Sinatra / Reprise Sound Quality and General Discussion: "Sinatra and Swingin' Brass" - 1962*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by SinatraFan, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. SinatraFan

    SinatraFan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I'm playing the download of Swingin' Brass. And to me, it's another winner! Whoever mastered this album really got it to come alive and grab the listener. Frank's vocals and the orchestra are all so much more fuller, warmer and detailed than on any of the other previous CD releases (don't have a vinyl to compare). Amazing achievement!
  2. Millington

    Millington Forum Resident

    Thinking about buying Sinatra & Swinging Brass new reissue on vinyl. You have this, dont you Colormesinatra. How is the SQ on this? Had it on CD years ago, but had different equipment then, also it sounded a bit thin. How is the stereo seperation on this title? Does it sound to phoney, or do you recommend me searching out a mono copy? Please advise, thanks.
  3. colormesinatra

    colormesinatra Forum Resident

    Malverne, NY
    The download is well worth purchasing. It sounds much better than the Complete Reprise Box tracks. I bought the download with the discount code. The new LPs of Swingin' Brass, In the Wee Small Hours, Come Fly With Me, Rat Pack at the Sands, She Shot Me Down and the new London set will all be on my "Christmas list."

    That being said, there is something very wrong with my mono copy of Swingin' Brass.
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  4. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member

    Massachusetts USA
    Here's a somewhat relevant post I came across in an unrelated search of another thread:
    —> Sinatra on Reprise: 'Single' CDs vs. the suitcase
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  5. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Hollywood, CA
  6. Millington

    Millington Forum Resident

    Thanks for answering. I might take a leaf out off your book & look at fleabay, til Christmas for a mono. If nothing nice comes up, might just chance it for a new copy.
  7. aoxomoxoa

    aoxomoxoa I'm all ears

    Just doing another comparison of the "Swingin' Brass" LPs in my collection. I chose the track "Pick Yourself Up" as a reference point.

    I started by listening to the new version which sounds a bit weird to me. It sounds like they smiley face eq'd it to death and the result is a cold digital feel. I moved to my suitcase box version. Stereo seperation. It immediatley sounds more natural and there is that midrange that is missing from the new one. The mids are even more dominant on my 70's smiling Frank LP. In fact this one is (ahhh....) sweet, sweet midrange bliss. Even more strereo spread. I think I like it the best, but I tend to prefer a more "vintage" sound with my Frank.

    So to sum things up, I am not 100 % sold on the new Swingin' Brass LP. But I feel better about "Wee Small Hours". It is the best sounding version I have heard. Moonlight Sinatra I will have to spend some more time with before I pass any judgements.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2016
  8. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    I was in Seattle today, so picked up the new LP of Sinatra and Swingin' Brass. Just got home and put it on the turntable, and I am STUNNED at how fantastic this sounds! All the well-earned sonic slings and arrows I've thrust toward this recording are hereby withdrawn.


    More to follow. Just as far as track two right now.

    EDIT: Be sure to read post #22.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
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  9. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Here's a clip, original A6 stereo LP ----> new LP. Definitely different mixes.

    Now....I only know this album from a few sources: That A6 stereo LP, which I don't like; an early R- mono LP, which strikes me as laughably bad; the suitcase tracks, which I don't like.

    Maybe this LP is cut from a CD source or something? I don't know. I do hear a little of that odd vocal quality that comes through on so many of the remixed Reprise titles, and I do hear a bit of hardness in the vocal (a la Keith Blake's style, which I don't personally care for) -- but my first impression is that this is much more listenable than the other versions I have.

    Anyway, have a listen to the above, if only for edification. :)
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  10. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    By the way....I realize that just a couple of days ago I posted something like "I try not to post something after just one listen" -- so I'm kind of breaking my own guidelines here. I reserve the right to walk this back if the rest of this LP sucks! :laugh: I got a little excited!
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  11. Simon A

    Simon A Arrr!

    Thanks for that Matt! The two things I noticed right away were Frank's voice being clearer and more detailed in the new one and the bite of the snare. Very nice. I must confess never having heard that LP before (nor CD for that matter) so being unfamiliar with the sound and songs, I will wholly trust everyone's ears on this one. It does sound promising though.

