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Sinatra / Capitol Sound Quality and General Discussion: Songs for Swingin' Lovers - Released 1956*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by MLutthans, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    Usually I am disappointed when a reissue such as SFSL is not put out on vinyl also. But the new MFSL is so good I dont really care that much. The MFSL is near perfection.

    Then again, Im one who thinks its a crime that the mofi didnt get to do all of the Capitols; and a life sentence that same mastering isnt on common redbooks, streaming and downloads.

    Come on, man..
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
    MarkusGermany and RogerB like this.
  2. Ronald Sarbo

    Ronald Sarbo Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, NY, USA
    It has the first "original" cover.
     
  3. Beaneydave

    Beaneydave Forum Resident

    I do !



    Peace and love✌
     
  4. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Nothing is set in stone (unlike, say, digital storage) and there are lots of variables (volume of content, style of content, bass v. treble, type of lathe/cutterhead/electronics), but in very broad terms, because in mono the depth of cut does not vary at all, the land available on the LP can be used more efficiently. Look at how many people (myself included) in this thread have high praise for their original Swingin' Lovers LPs. In 1956, cutting was essentially an unassisted, fully mechanical process, i.e., set the lathe for x-number of lines per inch based (largely) on the playing time, hit play on the tape, and let 'er rip. Today, with computer-aided cutting (which checks groove spacing needs between 4 and 32 times per revolution, depending on the system -- 16x is pretty typical; 32 is [pardon the pun] cutting edge today), grooves are so well nestled, and space used so efficiently (even in stereo) that cuts that were really pushing the limits in 1956 are relatively simple today. It's not really that mono can necessarily run longer than stereo (in strict terms), but that in most cases the stereo would require careful manipulation, i.e., bass management, drop in volume, etc., while in mono it's essentially a mathematical calculation of how many lines per inch. At 300 lines per inch, an LP side can run 27:00 or so. In mono, the varying groove depth (which affects groove width) is out of the equation. (Depth remains constant.) (There are stereo sides that run that long, or even longer, but volume, phase, bass, etc., may have to be manipulated, often to the detriment of the final result, i.e., if you drop the volume by 6 dB to make material fit on a side, you now have surface noise that is 6dB louder vis-a-vis the audio content. That's bad in theory and, at best, worrisome in practice. Look at Only the Lonely by Sinatra. Those are loooooong album sides. Mono sides were cut at something like 28 minutes, and nobody said boo about it. For stereo release, in 1958, they lopped a song off of each side so they could cut the album acceptably, and even that was pushing it. Later, after computer-aided cutting came along, we started to see full-length stereo cuts, some of exceptional quality, especially the MFSL release.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
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  5. teag

    teag Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colorado
    Makes perfect sense. I had heard and read more than once that stereo sides were optimal at around 18 minutes. That's great news about mono and does fit with the great sound from the MFSL mono OTL (although, as you say and I agree, the stereo silver box version is also very good sounding). I'm hoping UME may be using the master that MFSL used for the recent (2014) SACD (BTW, I have #186 for what it's worth)!
     
  6. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. Millington

    Millington Forum Resident

    Mine is on it's way, Bob. Have good hopes for this. I have enjoyed the rest of the Capitol reissues, via Universal. I still think those elusive Mo-Fi vinyl editions, of this & ITWSH will be with us in a couple of years
     
    DLant likes this.
  8. teag

    teag Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colorado
    Just ordered this from Music Direct. 12% off and free shipping over $49!
     
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  9. teag

    teag Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colorado
    I've listened to the new LP and it sounds really nice! As reported above, dry tapes were used. Frank is in the room! I did an A/B with the MFSL SACD and very close. I always prefer vinyl to discs, but I would say they are equals in this case. The bass is just a bit higher on the SACD (too high?). The vocal on the new LP is every bit the equal in tone to the SACD IMO. Totally flat, noise free pressing. What a bargain at this price. I look forward to Matts opinion on this one.

    Don't even need to do an A/B on the MFSL silver box LP. That one in ingrained in my brain and this one sounds better to me!
     
