SH Spotlight Steve's Mastering Secrets, Part II

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by salleno, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. salleno

    salleno Forum Resident Thread Starter

    So. Cal.
    I was sad the other thread was moved to the FAQ section before I got to ask the following so I am asking it here. Would appreciate an answer Steve. :righton:

    What did you do to Bill Evans Trio: Waltz For Debby and Sunday At The Village Vanguard (Fantasy 45's)? Any EQ moves, special playback reel to reel?

    Thanks ahead of time!
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Waltz For Deb, & Village Vanguard?

    Love those albums.

    We cut them at 45 RPM essentially respectful of the original intent, to keep the music sounding "live" and clear.

    I unboxed the bass a bit with some EQ but other than that it's just like it was recorded back in the day. We kept the full dynamics of the session tapes, didn't add any echo or weird stuff, kept the channel balance intact, didn't try to "fold in" anything and let the music and performances speak for themselves.

    Hope you like the way they sound.
  3. salleno

    salleno Forum Resident Thread Starter

    So. Cal.
    Thanks Steve. I love the way they sound! I heard them at a friends house. He won't lend them to me either! Unfortunately, I found out about the series too late and while I have purchased many of the Fantasy 45 titles in the series, I am missing those two from the first set. I have all the other 23 titles of the first set and am buying up the titles for the others with any spare cash I find.

    At the moment I am stuck with the OJC of Waltz For Debby and the XRCD of Sunday At The Village Vanguard (per your recommendations). I guess I'll try to unbox the bass a bit. :righton:

    Any chance you have a test pressing you want to sell? :laugh:

    Thanks for your prompt reply and as most people here - LOVE your work.

    Thanks again.
  4. kt66brooklyn

    kt66brooklyn Senior Member

    brooklyn, ny
    I think the 45 sets are particularly great. There seems, to my ears, to be a big difference in the quality of the tapes (first generation?) you used for these two Bill Evans titles, when compared to all the other releases of this material I have heard. All of the rest have funny little pitch variations at places. Your mastering does not have any pitch issues whatsoever.

    This is one of the startling things about your reissues at 45 rpm, how instructive they are, when compared to versions many of us have been familiar with for years.

    The latest revelation for me has been Art Blakey "The Big Beat". It was never one of my favorite Blakey records, buy you have turned it in to an addictive listen, and I'm just about to spin it again.
  5. Mike in OR

    Mike in OR Through Middle-earth...onto Heart of The Sunrise

    Portland, Oregon
    I have Waltz for Debby on 45 and I must say it is one of the top 3 or 4 Fantasy 45 titles I have, I absolutely dig it, the music absolutely flows so easily from that quest to search out a copy of Sunday continues. :sigh:
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Try the JVD XRCD of Vanguard; it's pretty damn good, cut from the exact same tape. Doesn't have the "feel" of the 45 but it the digital version of choice for me.
  7. Mike in OR

    Mike in OR Through Middle-earth...onto Heart of The Sunrise

    Portland, Oregon
    ahh alright Steve will do. :righton: The quest for the XRCD begins....hopefully an easy one. :)
  8. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend


    Been meaning to pick this one up for so long. Thanks for the recommendation, order placed at Acoustic Sounds :agree:
  9. salleno

    salleno Forum Resident Thread Starter

    So. Cal.
    Is there a way we can make the JVC XRCD obtain a similar feel?
  10. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Not really.
  11. vonwegen

    vonwegen Forum Resident

    An interesting comparison of the mastering styles of two of our Forum favorites is to compare the best CD versions of the first 2 Bad Company albums - both were recorded with Ronnie Lane's mobile with Ron Nevison doing the recording & mixing. Because there is some sonic consistency in these 2 recordings, there is an all too rare chance to hear the different mastering approaches of 2 "master masterers".

    Play the Barry Diament mastered Straight Shooter and then Steve's gold CD of Bad Company back to back - both sound great, but quite different, surprisingly so.
  12. johnny33

    johnny33 New Member

    The "Waltz For Debby" 45 was what started me on my jazz journey.Cant think of a better way I could have been introduced than to get to be transported to the actual concert by this mastering. A year or so later I now have a dozen or so Bill Evans recordings.

    Thanks Steve, a great gift you gave us with that 45.

