Sinatra / Reprise Sound Quality: "I Remember Tommy" (1961)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by MLutthans, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    For three days now, John, it's been just you and me in Tommy Land, two lovable rogues with laptops and time to spare, taking the internet by storm with our middling use of the English language and a certain hard-to-describe je ne sais quoi! You drink, I'll drive! :cheers:

    Nobody else remembers Tommy, apparently.

    Seriously, has nobody else listened to the samples? :confused: They are there, just sitting, open to anybody with ears, opinions, Quicktime, and a desire to pontificate or offer pure pith. :thumbsup:

    Matt
     
    CBackley likes this.
  2. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il
    And folks here have professed true love for this album in the past! Go figure....

    Seriously, Matt's speed-corrected R2R clips are fascinating listens!
     
  3. OldCoder

    OldCoder Well-Known Member

    Location:
    St. Paul, MN, USA
    This is "life in modern times", nothing but work during the week, and not enough energy to savor the differences in fine recorded music.

    Come the weekend, the action will pick up.
     
  4. hodgo

    hodgo Tea Making Gort (Yorkshire Branch) Staff

    Location:
    East Yorkshire
    I sent these thoughts to Matt as I feel out of my depth among so many knowledgeable folks, but after encouragement from Matt I thought I'd post them....

    So far I prefer the US mono and need to seek that out on vinyl, it has punch with Frank & orchestra together which the stereo lacks with instead the orchestra across 2 channels and Frank in the centre, having said that I do like the stereo especially on vinyl though I'm not sure which pressing I prefer as of yet. Regarding the CD's, I've never been a fan of the EOTC version it's not as warm as the 1991 CD and despite the stereo image lacking a little I simply prefer the sound of the 1991 CD.
     
  5. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Thanks for posting, Graham! You make good points, and the CD situation is (to my ears) a bit of a conundrum, with good and bad qualities -- and very different ones -- apparent in both versions.

    Again, the link we're discussing is here, should somebody else care to chime in.

    Matt
     
  6. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Matt,

    On CD, prefer the 1991 mastering over the EOTC series. More dynamic and warmer sounding. The EOTC is a bit trebly for my ears. But has better Stereo imaging. The R9 original LP pressing still wins out for me. Still looking around for a clean original mono LP.
     
  7. aoxomoxoa

    aoxomoxoa Down by the old mainstream

    Location:
    Ohio
    A bit off topic Matt but, are we skipping "Point Of No Return"?
     
  8. AJH

    AJH Forum Resident

    Location:
    PA Northern Tier
    Matt,

    As for the LP's, I like the R-1003 US mono- it has a nice warm together sound. It may be the best sounding of all the material you presented. To me, the stereo LP's sounded pretty much the same. The tapes sounded very different- Steve's really sounded dark and restricted, while your Ampex was much more open and realistic.

    As far as the CD's go, I personally still like the EOTC CD. To me, there is something about the 1991 CD that just doesn't quite do it for me (don't get me wrong, the 1991 CD is good, I just like the EOTC better). Although you don't have a sample of the suitcase version on your page, I don't like the suitcase version at all- it sounds (for lack of a better term) "flat." I feel the EOTC CD has much better imaging and has a better soundstage than the other CD offerings, and it also sounds more lifelike than the other two CD versions.

    Overall, I feel the best sounding version is the R-1003 US mono LP followed by the EOTC CD (although the 1991 CD is also very good).

    AJH
     
  9. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    No, we'll be doing that one. We're going in "order recorded," so next up will be SWING ALONG WITH ME, which was recorded quickly on the heels of I REMEMBER TOMMY, and actually released before I REMEMBER TOMMY. After that, it's back to Capitol one last time.

    Thanks to all who have chimed in today, by the way! :)

    Regarding the sound-quality comments on I REMEMBER TOMMY:

    I find the mixed feelings toward the CD releases to be fascinating -- nothing close to a consensus!

    Also, there are some comments regarding the 1991/93 mastering and the suitcase tracks. I have the suitcase, and Bob shared a two clips from the 1993 disc with me, and on those two tracks (In the Blue of Evening, I'll Be Seeing You), the 1993 and suitcase versions seem to be the same mastering. Are there differences on other tracks? I was working under the assumption that if one track is the same, they all are, but with this Sinatra jazz, "assuming" is dangerous!

    Below are two sets of waveforms. The top one is I'LL BE SEEING YOU from the 1993 disc; the bottom one is from the suitcase version of the same track. Visuals aside, they also sound the same to me. Thoughts?

    ....or is there a difference in the 1991 and '93 masterings that we don't know about? Or is there a placebo effect going on? I know there have been many times when I've heard differences that weren't really there. It's easy to do!

    Matt
     

    Attached Files:

  10. hodgo

    hodgo Tea Making Gort (Yorkshire Branch) Staff

    Location:
    East Yorkshire
    Matt, I have aquired many of the suitcase tracks as wav files, I've been doing some listening & comparing today and I'm sure they are same mastering as the 1991/93 masterings. I agree on the placebo effect, at first I thought they may be slightly different but I think the brain tricks you into hearing differences that aren't there, listening today I think they are the same ask me another day it may be a different matter :rolleyes: if there are differences they are very minor and the fact it's hard to tell makes me inclined to say they are the same.
     
  11. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Are you on the right forum????? (Just kidding.)

    I've had the same thing happen, too, i.e., "I love the sound on this new Sinatra compilation disc I just bought," only to discover, "Oh, I guess it's the same mastering as that old Sinatra disc I already had." I had that experience way too many times! I could think straight if I could just quit using my brain. What did Woody Allen say in Manhattan? "The brain is the most overrated organ?"