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  10. teag

    teag Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colorado
    Well, I decided to compare the new UME release to the MFSL SIlver box version after all. The vocal on the new one is definitely the dry tapes. The orchestra is more evident on the MFSL. That can be good and bad. The UME seems to de-emphasize the orchestra and cymbals a bit, and has more bass. This makes the UME sound like a more "relaxed, warm" record. Both are good, but the UME will be my go-to for the most part. Mainly because of the sweet vocals from the use of the dry tapes. As stated before, Frankie is in the room on this one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
  11. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    MFSL SACD, full album:
    [​IMG]
    2016 LP, full album:
    SFSL2016LP.jpg
    Original "D" cut LP, full album (which looks much different -- and check the polarity differences):
    Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 10.17.05 PM.jpg
    Cookie Monster, pointing out that one of these things is not like the other:
    1Of_These_Things.jpg

    The waveform difference between the original "D" pressing and the 2014 and 2016 versions is not merely one of volume levels, but one of polarity: The 2014 and 2016 are identical, but there are some tracks in which they are phase-flipped vis-a-vis the original LP cuts.

    I have opined privately -- including personal conversations with two people with EMI connections, who agreed with me (but who are not connected with the project, and who think the evidence aligns with the logic I laid out) -- that the "master" for Songs for Swingin' Lovers had to be essentially reconstructed from scratch, which is why 1.) pre-2014 versions used wrong tapes (there was no longer a correctly-sourced, 15-song, complete "master reel" set); and 2.) there was no MFSL LP release to accompany the SACD in 2014. (It's hard to cut all-analog from a master reel when there is no existing master reel.) Be it somebody at Capitol or at Iron Mountain, or somebody at Sinatra, Inc., or somebody at MFSL, somebody cobbled together a set of un-futzed sources, and did so beautifully, and MFSL -- or somebody else involved in the project -- created a great sounding, new (digital?) master in 2014. KUDOS to anybody involved in that project, as they did a bang-up job doing what was likely verging on being a "restoration" as much as a "remastering." Awesome job, and I'm repeatedly impressed by what a great sounding SACD they created.

    I suspect that, since sources may have come from different boxes of tape in different vaults in different parts of the country (and who knows -- possibly outside the US, although I doubt that), the album was not really mastered "as an album" in the traditional sense, at least not initially. Rather, I suspect that individual songs or, perhaps, some small groups of songs that had managed to remain "connected" on edited reels, were mastered, and then those "final" versions for each track were assembled (digitally?), and voila -- there's a newly-reconstructed, 15-song master for Songs for Swingin' Lovers after all these years. This would account for the discrepancies in song-to-song volumes (2014/2016 vs. original LP) and would also explain why some tracks have their phase flipped.

    Remember, there is an incredibly checkered release history for this album. 15-track dry (correct tapes) version; 12-track dry tapes assembled; 12-track wet tapes; 12-track Duophonic tapes made from one of those earlier sources. Once the dry tapes were "retired," I wouldn't be shocked if individual tracks were pulled for use in compilation albums somewhere else in the catalog. These are eternally POPULAR and in-demand Sinatra tracks that got used and re-used in all sorts of projects over many years.

    I'll also point out that there were two unique features on the MFSL SACD: 1.) The audible "phew" that somebody (Sinatra, assumedly) utters at the end of IT HAPPENED IN MONTEREY, which is MISSING on the MFSL release; and 2.) A very brief -- and this is nit-picky even by my standards of nit-pickiness -- clipping off of the opening note of YOU BROUGHT A NEW KIND OF LOVE TO ME. Both of these things are duplicated on the 2016 LP.

    One more thing: the new LP is copyrighted 2014, 2016. Does the 2014 indicate the creation of a new master? 2014 = MFSL SACD release.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
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  12. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    So, do you like it?
     
  13. Henley

    Henley Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Netherlands
    If that's correct the source for the 2016 is digital and we gain nothing over the 2014 MFSL SACD, right?
     
  14. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    I've only played it one time, but I thought it sounded very nice.
     
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  15. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    I'm always a little reticent to just shoot down the possibility of digital LPs being superior to their all-digital counterpart, simply because I/we don't know what was involved with the creation of the LP, even if it is sourced from the MFSL hybrid disc. Was the person cutting the vinyl instructed to do a "straight cut," i.e., no EQ, no compression, no nothin'? That's possible. Then again, maybe the person cutting the LP had some leeway and was able to make some adjustments and maybe -- just maybe -- those adjustments (EQ, and probably little or nothing else in this case) will sound "better," whatever that means.