    So what we're finding out here is that neither the LP or the HD download have the same sonic qualities, correct?
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  12. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Hollywood, CA
    SAY WHATTTT???? This cannot be you Matt. Your account has been hacked and this is an imposter. I am in total shock. "I'm comin' Elizabeth...this is the BIG one!!!!!"
  13. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Hollywood, CA
    Premature happens as we age!
  14. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Nah, Paul, it's me. I'm really curious to hear details about what remixes have been done to this title over the years, i.e., EOTC CD. I've thought for years that this was one of the worst-recorded/mixed things in the Sinatra/Reprise oeuvre, and there's definitely a "modern-ness" to the mix/mastering here, but you know different doesn't, by definition, have to be bad (although in Sinatratown, it often is, sad to say).
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  15. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Hollywood, CA
    True...true...but I said right from the get-go on this mix that finally Mr. S has lost that sound of being holed up in a different studio with bad sound all around him. Even his voice (which was in 100% tip-top shape those 2 nights) sounded different on previous releases. This one is clean and clear from the start!
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  16. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member

    Massachusetts USA
    There have been two CD releases of Sinatra and Swingin' Brass, both credited to Lee Herschberg: 1992 (with three bonus tracks) and 1998 (EOTC 20-bit mastering). All other recent reissues (2010 UMG EU CD, 2010 Japan SHM-CD, 2013 5 Classic Swingin' Albums box set, 2014 UMe US CD) have duplicated the EOTC edition.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
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  17. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Thanks, Bob. I saw a UMe CD today with a 2014 date. Same as the EOTC, as well, I assume?
  18. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member

    Massachusetts USA
    Yes, that one, too. It's just a rebranding of the 2010 UMG reissue with the Signature Sinatra logo.
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  19. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Going back now and listening for a second pass, some comments as the record spins:

    •I'm not sure that They Can't Take That Away from Me is remixed. (That's not a definitive statement at all. I'm just not sure.) It has a funky vocal sound to it, but then again, wasn't this a Milton "Knob Twidder" Putnam recording? If so, who knows what the heck is on those danged tapes. There's definitely a larger dose of Ye Olde Slapback vocal reverb on that track.
    •From track to track, reverb levels/styles seem to be inconsistent, as do bass levels. Some have a full, "modern-y" bass level; some are comparatively thinner, a la the old mix.
    •Side two, Serenade in Blue -- so nice to hear the drum breaks minus all that echo chamber. (It's laughable on the mono mix.) Also, I could hear on the sustained "blue....." at the end that Frank's breath was fuzzing up the mic membrane. On my other versions, that little "defect" has gone completely unnoticed, at least by me.
    Pick Yourself Up also has an "I'm not sure this is a remix" sound -- but again, I wouldn't rule out the idea that the sound of any remix is going to be inconsistent based on whatever whim Mr. Putnam was following at any given minute during the recording to 3-track.

    After two listens....yeah, it's a remix, yeah it's DIFFERENT than other versions I've heard, but on the whole, I like it so far. :righton:
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  20. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    By the way, it's odd to see a record with the "Constipated Frank" label and MASTERED BY CAPITOL stamped in the deadwax. This is a G1 cut, so that means (IIRC) that it's cut at Capitol on the Neumann lathe. RM = Ron McMaster. Oddly, along with the mile-long hand scribbled catalog number, etc., there is also a Columbia-style stamped number on each side.
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  21. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Hollywood, CA
    OK. Enjoy this feeling for now. Put the LP back on the shelf and leave it alone for awhile. Don't over-analyze it because you will continue to find bits and pieces to chew (or eschew) about it. Paralysis by Analysis....
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  22. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    99626 1A
    99626 1B

    How does that machine stamped stuff tie in?
  23. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Lodi, New Jersey
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  24. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Alright, you knew this was comin'!

    Been doing a whole lotta listening to different versions, LP and CD. Also been reading through comments made by @aoxomoxoa . Going to be subtracting a pineapple or two or three. Still working on it.

    If MMM were bald, he would look like this right now:
  25. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    OK, lots going on with this Swingin' Brass thing, and @aoxomoxoa nailed a lot of it on the head a couple of days ago, so thank you, aox, for posting. (This is why I'm always pushing people to PLEASE share your thoughts on what you hear. We all hear things differently; we all prioritize differently, in terms of what we like, dislike, etc. The more we can actually yack about what we're hearing, the better.)

    Regarding some of aox's well-stated points:

