digital source as the original JWH CD (the remix), and has the same channel offset issue as Watchtower.
- JWH MFSL SACD
- Generally similar to the 2003 JWH (speed, stereo image, etc), but with very different EQ, with quite a bit more high end. There's a dropout present at 0:02 that's also on the 2003 JWH but isn't on any other source, so it seems very likely those two releases use the same tape. It also seems like the tape alignment might be a hair better than the 2003 JWH and the original Biograph.
I'm not going to do an extensive comparison of the remaining JWH tracks that aren't on compilations, but a quick run-through confirms that the entire album was remixed for the original CD.
So...some overall thoughts/conclusions:
1) The original JWH CD was completely remixed. These remixes don't seem to have been used anywhere else, except the Audio Fidelity GHII SACD.
2) Based on the late 1990s compilations (and the original GHII CD for I'll Be Your Baby Tonight), it seems that the original mixes were "full fidelity", which were subsequently dubbed with EQ and limiting/compression to create the LP masters, which were used for the 2003 and MFSL releases of JWH (and earlier compilations).
3) It's not clear to me why the stereo image is somewhat narrowed on the 2003 JWH, nor why the EQ is often so different on the MFSL.
Also, it's worth noting that my copy of the original GHII CD is a rip from a friend, and I don't know the details on the pressing. It's definitely strange that I'll Be Your Baby Tonight is from the "full fidelity" source while All Along The Watchtower is from the "lesser" source. I wonder if that was always the case, or if perhaps there was a secret remaster, and my rip has the original for disc 2 and the remaster for disc 1.
It's really unfortunate that the album hasn't been issued in its entirety (to my knowledge) from the tape(s) used for the 1997 Biograph and 1999 GHII. That would be the best of both worlds: the original mix but with the much better fidelity of the remix. The EQ on the MFSL seems to help a bit, but it still has the problem of coming from the "lesser" source.
Another interesting note, going back to the mix notes previously posted:
Note #7 is (All) Along The Watchtower, while #8 is "End", and is only 20 seconds long. Looking at the session information, I see the final version was two takes edited together, 3 and an insert, confusingly called take 2. Comparing the 2003 (or MFSL) to the 1999 GHII shows that the edit was at 2:13, right where the harmonica starts: if you line the two versions up, they fall out of sync there (or go into sync there, if you align them after the edit). Interestingly, the edit on the remix seems to be just before the drum fill. It seems that the inserts were made by dubbing from 8-track to 8-track while Dylan recorded a new harmonica, since the drum fill is the same on the remix. If the insert was a re-recording of the entire track that drum fill would be different on the remix.
Also, that indicates that edits (insert for Watchtower and fade for I'll Be Your Baby Tonight) were made after the mixes were copied, not before, which is how the unfaded "Baby" was used in the '90s.
Ah! @Percy Song indicated they didn't know what the "SW" stood for in "SW Work Reel" in another post. I just remembered that a friend had posted a document containing a list of Columbia prefixes (CO, HCO, ZSP, etc), and I found SW on the list:
"Columbia 1/2" 3track Stereo Work Tape."
Thus, it would appear the original mixes were made to 3-track from 8-track, and subsequently reduced to stereo/2-track from there (I believe many Byrds mixes were done the same way). And I would *guess* that 3-track work tape was re-reduced to stereo in the '90s, although...that's just a guess.
And the '80s CD must have been remixed from the 8-tracks.
Thanks @lukpac as always for your detective work!
And...I need to correct myself. I passed along the photo of the SW work reel notes to someone that knows about such things, and they indicated it was not the notes for a 1967 3-track reel, but rather a digital reel, with Tim Geelan's handwriting. "SW" originally meant 3-track, but evolved into something more generic. And I just realized that the catalog number listed - CK-9604 - is that for the CD. So it's actually the notes for the '80s CD remix, apparently done by Tim Geelan.
Which means exactly how the album was originally mixed (directly to stereo, or to 3-track first) and what tape(s) the '90s compilation used are still a mystery.
(My earlier observations about the mix/release differences still stand).
Upon closer examination (with my reading glasses on this time) I see that it does appear to be a "G":
I double checked again and it's most definitely the original mix on both sides of the record. I don't know if this matters much, but the matrix on side A is hand-etched, while the matrix on side B is machine stamped. Does this suggest the two sides were prepared at different times?
To touch on a few of the older comments in this thread:
The "they" in this case was engineers in 1967, not the mastering team for the SACD. While I agree the remaster doesn't sound very good, the fault is with the tapes (although it does seem the SACD was slightly narrowed).
The MFSL has more treble than the Sony SACD, not the other way around.
Always thought the Biograph tracks from JWH sounded great. Now I know why. Thanks!
On the 1997 remaster, yes. Not on the original 1985 version.
Right, I have the recalled and the non-recalled versions from ‘97.
Am I understanding that on “Ill Be Your Baby Tonight” (‘97 recall and non recalled version) that the only difference is one has the extended fade and the other does not? Both being from a better tape source.
Separate names with a comma.