The Band "Music From Big Pink" & "Stage Fright" MFSL hybrid SACD & DCC Gold dilemma

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by street legal, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. street legal

    street legal Forum Resident Thread Starter

    west milford, nj
    Without hesitation, I ordered the recent MFSL hybrid SACD's of The Band's "Cahoots", "Rock of Ages" & "Northern Lights - Southern Cross" when they came out, as there were no previous "audiophile" CD pressings of these titles, & I think they sound fantastic.

    However, I am still a bit reluctant to get the MFSL SACD hybrids of "Music From Big Pink" & "Stage Fright", of which I own the original MFSL gold & DCC gold CD's of, respectively.

    I know there are some old threads & I have read them, but I am wondering if anyone has directly compared the following, & their thoughts on the differences in sound quality:

    "Music From Big Pink" - MFSL hybrid SACD vs. original MFSL gold disc
    "Stage Fright" - MFSL hybrid SACD vs. DCC gold CD

    Thanks in advance for any input that you may have !
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Please do not compare Stage Fright" - MFSL hybrid SACD vs. DCC gold CD.

    Let's not go through this again. This has been written about in other threads. The mixes are different, mixed by different people, like sun and moon. Comparing them is pointless. A fan of the album would need both. A casual listener should get the MFSL, it's a lot cheaper and I'm sure it sounds great.
    George P likes this.
  3. Also, the CD layer of "Big Pink" has digital clicks. The SACD layer is fine.
  4. street legal

    street legal Forum Resident Thread Starter

    west milford, nj
    Yes Steve, I am well aware of all that. I was one of the ones trying to explain that to others. Not ALL of the mixes are different. All but 2 or 3 songs I believe. It is a very confusing situation. There were 3 different mixing sessions done for this album, & past CD and LP issues have at times had some very odd combinations of those mixes.
  5. evad

    evad Well-Known Member

    . love the 3 you bought. Seems like an easy decision.
  6. street legal

    street legal Forum Resident Thread Starter

    west milford, nj
    Well, ..... not really. I'm wondering if the upgrade in these particular cases are worth it for the reasons I mentioned in my initial post.
  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Well, I remember the reels I used (that Capitol insisted that we use) had edits in the songs. That means original mixes. If other disks had those same mixes like you say they were from dubs (or like I said at the time, a redubbing with some echo added)..

    Doesn't matter at this "stage", heh.
    George P likes this.
  8. street legal

    street legal Forum Resident Thread Starter

    west milford, nj

    Aha. Now we may be getting somewhere with this!

    Let me say that the below information comes directly from the liner notes of the 2000 remastered CD of "Stage Fright", & I have no reason to doubt this information simply because Andrew Sandoval has done a remarkable job with the reissued CD's from 2000 & the more recent "A Musical History" box set. In fact, when the box set came out just a few years after the individual album remasters, they had already found vastly superior upgrades for a number of songs. The actual mastering may be nothing to write home about, but the research that went into the 2000 CD remasters & subsequent box set is nothing short of remarkable, & I'm so glad that it happened to a group so deserving of such treatment.

    Anyway, to paraphrase from the liner notes of the 2000 remastered CD of "Stage Fright":

    "In June 1970 Glyn Johns began mixing The Band's 3rd LP at Trident Studios, London.
    By June 13th he had mixed & compiled a master of the entire album. THIS MASTER
    is the basis for the 1990 Capitol CD & the 1994 DCC gold disc release.
    On June 13th, Glyn Johns began remixing the album at Island Studios, London. From
    these mix sessions the final masters included on THE ORIGINAL VINYL RELEASE of
    Stage Fright are : The Shape I'm In, All La Glory, & The Rumour.

    On June 25th Todd Rundgren began remixing the album at The Record Plant & The Hit
    Factory in New York City. THESE wound up being the final mixes used for the ORIGINAL
    vinyl release with the exception of the 3 Glyn Johns Island Studios mixes noted

    For the first time since the original vinyl release of Stage Fright, this CD reissue
    presents the correct mixes as initially intended."

    So here's what I get out of it if I'm reading this correctly: the original vinyl release consisted of the Rundgren mixes with the exception of "The Shape I'm In", "All La Glory", & "The Rumour", which were from Glyn Johns' SECOND attempt at mixing the album at Island Studios.

    The DCC gold disc featured (exclusively) Glyn Johns' FIRST mix attempts at Trident Studios, London.

    So it sounds as if you are correct Steve ..... the DCC IS sourced from the (technically) original mixes, it's just that NONE of these mixes were actually used for the original vinyl pressing!
  9. apple-richard

    apple-richard Overnight Sensation

    So if the above is correct sounds like you might as well go for the SACDs. I have all the SACDs except The Band which is the AF Gold version, no SACD exist of that title.

    Still waiting for Moondog Matinee and Islands.
  10. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Sorry, Street Legal, I don't buy it, no offense to AS.

    The mixes I used are so over the top distorted in typical weird Todd fashion that we concluded that HE did the mixing. GJ would never do over the top dirty mixing like that, especially not at Trident, the King Of Clean Mixing Studios. Some of the songs have like 30% distortion on them and feature that bad "I Saw The Light" graphic EQ that Todd liked to use..

