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Sinatra / Capitol Sound Quality and General Discussion: "Nice 'n' Easy" - 1960*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by MLutthans, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    We thought of it. The lathe will go at 78.....
     
  2. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Well, my 9:00 rainbow pressing is a D15, and when I flip phase on one channel and sum to mono, both the vocal and its associated reverb trail disappear, while the remaining instruments sound pleasantly "wet," which reinforces the thought that two chambers were used: one in mono for the vocal track; one in stereo for the instrumental tracks. Admittedly, it's possible that earlier pressings, i.e. D1-D14, may use a different mix that used a single stereo reverb chamber. If I come across an earlier pressing in my travels, I'll grab it and report back. :agree: I've got a theory as to why two chambers may have been used, but I want to investigate a bit more before I just start spewing theories in public. I'll fully admit, though, that it's a peculiar situation.

    Ugh! I should have read through your excellent liner notes again and not relied on my faulty memory. I'll make that correction. (By the way, the only reason I included that Gleason clip from the original 2-track open reel release and not from the Razor & Tie disc is because I got out the CD....and the disc wasn't in the case. :hide: Don't tell my wife, who thinks (correctly) that I'm a bit disorganized already.

    Thanks to Steve and everybody for the kind words regarding the Nice 'n' Easy pages. I'm sorry that they were so darned wordy, but I felt there was a lot of stuff that had to be couched in some pretty detailed context, and in hindsight, I probably shouldn't allow myself to post new pages at 2:24 AM, when self-editing and typo-catching skills are a bit low! I greatly enjoy working on these little projects, and just wish there were more hours in a day so I could actually "kick out the Sinatra jams" in a little more timely fashion and collect my thoughts a little more efficiently/effectively.

    By the way, the past couple of months have just been insanely busy for me; uncomfortably so. Today, I was able to get away with my brother (who now lives 3000 miles away) and literally just float down a river. I highly recommend you all do the same some day, as it works wonders on ye olde psyche. Hard to get stressed out when you are staring at this sort of thing for a few hours:
     

    Attached Files:

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  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    That looks relaxing. Been a long time since I've done something like that.


    FYI, all Capitol sessions had more than one echo chamber. I have never heard of them using less than two!

    Heck, when I did my mixes at Capitol I used two chambers, one for the orchestra and one for the vocal. You have to, different levels needed for both. If you only use one chamber and have the orchestra play quietly, it's dry because the echo is too low to register so the chamber on the orchestra is kept on HIGH. Too high for the vocal to be anything but overpowered. The vocal is on another chamber adjusted for the needs of the vocal.
     
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  4. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    That makes perfect sense, and I think (and can't say 100% for sure) that the 1988 remix used one chamber for the whole she-bang, which is why the orchestra sounds anemic in places, even though having the vocal reverb in stereo is a nice touch.

    I remember working on sessions with John Eargle back in the dark ages and even though he had "miked the hall" to get some added reverb on the orchestra, he would typically apply a touch of artificial reverb on the vocal solo mics (thinking here specifically of sessions for this CD) to put the soloist "in her own space a little," to use John's exact words.

    Matt
     
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  5. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey

    Considering how much echo was used in the old stereo mix of this album, this is my guess as to why they put mono echo on Frank's vocal. If they used stereo echo on Frank here without any change to the echo levels on the orchestra, I think there's a good chance of things getting too soupy. Considering the whole, the mono echo gives his vocal (and the presentation of its reverb) a little more definition among the soundfield, which overall is quite reverberant. Given that, I don't mind the mono vocal echo here. That said, if given chance, I wouldn't hesitate to attempt overseeing a remix with less echo overall, and stereo echo on Frank's vocal.

    Even with all the echo on the old stereo mix, I like the sound a lot. It's a rich, luxurious, textured sound, and works pretty well in the context of the album. It's like you can sink into it. I'd guess that one of the considerations for using lots of echo here was to help bind together the hard left/right recording. That techinque gives it a "wide" style of stereo used often at the time, with all that echo helping to fill in any apparent "holes" in the image. Again, if the echo levels are judged on their own compared to an ideal for this album, there's too much of it, but at the same time they knew how to work it pretty well. :)

    I still don't care for the original (1980's) MoFi release of this album, at least the copies I've heard. Too revised sounding to my ears. The current Mobile Fidelity release is excellent, and much better than their 80's issue.

    I think the sound of the echo is pretty weird on the Walsh remix. I can see how some would prefer it due to it being drier than the old mix, but I can't enjoy it knowing I have (what I consider to be) a better alternative. The echo sound on there, particularly the way it sounds coming off Frank's vocal, turns me off to it.

