let's talk about our pressing of ALVEAR (Led Zep, AC / DC, CCR, Young ... and others ...)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Christophe Lethimonnier, Oct 22, 2021.

  1. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    Why am I opening a thread dedicated to this engineer and how did I find out?
    A member here suggested to me to synthesize my (modest) knowledge, so far disseminated in various threads, on this engineer who worked for the label Hispavox from the beginning of the seventies until the beginning of the eighties ( at least it seems?). I replied: "Why not?"

    How did I find out? One day I bought a Spanish press of Led Zeppelin lll ... just to have the cover with the titles of the songs in that language. I already had several pressings of this album: a German late pressing for the French market (circa 1989/1990), an Italian pressing and a 1977 reissue mastered by George Piros. Three good pressings but not exceptional; the first lacked a bit of personality, the Italian pressing despite a good kick lacked breathing while the Piros was a bit clinical or too clean and lacked realism. But I managed to be satisfied with it; the prices of the first UK pressing (A5 / B5) are now prohibitive! Out of curiosity, I still decided to listen to my Spanish pressing (A5 / B3 stamped machine), convinced that it would be worse than my other pressings. When the song "Immigrant song" came out of my loudspeakers, I was stunned! An exceptional dynamic, a wonderful three-dimensionality and a lot of realism! Wow! When I finished listening to my record, I was amazed! I was amazed because I could not imagine finding such good mastering in this country! I decided to get another Led Zeppelin pressing based on the matrix numbers of my Led Zeppelin lll (A5 / B3 stamped machine). I managed to find a Led Zeppelin lV with the following matrix : A5 / B3 stamped machine. After a few days of waiting, I received my record in very good condition. And immediately I began to listen to him. And there again another surprise: an authentic Hot mastering!
    Powerful and incandescent, this pressing has the heaviest version of "Rock n'roll" too! Impressed by the quality of this second pressing, I decided to try my luck again with the band's second album, maybe my favorite. Again, I was looking for the same series with a matrix number starting with A5 / ... Finally I found a link on Discogs: A5 / B4 stamped machine. And a seller was offering a copy for $ 30.00 (my usual price for a copy in great condition). I order the record but at the last moment, the seller told me that he made a mistake in his listing! (it happens a lot on Discogs!). He tells me the matrix are hand engraved and there is kind of a little wave ... maybe a signature? I hesitated because it was not the pressing I was hoping for but having an adventurous spirit ...

    A week later, I received my record. I noticed immediately that it was about a reissue of 1981 as well as the matrix (A8 / B8) followed indeed by a small wave resembling a signature!
    Certainly the fruit of a local engineer and not rotten fruit because when the riff of Whole lotta love sounded in my speakers, I was amazed! I had never heard this riff with so much depth, (often this one is drowned in an undesirable echo, which spoils the pleasure I find)! Then comes the bass, carnal and full of extension. The sound is powerful and massive ... superb! The sound is organic and the crispness of the guitars wonderful (on "What should or what should never be", Jimmy Page's guitar seems to tear up the coda!). This pressing has an exceptional vitality also thanks to a truly 3D soundstage! Music breathes! The clarity is superb too! At first listen I was impressed because it is certainly the rawest, if not the most brutal version that I have heard of this album! "Wow! The engineer who did this mastering is very talented" I said to myself!
    From that point on, I had only one goal: to find other pressings mastered by him and maybe, with a little luck, guess his name.
    But that's the next episode where I will reveal to you how I found the identity of this engineer and I will also tell you about his superb mastering of Led Zeppelin l.

    In the meantime, if some of you have records mastered by Alvear, do not hesitate to give your impressions (and why not publish photos, easy with Postimage)

    Thank you
     
  2. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    To wait, here are some images of the famous Led Zeppelin ll mastering ALVEAR (A8 / B8 ~~)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. multirock

    multirock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santiago de Chile
    Nice thread!! Alvear masterings are one of the new discovered treasures in the vinyl world. And it’s so difficult to find something undiscovered in the vinyl world!!
    I’ll be waiting for your second post to share my experiences with the work of this misterious engineer.
    Best regards
     
