Sinatra / Capitol Sound Quality (and general discussion): Singles, Soundtracks, Etc.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by MLutthans, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    Not that it matters much, but the phase is reversed, also.
     
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  2. MLutthans

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

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    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  3. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    Matt, I would question that April 26, 1954 release date shown in THE CAPITOL COLLECTORS SERIES CD booklet. In addition to that first mention in the "Review Spotlight" of the April 10 issue of Billboard, a full review appeared the following week:
    Billboard-Apr-17-1954-p22.jpg

    By April 24, Capitol #2787 was already listed as a "Best Seller," and in the May 1 issue, it was a "Best Buy":
    Billboard-May-01-1954-p24.jpg

    "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" first charted (with the deejays) in the May 8 issue ("for survey week ending April 28"). I would place the release date closer to the original mention in Billboard, i.e. at least April 12, 1954.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
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  4. MLutthans

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

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    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
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  5. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

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    Thanks so much for all the samples Matt (and fellow contributors).

    I think that here with "Worry," as with "String," the original pressings sound dull in comparison with the Dell reissue.

    But, call me crazy, and maybe this is heresy, but I actually like the "D" pressings. They're true mono, and they exhibit considerable depth as far as the orchestra is concerned.

    I completely concede the possibility of some bias here; I may be seduced by the fact that these are genuine artifacts of the era. Still, of course, I'm delighted to have the Dell alternative as well.
     
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  6. MLutthans

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

    Location:
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    Capitol original D pressings are such a crapshoot (some great, some poor, and everything in between), and I don't just mean on these Sinatra titles. I've got tons of them that have what I would call a "soft" or "non-sparkly" or "slightly rolled-off" top end, and that lack of clarity or fullness up top is a real turn-off for me personally, especially if the dynamic range is also compromised, yet I've got some titles (Ben Light, Felix Slatkin, and Benny Goodman albums spring immediately to mind) that have what strikes me as totally full-range top end that lends an incredible sense of presence and immediacy to the sound.
     
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  7. MLutthans

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

    Location:
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  8. MLutthans

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

    Location:
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    Re: Lean Baby, I'm Walking Behind You, Don't Worry 'Bout Me

    Today, I received my UK World Record Club 1961 LP entitled Look Over Your Shoulder, which is a reverb-added mess. I'm not going to post any samples, but I did add it to the "avoid" list for all three songs.

    [​IMG]

    Edit: This jogged my memory! A few years ago, stevelucille sent me a 5" UK reel of this title, and that was stinky, too, so I've also added that reel to the "avoid" list.
    $(KGrHqJ,!o4FEicQJ-GiBRvyqz8W0w~~60_35.JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
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  9. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

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    chicago, il
    And a lousy cover too....
     
  10. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Matt, I'd rank these for "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" as

    1. bonus track from '91 Walsh WHERE ARE YOU? disc
    2. (and preferable in some ways) Japanese ECJ LP (though it seems a bit off pitch?)
    3. Collector Series disc almost tied with that
    4. Dell LP

    Are you going to add the clip from the 2002 WHERE ARE YOU?
     
  11. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    ^^^^^Yup, although it's very well printed, with a lot of clarity/resolution, so you can make out the threads on the tie, etc.

    Our pal "Blackie" sent along a clip of "I've Got the World on a String" from his very nice D9 pressing, and I think that tonally it beats out the D1 and D4 copies that were already submitted. (YMMV, of course!)

    You can find two different D9 clips on this page: http://www.11fifty.com/Site_108/1953_-_SinglesEtc2.html
    (One is "Sample 11; the other is just below that, in the "Transitional Comparison Clips" section.)

    I know that dynamics are not everything, but this otherwise-excellent copy has pretty compromised dynamics. Here's a comparison of the D9, the Japanese LP, and the Dell LP, in that order:

    D9 Redux.jpg Japan.jpg Dell.jpg
    That said, use your ears over your eyeballs, eh? Check out the clips linked above. :)

    For the short segment that is sampled, it's a clone of the SINGLES set. At the 1:56 mark, there is an audible splice, and it is a unique mastering after that point (to cover a dropout in the SINGLES set at 2:05), as you'll hear on another clip that I'll be getting to soon.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  12. Six String

    Six String Senior Member

    Does the original Long Player label have a greenish/blue label with the dome over the word Capitol?
    I have a D7 pressing in good shape but TBH I haven't played it in a while but I'll give it a spin soon.
     
  13. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

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    Yes - it looks like the label that followed it (that HIGH FIDELITY was added to).
     
  14. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

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    Lodi, New Jersey
    The D9 is better than the other "original" LP THIS IS SINATRA samples.
     
  15. MLutthans

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

    Location:
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    Yes, I fully agree! It's still compressed, but compressed doesn't necessarily equal "bad." The tone is excellent, IMO.
     
  16. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    First thing: I've got some samples from the "big brassy section" of "Don't Worry Bout Me" posted down-page here: http://www.11fifty.com/Site_108/1953_-_SinglesEtc2.html

    Second thing, for the techie nuts here:

    Looking at the wide variety we have in dynamic range on these mono singles, consider:

    On "I've Got the World on a String," the widest dynamic range is on the Dell LP version, at -19.7 RMS after peak normalization. That "hammered" version on Best of the Best is at -12.2 RMS (same process -- apples vs. apples), so that's a 7.5 dB RMS difference, a huge and audible difference!

