SH Spotlight Recording and Mastering Questions---Answered here. Any more?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Same echo on both, yes. Just different EQ, etc.
     
  2. JJ75

    JJ75 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    Hi, here's one I've wondered about.

    In the past, did they always cut vinyl lp's from eq'd/compressed cutting masters, and these cutting masters are tapes which were created to keep the music within the physical limitations of the vinyl medium (also a generation down from the actual master).
    Does this mean that our treasured Y&B Parlophone Beatles lp's for example. are actually a generation away from the real master? Or, did they sometimes apply the necessary eq/compression 'on the fly' while cutting the vinyl from the actual master?

    Best Regards

    JJ
     
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    In my experience in working with this stuff, I've learned that certain studios and record companies did one or the other.

    ABC Records always cut the first press from the master and made an EQ'd cutting master at the same which was used for recuts. This insured that the recut would have the same general sound as the original cut due to the fact that all the mastering moves were "built in" to the cutting tape.

    EMI UK cut all the Beatles LP's from the actual master mixes (except for a few songs as noted on this Forum: "Please, Please Me" mono LP cut, etc.)

    Reprise used the original tapes to cut records because they considered (or better said, United/Western considered) all two-track tapes to be EQ dubs of the three-track! To them, the three-track was the mix and the two-track just an EQ copy, heh. I can't tell you how many reissue producers this has thrown off. The actual master mixes say "EQ Master" on them and these guys will look in vain for something earlier gen. The EQ Master WAS the actual master at United/Western. Wacky.

    Atlantic always cut from the original masters even for recuts.

    So did Columbia for the most part; this is the reason that the Byrds, Dylan, S&G stereo masters for the most part are shot and the mono versions are still usable. Less wear and tear.

    RCA-Victor had their "dash" system where the cutting used the tape that was stored in the area of the pressing plant sometimes. Dash 1 was first generation, Dash 2, second, etc. Columbia did that for recuts as well sometimes.

    Capitol always used masters to cut records except when recuts were needed for certain plants. Sometimes the backup copy was used (when stored in NYC, for example).

    For the most part, a first LP cutting used the master tape during the 50's - 70's. The actual sound of the record was totally Dependant on the cutting style of the mastering engineer so that a first pressing of a Beach Boys album might have sounded worse than a recut from a dupe tape..

    Gotta tell you though that the idea of an "EQ Cutting Master" was a 1970's thing. Before that the companies just made flat copies of their masters called "Safeties". A good thing, too. EQ ideas from that era have aged badly!
     
  4. JJ75

    JJ75 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    Wicked! Thank you, Steve.

    You've cleared up that particular source of confusion for me. I must have had been 'on leave' when that was last discussed.

    Cheers

    JJ
     
  5. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Probably never really was discussed, at least in these terms. Hence this thread.
     
  6. thxdave

    thxdave Forum Resident

    Steve, are we allowed to ask questions about our own recording projects or is this strictly for discussing pre-existing recordings? Thanks
     
  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Sure, I don't care. Keep the mic placement questions for another thread though; that gets too much in to personal taste, etc.
     
  8. Chip TRG

    Chip TRG Senior Member

    With modern technology what it is, is it possible to "faithfully" digitally recreate any of "classic echo chambers? (eg: Gold Star, Western, Columbia, RCA Nashville, Capitol Hollywood, etc.)
     
  9. Mal

    Mal Phorum Physicist

    No

    (IMHO)

    :)
     
    BDC likes this.
  10. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Very wacky thinking, especially when considering how much the sound could differ (to varying degrees depending on the song/album/etc.) when comparing the sound of the multi with all the channels "up" with no further processing to the sound on that's on the two track.
     
  11. MikePh

    MikePh Forum Resident

    The term FOLD DOWN is used quite a bit to describe Mono releases. What's the story there for us civilians?
     
  12. Chris Malone

    Chris Malone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks for the opportunity, Steve!