    The Norberg version sounds dead. Heavily processed sounding...
     
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  6. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    I agree with you there, Martin. This MoFi LP just sounds so luch and luxurious that by the time Mr. S gets around to singing "Dream" you realize that you are living one listening to it.:D
     
  7. Sean Keane

    Sean Keane Pre-Mono record collector In Memoriam

    The Australien CD

    I noticed that on Mam'selle - between 1:08 and 1:15 - when Frank sings "wine does" and "mine does" the vocal gets a lot louder. Just those two instances. I don't know why.
     
  8. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    For the contributors, there is now an assemblage of clips comparing the 1980s MFSL LP vs. the 2008 MFSL LP. Keep in mind that the clips were played/transferred via different equipment, so it's not perfect, but all the gear involved was of high quality. (Sorry that I can't share clips with everybody!)

    My thoughts are: The 1983 is a little bright at times, but it also has a sparkle on the orchestra (strings especially) that seems to be missing from the 2008 LP. I'm curious to hear what the other contributors will have to say. Clearly, both are high quality releases, but quite different sounding, IMO.

    Matt
     
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  9. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    That's that goofy mis-calibrated or otherwise mis-used limiter that seems to have been used during the 3-to-2-track mixdown for the original mix. (Mentioned in my pages.) It's not just on the Australian CD -- it's on any release that uses the common mix.

    ....and no, that lame-o sounding gray-market CD will not sound any better on a "good system."

    Matt
     
  10. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    A "winners" page has been posted. Please don't burn me at the stake for heresy! At least, if you do burn me at the stake, and you are a contributor with access to the assembled clips, please listen carefully to all the MFSL stuff, THEN burn me at the stake.

    Edit: Here's a link to the updated "scorecard" page, as well:

    http://web.me.com/mlutthans/Site_55/Capitol_Scorecard.html

    Matt
     
  11. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il
    Great work, as always, Matt. Thank you so much.

    I wish that I'd held onto my Walsh CD. I love the MFSL CD, but would like a drier alternative sometimes.
     
  12. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident

    If I still had a Grado cart I would be tempted to blame the faults you found with the 2008 MFSL LP on my system. In my setup the Grado made everything sound lush to a fault. But since it seems to match the MFSL CD fairly closely in terms of tonality, I think that's just how the LP sounds. I'm sure it would sound a bit more lively in a better system, but I suspect that's the basic flavor of it.

    I'm not sure I agree that the 1983 MFSL sounds better...different definitely. I guess I'd really want to hear the whole thing on my system before making a serious judgment one way or the other. I do find the 2008 MFSL sounds warm and very relaxing--lush really--which is kind of how I always felt the album should sound. The older MFSL is more precise sounding, but maybe too "hi-fi" for my tastes, but then I often feel that way about older MFSL pressings, good as some of them are.

    I think of Nice 'N' Easy as an album that should sound "comfortable" (like Frank looks on the cover) but not necessarily one that provides hi-fi thrills, and I think the 2008 MFSL mastering (on both LP and CD) captures that feeling fairly well. I'll probably pick up the older MFSL someday just to have a different perspective on the album.
     
  13. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    The LP sounds pretty similar to the concurrently-issued CD, so I suspect that your playback/transfer gear is just fine.

    Yes, one thing that I should have included -- so I'm doing it now, I guess -- is that with any of these high-quality releases (so, anything except the Norberg and "Australian" CDs), I suspect that if you put it on and let it run through a few songs, it sounds wonderful. I think it's kind of like going to a restaurant that has "mood lighting," and at first you think to yourself that it's too dark, but after you adjust, you might find it to be quite a pleasing atmosphere.

    Yep; they are very different, but both good in their own way, IMO. The way I see it: there's so much low-level distortion and dynamic tweaking on the vocal of the original mix that I'm really holding out for a new remix that "nails it." (Is there anybody connected with this forum who could perhaps handle this, wink wink????)

    I really thought that any of the issues that were sampled, except the Norberg CD, 1998 UK CD, and Australian CD, were of very high quality. The MFSL CD, I thought, was head-and-shoulders above the other CDs. The LPs? Harder to objectively choose one over the other, and it really comes down to personal preference. I personally like the shimmer and sparkle that I hear on some pressings that I do not hear on the 2008 MFSL LP, but that's strictly my own hang up. Many people love the 2008 MFSL LP, and I think they are completely justified in doing so. It's a quality product, and one that (as you pointed out) is vastly different from MFSL's earlier LP issue of this title.

