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

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

  1. MLutthans

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

    Marysville, WA
    My best guess? Fox or Todd-AO provided Capitol with more than one set of tapes in 1960, perhaps with the 3-track being a "fallback" in case anything needed a touchup, rebalancing, etc. Whatever happened, I don't see how the original stereo mix -- with Sinatra and MacLaine locked into the same space (just right of center), but with the orchestra in full-width stereo -- AND the 1989 and 2002 remixes -- with Sinatra and MacLaine in different stereo locations, but with the orchestra in full-width stereo -- came from the same 3-track source tape. If Fox/Todd-AO provided "finished mixes" *and* a 3-track tape in 1960, that would jive with all the mix oddities, including the different edits and the lack of the weird "click" sound in the 1989/2002 remixes. It could also explain why the vocals on the 1960 Can-Can stereo LP tracks are slightly right of center, something which is not typical for Capitol's in-house mixes.

    Well said! :agree:
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  2. MLutthans

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

    Marysville, WA
    I've got eight masterings of Let's Do It posted: Non-Album Tracks, 1959

    My take? I think that the 2002 In Hollywood remix is the way to go. Yes, it is technically a "shorter edit," with one spoken word ("Why") missing, and I'm not gaga about having Shirley MacLaine panned hard right, but those are pretty small nit-picks. The mix is clean and clear, dynamics are good, and tone is excellent overall. :thumbsup: (Ms. MacLaine's voice sounds flutey/reedy, in the bad sense, on all versions, a bit like a vocal ocarina, which makes me question how it was recorded.)

    The mono mix, at least on my D8 Can-Can USA LP, is on the dull side, although the vocals are tastefully dry, and everything gels nicely. The original stereo mix has too much reverb added (IMO), the 1989 Norberg remix is not bad, but is too processed, and the 1991 UK re-use of that mix is too (audibly) compressed.

    Next up: The Frank Sinatra/Maurice Chevalier version of I Love Paris. There are not many releases of this, right? I've got the mono and stereo Can-Can LPs, and the 1989 Can-Can CD, the Australian EMI 3-soundtrack CD set, and In Hollywood. Am I missing any?
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
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  3. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    I think that's all of them. Note the following from the In Hollywood box, which has a unique version of the track:

    (Full-Length Version/Outtake)
    - With Maurice Chevalier
    (Cole Porter)
    Arranged & Conducted by NELSON RIDDLE
    Recorded October 13, 1959
    [Note: “I Love Paris” was recorded for, but not used in the film. The Capitol soundtrack LP included an edited version of the Sinatra-Chevalier vocal performance. The Capitol master tapes yielded a complete version which is included here.]
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  4. MLutthans

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

    Marysville, WA
    Continuing with the Sinatra/Chevalier duet of "I Love Paris" from the Can-Can soundtrack album:

    As @Bob F mentions above, the "In Hollywood" CD version is "full length,"while the standard mono and stereo mixes found on other LP/CD releases are about 1:19 shorter. (Oddly, the 1989 Capitol Can-Can CD appears to be a mere remastering of the original stereo mix for this track, not a remix from the 3-track tapes, unlike at least some of the other songs presented there. More about this in a future post.)

    Here's how the two versions appear to be edited:
    Screen shot 2018-01-02 at 1.37.11 AM.png

    The vast majority of the "standard" edit comes from the same material as heard in longer form in In Hollywood, but there are about 7.5 seconds (red and blue, above) derived from two takes not represented in the In Hollywood edit, meaning that the short version is pieced together from either 3 or 4 takes, while the longer version is a simple edit of two takes. [EDIT: See correction two posts down.]
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  5. kennyluc1

    kennyluc1 Forum Resident

    It amazes me how you can figure out differences so small. 5 seconds is from a different take, Matt you are a wizard.
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  6. MLutthans

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

    Marysville, WA
    Thank you for the kind words!

    In many cases, including this one, it's largely a mechanical process: Take two recordings, dump them both into Protools, synchronize, pan recording #1 "hard left," pan recording #2 "hard right." Playback should sound something akin to Duophonic, i.e. not quite mono, not really stereo. Play both in sync, and listen for your two ears to spot something going off the rails (out of sync).

    In this particular case, there was one extra step: To edit the long version to match the edits that are built-in to the short version, then sync the two up. Once I found the "off the rails" moment, I very carefully checked to make sure that errors in my own editing were not the cause. Ultimately, it came down to this:

    •"take b" material, only for the words "Because my love." Here's audio (link), starting with the long In Hollywood cut, moving to the original stereo mix. Focus on Chevalier's part. On In Hollywood, he sings, in very straight/square/even fashion, "because my love," but on the second cut, he sings, "because my-eye love," with an extra little grace note on the word "my."
    •"take c" material, only for the words "is here." Here's audio (link), in the same order as the other clip. Again, "Chevalier's the thing." In the first pass, he starts the word "here" markedly behind Sinatra's timing. On clip 2, he sings in absolute lockstep with Sinatra.

