SH Spotlight Nat King Cole "The Very Thought Of You" -New multi-channel SACD question for Steve H.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Loud Listener, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. Loud Listener

    Loud Listener Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Hi Steve,

    I have been listening to the 3 track layer of this SACD this weekend and really do like it.

    It sounds to me like the 3 track layer may just be a flat transfer from the tape, with the same amount of echo added as you used on the stereo mix. The main difference I noticed is the stereo mix has more bass and is warmer sounding. The 3 track layer bass sounds more like the bass on the original mono mix. Would you care to share some of the EQ moves you did or equipment you used to warm the stereo mix up?

    I also noticed the center track with Nat's vocal has bass and piano on it, so I imagine that made the mix a bit more diffcult to do. Any moves made on his voice would also raise or lower those instruments as well.

    I would just be curious to hear what you did with the 3 tracks, how much mixing was involved, etc., ..... thanks!
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    The Very Thought Of You was a lovely album but much more of an engineering challenge than Love Is The Thing. Not worse in terms of fidelity but worse in terms of tone and instrument vs. voice balance.

    The mono version was recorded (IMO) weakly with too much echo and no compression at all. Why is that bad, you ask? Well, the levels are all over the place and the cutting engineer of the time smashed the signal when cutting. The actual tape dynamics jump from song to song and session to session. Still, it's the original mix, unheard since back in the day and never on digital before until our SACD/CD. Oh, and the two bonus tracks have never been released ANYWHERE in the original mono mixes before until this disk. The album is smooth and neat but Love Is The Thing beats it, recording wise.

    The three-track version was recorded in the upstairs snack room and on some of the songs they attempted to compensate for the lack of microphones on the stereo side by tapping in to the rhythm mics of the mono version and feeding them through on to the vocal track and just guessing at the balance between the voice and the bass, guitar and drums. A real pain because they were off. A lot. However, the quick and dirty stereo recording was simply for the open reel tape market and not considered important enough to worry about. Of course, that all changed when stereo LP's became the rage.

    So, no two songs (and there were 16 that I worked with) had the same balance or sound as any other. I tried to make them even, same as I did for the DCC but this time around I used a little vacuum tube help from my trusty Teletronix LA2A leveling amplifier on Nat's voice. It really helped a lot.

    The three-channel version and the two channel version are the same, EQ wise. In other words, NO EQ was used unless needed. I used "THERE IS NO GREATER LOVE" (best sounding track on there) as my EQ guide and tried to make everything on there sound that good. Mixing was a pain because of the variations in orchestra and vocal dynamics but I think it came out pretty good for what it was and what it was originally meant to be.

    Please note that the three-track recording process of the time blew every whisper up to gigantic proportions so every DB of EQ added raised the hiss level a lot. To get around that I didn't add any top end EQ. Just reversed EQ'd some other stuff. Trying to keep the tape hiss down to a dull roar on that album was a challenge. The way it was recorded (too much dynamic range) meant that many of the songs started way down under the noise floor of the Ampex 300-3!

    Such is history. A classic 14 song album made even better by us adding back the two songs pulled off at the last minute (cutting problems with too long sides) to make it a 16 song dreamfest.

    By the way, you DCC Gold CD THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU lovers, my future wife mixed "There Is No Greater Love" on that, with me watching (after she watched me mix the other 15 songs). She did a great job and we used that song to walk down the aisle a few years later.:love:
  3. Clark Kauffman

    Clark Kauffman Forum Resident

    I love this album. Although the high points aren't as high as "Love Is The Thing," I think that overall it's a better collection of songs. And this new SACD version is to die for. I can't wait for the rest of the series...
  4. Loud Listener

    Loud Listener Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for the response, Steve. That explains what I was hearing. I was wondering how you got rid of all that hiss I hear in the 3 track and mono versions. :D
  5. Hey Steve...that story about Karla at the mixing console with you was lovely. Has she done any other work at the studio with you since then? Just wondering. She has a really good ear for music and its subtleties, just like her husband!:wave: It's easy to understand why you married her! I wish I'd been as lucky...:love:
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    She's done a few things with me but basically she likes to watch (just like Chance in "Being There").:)
  7. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    cool :righton:

