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

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

  1. Grant

    Grant Spring break

    United States
    Problem is, "master" can mean a lot of things to different people. Nowadays, it is generally accepted as the final mixdown tape, ready for mastering and duplication.
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Physically cut, yes and compiled on the master LP reel. Not a copy. We are speaking of course of the analog era.
  3. Grant

    Grant Spring break

    United States
    If someone wanted to do an LP or CD of such a tape with everything spliced in, in most cases, I imagine they would have to do a LOT of EQ'ing and other stuff to make the tracks sit well together if they were all spliced together and were from different machines, studios, and different parameters. man! Mastering ain't easy!
    McLover likes this.
  4. Chris Malone

    Chris Malone Forum Resident

    Steve, do you have any comments on the Plangent Processes wow and flutter corrector? Seems like a highly useful invention for resurrecting badly shrunk mag film in particular.

    Do analog tapes deteriorate just by sitting on the shelf? Not talking sticky shed but does a tape sound sonically poorer the longer it sits, assuming that it was wound and stored properly?
  5. acjetnut

    acjetnut Forum Resident

    Steve, this probably applies mainly to you and a select few that do similar sorts of mastering.

    When you receive a master that is digital (on DAT or in computer files), do you master it through analogue gear, or do you keep it digital all the way (use plug-ins, etc)?
  6. pcain

    pcain Forum Resident

    Minneapolis, MN
    Steve, my first CD of yours was "Bille Holiday: From The Original Decca Masters" which I bought around 20 years ago. "Lover Man" "Good Morning Heartache" and "Solitude" were transferred from glass discs. I searched the forum for a bit of info on the glass discs, but could you comment more about them? How common were they? Was there an advantage to recording on glass? How in the heck was it even done? (Wesson Oil??? Wow.)
  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Never really tried it. Don't hear any wow or flutter on any stuff I master. Do you?

    Analog tapes do not deteriorate, no. The later (post 1973) tapes lose their artificial lubricants and need to be baked to play. The earlier tapes do not have this problem. I've played tapes that have sat for 55 years and they play fine.
  8. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    It all depends on how badly it needs analog treatments. About 50/50.
  9. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    16" transcription radio discs that were used to "cover" the Decca sessions. Made out of glass during the war metal shortages. You just play them like a big record..
    rxcory and McLover like this.
  10. ChristianL

    ChristianL Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    What tapes are techniacly speaking called "Master" when the songs on an album blend into each other? For example, Santana's Abraxas. Is the mastertape always the mixdown tape from the multitracks or is the cross-fading considered as a part of the mixing process?
  11. TeacFan

    TeacFan Forum Resident In Memoriam

    Arcadia, Ca.
    Not to beat a dead horse...but what generation from the EMI masters are the Vol 2 discs?? Or is this too esoteric to answer?
  12. Ere

    Ere Senior Member

    Silver Spring MD
    Is the application of EQ, compression, noise reduction (if used) usually limited to one part of the overall recording process, or is it done at the end on the master itself?

    Does EQ include include setting overall gain/volume of a given multi or master or is it the adjustment of discrete portions of the sound spectrum?
  13. JJ75

    JJ75 Forum Resident

    London UK
    Its amazing then that the Beatles masters aren't totally shot as well, given the millions of records pressed, probably more than the Byrds, Dylan, S&G combined.

    How is it that they have stood up so well given the number of times they have been used, is that EMITAPE just really good hardwearing tape?

  14. Doug Hess Jr.

    Doug Hess Jr. Forum Resident

    Belpre, Ohio
    You mentioned earlier that with cassettes-- especially those with DBX-- would only sound good on the deck they were recorded on.

    If it were practical or possible, would there be any sonic benefit if (analog we're talking about) all songs were all recorded and mixed in the same studio rather then vocals one place, guitars another, overdubs at a third, etc. Same about the mixdown. Would there be any noticeable benefit if you had the actual machine the master mixdown tapes were made on to master from or do professional machines sound uniform enough (tube vs. tube, solid state vs. solid state) that once they are set up properly with the tones that no one really notices any difference?

    The short version of that question: Are part of your EQ or adjustments for the fact you aren't playing the master back on the deck it was made on or only for the sound of the tape itself since the machine is transparent.
  15. Mal

    Mal Phorum Physicist

    One factor would be that the original masters would only be used for LPs cut at Abbey Road. With a population much smaller than that of the States even the best selling records here in the UK don't shift nearly the number of units you can shift in the States.

    All the millions of Beatles records pressed and re-pressed in the States and around the world were made from copy tapes. Only the relatively small number (I said relatively!) of records pressed here in the UK were made from the masters. I imagine, for example, that the Byrds & S&G US pressed records cut directly from the original masters were made in much larger quantities requiring more recuts hence more tape wear.
  16. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Hi Steve -
    Could you summarize the baking process? What conditions warrant a baking? And how exactly are they baked; what kind of reel do you put them on, do you have to wind it tight or loose, temperature, frequent bastings, etc?

    thanks :)
  17. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Milwaukee, WI
    To pull this back off you hear any difference in compression?

    Did anyone else listen?
  18. Raf

    Raf Senior Member

    Toronto, Ontario
    I did. And you're right ... same amount of echo. Hmm. I based my earlier post on what I remember of the track on the Beatles '65 LP I used to have, and Joseph Brennan concurs: he says, "Capitol's stereo version has an unusually large amount of added echo even for them."

    Brennan continues, "Late in the LP era (black label) a new master was made for Capitol with a version sounding like the UK version." I guess this means the Capitol Vol. 1 CD box contains the reissue version without added echo.
  19. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Milwaukee, WI
    The other day I got an Odeon Beatles '65. I don't remember any added echo, but I'll have to listen again. Of course, they may have changed things around anyway, as I think I Feel Fine might be their unique longer version.
  20. Doug Hess Jr.

    Doug Hess Jr. Forum Resident

    Belpre, Ohio
    Here's a link for a site with information on baking. Scroll down about half way to an insert that is darker than the rest of the page...
  21. Dean De Furia

    Dean De Furia Active Member

    Northern NJ

    What determines what size and speed tape is used for the master? 1/4 inch or half inch and what speed: 15ips or 30 ips?
  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    If you are speaking of the 70's (when that stuff was used the most), the multi-track usually was done with Dolby A, some EQ was used on each channel along with some compression. More of everything when mixed to the master.

    EQ is just changing the tonality of a channel or the overall mix.
  23. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Well, crossfaded songs are masters because they were used in the mastering of a disc. Technically they are copies because of the generation loss during blending.
  24. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Tape is generally a robust medium. Those EMI tapes were run maybe 20 times in all (to make the foreign "dupes" and to do recuts). They could probably be rerun with care another 100 times.
  25. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter


    The creative process is just that, creative. You don't eat dinner in your office or sleep there (unless you have to). Artists don't want to be stuck in the same place working on something if they don't have to. All studios sound different from each other and they always will.

    I guess an album recorded, mixed and mastered in one place will sound uniform, but sometimes that sound is uniformly bad!

    My EQ adjustments have nothing to do with tape calibration, just tonality..

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