SH Spotlight QUESTION: Vintage Van Gelder BLUE NOTE LPs, stereo or mono titles. Which are better?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Cassius, Aug 20, 2007.

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  1. Binaural is 2 mic's recording a live event (sometimes mounted in a dummy head).
    Separation created when some instruments are closer to one or the other mic, not equidistant of the 2 mic's.

    This is also a kind of stereo, but most stereo that exists that isn't binaural.

    The other kind of stereo is mono mic'ing of individual instruments,
    later mixed with left, center and right panning within two tracks.
     
  2. johnny 99

    johnny 99 Down On Main Street

    Location:
    Toronto
    Pearl Jam has an album called "Binaural" (2000) that has a unique sound to it. I remember reading that it was recorded a "certain way". Anyone heard it? (If so, is it in fact "binaural"?)
     
  3. lemonjello

    lemonjello Forum Resident

    I've been trying to ID the mic on the Upright Bass(es) in these pictures for a while. Any one know what it is?

    Jake
     
  4. Jamie Tate

    Jamie Tate New Member

    Location:
    Nashville
    My college roommate of three years recorded that album. Tchad Blake produced it and at the time he was really into the Neumann dummy head binaural mic. I read an article where he mentioned it was the typically mic he used for drum overheads as well as many other things. It also was used extensively on Mitchell Froom's solo album. It even had a picture of the dummy head mic on the back cover of the Finn Bros. and Mitchell's albums (the mics are in the dummy's rubber ears).

    http://www.neumann.com/?lang=en&id=current_microphones&cid=ku100_description
    [​IMG]
     
  5. kudesai

    kudesai New Member

    Location:
    usa
    I would not go by the labels on these microphones, or even what they look like in these pictures. He was very secretive about his mics and was known to cover or remove id's or flat out disguise his equipment.
     
  6. TonyF

    TonyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    St Louis
    Hey:

    I know a large part of the BN Mono demand was created by the
    Japanese collectors market. They prefer the monos for various
    reasons. I don't have a big probem with the Monos per se and
    I think the Classic Mono reisssue are quite good. I believe the
    more popular 50's and early 60's titles were issued in stereo
    later. One problem is that during the Liberty/UA period they
    issued some of the early Mono's as Fake rechanneled stereo.


    Tony
     
  7. johnny 99

    johnny 99 Down On Main Street

    Location:
    Toronto
    Thanks for that info. I'm a big fan of Mitchell Froom's work with Crowded House, Suzanne Vega and Los Lobos. (And I really like the Pearl Jam album Binaural too!)
     
  8. yasujiro

    yasujiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    tokyo
    Various reasons? IIRC, they do prefer monos just because they think "nothing but monos are original". In this case, the definition of "original" is that which got the first way to the market. :(
     
  9. jkauff

    jkauff Senior Member

    Location:
    Akron, OH
    Another binaural recording--one of the earliest--is Lou Reed's Street Hassle.

    I had a friend years ago who used to walk around the streets of Akron, OH doing live binaural recording--interviewing people, getting them to sing a Beatles song, etc.--and they sounded just amazing when played back through headphones. Talk about ambience!
     
  10. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    That is probably true.

    The problem is, a REISSUE LP is not an original anything.

    A true collector wants a first pressing even if it sounds below average. It's a "collectible". A reissue album shouldn't be trying to replicate that exactly, it should strive for the best possible sound reproduction; something the world has never heard before. If not, why bother to do it?

    I scratch my head over this sometimes. Anyone who buys a Blue Note reissue LP knows darn well that it's not an original. Are they actually paying to get a faux copy of an album that they can't afford the original of or to get wonderful sound on an analog state-of-the-art record, never before available? If it's the latter, I'm with you. If it's the former, you've lost me.
     
  11. Parkertown

    Parkertown Hapless Lion

    Probably just because of that fact that you can't get 'em anymore.

    The cd releases are always stereo...
     