    Matt
     
  12. Arkoffs

    Arkoffs sitting in the back of a car

    Location:
    deep midwicket
    Whoops! I meant to contribute this time around too, and the real world intervened. Looking forward to checking out the clip comparisons (and pulling out my LP for another spin). I'll try and keep a closer eye out in case I've got a disc to kick in on the next gathering...
     
  13. hodgo

    hodgo Tea Making Gort (Yorkshire Branch) Staff

    Location:
    East Yorkshire
    Yes Matt, I'm being a brave lad today after this mornings pep talk. :laugh:
     
  14. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Some people have a good ear for finding defects in recordings. MMM, on the other hand, has good EARS (plural), and because he uses both ears, he was able to point out that my sample of the reel-to-reel tapes was summed to mono. Ooooooooooooooooops!

    Now fixed, thanks to Martin! :) Enjoy the stereo goodness!

    Matt
     
  15. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Thanks for fixing, Matt.

    The original issue reel is too harsh/bright (and compressed some?), and the 2nd release is too dull. Maybe if you mix the two together, it'll sound right? ;)

    I'm not sure that I hear a deliberate shift in the bass on the original CD mastering (even on the LP it doesn't always sound hard left, possibly due to leakage), but more of a somewhat 'off' tonality that is doing some harm overall. One of the things I'm hearing (though not directly re bass tone/character) is an unneeded top end boost that, while not overly "bright", is watering things down overall, making things a little wispy.
     
  16. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Here's the big question: Are the CDs remixes, original mixes, or a hybrid? With RING-A-DING DING, this was a hard one to answer based on the sonic evidence. The 1998 CONCERT SINATRA disc sure sounded just like the old mix....except for things like the vocal phrase on "Lost in the Starts" that goes a few seconds longer than on the LP and earlier, original-mix CD.

    My current thinking (and it may change, based on other input) is that the 1991/93/95 version is a remix, and the 1998 is either a remastering of the original mix, or an attempt to recreate the feel of the original mix, or a hybrid of the two, i.e., original mix, with a brief passage or two remixed due to tape damage or some other factor.

    Clips here: http://www.11fifty.com/Site_108/1961_-_I_Remember_Tommy3_2.html

    Listen; discuss. :)

    Matt
     
  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    I clicked on your link with some trepidation (last time I did so it killed my computer d-e-a-d) and both of those sound like the original mix to me, just weirdly mastered, too much top end boost. If they are remixes I can't imagine why they bothered.
     
  18. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    No more computer-killing pages, Steve. (That was years ago!) :)

    There's one oddball "mix move" on the LPs that I can't pick up on either of the CDs (more on that later this weekend), but aside from that, I've A/B'd that 1998 EOTC disc with my R9 pressing until I'm blue in the face, and it sounds like the same mix on the CD -- one bit of track 7 aside.

    Matt
     
  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    I have an old CD-R of the original 1961 stereo mix and of my (rejected) remix from 2000. I'll have to give a close listen when I feel in the mood to hear this album again. It's pretty much torture for me, I cannot "unhear" the endless outtakes, sorry to say. Just to hear that single phrase he struggled with for days ("A heart sooo truuuue....") gives me the shivers (in a bad way). I don't think he actually ever did get it. Can't imagine why they just didn't pick a few different songs.

    BTW, ever notice that United in those days had such a weird idea of what a stereo orchestra spread should be? Horns, drums on right, reeds and bass on left, middle dead empty. Such a poor choice.
     
    McLover and Bob Belvedere like this.
  20. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Yes, and somebody (MMM?) mentioned how odd it is to have the rhythm section split hard left/hard right, i.e., drums & guitar left, piano and bass right, or some such combination. On the stuff done at Radio Recorders, on 4-track, it sure is nice to have the rhythm section in the center.

    The wide split is more bothersome on headphones than on speakers, but it's pretty far-out either way. More balanced than the stereo COME DANCE WITH ME, which is whack-city to my ears.

    Matt
     
  21. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    So, THAT'S the phrase you were referring to in earlier discussions. As you well know, Mr. S had quite a bit of difficulty with it when they went back to United and recorded what we hear on the album.

    How was his approach to it different at RR? Was the intro any different? It's a pretty straight forward long-breathed phrase in which he immitates Tommy's trombone. The song is lost if he doesn't do that. Is it possible that there is an intercut mid-phrase on the released take? To my ears, he finally damn near nails it around take 15or 16.

    As far as choosing another tune, it is one of the top 5 or 6 Dorsey/Sinatra hits so his choice to record it was spot on. And you know better than any of us (having listened to all the Reprise sessions) when Mr. s put his mind to doing something he was going to get it done. Period.:sigh:
     
    Bob Belvedere likes this.
  22. MLutthans

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

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    I've posted a brief (3 second) clip to illustrate what that oddball mix move is.

    See bottom of the page, here: http://www.11fifty.com/Site_108/1961_-_I_Remember_Tommy3_2.html

    Matt
     
  23. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Yes me, and not just on this album. The part of this that is oddest to me is having the bass and drums so far apart. Was it to just make it all seem more 'stereo'?
     
  24. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Agreed. What was released is really good. Nice song, and excellent performance...
     
  25. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    I think that's just changes in the mastering with tone, eq, etc. giving the illusion that it's different at first blush. After I played it a few times and squinted, I don't think there is any mixing/panning difference.
     

Share This Page