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. Agreed, very cool!

    Steve, it must be an incredible experience to hold those tape boxes in your hands, remove the tape and carefully spool it up on the machine. When you push play, that's as close as anyone can ever get to be in the studio during those historic sessions. I look at those tapes are precious artifacts of jazz.
     
  2. mothra

    mothra New Member

    Location:
    washington dc
     
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Well, what is incredible is that you will be able to hear just what we hear in the studio when working on BLUE NOTE. That tickles me.
     
  4. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    Location:
    Toronto
    Not as much as it tickles us! :D
     
  5. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    I just looked up the address of Rudy's studio. I drove past there last night (and many times before), and didn't even realize it! I need to go back and look for 445 Rt. 9W to see what the place looks like.
     
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host


    Well, it's a collector passion type thing. We can all dig that. For example, why would anyone want to collect the MONO British Apple LP of the Beatles "Yellow Submarine" soundtrack? It's a fold down as well.
     
  7. Diamond007

    Diamond007 Forum Resident

    Sorry, but I am really confused here. At what point (year wise) was stereo production actually perfected and did this "Fold Down" mono begin? It was my understanding that this technology had production problems well into the early sixties. But, the general consensus on this forum is that it started well before, about 1959 or before?? So in retrospect, have we in some sense been duped into thinking of the mono recordings as being the pure sound of 50's-60's Jazz is now just a falsity perpetuated by a feeding frenzy of the 80's and 90's or even before?

    Please help to clarify this for the many of us with what we considered a valuable BN collection.
     
  8. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    The creation of two different and distinct products (mono and stereo) from the same recording continued into the late 60's. But almost from the very beginning there were fold downs. The big record companies: Columbia, RCA, Decca, Capitol, Atlantic, etc. all had enough resources to create two different mixes either on the spot or from multitracks. But that was not the case for the small independent jazz labels, so Riverside and Blue Note, for example, both started using fold downs for their mono LP's as early as 1958.
     
  9. Diamond007

    Diamond007 Forum Resident

    So, are you advocating that the continued practice of producing mono records was merely a supply and demand issue? Even in today's market?
     
  10. adhoc

    adhoc Gentlemen Prefer Stereo

    Yes. Reread the thread, please. SH and others have attempted to explain this phenomenon numerous times.
     
  11. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Yes and no. Really once mono carts that could play stereo LP's were manufactured there was no more reason to create mono mixes. That was the death of the mono LP.

    Nowadays, the new mono LP market is driven by mono enthusiasts (in the case of dedicated mono mix LP's), but who knows what drives the market for fold down LP's?
     
  12. yasujiro

    yasujiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    tokyo
    The prices in the collectors' market themselves ...... :shh:
     
  13. adhoc

    adhoc Gentlemen Prefer Stereo

    You're right. It's almost a self-perpetuating market. As I (semi-memorably) described it in another thread: the emperor's new clothes. :shh:

    People have been duped into associating "mono BN" with "first pressing" (apparently not always true) and (more strangely) "best-sounding".

    Regarding the first point: This may not be true for a great deal of BN releases - my understanding is that stereo and mono BN issues were released side-by-side. This would negate their "first pressing" status immediately.

    Regarding the second point: even here you'll find some posts by people who claim that the monos sound "best" to them. I'm not sure what sort of systems they have, as even mono systems (both mono-only carts or mono-buttons-on-receiver types) will sound about the same with a mono pressing or stereo pressing playing. A stereo pressing will definitely sound identical to a mono pressing if a "mono fold down" button (combine L+R) is used.

    But as some members here have pointed out, the market seems driven by a select group of collectors, mostly based in Japan. There are even some rather memorable posts on AA by ex-record store owners recounting tales of Japanese men visiting their stores back in the 1990s who only knew 2 English phrases - "Blue Note" and "toilet". :D Nowadays, there are some other "big gun" (no-holds barred bidding) mono BN collectors on eBay from other Asian countries - Hong Kong, Thailand and South Korea especially stand out. And of course there are those from the US or A. I'm not aware of any big gun collectors here in Oz, but then again we are a slightly culturally retarded people. :D I keed, I keed.