  4. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    Thank you Multirock for your nice message. Yes, this late discovery adds a bit of freshness to the obscure world of vinyl. Also, let's not forget other engineers who didn't sign their matrix and did a really good job. Either way, your post gives me the perfect opportunity to tell how I discovered the name of this engineer. In fact after picking up several Led Zeppelin and AC / DC albums with The Little Wave, I decided to give it a try with the Creedence Clearwater Revival records, released on the Hispavox label. A seller tells me that his LP Willy and the poor boys (my favorite CCR) has a little wave on each matrix ... bingo! I receive the record and no bad surprise, it sounds wonderful. So I decided to complete my collection and order the other albums from Creedence's discography. First surprise, Cosmos Factory does not have a small wave in the matrix but sounds just as good as its predecessor ... cool! Second surprise, the first albums have no little vague but a word written in dead wax: ALVEAR. Intrigued, not being familiar with the Spanish language, I do some research on Google. I learn that "ALVEAR" is a first name but also a name. Difficult now to know if it was his first name or his name that this engineer engraved at the end of his work, but now I could speak more simply! I can now more easily identify his work with a common name!
    So that's the story.

    Starting tomorrow, I will post a lot of photos so that everyone can familiarize themselves with the pressings remastered by ALVEAR.

    :tiphat:
     
  5. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    In order to familiarize yourself with Alvear's work, here are some examples of different albums mastered by him:

    Here are some Led Zeppelin albums mastered by ALVEAR. All of them have their signature (a sort of small wave), the most characteristic and probably the most widespread.

    Led Zeppelin l ( Matrix A9/B6~~)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
  7. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
  8. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    Another matrix for Led Zeppelin lV (A8 / B6 ~~) ... and still the characteristic little wave.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Overall sounds exactly like A11 / B6 mastering, with maybe tiny tonal nuances ... but it's really superb!

    I really like this mastering because ALVEAR has succeeded in infusing a maximum of air and depth in a rather thankless final mix! This is what a compatriot told me recently about this mastering done by ALVEAR: "I agree, IV sounds really great and it's true that the mix has, for my taste, put too much on the same level! 'set of instruments. What this pressing attenuates. "

    By doing research on the Hispavox label, which certain masterings were using Dolby Surround ... from the end of the 70s! It is not a certainty but it is not impossible that this Spanish engineer used this process before his cutting job !? Just a guess, but I've always wondered why his masterings had such wonderful three-dimensionality !?
     
  9. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    House of the holy ( A5/B8~~)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    ...And Led Zeppelin lll by ALVEAR?"
     
  11. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    Hmm ... Alas I don't think there is a Led Zeppelin lll fully mastered by ALVEAR. Apparently there are several hybrid pressings with a hand-engraved A side and a machine-stamped B side. It is likely that ALVEAR cut side A (possibly due to a previously damaged matrix) but I doubt it cut side B under this circumstance !?
     
    multirock likes this.
  12. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    If the ALVEAR pressings are wonderful, we should not neglect the other "common" pressings (stamped machine). Some are also exceptional, like ... Led Zeppelin lll (A5 / B3).

    [​IMG]
     
    Echoes Myron likes this.
  13. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    Or less known, an authentic Led Zeppelin IV ... HOT MASTERING !!! (A5 / B3 stamped machine)

    [​IMG]

    Led Zeppelin IV ( mastering George Piros 1977)

    [​IMG]

    Led Zeppelin lV ( mastering George Piros 1982 New audio)

    [​IMG]

    Led Zeppelin lV ( mastering ? Spanish pressing 1971)

    [​IMG]
    ...That's pretty much what a Led Zeppelin lV cut by Robert Ludwig could look like!
     
    dee and Echoes Myron like this.
  14. multirock

    multirock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santiago de Chile
    Yes!
    I saw one of those recently..A7 (or A2, the writting it's a bit confuse) cut by Alvear, and B3 stamped.
    Unfortunately it wasn`t in nice shape..
    Do you have any of these hybrids? How does it sounds?
     
  15. Sear

    Sear Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tarragona (Spain)
    I have several of them. My Led Zeppelin albums for instance. They sound GREAT
     
  16. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    Soon I will post other images of pressings mastered by ALVEAR (AC/DC and Creedence Clearwater Revival in particular). And maybe also some HD audio samples (24/96) to mark some differences between the different Spanish pressings!

    A bit of patience !
     
    mark winstanley, Echoes Myron and dee like this.
  17. multirock

    multirock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santiago de Chile
    I agree with you. Although I have some tonal tastes "differences" with Alvear (I think his work could improve with a little bit more mid/low end), certainly his masterings has an impressive three-dimensionality which it's very unique. Is really enjoyable and fun to listen his interpretatios of these records.
    I have the chance to buy a Zeppelin IV with A13/B11 matrix. Based on your experience, should I buy it, or should I wait for an A11/B10?
     