  12. yasujiro

    yasujiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    tokyo
    That is where your remasterings keep us surprised. It was a refreshing experience to hear the "raw" sound of WAY OUT WEST on the 45 rpm remaster. I was very impressed that the tenor man was moving around with his horn which wasn't so discernible on my good old original STEREO RECORDS label vinyl. :righton:
     
  13. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Yes, he was moving around, wasn't he? I love listening to him on the Analogue Productions 45 RPM version; I believe this is the only way to get the sound of the actual dry stereophonic session tape.
     
  14. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I have three or four reissue Blue Note mono LP's: Blue Train, Cool Struttin', Somethin' Else, and maybe one other. All are from the 1500 series. For me it's about both. I like the sound of the mono LP's from the 1500 series, and the originals are too rare and expensive to track down. I once had an original mono copy of "Somethin' Else", but it was too noisy so I took it back to the record store and I bought the reissue.

    And I can understand collecting original 4000 series mono LP's although I wouldn't bother, but you're right I would never spend $30 on a reissue mono LP that is just a fold down of the stereo.
     
    mikeyt likes this.
  15. ivor

    ivor Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I know next to nothing about recording, jazz, Blue Note, or Englewood, but I have the John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman SACD which contains both mono and stereo mixes. It was recorded in 1963. In the liner notes, RVG explains why both mixes are included. Here are the middle two paragraphs:

    So I understand that the stereo LPs have better definition like you guys are saying, but it seems like there's also value in the mono mixes because they are what RVG paid attention to in the studio.
     
  16. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Debunked. For the Blue Note Glory Years there was ONLY the stereo tape running. The monos (as we have discussed in about a zillion threads) after 1957 were just lackluster sounding (to me) fold-downs of the stereo tape.
     
  17. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    This is a different scenario than what went on when RVG worked with the Lions, though. AFAIK, there was no second Ampex recorder capturing the mono "mix" for the Blue Note albums.
     
  18. william shears

    william shears Active Member

    Location:
    new zealand
    Well the key is in his description..'balanced' that is he says they didn't listen to the 2-track monitor playback but sure as shoot they checked the VU meters and a simple step-by-step monitoring of the individual mic settings. He'd only have to listen to the stereo playback for a couple of sessions to establish the basic set-up (which as Steve points out he followed religiously throughout his Blue Note years)..and I'm pretty sure that once the stereo tapes became THE master then he would certainly have had a few sneaky listens to the 2-track/stereo monitor during playback;)
     
  19. kudesai

    kudesai New Member

    Location:
    usa
    Not to state the obvious here, but Coltrane & Hartman was not the Blue Note glory years, it was the middle of the Coltrane Impulse years. Is it possible he is referring to this era?

    Aside from that, Steve, are you saying that he never ran two decks? For years I was under the impression that was his SOP. In fact you did say:
    I don't doubt what you are saying, it just makes me wonder what RVG is talking about.
     
  20. kudesai

    kudesai New Member

    Location:
    usa
    This stuff wouldn't be nearly as confusing if RVG wasn't so secretive about his recording techniques. Very few pictures exist of his recording sessions, and there is little or no documentation out there either. At least none that I can find.
     
  21. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    That's exactly Steve's point. We're talking about Blue Note. Alfred Lion did not ask RVG to run two different machines, and as far as anyone can remember he didn't.

    And in that quote Steve is referring to the 50's Blue Note session from BLP 1554 (or so) to BLP 4003. In almost all those sessions RVG ran two tape machines. From 4004 on up, only the stereo machine was used.
     
  22. kudesai

    kudesai New Member

    Location:
    usa
    Yes, I understand. I am well aware we are talking about Blue Note. I am not sure the original poster, understands, so I was clarifying.


    So, which are the glory years then?
     
  23. ivor

    ivor Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Ah, I gotcha. Thanks.
     
  24. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Steve is talking about the glory years in general. That is the album years for Blue Note roughly from 1955 to 1968 or so. Once Blue Note went stereo there were two machines being used only from mid 1957 until mid 1959. The entire rest of the time there was only one machine running. First mono and then stereo.
     
  25. kudesai

    kudesai New Member

    Location:
    usa
    Your glory years are quite a bit longer than mine. LOL ;) Thus the confusion. :)

    Now, I thought they did not start releasing Stereo titles until about '59 or '60. Huh.
     
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