    Thanks for sharing the sound clips, and for sharing your thoughts, Mr. Toilet!

    EDIT: Looks like Michael Fremer had similar thoughts. Must be a consensus????? ;-)
    (Bold type added by me.)

    On my site, I admitted that the 1983 MFSL does not sound like a vintage pressing: <<The 1983 version is bright in spots, and it certainly does not recreate the sound of a vintage pressing as a result, but to me, the strings sound like hi-fi strings, not mid-fi, the harp is clear, the voice is upfront, the bass is clean. >>

    Oddly, Fremer praised the string sound on the 2008 MFSL LP, while the string sound was one of the features that I didn't care for.

    Matt
     
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  14. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Maybe this has been mentioned somewhere before, but I find it interesting: The Lee-Herschberg-mastered version of "I've Got a Crush on You" that appears (licensed from Capitol) on the Reprise CD, "Greatest Love Songs," is a severely tweaked/processed* version of the Furmanek/Walsh dry mix from 1990's THE CAPITOL YEARS set.

    *channels reversed, compressed, EQ'd, but with the tell-tale signs of that unique Furmanek/Walsh remix. ....and they stay perfectly synced start to finish.

    Matt
     
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  15. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Those who contribute comparison samples now have access to brief clips of the 7.5 ips reel-to-reel tape of this title. Initially, I did not care for it, but I must have been smoking something funny that day, as upon careful analysis, it's actually very good sounding compared to other versions. See here and here.

    I'd like to know what the contributors think of the clips. IMO, the tape is much better than I originally thought.

    Matt
     
  16. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Those clips from the reel version sound great. I should compare it to my old Capitol stereo LP that I like (which sounds better than the D15 in your clips). Very nice.
     
  17. Greg1954

    Greg1954 New Member

    Location:
    .
    The reel to reel tape sounds to me like it's fairly saturated, which gives it a somewhat attractive 'different' analog sonic quality. But it veers a little into overmodulating, especially on the vocal.
    It might be a good listen, or one of those to play just a couple times before it's retired for yet another version/grail. :)
     
  18. stevelucille

    stevelucille Forum Resident

    Location:
    Rochester, NY USA
    I really like the sound of that reel! To my ears it sounds like how I remember it sounding back in the day. My parents had a fairly nice stereo and were huge Sinatra fans.
     
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  19. hodgo

    hodgo Tea Making Gort (Yorkshire Branch) Staff

    Location:
    East Yorkshire
    The reel sounds lovely it certainly stands up well against the other stereo samples for sure.

    I listened to my 60's mono LP last night and while I enjoyed it as a whole I think the stereo wins, one song where the mono comes off very badly for me is the title track it just seems to lack any kind life to it.
     
  20. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

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  21. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il
    Thanks Matt and Steve! What a treat to have these littles tastes of the reel versions. I was born to late to have had any experience with R2Rs, so this is fascinating.
     
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  22. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Sadly, it has been my experience that most 1/4-track r-t-r tapes are pretty, shall we say, average, due to high speed duping and the fact that they are sourced from tapes that are multiple generations away from the stereo master. There are exceptions, of course, and the Nice 'N' Easy reel is such an exception.

    Matt
     
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  23. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il
    That's surprising. Reel-to-reels have such an "audiophile" reputation, you'd think that more care would have gone into preparing them.

    But the Sinatra ones you've been posting seem consistently pretty good: not just NnE, but also Fly, WRU?, etc.

    Thanks again.
     
  24. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Where Are You demonstrates the potential of the format: Two-tracks only, running one direction on nice, wide tracks with no crosstalk, prepared from a master that was mixed specifically for tape release from the 3-track, rather than being a copy of a copy of the 2-track stereo mix tape. I also wouldn't be shocked if the 1957 Capitol 2-track tapes were done in real time, but I may be wrong, as I'm going off 1.) how nice they sound, and 2.) how few copies of each title were produced. That WHERE ARE YOU tape is audio butter. Mmmmm.....butter......

    My ranking this far: 1. Where Are You - 2 track 7.5 ips - A mix that is unique to this release
    2. Tie: Come Dance with Me and Nice 'n' Easy - 4-track 7.5 ips -- both regular stereo LP mix
    3. Come Fly with Me - mono on "twin track" tape, 3.75 ips -- no great shakes, but not bad; very similar in quality -- which is poor to start with -- to the mono LPs; same mix.

    Matt
     
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  25. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il
    I forgot about the Come Dance reel! Will go back and listen to that sample on your site.
     

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