  18. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    Hi,

    I don't have one of these Led Zeppelin lll Hybrids yet (A side cut by Alvear (I'm almost 99% sure) / B side recycling an old matrix in my opinion). It looks like a reverse scenario of the RL plates sent to Germany!

    PS: the B side ( B3 stamped machine) is magnificent; so I'm sure this hybrid must sound great! ;-)
     
  19. multirock

    multirock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santiago de Chile
    Yes, the A side was cut by him. Has his signature (waves)
     
  20. dee

    dee Senior Member

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    To add to the above.
    The pressing I have of CCR's Green River is A3/B1 in the deadwax.

    I'd never really focused on that harmonica in the left channel of Commotion or didn't remember doing so recently. That's a nice touch in that song. Anyway, almost entirely through listening I didn't find the tone of JF's voice too shrill or harsh nor the electric guitars too piercing or sharp but all alive and well and found the listening volume to often be 'crankable' so that the music was enjoyable at quieter and louder volumes.

    Wrote A Song seemed a bit dull by comparison to the previous tracks, but nice, mellow, elegiac. Wasn't really completely 'feeling it' in the sound of the vocal (the melancholy, disappointment, distress) but the drums sounded real solid to me along with some supportive bass. I enjoyed the layered acoustic and electric guitars.

    The above all 'sounded like' a vintage era sound. Nothing 'new' or 1980's about it to my ears. Who knows what source year tapes the vinyl cut comes from. Not fatiguing for my ears, though I had to turn the volume down during The Night Time when that vicious sounding electric guitar was tearing up the right channel.

    My pressing has what sounds like a very quick, audible 'hiccup' of one word in the last line of BMR. I assume it must be a tape issue as that what it seems like but conjecture on my part. Regardless, a slight flaw in the word 'moon' - the sound of the word 'disappears' for a blink for lack of a better word. Otherwise the bass, drums, guitars, and else all hang together very consistently through that song and Lodi strikes a perfect balance in all that.

    Those wide-like stereo mixes for some of the songs on the album are very enjoyable to listen to.
    Sinister Purpose not the least among them.

    So overall sound not too bright for me nor too dull. Musically and audibly enjoyable. fwiw.
    Such melodic lead guitar riffs and strong tones in each of the first three songs and then later in the final pair. Such tasteful and wicked playing and tones.
     
    Sear and Christophe Lethimonnier like this.
  21. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    I agree with this statement. Yes maybe there is sometimes a very slight deficiency in the mid/end in some of his masterings ... but I also think that it was a "sonic compromise" to sculpt the relief of the guitars, particularly abrasive at ALVEAR! (Maybe Alvear was a guitarist ?!)
    Somehow we also have this kind of "frequency compromise" with the legendary mastering of Robert Ludwig for the second album!

    Yes the three-dimensionality of ALVEAR masterings is the best I have ever heard! Impressive ! I own a Home Cinema and the first time I heard "Moby Dick" I almost felt the shock wave when Jimmy Page slaps his guitar strings before the Bonzo Festival! Wow !!!

    Knowing my taste for adventure, I think this A13 / B11 should be great !?
    ;-)
     
  22. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    Impressive review! My copy of Green River is A1/B1. I will listen carefully to "Bad moon rising" and get back to you as soon as possible.

    :tiphat:
     
    dee likes this.
  23. dee

    dee Senior Member

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Their debut record. This one to my ears, sounds really good. The tones are all very complementary. I started on side 2 for a change. Switch things up a bit. This pressing with the 'Alvear current' sig on both sides (A2,B1) makes for a great listen, for me. I am really glad I bought this one. I think I like the sound of this better than the pressing of Green River with his name in the wax, although I like that one just fine. Still no quite saving Graveyard Train, for me, but at least as the last song (in this sequence) I can listen to it one last time and 'call it a day' for now.

    More titles on the way by other artists, fwiw, I just happen to like CCR a lot and got these in at the same time.

    Thankfully and fortunately both records play close to what they were listed as at VG+ or NM.
     
  24. Christophe Lethimonnier

    Christophe Lethimonnier Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    France
    Yes. A lot of the presses in your country are really very good, and some are exceptional. :righton:
     
    Sear likes this.
  25. Sear

    Sear Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tarragona (Spain)
    Can you please tell me which exact version you have?
     
    Christophe Lethimonnier and dee like this.

Share This Page

molar-endocrine