    On "Don't Worry 'Bout Me," we don't have a brickwalled version to throw darts at, but check out these variations, most-dynamic to least dynamic:
    Dell 1985 UK LP -21.1 dB RMS after peak normalization

    Gold! -20.4 (Norberg)

    Capitol Singles -19.2 (Norberg)

    Walsh -18.7

    Collectors Series -18.5

    Norberg Where Are You -18.4

    Japan LP -18.2

    UK 98 Dell CD -17.8

    -------------------- <------ Half-way to the difference between Dell and "brickwalled" on "I've Got the World on a String"


    This is Frank Sinatra 53-57 CD -17.0

    D1 -16.4

    EP -16.0

    D9 -15.5

    Star Line -15.2

    -13.6 would be the same difference on this track (best to worst) as between best and worst dynamics on "I've Got the World on a String." -15.2 isn't that far away!

    Third thing:
    As I keep saying, tone is #1 for me, but dynamics matter, too. (Other factors: stereo processing, odd EQ choices, hiss levels, etc. Lots of variables, I think we'd all agree on that!) Some thoughts on Don't Worry 'Bout Me:

    •When I compare both the vocal tone AND the "big brass" tone farther down the samples page for "Don't Worry 'Bout Me," I think the best CD mastering is on that 2-CD "This is Frank Sinatra 1953-1957" CD -- even though it's less dynamic than other CD masterings. (There are several good CD masterings.)
    •I thought the Walsh had subpar brass tone by comparison. (I also thought that the Walsh stood out -- not as better or worse, but as unique -- as having a much "lighter" or less-bass-y vocal tone.)
    •I thought the UK boxed set CD fell out of "top rating status" when it hit the big brass section. It's a little shrill there to my ears.
    •Overall, I was very fond of the "Collectors Series" CD, but compared to the 53-57 CD, I thought the vocal tone was just a HAIR tubby in spots -- barely -- and the brass tone was just a HAIR "not as good." Close. It's a good sounding track on its own, as one would expect from Furmanek/Walsh. These two CDs (Collectors Series and 1953-1957) are basically a "tie," but for different reasons.
    •The Norberg masterings all have pretty good dynamics, but....blech otherwise.
    •I thought the best TONE on LP was that D9 copy that Blackie shared. It's pretty smushed in terms of dynamics, but I'd still be proud to have the LP in my collection.
    •The other D LPs sounded pretty flat to my ears. No sparkle.
    •The Japanese LP that Dr. Robert transferred sounds very good tonally (and with very wide dynamics), but I slightly prefer the Dell. Slightly.
    •The Dell LP sounds very open and full-range-y to me -- very "hi-fi," with zero roll off or "mellow factor" to the treble. It may be just a slight tad on the bright end of the spectrum, but it certainly is not dull sounding, and it has plenty of "pop" when cranked.

    LOTS of very nicely mastered -- yet different -- choices on this one. The Dell LP is probably my favorite, but the other un-futzed choices are still really, really good, and I wouldn't argue with anybody who preferred one of those. They are all very good efforts, IMO. In the end, we all like what we like, right?

    I'd love to hear more opinions!

    One more thing: BFerr1 sent me a clip from "I've Got the World on a String" from this EP:
    [​IMG]
    I'll get it posted on Thursday.
     
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  17. SinatraFan

    SinatraFan Well-Known Member

    My favorite is the Dell LP. It has lots of punch and clarity. The original D LPs don't have that sparkle or excitement in comparison.

    I noticed This Is Frank Sinatra 1953-1957 is among the leaders in sound quality for CD, so I just ordered it.

    And great webpages, Matt. Very organized and informative.
     
  18. MLutthans

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

    Location:
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    Alan, this has been a surprise to me so far, as I had always kind of tossed this CD aside and not viewed it as being of good quality. Now, we still have, what....38 more tracks to go? It may do poorly on other tracks, but so far, it's coming out okay!

    By the way, I first learned of this title back around maybe 1999 when I saw it listed at the mostly-classical Berkshire Record Outlet, so I snagged it for something like $5, which was a steal for a 2-CD release back then!
     
  19. SinatraFan

    SinatraFan Well-Known Member

    For the price I paid for it, I don't mind taking the chance. But hope the others are just as good.

    With the Dell LPs, Capitol Years 21 CD box set and the MFP releases. Plus, not getting the Norberg CDs. The UK has shown through the years that they really know how to handle the Sinatra catalogue.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
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  20. MLutthans

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

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  21. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il
    Fantastic page on "Worry" there and great analysis here.

    The "brass" samples were a revelation. This is one of the most important musical breaks in the Sinatra-Riddle oeuvre--perhaps second only to the one in "Skin"--so it was great to see the various presentations of it.

    The Dell is quite fine, as you say, in "hi-fi" terms. But I may have to track down a D9 for authenticity's sake!
     
  22. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
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    Martin and Bob steered me toward this 2-disc set way back when, and I've been delighted ever since. I was just looking for true mono, digital alternatives to the tracks on the Norberg Singles box. But they're surprisingly good-sounding true mono alternatives as well!
     
  23. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

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    Lodi, New Jersey
    Wasn't me, John - I've never heard it until the clips added here. Glad you like it though...
     
  24. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

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    chicago, il
  25. bferr1

    bferr1 Forum Resident

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    MA

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