I pulled out my old Columbia CD of Dylan's JOHN WESLEY HARDING just to be sure....

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. Hatchet Jack

    Hatchet Jack Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    I prefer to listen to this "John Wesley Harding" album in mono, it's much better. His first four albums are also better in mono. I prefer stereo for everything else though.
     
  2. millbend

    millbend Forum Resident

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Are there any notable examples of Dylan CDs (as opposed to vinyl) having different masterings (in terms of sound quality/content versus track indexing or uniform volume boost/cut) between contemporaneous international issues that you're aware of beyond what's outlined by Roger Ford here? (In the regular vein of things, I mean, as opposed to the DCC Highway 61 Revisited, which apparently reflects EQ differences between the US/JP pressings, a detail Ford has seemingly omitted or overlooked. Just curious if there could be other instances as well.)
     
  3. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Not that I'm aware of, but I'm not an expert. Roger would be the person to ask.
     
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  4. fysyf

    fysyf Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Nice, France
    I finally got hold of the 80's European CD and can confirm it matches lukpac' descriptions of the original US CD (remix) for all titles analysed in his various posts (Watchtower, Dear Landlord and I'll be your baby tonight, including centered drums and slightly faster speed for the latter) so, for those interested, it definitely is the same version.
    (And it sounds pretty fantastic, much better anyway than the only other version I could listen to, the one available on Spotify.)
     
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  5. Leviathan

    Leviathan Forum Resident

    Location:
    461 Ocean Blvd.
    So the OP is incorrect in saying it was a neutral transfer of the tape if it was a remix?
     
  6. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I won't touch on whether such a description is "incorrect" or not, but it's definitely a remix.
     
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  7. fysyf

    fysyf Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Nice, France
    I've just re-read the opening post by Mr Hoffman and the way I understand it as a whole is that the sound on this CD is so clean that you feel close to the actual recording, so much that when paying attention you can tell differences in mic EQ from track to track.

    I've done the test myself with tracks 1 and 2 and the difference is clear (even if I would never have noticed it by myself), and much clearer on the CD than on the Spotify version. I would add that the most striking difference is the bass and drums sound, however. On Spotify, the bass sounds muffled, almost like a tuba, it's very weird. On the CD it's a much more natural bass-guitar sounding, and the drums are clearer too.

    We now know thanks to lukpac's work that the master for this CD was actually a new mix, but anyway the resulting CD is a neutral transfer of this mix. Whether Mr Hoffman knew it was a different mix or not at the time is not really relevant in my opinion : his post is focused on the faithfulness to the actual sound of the recording, and as he says it, this sound was not "futzed with".

    It is true however that for someone who is familiar with the original mix, this CD can be annoying, because it's not what he is used to . But it's not my case, and I think it's far superior to the current mainstream version.
     
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  8. djwkyoto

    djwkyoto Forum Resident

    Location:
    B, Germany
    Sure, the work done by lukpac (and others) is remarkable, but it actually was another member who first pointed out that it is indeed a remix.
    I pulled out my old Columbia CD of Dylan's JOHN WESLEY HARDING just to be sure....

    I'm not sure if this is what you wanted to point out, but I gotta add one thing to this: almost nobody on this earth (probably a handful of people) knows how the mixdowns of these remixes sounded before they were mastered... It's impossible to say the CD mastering was a neutral transfer, because we simply can't tell what type of EQ had been done in recording, in mixing and in mastering respectively. Nor does anybody here know how the "actual sound of the recording" was for that matter. Maybe you want to say that it does SOUND neutral, but that's a whole different thing.
    Don't want to step on your toe, I just generally feel the assumption that something is mastered or transferred "neutrally" is a little overused now and then. Because an assumption it is most of the time.

    That said, I wholeheartedly agree that this is a fantastic sounding CD and a good example how remarkably well early digital CAN sound. One of my favourite CDs from my collection, and also one of my most-beloved records. And this thread is golden! Thanks everybody who contributed to it.
     
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  9. fysyf

    fysyf Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Nice, France
    Thanks a lot for reminding this, I had been focusing mostly on lukpac's comparison of Watchtower, Dear Landlord and I'll be your baby tonight and had forgotten that Laservampire had first mentioned the fact that the CD was a remix.

    And thanks again for clarifying, yes indeed that's what I had in mind, or more precisely that was my interpretation of what Mr Hoffman was saying in the first post when kindly giving us the advice to grab this old CD.
     
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  10. David del Toro

    David del Toro Forum Resident

    Man I have no intention of ever becoming a music engineer but it's still all so fascinating to me, so JWH's stereo mix was made live each take as Dylan and his band played? Then the mix was immediately dubbed to two-track right? So is the old Columbia CD just a digital two-track transfer of of those mixes before it was dubbed to a cutting master? Speaking of mixing live I think Frank Black And The Catholics record all their albums this way. Live to two-track with no mixing or something like that.
     
  11. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    this CD will never be bested...and I've heard a bunch of different versions.
     
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  12. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    No. Recorded to 8-track.

    No. Digitally remixed from 8-track.
     
  13. David del Toro

    David del Toro Forum Resident

    Ohhhhhh alright. I understand now. So the remix was the result of the original mix not showing the full potential of the original session tapes, not 'cuz of worn out tapes like Blonde On Blonde. So the MFSL Stereo CD has the original LP mix? And the JWH tracks Steve mastered were from the digital remixes from the OG CD remix? Wonder why he didn't just do a new mix himself. I'm the idea of remixes are a little icky to me but I'll probably go for the mono anyways
     
  14. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Not sure why it was remixed. But the remasters of the 3 original mixes on Biograph and GHII sound great.

    MFSL is the original mix. AF GHII uses the remixes.
     
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  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    The CD I like is a direct version of the four-track original. Without the nasty limiting/compression that was added at the time during mixing..
     
  16. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    JWH was 8-track, Steve. And the limiting/compression wasn’t added during mixing, there was apparently an additional dub to create the LP masters. The tracks that came out in the late ‘90s have the fidelity of the remixes but are the original mixes.
     
  17. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Samples. Beginning of the vocal and the end of the song. Roughly level adjusted:

    I'll Be Your Baby Tonight [2003 SACD]

    I'll Be Your Baby Tonight [original CD]

    I'll Be Your Baby Tonight [Biograph recalled]

    I'll Be Your Baby Tonight [MFSL]

    It's unfortunate that we only have those 3 tracks from the 1997 Biograph/1999 GHII source, as it's arguably the best all around.
     

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