    By the way the SACD sounds phenomenal :righton: :righton: :righton:
  8. shicorp

    shicorp Forum Resident

    I've already asked my local dealer for an offer on this. Unfortunately, no reply thus far:(
  9. Great story. :righton:
  10. Steve, you're a lucky get to do what you love most with the people you love most! How many other folks get to say that...and mean it?:wave:
  11. Davidmk5

    Davidmk5 Forum Resident

    Marlboro , ma. usa
    Thanks for posting all that Info , i just got this Sacd last week & i have to say i can not stop spinning it , this may be my favorite thing you have put out (allthough i have many more to add to my collection) .
    I could not be enjoying this any more than i am , and to be able to have all 3 versions/Mixes on this is such a treat , you get to hear different things on each version , right now i am loving the stereo version the most ..... not sure why , but i just love the way it sounds , the 3-track "spread" is amazing as well getting to hear the vocal that clear & up front .

    A++++ job to Steve & Kevin for putting out something i enjoy so much , thanks ! :righton:
  12. coleman

    coleman Forum Resident

    I'm sure I know the answer to this, but is there any way to rip the SACD stereo layer mono tracks to FLAC? I do quite a lot of listening in the car and I really want to have the mono version to the listen to. Currently, the only way I can listen to the mono version is at home and free time at home slim lately.
  13. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    not really - well, not in the digital domain.
  14. coleman

    coleman Forum Resident

    I figured. Personally, I would have paid extra for a second disc that contained the RB, mono version. Much more flexibility that way. Such is life. I can always pump it out of the receiver and into my computer. One of these days when I'm feeling ambitious, I'll do that.
  15. noname74

    noname74 Allegedly Canadian

    I am a new NKC fan and bought all of the currently released SACD's and am loving them...I keep asking myself why I ignored him for so many years? Oh least he's in my musical life now! :)

    A quick question about the song 'The Very Thought Of You' the 3:20 mark when he says the word 'thought' there is a distortion there that is quite noticable and hard to ignore. It's on both the Stereo and Mono versions so I assume it's on the master.

    I was hoping Steve or a super fan could let me know what that noise is? The disc is so beautifully recorded that I'm surprised something like that would have slipped by without being corrected at the time it was recorded. I assume there was nothing that could be done for the SACD release so I'm curious how a noise like that made it out of the shop back in the late 50s? I realize the recording is 50plus years old but the rest sounds so perfect! :)
  16. noname74

    noname74 Allegedly Canadian

  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Studio had a power glitch at that moment. Why didn't they "piece" that section? Don't know. Too late to ask now...
  18. noname74

    noname74 Allegedly Canadian

    true...still what a great recording. amazing work on it and the other sacd's- you can tell it was a labor of love...can't wait for the rest to be released!
  19. coleman

    coleman Forum Resident

    Unfortunately, you have no choice. :shake:
  20. noname74

    noname74 Allegedly Canadian

    It could be because it's the end of a hard week of work...but I'm not sure what you mean? are they not being released anytime soon or something?
  21. coleman

    coleman Forum Resident

    Exactly. Some have been delayed more than a year. Most recently, the release dates for two have been removed from AS's site, which would indicate that they cannot commit to a hard release date.
  22. Planbee

    Planbee Negative Nellie

    Four SACDs are out now (at least on Amazon). How many more are planned?
  23. coleman

    coleman Forum Resident

  24. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Found this goofy version of the original LP from India. Note that on the front cover, they use all the same typesetting, but a slightly different photo....

    ....and another bump, too, to highly, highly recommend the SACD. It's like audio butter. Me like butter.

    Attached Files:

  25. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Wow, great cover. Probably didn't want to put a pic of NAT on the cover. He might look like an "untouchable" to them..

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