    For an example of this (madness/silliness IMO), let me refer you to the following auction: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...ordsPerPage=50&SortProperty=MetaEndSort&fvi=1

    :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Well, I guess it's their money; they can do with it as they wish. I just hope that people are buying them for their "historical significance" (overstated if stereo pressings were simultaneously released) and NOT for any imagined/perceived "superior sound quality". :(
     
  14. yasujiro

    yasujiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    tokyo
    I have thought that it may have been a cultural bias - towards mono sound. As adhoc intelligently pointed out, people on the hemisphere prefer mono almost automatically. But, after many observations and experiences, I now think that it's an 'In-printing'. People want mono because they learn they fetche incredibile - at his or her first sight - prices in the market. 'a self-perpetuating' as adhoc says is the precise expression for it.
    IMHO I'd think that the BN original, meaning pre-liberty days, stereo pressings are not as common as to be compared easily with their mono counterparts by such many collectors who insist mono is the best. It seems very doubtful that the mono-is-the-best people have such good and many experiences. Sorry if I'm wrong on this.
     
  15. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Actually I meant the market for newly pressed fold down LP's. :shh:
     
  16. Ctiger2

    Ctiger2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    I would think it might be a good idea to post two comparative audio clips from one of these Blue Notes to be released. One Stereo version and one Mono fold down version. Then one can auditorily hear the lost cues and all of the out of phase information lost on the folded down Mono version. It might help people to better understand why these will be released as Stereo versions instead of the more coveted Dead Mint Mono Deep Groove First Pressing Blue Note's.
     
  17. Diamond007

    Diamond007 Forum Resident

    Ok, now what format of digital audio compression should we use?
    MP3, something in a itunes flavor? Flac, APE ORG or what is your pleasure?
    I like your idea, but isn't the real debate here is that no one has reported mono as being lossey until now in 2007? I can remember listening to BN stereos when I couldn't afford the monos and thinking some of them were a bit thin and somewhat anemic others great. But, then I have big tubes.

    I read that these Ultimate-Definitive MM reissues will be uncompressed as if listening to the original stereo master tapes. I'd like to hear that comparison!! I hear a shoot out in the wind here, anyone with a test pressing care to step up to the challenge and post a teaser??
     
  18. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    All you need is a double Y cord and you can do it any time you want.
     
  19. fredhammersmith

    fredhammersmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec
    I must admit that, to my not-so-great ears, most of the musicians (Coltrane, Hubbard, Fuller, Drew) do sound like they are standing on top of each other on the left channel of the stereo mix of Blue Train.
     
  20. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    Well if I win one of the test pressings, I'll be glad to post a sample or two, providing our host doesn't object. If they sound like the Fantasy 45 RPM jazz titles I have -- and we have no reason to think they won't -- then we're all going to be some very happy jazz fans. In fact, I can post a clip or two from Monk's Music or Way Out West if anyone's curious how these Fantasy pressings sound.
     
  21. johnny33

    johnny33 New Member

    Location:
    usa
    think thats a great idea Jason! :agree: . I would if I knew how.
     
  22. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    Okely dokely. And happy 3000th, johnny!
     
  23. RonInCRIA

    RonInCRIA New Member

    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    The only thing worse than fake stereo in my opinion is a stereo recording folded down to mono UNLESS it was done with a purist micing method engineered for mono summing at the time.

    That said, if the folded to mono record is what you have, it's best to play it in MONO, one channel. True mono records sound okay played in two channel but for these one channel listening is the way to go.

    This is the true value of a full function preamp or listening in a pro environment with a jack field. It's a detriment with the truly good recordings but when this is what you have you use the tools to make best use of it.
     
  24. johnny33

    johnny33 New Member

    Location:
    usa
    Thanks my friend! :D
     
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