    The talk of multis, mixdown tapes and masters makes me wonder. Do reissue producers (and possibly mastering engineers) overlook the value of a source that is a generation or two further away from the original recording? There might be a bit of an obsession with using a 3-track or 8-track source when a 2-track album master smokes everything else.
     
  13. thxdave

    thxdave Forum Resident

    Thanks for the opportunity to ask this, Steve. I've been recording two podcasts for my paper (http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/80s/ .....links to individual shows on the right side) and I've been compressing the audio prior to a/d conversion. The most basic question I have is: Should I be compressing these hosts (all voice/no music) before they hit the convertors in my Metric Halo ULN2 or should I record them dry and compress them in my DAW? Presently, they are NOT hearing themselves via a headphone mix but that will change in a couple weeks when we move into our new (small) recording room. Hope this isn't too close to a thread cr**.
     
  14. Hawkman

    Hawkman Supercar Gort Staff

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Steve,

    I seem to remember 10cc using DBX noise reduction. I never hear about DBX anymore. Has it fallen from favor? How did that work as opposed to Dolby for noise reduction?
     
  15. thxdave

    thxdave Forum Resident

    Actually, if it helps, I'm using a dbx 160A for my compression.
     
  16. sharedon

    sharedon Forum Zonophone

  17. Hawkman

    Hawkman Supercar Gort Staff

    Location:
    New Jersey
  18. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Probably. I was cured of "playing God" many years ago. I only use a three when the two really sucks... 99% of my remasterings are from vintage mixes.
     
  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    You can GENTLY compress anywhere. Do it gently during recording, just a bit. Then, again when mixing. Remember, the idea of compression is to keep the voices "in the mix" with everything else. The human voice has too wide a dynamic range to be able to co-exist with any other tracks. Double gentle compression usually works.
     
  20. thxdave

    thxdave Forum Resident

    Thanks for that Steve. I've been running around 3:1 lately. If you have a chance, can you listen to a few minutes of the latest show and tell me if you think I'm on the right track?
     
  21. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    A fold down means simply that for whatever reason the studio did not do a dedicated mono mix or that a licensee was not furnished with one.

    Fold downs suck basically because (you may or may not know this) when you fold down a stereo image (left channel and right channel combined) what was mixed in the center stays at the same level and the left and right information drops about three wicked db, ruining your precious mix. So to fold down a true stereo image to mono is really a cheesy way of doing something.

    During the last days of mono in the late 1960's, engineers got incredibly lazy about doing a dedicated mono mix along with their stereo mix. They often folded down the stereo and hoped no one would notice (Doors, etc.) Just the opposite of the early days of stereo when the mono mix still was everything and the stereo mix was a throwaway...
     
    lightbulb likes this.
  22. Grant

    Grant Spring break

    Location:
    United States
    Let's see if I get this right: a fold-down is when two channels, a stereo mix, is combined to make a mono mix. IF I recall correctly, Steve said once that you still EQ or mix a bit because whenever you fold stereo into mono, you get about a >.3db in the midrange. This is also why pushing the mono button on your amp doesn't really work.

    Addenum: I just noticed Steve's response above after posting this one. Oh well...
     
  23. CaptainOzone

    CaptainOzone On Air Cowbell

    Location:
    Beaumont, CA, USA
    Hi Steve-
    Two questions:

    Do Masters sometimes have splices in them? We see things like "edit of takes 2 and 7."
    If you are working with the Original Master Tape do you see bits of splicing tape pass the heads? :eek:

    Give us your estimate of the percentage of actual first generation masters that still exist from the pre-Beatles era of Rock 'n Roll.

    -Bud
     
  24. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Masters have many splices in them, yes. Usually they break because the glue has dried up. We just fix 'em!

    First gen tapes that still exist pre Beatles? 80% or so..
     
  25. Ryan

    Ryan That would be telling

    Location:
    New England
    Also, what exactly is on the master tape? Is it a copy of the best stereo (or mono) mixes? Or are those mixes physically cut off the "mix tape" and made into the master? I thought it was the latter but was never sure..
     

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