    I guess that in theory I (pretty strongly) agree with Henley, but in practice, I think there's no reason that exceptions could not happen, assuming a skilled person with judicious, sympathetic ears was overseeing the LP mastering from the digital source. (THAT SAID, I think that in many [most?] cases, the SACD or CD source is considered "mastered," and the LP would be a simple transfer to lacquer to more-or-less preserve the already-finished mastering, now in LP format rather than SACD/CD format.)
     
  16. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    OK...all of your analysis has been sounding spot-on so far. Thanks for all of it!

    1.) Does what has supposedly happened here differ in any way from let's say the Alan Dell "Black Box" LP's that were all digital?

    2.) Does anything on the LP (so far) sound any different than the SACD if played on an SACD player? What I'm asking is are we missing anything here (or on the SACD) by not listening to it on whatever it's called..."the red layer" or something?
     
  17. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    This would account for the discrepancies in song-to-song volumes (2014/2016 vs. original LP) and would also explain why some tracks have their phase flipped.

    Please explain to novice what this phase flipping means and is it that important/noticeable on a monaural recording. THANKS!
     
  18. RelayerNJ

    RelayerNJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Whippany, NJ
    Thanks for some of these details. I must admit, I am somewhat disappointed with this new lp release. Compared to previous mfsl lp Sinatra releases, this sounds somewhat veiled, but it could very well be due the condition of the tapes.
     
  19. teag

    teag Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colorado
    I have both and will take the new LP over the SACD (SACD layer). It's the old vinyl argument: I'l take it over silver anytime. For all the usual reasons - the music just breaths more and I can listen to it without the CD fatigue. In this case, both sound great. But I prefer the LP.

    And where else can you get pristine LP of this using the dry tapes? Nowhere.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
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  20. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    Plus it is so nice to have an ice, clean, shiny jacket with original artwork. :righton:
     
  21. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    (Disclaimer: I'm glad that Paul chose to use the word "supposedly," as I, admittedly, am not involved with the project and can only speak to what appears to be going on. That said, there's pretty good aural and visual evidence to what is likely going on here.)
    As far as I can tell, the UK Dell LPs (NOT the Dell CDs that followed) were cut from unmolested digital dubs of the tape masters in the USA Capitol vaults. As has been mentioned before, Capitol started a large-scale project to create digital dubs of all of their well-used "vintage" (older) master tapes, which were beginning to show signs of wear and tear after 20+ years of use. As far as I can tell, this was not any sort of "mastering" project, in that it was a strictly mechanical process: Take the analog mono or stereo master tape, and copy it to a digital tape, warts and all, with no tweaks. It was an attempt at preservation. Digital copies were then sent to EMI in the UK, and the LPs were mastered there using those digital dubs of the USA master tapes (although not always the correct master tapes). So, for the Dell LPs, it sounds to me like we have (in most, if not all, cases):

    Raw analog master --->Raw digital copy ----->traditionally-mastered LP from a digital tape (meaning: any attempts at EQ or other processing were likely done during the LP cutting process, just as would be done if using an analog source). (I'll add parenthetically that I think the mastering of the Dell LPs was pretty "hands off," with no compression added, and little/no EQ, although SOME titles do lean a hair on the light/bright side, so there may have been a little EQ on top.)

    The new LP likely went through this process:

    Assorted raw analog tapes--->Raw digital copies---> Fully-mastered SACD --->Transfer to LP
    (As far as what MFSL actually held in their possession, I have no idea. They may have been given a pile of tape boxes, so I wouldn't rule out the analog-->digital conversions happening at MFSL, which I'm sure would be their preference.)

    So, I'd say they go from point A to point D via slight variations on points B and C. Many ways to skin a cat.

    Different people using different gear will hear (or think they hear) different things. It's safe to say they are cut from the same cloth.
     
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  22. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    Very interesting. I understand this much more now. Sometime when I have nothing else to do I will compare each Dell CD to LP back- to-back and check out the differences. That should be fun. Quite an endeavor, but fun.
     
    teag likes this.
  23. teag

    teag Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colorado
    Another major difference is the Dell LP sounds like wet tapes. The new LP is dry. Much better IMO.
     
  24. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    I think we should all be happy that we now have 2 brand new great sounding sources for this album. LP and CD/SACD..make that three. Well, for if its download also. Pretty coolbeans.
     
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  25. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Of course! I was responding to Paul's comment about the Dell LP series, not this individual title.
     
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