    By the way, Kenny, going back and double checking those edits led me to confirm, too, that there is ANOTHER edit in the original mix that I had missed, at the very end of the song (right after the vocals end) that adds a subtle dash of "stretch" or grandiose rallentando at the tail end in the orchestral part. Here's a corrected chart:
    Screen shot 2018-01-02 at 2.47.38 PM.png
    The In Hollywood version finishes off in routine fashion; the standard version "milks the ending" a bit more, not unlike the difference in the two edits of the Capitol version of "The One I Love," with the stretchier string ending. With this newly-found edit, we now have five segments coming from a minimum of three takes comprising the standard (short) version. It could be as may as five takes used, but it's impossible to say for sure.

    Yes, these edits come across as nit-picky, perhaps, but I think they are also spot-on, musically, and improve the performance overall. I suspect these came straight from Sinatra, possibly after hearing a test pressing based on the longer cut, but that's just speculation, of course. I also think that the long version really meanders, and the (severe) tightening up of things is a good move, even though it's kind of cool to hear the long version. (Neither version really floats my boat that much.)
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  7. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Hollywood, CA
    I think this was the recording where Mr. S suddenly went ballistic when he heard the 1st play-thru of the arrangement prior to actually recording it. No wonder why it was left of the Capitol LP.
  8. MLutthans

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

    Marysville, WA
    The Frank-only remake certainly has more oomph, to put it mildly.
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  9. Ronald Sarbo

    Ronald Sarbo Forum Resident

    NY, NY, USA
    This was also the period when Sinatra was "on strike" and not recording for Capitol.
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  10. MLutthans

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

    Marysville, WA
    I've always had a sweet spot for Paul Anka's version, arr. by Don Costa:
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  11. kennyluc1

    kennyluc1 Forum Resident

    Matt I listened to your clips, and, yup, your right. I can hear the difference, MC stretches a bit in the 2nd sound bite. Now I am going to play the 2 versions on my stereo loudly to hear the difference.
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  12. MLutthans

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

    Marysville, WA
    Webpage finished for the duet version of I Love Paris: Non-Album Tracks, 1959

    As far as what I think is a "best" version, I pretty-much think that this track is, more than most, a fielder's choice.

    •There is significant distortion in spots (but not consistently) on the vocals on the long In Hollywood version. That is not the fault of Granata & Company, as I'm confident that it's that way on the 3-track tapes. I'm also not convinced that "more is better" on this track. Yes, there's an extra 1:18 or so in this version, but it's not exactly a stellar, inspired performance -- but that's just my opinion! On the plus side, this version has the best orchestral sound by a considerable margin, and in the non-distorted passages, the vocals sound very nice.

    •Mono mix -- this one's a real dud. Might be a fold down. Either way, it's dull to the extreme, with the orchestra completely lifeless. :thumbsdow
    •Original stereo mix -- The vocals are a bit on the soupy side. Orchestra sounds okay. Nit-picky, corrective edits help the performance a bit. The Norberg release is too processed; the Australian CD is ok; I think I like my 1984 UK LP a little better.

    When push comes to shove, I'll take the 1984 UK stereo LP as #1, and the Australian CD as #2, but no choice is all that good, which is too bad, since, as I've suggested before, the 6-track Todd-AO sound that was part of the 70mm roadshow theatrical engagements probably sounded great. Too bad the LP and CD releases are so compromised.

    That wraps up the 1959 recordings. Next up: 1960 and the Nice 'n' Easy sessions.
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  13. MLutthans

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

    Marysville, WA
    Moving to The Nearness of You -- one of the great, under-appreciated Sinatra/Capitol tracks, in my opinion.

