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

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

  1. MarkusGermany

    MarkusGermany WINNING

    Rheinberg, Germany
    I've just downloaded 6 Capitol albums in MONO from quobuz which I only have heard in stereo before. The French Label is called BNF Varieté Internationale. I'm going to listen to the albums soon...
  2. kinkling

    kinkling Forum Resident

    This page is long gone; any chance of recreating it on the new site? (The Nice n Easy bit, I mean!)
  3. MLutthans

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

    Oh, not anytime soon. I've got a couple of albums in line ahead of that one, and only 24 hours in a day.

    Here is the summary from that old page, though, which may be of some help:
    <<I think the mono LP -- at least the good pressings thereof -- is okay, but mildly cavernous sounding. Good, but not my favorite. The stereo “9 o’clock rainbow” D15 pressing has significant phase issues and a pillowy (in a bad way) top end. The 2008 MFSL LP and CD have hollow-sounding strings compared to some other versions. The Walsh CD is a flawed-but-admirable remix attempt. The 1983 MFSL may have a bit too much EQ boost for some, and some mild phase issues that I can live with. The yellow-label 1970s issue is similar to that disk tonally, but I don’t like the string tone quite as well. The green-label 1980s issue is very similar to the yellow-label pressing, but when compared head-to-head with the 1983 MFSL, it is lacking slightly in the bass department. The UK 1984 pressing also has similar tone to the 1983 MFSL (just a hair darker), and is more phase-coherent, but it also has the bass somewhat panned to the center. The red-vinyl Japanese LP, too, is similar in tone to the MFSL, at least on “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” which is a little lighter in character than much of the album. I thought it sounded just a little thin on the darker material, i.e., “How Deep is the Ocean,” but we’re talking degrees here, not massive differences.

    Having said all that, I’m going with a tie: 1983 MFSL and stevelucille’s vintage Japanese pressing, and very, very close behind, the 1984 UK vinyl, followed by the SM and SN-series from the 1970s and ‘80s.

    In the CD arena, the MFSL is far and away the better of the original mix releases. The Walsh is okay, and it’s nice to hear the album with less reverb, but I don’t care for how the reverb was applied. It’s not bad, though, and the tone and dynamics are certainly top notch, so it’s worth purchasing.

    I have to admit that I have quickly grown quite fond of the 1961 (or so) reel-to-reel tape issue, which compares very favorably with the 1983 MFSL LP. >>

    Now...that's just my take on things, no more or less valid than anybody else's! Sorry I don't have time to go back and re-edit/re-balance/re-post all the audio clips in a copyright-friendly way right now.
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Can't play that album, too drenched in pointless extra echo for me. Especially after hearing it nice and dry.

    However, that being said, Matt stated: " The green-label 1980s issue is very similar to the yellow-label pressing, but when compared head-to-head with the 1983 MFSL, it is lacking slightly in the bass department."

    That is actually how the two-track reduction mix sounds. If you want to hear the sound of the stereo tape, that's the version to get. Ugly green Capitol label 80's LP, cut from the stereo mix.

    I don't want to but some might.
  5. kinkling

    kinkling Forum Resident

    Thanks, Matt; thanks, Steve. (I was more interested in the general observations and descriptions than having you recreate and repost all the audio clips, anyhow.)
  6. MLutthans

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

    [Moved this discussion from the WHERE ARE YOU thread to this more appropriate location.]
    Same Walsh remix on both; the levels may be a little tweaked. This also points out the problem with looking at DR numbers without listening and context. (My dad used to hate car dashboards that had "dummy lights" on them. He always bemoaned the lack of gauges that actually related information about things like oil pressure. The DR numbers are basically like a dummy light. They serve a purpose, but at a very "shorthand" level.) Here are DR ratings from the DR database for the 1988 version:
    Here are the ratings for the 1991 CD. Note that I am only showing the first 12 tracks, so we have apples versus apples (sort of):
    Now...maybe track one got adjusted by half a decibel or something and that triggered a 14 instead of a 13; I dunno. It's the same. Also, that much lower "Min. track DR" is from one of the bonus tracks, not from the 12 album tracks.

    Both are those titles are Walsh masterings, yes.

    Follow-up discussion from the WHERE ARE YOU THREAD, regarding Nice 'n' Easy:

    Holy cow, @OnTheRoad -- you made me dig out my actual 1988 and 1991 Nice 'n' Easy discs, and the title tracks are not just different masterings, but different mixes.

    Has this flown under the radar here all these years, or did somebody catch/post this earlier, and I've just forgotten? It's news to my memory.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
  7. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member

    You did mean 1991, Matt, didn't you?
  8. MLutthans

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

    Sorry, Bob -- yes, I was talking about the 1988 and 1991 CDs. (Post now edited to reflect that.)

    Just checked track two, "That Old Feeling," and it's the same mix on both versions. No time to check the others right now, but I'm guessing they, too, will "line up" as being the same.
  9. OnTheRoad

    OnTheRoad self identified, evolved misanthropic narcissist

    I just found a very good+ copy of the early 1988 Capitol release at McKay's in Nashville.