    1.) The new stereo LP is definitely narrowed, as he said. This is something that I generally dislike. (I know that I ranted about this pretty strongly regarding the Concord Sinatra/Jobim CD, for instance, and also on the 2009 LP reissue of COME DANCE WITH ME.)
    2.) While aoxomoxoa's LP was mildly warped, mine is flat as a pancake and generally quiet. I've got no issues with the pressing quality. (Aoxomoxoa -- did yours have a MADE IN THE NETHERLANDS sticker on the back? Mine did not.)
    3.) As far as it being bass heavy, that's a tough one. Comparing to the suitcase tracks and the old R9 stereo LP, I think that at least on some of the cuts, the new one strikes me as being "bass correct" where the other versions are "bass light," or, at least, "generally on the thin side." Kind of a fielder's choice, I guess, and I'm not sure it's consistent from track to track.
    4.)Regarding comments about "that digital sound" that aoxomoxoa dislikes, I hear some of that, too, and it bugs me, too. I'm not sure "that digital sound" is really accurate, but it's a mixing/mastering style that really does something odd to the vocal (on some cuts more than others -- I think it's added compression and odd EQ on the vocal track -- and sometimes to the cymbals, especially. That being said, there is also some nasty stuff on other versions that we can't blame on the digital stuff, i.e., thin sound, too much reverb (especially on the original mix LP), midrange-humpy EQ, etc. There are plenty of problems to go around on ALL versions of this one (although I've not heard the EOTC -- full disclosure.)
    5.) Smiley-face EQ/Midrange suck-out: I hear this to an objectionable point in spots; I don't hear it in others. I guess another way of saying that is: I think that on some tracks, the changes in EQ work very well; on others, they strike me as being quite detrimental to the overall tone. Again, it's inconsistent, track-to-track.
    6.) Aoxomoxoa likes his 1970's LP. Question: Is this the original stereo mix, or did this album receive an LP-era remix at some point?

    Back when we went over the Sinatra & Strings album, I recall yammering about how the EOTC remix, at first blush, was really inviting, with the dry vocal (finally!), and that big orchestral sound, but with repeated listenings, something just started to strike me as being not right. I think that the same may be true with this LP, but, of course, there are things on the original LP that strike me as REALLY REALLY not right, and things on the suitcase CD that strike me as really not right. (These Reprise titles are never simple things.)

    Back to that Sinatra & Strings comparison. On that EOTC disc, it's like the vocal is "hard compressed" and set at a given level, and the orchestra ebbs and flows around a very hard, stationary (dynamically speaking) vocal. It's an odd effect. I get some of that here, too, although the band on this Swingin' Brass LP is not nearly as compressed as the orchestra on that EOTC Sinatra & Strings disc.

    Let's go to the videotape, er, um...samples. In every instance, you will hear the suitcase CD first, followed by the 2014 LP.

    Clip Set #1 (link)
    Clip Set #2 (link)

    and finally:
    Here's a clip, CD first, LP second:

    Yup, there's definitely some adding and subtracting going on there. Good call.

    So, where does this leave ME after an afternoon/evening of listening to the new LP? Well, I'm largely in "Camp Aoxomoxoa," although the original R9 stereo LP I have is absolute Stink City, and the mono LP I have is even worse. I also still don't care for the suitcase tracks. That doesn't mean the suitcase tracks can't be the best of a bad bunch!

    I think that the new LP makes an effort to at least TRY to remediate some of the glaring shortcomings on the other versions, but in the end, I'm not sure that it really is better. It's definitely DIFFERENT, and there are some changes that are really ear-catching in a good way, but after spending the day with it, much of the bloom is off the rose. I'm going to keep listening to it and see how I feel in a week or so, but I suspect that that old sage aoxomoxoa was onto something.

    The "hardness" of the vocal is a minus on the new LP. In some spots, the EQ changes work; in some they definitely do not. That said, I have never -- not once -- listened to those suitcase tracks and thought, "Boy, I really dig how this sounds." That thought has never crossed my mind. On the other hand, today I put on that new LP and went, "Wow, I like this...." until I really started to compare it to the suitcase tracks. Reminds me of my chronic dilemma with the assorted -- and thoroughly "mixed bag in different ways" -- versions of Swing Along with Me. Some of you may remember this diatribe from those pages:
    Screen shot 2014-10-28 at 10.59.31 PM.jpg
    ....wherein I started out by hating the suitcase tracks, but the more head-to-head, deliberate comparisons I did, the better -- or the "less bad" -- the suitcase tracks seemed.

    Have a listen to those clips, eh? There's a lot there to digest, and I'm curious to hear opinions.

    Thanks again @aoxomoxoa . Your comments really made me take a long, deliberate stare at the LP. Initially, I was head over heels, but I'm not sure that she's as great a catch as I thought. :oops: Now I'm depressed. :p

    It's kind of like in tenth grade when you meet the attractive girl in gym class and think your worries are over, then you go on a date and find out she's got scurf or something. Doesn't mean she doesn't look great, but maybe she's not as perfect as she seemed on the surface. (Never happened to me, of course, but....)

    In this case, though (Swingin' Brass), the other choices might make you overlook a few little "issues" with the cute girl.

    Nope. Upon further review, at least some of the slings and arrows are re-thrusted. I will never use the dancing banana emoticon again.

    BOTTOM LINE: The new version sure is DIFFERENT than other vinyl versions. Check out the clips, or pick up a copy and share your thoughts.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014

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