technically speaking, what is 'fake' stereo? (Duophonic, Electronically Re-processed, etc.)*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by daveman, Dec 21, 2003.

  1. Faders Up

    Faders Up Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    mono reprocess is such a shame. I've got a twofer of The Who's My Generation/Magic Bus, it doesn't say specifically it's a mono reproduction, but I'd be amazed if it wasn't. It's one of the worst commercially released albums I've ever heard, including recent Four Men with Beard reissues. Just yesterday I held a copy of Glenn Gould's "The Goldberg Variations" from 1955, an album I've been looking for a little while, and of course it had those damning words on the top. Such a shame to have to put that back in the used bin.
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    That JAZZ HERITAGE SERIES was from Europe, French MCA, etc. I worked on a few American versions when I started doing comps in 1982. There were no source parts for the most part, having been dumped during the war but we did what we could..
    McLover likes this.
  3. tim_neely

    tim_neely Forum Hall Of Fame

    Central VA
    Tell me about it. At least one of the music services that supplies Christmas music to radio stations that change their formats during November and December has, among its offerings, the "electronically rechanneled to simulate stereo" version of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" by Gene Autry. It is otherwise the 1949 hit version, and not one of his lame budget-label re-records, but it sounds like a bad attempt to imitate the more natural echo of Columbia Christmas recordings by people like Johnny Mathis, Ray Conniff and Mitch Miller.

    The vast majority of CDs with Autry's "Rudolph" contain the original mono recording. But at least one compilation CD by a reputable label contains that awful rechanneled version - and said CD was released sometime within the past decade or so, not in the 1980s. Folks, if you're hearing "Rudolph" with exaggerated echo, it's not right.
    Bob Belvedere likes this.
  4. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    I have one of the renamed versions of the Who's "Direct Hits", and that has to contain some of the worst stereo rechanneling ever. It was my first encounter with much of the 60s Who, and I couldn't even make heads or tails of what I was hearing. The delay between the channels is further confused by the SECOND instance being much louder than the first, so everything seems to have a strange pre-echo on it. It really just sounds like they played the master backwards into a room, recorded the sound bouncing off the walls, and then turned the tape forward and played that. Truly weird.
  5. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    Ah, yes, that's right. However, I have a couple of MCA France LPs from the '70s of classic Louis Jordan material that have beautiful, dry mono sound, so there's no excuses for why this album sounds so horrible:


    That's kind of sad... What did you typically have to work from if the metal parts were extinct? Original 78s? I guess so, if the source parts were dumped before the tape era. That certainly makes your efforts a real work of love.
  6. crispi

    crispi Vinyl Archaeologist

    Oh, if I may guess: tape copies made before the metal parts were thrown away? Original 78s would actually not be so bad, as they are practically direct-to-disc recordings...
  7. MickAvory

    MickAvory Forum Resident

    New Orleans, LA
    I don't hate as much on fake stereo as other people here. I don't love it, mind you, but I can listen to something in fake stereo and just have fun with it. I know it isn't the best sounding way to hear something and it gets drenched in reverb but I'm sort of nostalgic about it. It is different and I'd like to have it, especially when it comes to the Beatles so that I can have all of the different mixes of a particular song. Is the fake stereo my 'go to' version? Rarely..

    I've been trying for a while (without using ebay) to get a copy of the first Elvis LP in fake stereo. Why you ask? Because that is the way I grew up with it. I had the fake stereo CD years ago and sold it, stupidly, when the remastered ones came out in the late 80s or so. I know its cheesy, but I love that fake stereo of Blue Suede Shoes. The echo and reverb make it sound different and interesting to my ears. I'll get one soon enough. But, its for fun. I don't make a practice about seeking out fake stereo versions.