    Only $3.45

    I'm only mentioning it for historical sake. :nyah:

    And in another post you mentioned it doesn't have the liner notes. Right ! Matter of fact, there's nothing but blank white on the inside the booklet. I don't's still a keeper. :D
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  10. Bob Belvedere

    Bob Belvedere Forum Resident

    New England
  11. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member

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  12. Bob Belvedere

    Bob Belvedere Forum Resident

    New England
    But can I trust their ASIN numbers?
  13. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member

    Yes. The ASIN's are the only things you can trust to compare products across different Amazon sites.

    Tip: If you want to check the UPC or EAN (bar code) number, search for the ASIN at Amazon Japan is the only site which shows these in its product descriptions; they are suppressed from the listings in other countries.
    Quincy likes this.
  14. Bob Belvedere

    Bob Belvedere Forum Resident

    New England
    Found it - thank you. Methinks I'm buying this so I can stop having to be Norberged when I want to listen to the album
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  15. Bob Belvedere

    Bob Belvedere Forum Resident

    New England
    Purchased. Thanks again, Bob.
  16. Not always. I recently ordered the vinyl box of LSXX (Last Splash 20th Anniversary Edition) from Amazon Japan because it's by far the cheapest shop:

    While on any other Amazon B00BQQ85E0 is the vinyl, shipped the CD box.
  17. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member

    But that was simply an error on the part of Amazon Japan. If you look at their product page, they show the EAN for the vinyl set, and the English product description states, "Seven vinyl LP pressing," even though they''ve listed it as 3 CDs. There is a separate product page for a different ASIN which states, "Three CD pressing."
    Bob Belvedere likes this.
  18. Bob Belvedere

    Bob Belvedere Forum Resident

    New England
    Just listened to the remaster by Larry Walsh.

    Damn fine. Thanks, Matt and Bob In Bosstown.
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  19. MLutthans

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

    Reproduced here just for posterity (since the Ebay sale will vanish at some point), here is a test pressing of MFSL #1-086:
    SinatraMFSLTestPressing.jpg SinatraMFSLTestPressLabel.jpg
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  20. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Lodi, New Jersey
    What did it sell for?
  21. MLutthans

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

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  22. Bob Belvedere

    Bob Belvedere Forum Resident

    New England
    She's Funny That Way has been an earworm since I listened to the Walsh CD.

    I'll take that worm over Up Your Butt With A Coconut, which my Great Niece cursed me with a few months ago and still rears it's ugly stanzas now and again, over and over again.
  23. MLutthans

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

    From another thread:
    It would have gone something like this:
    3-track tape ----> Stereo mixdown master (used for Capitol "D" LP cutting) -----> Stereo dub made for tape duplication facility -----> Dub made at tape duplication facility in 4-track format for high-speed manufacturing -----> Final retail tape product

    The reel, as sold in stores, would have been at least 5th generation. I've got that reel, and it does sound excellent, which is surprising when one considers all the steps it went through to actually reach fruition.
    More compression; different EQ

    Here's an old clip from my not-currently-available Nice 'n' Easy web page:

    From "Fools Rush In," you'll hear, in this order:
    1.) Flute passage from MFSL CD
    2.) Same passage from 7.5 ips reel
    3.) Harp passage from MFSL CD
    4.) Same passage from 7.5 ips reel

    Tonally, the two are incredibly similar, especially considering that these were mastered nearly a half-century apart for very different release formats. I suspect that both were more-or-less untampered. Much more tape hiss audible on the reel, but hey, it's a fifth generation tape.
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  24. .crystalised.

    .crystalised. Forum Resident

    Hey Matt, thanks for posting my observations in this thread. We're in agreement about the mastering differences. They're really very close. Without these prerecorded tape reels for comparison, I never would've realized how much records are compressed and EQ'd out of necessity, especially understanding the care and attention to detail that undoubtedly went into the MoFi reissue. But, my ears are sensitive to the compression only because I've heard a more dynamic presentation on the tape. I'm surprised to learn it's a fifth generation duplication. I guess it sounds better than it has a right to. The hiss, at least on my copy, is not that bad. I'd take hiss over excess surface noise whenever possible.

    I recently sent a PM to Simon with a critique of the sound. I'll repost my thoughts here:
    The tape that surprised the most is Nice 'n Easy. I've played it at least 10 times already. I can't get enough. Although it's a 4 track, the clarity is breathtaking. The strings are transparent, the brass has accurate slam, the percussion with a nice presence, and the tape faithfully reproduces the worn leathery texture of Frank's 1960 vocals. A delicious midrange bloom and that nice 'n warm low-frequency exaggeration of tape gives the album a lush and dramatic presentation without sounding veiled. Great dynamics and very little compression.

    I've always enjoyed this album but I've never been able to get into it as I have now. Favourite tunes are "Fools Rush In" and "Mam'selle". "Fools" may be one of the finest vocal performances I've ever heard. How Frank could get through that song take after take without breaking down in tears is beyond me. A true professional.

    I compared it to the MoFi pressing, and while the disc sounds quite good, it doesn't hold a candle to this tape. There's a residue of soul on that reel that the vinyl just doesn't quite capture; perhaps the I-don't-know-what that's missing is what I needed to get into the album. Until my comparison, I hadn't realized how much compression was used on the LP. Now it can't be unheard. I've been spoiled with pure analogue bliss.

    Funny you posted the comparison of "Fools Rush In". It's my favourite track on the album.
  25. MLutthans

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

    Are the 1983 or 2008 MFSL LPs compressed? That would surprise me, but I have not checked. There is clearly a limiter on the vocal track, but it's on the recording itself.

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