    All I can say is dont miss out on the Blue Notes.
  13. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    Steve, my question is in regards to the BUDDY HOLLY CD you did "From the original master tapes". I think it is one of the best sounding CDs I own, but am somewhat perplexed, not at how you got the tapes or how you let them sound as they did, but as to HOW are they so GOOD SOUNDING in general, for tapes from the late 50s early 60s.?? I mean in all honesty a LOT of recording from much later time periods DONT sound as good as this, perhaps except for tape hiss (( which I dont mind of course!)). But what recording techniques or style did they employ at this fairly early time in recorded music that it is able to sound so realistic and clean? It almost seems recorded music took a backwards tumble in quality sometime in perhaps the late seventies, or eighties and overall has a FAKE unreal sound....(( not all recordings, but in general )) Ive noticed this with MANY well mastered late 50s-late 60s recordings in general. They seem to have a REALISTIC, minimalist feel that is very believable sounding and CLEAN. The ONLY thing that takes away occasionally is perhaps a SLIGHT top end roll off and some tape hiss. But just the way the sound is captured makes it sound REAL, and RIGHT THERE~~.........

    sorry to rant, but any input from your professional position??:righton:
  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Pointless. :laugh: Those two albums sound nothing like each other to begin with.
  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    I've spoken of the Golden Age Of Recording hundreds of times here; all vacuum tubes, small number of microphones, hardly any overdubbing, live groups playing in the same space with no headphones or baffles on to pristine Scotch 111 tape. Heck, some of here bitch about what happened to this sound all the time! Grumps, yes, but when you hear this sound you scratch your head in wonderment that any engineer would want to change it. But, change it they did the minute they could; more microphones, more wires, no tubes, giant compression, etc. Such is life.

    You know that in the 1960's it started changing to Solid Stage gear, more channels, more isolation, more signal processing. So it goes. Blame the Beatles, heh.

    You want to make a recording of your band that has the quality of a Buddy Holly song?

    Get 4 Neumann microphones, feed through a small tube mixer like my Ampex MX-35 below onto an Ampex 350-2, live. Play it back. There you have it.

    Attached Files:

  16. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    Steve... can you tell me something about one of my favorite DCC remaster: Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

    No details about the tapes in the booklet.

    The DCC LP sounds spectacular and clearly better as the Gold remaster (IMO).
  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    That was recorded and mixed in Germany (studio unknown) and ended up at Radio Recorders in Hollywood for editing. That tape was REDUBBED at Radio Recorders with tons of massive echo on it. The echo tape was marked MASTER and used at Warner Bros. for the Korngold LP in 1961. When doing research on the album we found the original German tape in the vault (marked "Do Not Use") so that's the one I used. Flat transfer, CCIR.
    MLutthans likes this.
  18. dartira

    dartira rise and shine like a far out superstar

    Once again the "Do not use" tape...I love it! :laugh: :righton:
  19. Mike in OR

    Mike in OR Through Middle-earth...onto Heart of The Sunrise

    Portland, Oregon
    I agree that kills me everytime I read that Steve used a tape marked "Do Not Use!"...:laugh:
  20. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    You have to remember why something might have been marked DO NOT USE.

    Too dynamic, wrong mix, too clean, too long, too dry, too wet, who knows? It's always on a case by case basis. Some tapes deserve to be marked that! Not all are wonderful.
  21. Mike in OR

    Mike in OR Through Middle-earth...onto Heart of The Sunrise

    Portland, Oregon
    true true....I think it is great though when you find the gems, we are all grateful for that! :thumbsup:
  22. KAD

    KAD Forum Resident

    Moscow, Russia
    Today I luckily got near mint Art Pepper - Gettin' Together (DCC) just for US$45!!! For Moscow it's incredibly cheap!!! Most of sealed DCCs go for US$ 150 and higher!
    What incredible SOUND!!! I can only imagine how great 45 RPM AP pressing may sound!
    Steve! Anything special about this project? Do the tapes sound this way or you applied any of your tricks to get these great sonics?
  23. Jamie Tate

    Jamie Tate New Member

  24. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Wait, the XRCD costs 30 bucks? Yikes!
  25. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Congrats. I followed the instructions on the tape box for this one. It called for a treble reduction of 3 db at 10k upon playback to compensate for a slight treble boost added during recording. This was Contemporary's way of dealing with tape hiss...


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