Steve, if you had do re-do a CD, which one would it be???

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by ACK!, Jun 17, 2003.

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  1. ACK!

    ACK! Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Steve,

    I realize that being a perfectionist, you probably feel that there are certain CDs you could have done a bit differently in retrospect. However, is there one as the years have passed that you really wish you could take another stab at, knowing what you know now??

    :confused:
     
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Well, the only one I can think off offhand is my old Mamas & Papas CD I did.

    I should have done a world wide vault search for the correct mono copy masters (that were trashed at ABC) and really tried to get those great mixes on there. The powers that be would have probably nixed any mono, but I could have played them songs like "I Saw Her Again" and "Creeque Alley" in mono to convince them.

    Other than that, really no.....Nothing I cringe about except some of my flaccid remixes from the 1980's when I was in my "Playing God" stage...
     
  3. rontokyo

    rontokyo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Would you care to mention a few titles and be juuust a little more specific about "playing God"??
     
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Chuck Berry Rarities volumes one and two.

    I've mentioned in many threads and a lot of times in print that I am not fond of my old remixes, which I purposely made without compression and echo so the "sound" of the sessions could be revealed. Some of you love this stuff but it was Diana Haig who set me straight by saying the only valid mix is the original mix no matter how crappy it sounds. I've come around to her way of thinking mainly and the remixing I've done in the past 10 years has been more historically "accurate" (like "Cathy's Clown" for example, duplicating the original echo and compression sound and then backing off some what for clarity).
     
  5. jamesmaya

    jamesmaya Senior Member

    Location:
    Mudwest, CA
    Steve,

    I'm guessing that the detective work involved in vault searches can be costly and timely depending on a number of factors. Does the company give you a vault search budget within which to work? Do you personally "go into the vaults" yourself or do you have someone do that for you?

    Jim W.
     
  6. ascot

    ascot Senior Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Naw. Steve just looks for the box labeled "Do Not Use". :D
     
  7. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    Getting mono-only releases for major acts has been like pulling teeth for so long it's just beyond frustrating...and more's the pity you didn't get the chance to pull off that M&P collection, though what you did give us is still the standard for M&P stereo. Copies of those mono master tapes have to be in some overseas vault(unless MCA/Universal did retrieve them and is sitting on them--Bartley's comp had to use 45 dubs).

    I kind of feel the same about the old MCA VINTAGE MUSIC series. The remix of "Let's Live For Today"--Grass Roots purists be damned--remains impeccable, mixed without the stupid panning of the vocals, the way it should have been done and faithful to the spirit of the 45. But due to various contrainsts, some cuts that were really needed at the time--the mono masters for Steppenwolf and various Chess/Checker acts of the '60s--never happened(has "Rescue Me"'s mono single master ever been on CD?)

    For my own part, I enjoyed both Berry volumes for what they were: lots of first-time stereo and unreleased takes. That's always fun. But I had hoped that "Nadine" would be remixed to more closely match the 45. Yet it's easy to say that in hindsight; I can only imagine your thrill in getting hold of those tapes and having some fun with them. As history has shown, even legends such as George Martin have had trouble mixing good stereo versions of Beatles hits years after the fact; it's really hard to get that magic back so much later than it would have been at the time, if anyone had thought of it. And even in '64, when Chess put out those '64 Berry hits in stereo, they seemed to have done it hastily, and didn't capture the punch and jangle of the mono versions.

    ED:cool:
     
  8. CT Dave

    CT Dave Forum Resident

    Location:
    Connecticut
    The Mamas & The Papas records were released by RCA in Canada and Europe. Would they still have the mono tapes that were sent to them back in the 60's?
     
  9. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    Hey, I love those stupid panning vocals!:laugh: and I love the Original Stereo Mix of "Surf City"...:thumbsup:
     
  10. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Ed,

    I would have been able to duplicate the original mono or stereo mix of the Chuck Berry stuff. I just didn't WANT to. I wanted to stay far away from the feel of the original mixes; why bother to remix them? I had some cockeyed notion of "revealing" what it must have sounded like in the studio actually recording stuff, before all of those nasty "compromises" like dynamic range compression, detail obscuring echo and tonal enhancing equalization came into the picture. Problem is, as we know, those things actually MAKE the mix special. Oh well. What I mixed sounds to me these days like good pre-mix demo versions. Heh. Better than nothing I guess...
     
  11. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    I never liked the panned vocals because they just don't make any sense...unless you were mixing for Quad or 5.1, and even then, why not keep the lead singer in the middle and then, when the backing comes, keep them to the front left/right? The remix does precisely that, offering an honest replication of the 45's intent, except it fades a bit later(thanks, Steve).

    There are times when panning a vocal might work in context, but right off, I can't think of any. Can you?

    As for "Surf City," speaking of mono-only CD comps I'd love to see...:D

    ED:cool:
     
  12. ascot

    ascot Senior Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    "A Day in the Life" comes to mind. I love how the mix on the last verse is a mirror image of the first verse. Another one I like is "Tuesday Afternoon".
     