    Although, to play devil's advocate... my friend and I always laugh about that Duophonic copy of Pet Sounds I own.. Fake stereo is good for a joke every now and then.
    cwitt1980 and GroovinGarrett like this.
  8. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    But Steve said the metal parts were destroyed during the war... Tape didn't become available until the late '40s and not the industry standard until the early '50s.
  9. Larry Geller

    Larry Geller Surround sound lunatic

    Bayside, NY
    No it does not. It folds to a muddy mess, like all bass-treble rechanneling.
  10. IHeartThe80s

    IHeartThe80s Active Member

    I almost feel bad bringing up the issue on your forum. I'd imagine fake stereo masters have caused you more annoyance personally (and professionally) than anyone else here.
    McLover likes this.
  11. Arkoffs

    Arkoffs Remote member

    Right behind you
    I've had fun playing that for some people ... it's a crazy mess!
  12. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    European versions, mostly, UK, German, etc. Records and parts or tapes from parts, nothing to do with the USA stuff. I liked the name JAZZ HERITAGE SERIES so Vince Cosgrave and I borrowed it from our European office.
  13. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    Ah, that makes sense! It must have been a major PITA to locate and collect the overseas sources, especially in those pre-internet days.

    It's a great series, except for the lousy sound on the ones that were compiled in France, which is most of them. I have nearly a complete set (hard to pass up for a buck each!).
  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Like I said, those Brunswick parts went in the dumpster for the most part. I think they added echo over there to mask the fact that they were using old records.
    Bob Belvedere likes this.
  15. crispi

    crispi Vinyl Archaeologist

    Ah, yeah. Logical thinking mistake on my part :o
  16. oxenholme

    oxenholme Senile member

    Oh dear!

    I love the duophonic I Get Around and 409.

    And I prefer the duophonic Sloop John B to the true stereo.

    I really have no idea what the problem is. Shoot me if you like.
  17. goodiesguy

    goodiesguy Confide In Me

    New Zealand
    I occasionally enjoy a fake stereo version, usually just as an alternative to the Mono.
  18. nicotinecaffeine

    nicotinecaffeine Forum Resident

    Walton, KY

    Former Lee Warmer likes this.
  19. IHeartThe80s

    IHeartThe80s Active Member

    Well, well. Looks like Wikipedia has a nice little writeup on Duophonic with some specifics.

    Pretty worthwhile save for the mention of I Am The Walrus. The article author claims the stereo version's transition into fake stereo in the second half wsa done for artistic reasons. Any schoolchild knows that the mono version was mixed with live radio feeds added (the Shakespeare dialogue) that were not available when mixing for stereo, hence fake stereo here and forevermore.
  20. Spaghettiows

    Spaghettiows Forum Resident

    Silver Creek, NY
    I'll probably get shellacked for this but prior to the 1970s (and even into the early 70s), the most common household stereos were those console units. Perhaps fake stereo sounded better on one of those?
  21. JamieC

    JamieC Senior Member

    Detroit Mi USA
  22. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    It's just that people assumed that fake stereo sounded good enough and they often didn't say it was fake stereo on "stereo" LPs.
  23. JamieC

    JamieC Senior Member

    Detroit Mi USA
    I know my Dad(and his Magnavox console) did not get the difference. And this was his first stereo, so he really had no idea what it should sound like. He once argued with me that the top of an MGM album that said "sounds great in stereo" meant it was actually a mono record. I had to show him the channel differences to prove it to him.
  24. Scotsman

    Scotsman Forum Resident

    Jedburgh Scotland
    I abhor 99% of fake stereo....but I do have a strange liking for the duophonic IWTHYH from Meet the Beatles....I cannot explain why.

    The rechannelled Who and Kinks tracks from the 60s sound particularly bad.

    My late mother had a Jim Reeves compilation on which he sounded as if he was singing with his head down a toilet.

    Then you get the situation where reprocessed versions are used when perfectly good true stereo or clean crisp mono tapes are available. An early 80s Searchers compilation on Music for Pleasure springs to mind....every track in a particularly nasty fake stereo.

    In my view, at least in the U.K., the EMI fake stereo was generally less bad than Pye or Decca....with some exceptions. Some fake stereo, on headphones, gives the sensation that your brains are being sucked out your ears.

    The bottom line was, record companies feared they would lose sales if they kept issuing mono....

    Just think, if quad had taken off in the 70s how many fake quad albums would have been issued.
  25. IHeartThe80s

    IHeartThe80s Active Member

    Probably unintentionally, Duophonic had a way of simulating the effect of hearing the Beatles live back in those days—horrible fidelity but full of reverb and energy. I personally prefer the Duophonic versions of I Feel Fine and She's A Woman—when I first heard the original dry UK versions of those when the Past Masters CDs came out, I thought they'd used outtakes or something. To this day the UK versions just don't sound right to me.

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