    See? :)
    stereoptic likes this.
  11. street legal

    street legal Forum Resident Thread Starter

    west milford, nj
    I love the AF gold disc of "The Band"! Excellent job on that one, Steve. :cheers:

    Like you Richard, I would also completely welcome MFSL hybrids of "Islands" & ESPECIALLY "Moondog Matinee", one of my favorite "covers" albums by anyone. But I believe that MFSL has stated that there are no plans for those two titles. Too bad. Along with the AF disc of "The Band", we could have had another complete discography done right .......

    I'll have to live with my excellent sounding LP copy of "Moondog Matinee" I suppose .....
  12. street legal

    street legal Forum Resident Thread Starter

    west milford, nj
    I do see Steve, & thanks for sharing. This mystery about the mixing of this album has been bugging me for ages! But is it possible that the 3 songs noted above could be the Glyn Johns mixes for the DCC disc? I just find it hard to believe that those notes are so wrong in so many ways. If what you are saying is true (and I don't doubt you at all), then virtually nothing from those "Stage Fright" liner notes is correct. :confused:

    If the DCC featured the Rundgren mixes on all of the tracks, I'm wondering if the new MFSL hybrid SACD features purely Glyn Johns' mixes? In other words, do the DCC & the MFSL feature different mixes for every single track?

    Steve, do you happen to have an original LP pressing of "Stage Fright"? I know you're a big fan of The Band. If so, maybe you could give a listen to that & tell us how the mixes differ from the DCC gold disc ........ if you wouldn't mind! :)
  13. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    No idea. I've never been able to figure anything out regarding that album.

    Andrew is a great guy but he's not an engineer. We have to go not only by notes and people's recollections but by the actual sound of the mixes themselves. That's the biggest clue of all. That's why I concluded so long ago that Todd did those mixes that we used on the DCC and not anyone else. Doesn't matter what it sez on the tape box or whatever, boxes can be moved, tapes can be respliced, etc...

    I could be wrong also but it would take a lot to convince me..
  14. culabula

    culabula One-time Boulevardier.

    Belfast, Ireland
    Europeans might be interested to know that the MFSL Stage Fright SA-CD is now available on for just nine of your British pounds!

    Got it the other day and it sounds terrific.

    The others are still as expensive as ever.
  15. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Beaver Stadium
    I've never listened to the CD layer, so I was not aware of the clicks. That's disappointing. It's amazing how often we see this given how long digital technology has been around.
  16. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Beaver Stadium
    So, for Music From Big Pink, has anyone compared the stereo SACD track to the original MFSL gold CD? Also, where does the DVD-Audio disc rate?
  17. Gary Freed

    Gary Freed Forum Resident

    I own both of both.

    Music from Big Pink - MFSL Gold and Hybrid

    The DVD-A I have not personally heard, however many people speak highly of it.

    I love the Gold CD , its sounds a little more organic than the SACD which lends itself very well to the style of the recording. The SACD Hybrid is also excellent, more clarity and focus at a very small trade -off.

    The DCC Stage Fright as Steve has indicated and discussed at length previously is a different mix and well liked here. The SACD mix brings me back to the way I remember it on my original Capitol LP when it first came out. The 180g MFSL LP is my version of choice.

    Would love to see Moondog Matinee receive a midas touch mastering. Maybe the fact that it is a cover song release is what has held it back from being redone.
    George P and jfeldt like this.
  18. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Beaver Stadium
    Thanks, Gary. Good summary.
  19. Gary Freed

    Gary Freed Forum Resident

    If you like the Band, I would not hesitate to buy the MFSL SACD's.

    Both Albums are classics that are mastered very well.

    Make sure you pick up the Audio Fidelity release of the self titled recording call "The Band" as well if you don't already own one.

    All three Albums, Big Pink, Self Titled (or known as the brown album), and Stage Fright
    are all essential.
  20. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Beaver Stadium
    I do have the SACDs, the Audio Fidelity gold CD, and the DCC gold CD of Stage Fright. They sound good to me, but I have not done any comparisons. I also don't have the Music From Big Pink DVD-Audio disc.
  21. Mick Jones

    Mick Jones Forum Resident

    Thank you for that information. For £8.99 I couldn't resist.
  22. C6H12O6

    C6H12O6 Forum Resident

    My lab
    From a musical perspective, which mixes (when sourced from first generation tapes) are the best?

    Just to clarify, to my understanding, some of the Rundgren mixes (i.e. the ones that comprise the DCC gold cd) were used on the original released version (i.e. the one now available on cd, courtesy of the 2000 remaster), but they were dubbed on to the master tape with added echo and eq.

    So if we disregarded those dubs and focused on the mixes unique to both versions of Stage Fright, which are the best?
  23. Beech

    Beech Forum Resident

    Dublin, Ireland
    Thanks for the tip! :thumbsup:
  24. pmckeeaalaska

    pmckeeaalaska Forum Resident

    Anchorage, Alaska
    Was their S/T album ever released on SACD? If not, whats the best sounding version on CD??
  25. pdenny

    pdenny 18-Year SHTV Participation Trophy Recipient

    Well I sure like this one, but...boat has sailed on availability :eek:

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