  13. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    Fascinating. While the 1964 hits don't 'cook' like the 45's, I must say, "Bye Bye Johnny," though lacking echo and Eq, is still a delight. There's also a little tape drag near the end that I only remember hearing on one other remixed song during that general time frame. On the original vinyl version of Sam Cooke's THE MAN AND HIS MUSIC, you can hear what is either tape drag or flutter on the stereo mix of "Only 16," yet months later, when RCA belatedly issued the CD edition, this had been corrected.

    But despite your qualms about the Berry CD's, hearing the music 'dry' and studio-like isn't necessarily a minus. Like Elvis' STEREO '57, it's just so much fun in spite of not being quite 'accurate.' There is something to be said for the 'fly-on-the-wall' experience every now and then. But it's a shame the stereo cuts haven't been remixed to more closely replicate the dynamics of the mono 45's.

    ED:cool:
     
  14. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    You're right! But in both instances, it works for me; "Let's Live For Today"'s pans sound like a gimmick, I think in part because the 45 was so direct, immediate, and without pretense; I loved that one from the day I first heard it. And remember, too, that both songs you cite above are Big Productions, both: there's so much going on the panning doesn't really sound intrusive. Steve's "Let's Live" was a delightful surprise when I first heard it; leapt right out, since I was waiting for the usual panning, and it didn't come....:) Ah, if only half of all remixes were as sensible....

    ED:cool:
     
  15. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    :agree:

    (For those that don't know or remember, Steve went through many, many tapes searching for Dylan's Highway 61. He finally found it in a box marked "Do Not Use". The full description was "Do Not Use For Making LPs" or something like that - because it was the original master tape!! A cool story! :cool: )
     
  16. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    That is a :cool: story, Gary, and I always wondered why, rather than risk the true master tape being used and reused, it wasn't just sent away to another facility, or specially coded, or whatever, to prevent any chance it could get used? Must go back to the notion the label powers-that-be weren't thinking that much to the future...though this time, someone thought enough to at least put a warning on the box!:rolleyes: Turns out, it may have worked, until Steve came along....:D

    ED:cool:
     
  17. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    Yea, The two I just named and there are others...like the half assed "Good Lovin":thumbsup:I love that song!
    You are entitled to YOUR opinion...but, I like 'em...and for some neato trippy panning effects, check out...The Moving Sidewalks-Flash Album! Cool!
     
  18. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host


    Wait, the reason it was marked DO NOT USE was that it was redubbed with extra bass filtering and compression.

    Most Columbia master tapes were used and reused until they wore out. This was just a fluke.
     
  19. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    I love the Rascals' "Good Lovin'" but the intro pan is messy and pointless...works better in mono. Same with the intro of "You Keep Me Hangin' On"...good to have in stereo--hey, any stereo's better than none, most of the time--but it's no accident those work better in mono.

    ED:cool:
     
  20. rontokyo

    rontokyo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    I agree. That panning falls under the catagory of "Because it *can* be done, it *will* be done." Silly engineering if you ask me.
     
  21. ascot

    ascot Senior Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    ...not to mention the added scratchiness on "You Keep Me Hangin' On" from the mixing board.

    The count-in to "Good Lovin'" would have worked better if they didn't pan the effect, as you said. If the voices came in hard and direct from say, left (one), right (two), and center (three) like they were on separate tracks, at least it would have been cleaner. I supposed someone might be able to clean that up a little digitally but damn me to heck for even bringing that up! :laugh:
     
  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Re: Good Lovin', pull out your old Atlantic 45. Now THAT'S a mix!!!!! It's mono, but it's the fairy dust version....
     
  23. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    Funny thing: on the GROOVIN' album--where it is really out of place with the rest of the songs--"You Better Run" is a great stereo mix! Yet you MUST have the 45 version of "I've Been Lonely Too Long" to feel that piano and the urgency of the performance(edited from take found on the COLLECTIONS Lp).

    The stereo version of "Good Lovin'" is as haphazard as "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore." I'm glad the stereo mix exists, but the mono's are the keeper for a lot of hits, not least "Groovin'.'

    ED
     
  24. Evan L

    Evan L Beatologist

    Location:
    Vermont
    "Good Lovin" and "You Keep Me Hangin' On"'s panned beginnings sound kind of ridiculous today, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. Steve's mix of "Let's Live For Today" on Vintage Music sounds WONDERFUL. I LOVE IT.
     
  25. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    Well, it doesn't get much better than that, and I would argue that's the mix that should have been done in the first place. Nothing more dangerous than an engineer who doesn't know how to properly place voices and instruments. The original stereo mix of "Let's Live For Today" might as well have been done by a ten-year-old, it's so silly....but there are those who like it all the same! I'm all for nostalgic feelings, but a bad mix is a bad mix, and there were enough of those back in the day....few are the great albums from the '60s that didn't have a mono mix worth tracking down.

    ED:cool:
     
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