    I have:
    UK 1998 "Dell" Sinatra Sings....of Love and Things boxed set CD
    UK 1984 "Dell" Sinatra Sings....of Love and Things stereo LP
    Dutch 1984 "Dell" Sinatra Sings....of Love and Things mono LP
    Original USA N4 Sinatra Sings....of Love and Things mono LP
    Original USA D1 Sinatra Sings....of Love and Things mono LP
    Original USA N2 Sinatra Sings....of Love and Things stereo LP
    1980s USA SN-series J1#1 Sinatra Sings....of Love and Things stereo LP
    1983 MFSL Sinatra Sings....of Love and Things stereo LP
    *Mono Sentimental Journey LP
    *Stereo Sentimental Journey LP
    *UK My Funny Valentine mono LP
    T3#2 Pickwick The Nearness of You mono LP
    1991 Nice 'n' Easy CD
    1998 Norberg Nice 'n' Easy CD
    The Ultimate Sinatra
    4-CD set

    (*= in not-so-great condition)

    If you've got other releases from which you'd like to submit clips, please contact me. Thanks!
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  14. MLutthans

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

    Marysville, WA

    (stereo or mono)
    R-3213277-1320874499.jpeg.jpg R-5790313-1402749442-7669.jpeg.jpg R-7240942-1436930229-1014.jpeg.jpg
    or any other pressings/releases not on my list in the previous post?
  15. Jskoda

    Jskoda Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    Sorry, I'm just catching up with the CAN-CAN discussion. Fascinating stuff.

    I've always been in search of great-sounding tracks from this on the assumption that, being a Todd-AO film, they should sound amazing, but they never have. I think Fox has better tapes than they've ever shared with Capitol, but it doesn't seem likely we'll ever hear them. I think the closest we'll get are the few tracks on the Hollywood box.

    I used to have a copy of the reel-to-reel version--it was a disappointment too. To me, it was as mushy sounding as ever. Not even as good sounding as the CD. I think I was so annoyed, I got rid of it right away (although it's possible I've just misplaced it somewhere around here). I'll keep an eye out for it, but, just to let you know, it's no holy grail.
  16. MLutthans

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

    Marysville, WA
    I'm sure it's from the same mixes as the stereo LPs, so no reason to expect any sonic miracles, eh?
  17. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Lodi, New Jersey
    Possibly more compressed too...
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  18. TeacFan

    TeacFan Forum Resident

    Arcadia, Ca.
    With Disney purchasing the Fox film division, perhaps, ya think ya think?
  19. MLutthans

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

    Marysville, WA
    Comparison of vocal reverb on five versions of The Nearness of You:

    1. Original mono mix from 1984 Dutch DMM Sinatra Sings....of Love and Things LP
    2. Original stereo mix from 1998 UK Sinatra Sings....of Love and Things CD (Thanks rangerjohn)
    3. Stereo remix by Larry Walsh, 1991, from Nice 'n' Easy CD
    4. Stereo remix by Robert Norberg, 1998, from Nice 'n' Easy CD (Thanks @rangerjohn)
    5. The Ultimate Sinatra CD, mastered by Larry Walsh
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  20. mikeja75

    mikeja75 Forum Resident

    This is an amazing thread and a huge thank you to all that give their time and effort, but I have a question.

    Question #1:

    I can see that this thread, and the web site, seem to go session-by-session or track-by-track through Sinatra's various non-album Capitol recordings. The 11fifty site also offers up an opinion regarding the best sounding version available which is essential and also appreciated.

    I have all of the late 80s / early 90s Capitol albums (proper...and largely mastered by Larry Walsh) on CD and, short of going through the site session-by-session, I was wondering if there was a simple list of all of the non-album Capitol studio tracks? I have the Capitol Years set, the Singles Collection, FS at the Movies, and numerous other compilations, but having a basic checklist would be a great help to me as I attempt to find the holes in my collection for specific tracks.

    Once I have established what tracks are missing from my collection, I can then reference the 11fifty site as a guide to move forward with filling in the gaps.

    Hopefully this makes sense!

    Question #2:

    Does a basic list exist for the random bonus cuts and alternate takes that can be found on some Capitol albums and compilations -- or are these viewed as being a non-album track even if they weren't released until recently (in some cases).

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  21. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    This is a good chronological list of sessions:

    Frank Sinatra Sessionography : Capitol I Studio Session

    Click on the "+" signs to expand each session to show the songs recorded and selected releases. This won't get you all the film soundtrack recordings, but those can be included also by selecting from "Session Type" in the right column.
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  22. mikeja75

    mikeja75 Forum Resident

    Thanks! This page is helpful and only 111 sessions to go through -- which for me is (unfortunately) the definition of fun!
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  23. James_S888

    James_S888 Forum Resident

    maybe you know this, or another of the Sinatra fanatics... On the Forever Frank LP, the mono LP uses the wet tapes, with reverb added. I really like the first track "can I steal a little love". Does anyone know if the 1957 45 rpm 7" single uses the original tape or it has reverb added?
  24. James_S888

    James_S888 Forum Resident

    How good is that Sinatra set - The hit maker?
    the japan double LP fron 1982?
  25. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    See: Non-Album Tracks, 1956 (Song #2)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2018
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