SH Spotlight Steve Hoffman: Do you ever try to make a recording "BETTER" than the original?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by kevintomb, Apr 1, 2007.

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  1. Drifter

    Drifter AD survivor

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, CA
    Well, the late-1970s 6 record set "The Complete Buddy Holly" claimed to use the original masters. Many of the tracks do sound pretty darned good. Quite a few of the tracks are taken from later overdubbed masters though.
     
  2. Mal

    Mal Phorum Physicist

    I imagine they used the "tape copies" mentioned here but I don't know.
     
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Just a little trade secret; now a secret no more. Share the love..:)
     
  4. Grant

    Grant In holiday HELL

    Location:
    United States
    But, i'm sure you have more of them that you can't give up!;)
     
  5. Joel1963

    Joel1963 Senior Member

    Location:
    Montreal
    It's $4.99 at Best Buy in Montreal, as has been pointed out from other Canadian locations BTW, I just got Steve's Billy Joe Shaver Razer and Tie comp for $1.99 ay HMV here. Haven't listened yet, though. How is it?
     
  6. Joel1963

    Joel1963 Senior Member

    Location:
    Montreal
    Just used that word in a headline at our paper for a recent election story, in reference to a reaction to the results. I really like that word.
     
  7. seed_drill

    seed_drill Senior Member

    Location:
    Tryon, NC, USA
    I remember reading about Steve's work on Cream's Wheel's of Fire, and the sonic problems he'd always associated with the original recording (was it too bass heavy???) and how they disappeared when he played back the master through the original studio monitors they'd used. Therefore he had a reasonable hypothesis that they didn't really intend on the final product sounding as it did, so he cleaned it up a bit. (I'm sure there's a thread here somewhere about the acutal details.)
     
  8. Joel1963

    Joel1963 Senior Member

    Location:
    Montreal
    I remain enthralled with the guitar sound acheived on the DCC Gold The Eagles' Greatest Hits.
     
  9. AndrewS

    AndrewS Forum Resident

    Location:
    S. Ontario, Canada
    How can anyone honestly refer to this as doing nothing? Surely a large portion of your time, if I remember correctly from other posts/articles you've written on your master work, is spent seeking out the best quality tapes. It's an integral part of the process, at least for vintage recordings. For that matter, it's probably still part of the process for recent recordings, but hopefully requires less time.

    So which other masterings are from "Do Not Use" masters? I think you mentioned that that was the case for some of the Vince Guaraldi mastering you did as well.
     
  10. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    A whole bunch of stuff...
     
  11. SiriusB

    SiriusB New Member

    Location:
    New York
    I'm confused. When SH replied 'Always' on page 1 of this thread, was it in reponse to the subject line ("Do you ever try to make recordings better than the original) or to the previous post: "Buddy Holly was transfered straight from the tape without EQ'ing. His decision was to leave them the way they were recorded." ?
     
  12. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host


    The "original" means:

    The original released version. In the case of Buddy Holly it would be 78 RPM, 45 RPM and 33 1 3/ RPM records.
     
  13. BZync

    BZync Senior Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    You are probably talking about the session I attended - that made a big impression on me. Amazing that he was able to pick out that little frequency adjustment when I couldn't hear a thing over the hiss of the bunsen burners and the bubbling of the cauldrons and the constant incantations.

    Oh, should I have given away Steve's secret?
     
  14. Joel1963

    Joel1963 Senior Member

    Location:
    Montreal
    It's not Steve's, but i believe the binaural Elvis '57 tapes were also designated that way.
     
  15. Doonie

    Doonie New Member

    Location:
    ...
    Right. He had the sense to know when to leave the existing sound alone.
     
  16. andyinstal

    andyinstal Runner for Others

    Location:
    Allen, Texas
    Hey BZync! Good to hear from you.
     
  17. Andreas

    Andreas Senior Member

    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    That is what he meant.
     
  18. Emilio

    Emilio Forum Resident

    I guess one point some people are missing here is that Steve's work isn't limited to remastering. He also searches the archives. So strictly speaking, it's incorrect to say he did "nothing" in the case of Buddy Holly. He located the original tapes. That's a lot!
     
  19. Joel1963

    Joel1963 Senior Member

    Location:
    Montreal
    Hey, look what he went through with the Chris Montez A & M tapes!
     
  20. mr_mjb1960

    mr_mjb1960 I'm a Tarrytowner 'Til I die!

    Maybe this question has been asked,but I'd like to ask you Steve (I'm just dying to know!):Which artist you'd like to Remaster that has NOT come out on CD yet? Michael Boyce
     
  21. Dave D

    Dave D Done!

    Location:
    Milton, Canada
    I'll take a HUGE GAMBLE......ummmmm......The Beatles?:sigh:
     
  22. BZync

    BZync Senior Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I agree, but would like to add a thought.

    For me it boils down to trusting Steve's ear. I've been doing a lot of comparisons of different masterings lately & I have discovered that I used to be attracted to what I now feel is "flashy" mastering. Yep, you can add a bit of high end to a recording & it seems to leap out at you a bit more. You can compress it & it seems louder & more in your face. But, using the UK McCartney remasters as a perfect example, listen side by side to a DCC & the difference becomes obvious. I admit that it took me a while to hear that. Now I cringe when I hear that "bright" sound. I credit (and thank) Steve and some of the members of this forum for a gradual paradigm shift in how I hear music.

    What Steve does that impacts MY listening experience, is uses his judgement to know what to do & what not to do. If his ear tells him that a tape is best left unfutzed with, that is not a passive non-action, rather it is an active judgement.

    Being that I do NOT have an ear that is sophisticated enough to make those judgements, he has saved me a ton of cash by doing it correctly the FIRST time. I have about 50 CDs that I will never have to repurchase again - EVER!

    I would hardly call that "nothing".
     
  23. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Hey, thanks!
     
  24. Jeff Wong

    Jeff Wong Gort

    Location:
    NY
    I think some of the confusion stems from the repetition in the forum of Steve doing "flat transfers". It seems clear this is not always the case, and that judicious and artistic choices in EQ are sometimes employed depending on the project; knowing when not to do something is as important as knowing when to do it.
     
  25. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Jeff,

    Correct. I rarely do a "flat transfer" mastering of an album. I cannot think of more than a handful in 25 years of doing this.
     
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