SH Spotlight Why I became a mastering engineer. Here's an example of 2 versions of the same song. MOON MULLICAN

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Mar 7, 2019.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    This might be interesting to a few of you. The same recorded performance with several different sounding masters.

    So, it's stuff like this that used to drive me bonkers when I was making my vintage reissue compliations on paper and letting the studio do the work of finding the tapes and cutting the records.

    First time it was in 1982 and I was working on a Bing Crosby comp. The album I created had 12 songs and 4 of them happened to be recorded on the same day in 1944, heck all in four hours on that day. All 4 of these 1944 songs were on my comp but when I got the LP test pressing from the studio (lacquer test), two of the 1944 songs were properly dry and the other two were sloshed in reverb. I couldn't figure it out. How did this happen? None of my parents 78s had any echo on them whatsoever so this had to be wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Well, in the below random example that I found on You Tube today quite by accident, I was looking for the original version of a song that the Quebe Sisters cover. I clicked on this second one and let it play for a little while, dubbed from disk but all that echo! Can't be from this era. So, I found another of the same song (the FIRST example) on this page and, ah, correct echo level and correct speed.

    How does this stuff happen? An overzealous engineer or reissue producer decided that the music needed modern-izing! What I needed to know back then (on the Bing Crosby) was did the two echo-ized recordings still exist in the vault without the echo? Half the time they did, the other half, the dry version was dubbed to tape with reverb and then the original disk or lacquer or tape was dumped to make room for something more modern.

    This is what got me to make the decision to learn about the mastering process and supervise the actual sound. I like to think I inspired Rhino to hire Bill Inglot to do the same. So there!

    Here is the correct dry version, dubbed from disk.

  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    This is the first version I came across, it is off speed (way flat) and drenched with extra un-needed reverb. If we didn't know about the first version, we would think this was OK (well, I wouldn't). The extra echo on here sounds really vintage so this redubbing with echo was done a long time ago, probably for an LP release of some kind.

  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Personally I think that the original disk was probably dry as a bone but I couldn't find that version on You Tube..

    Over and out!
    kt66brooklyn and McLover like this.
  4. Vintage1976

    Vintage1976 Way Out West

    My understanding of sped up songs on YouTube is to try to skirt the copyright. YouTube has pretty good detectors to find illicit uploads.
  5. mdent

    mdent Forum Resident

    New England
    Good example!

    Misguided use of reverb can especially ruin the punchiness and articulation of the bass and drum track. This song needs that punchiness to help dance to. Also, the vocal can be far less intimate when laying back with reverb.
  6. hodgo

    hodgo Tea Making Gort (Yorkshire Branch) Staff

    East Yorkshire
    Wow, what a difference between the two. The reverb soaked version sounds so unnatural and makes the vocals sound so distant, it's like Moon and the boys are playing in a tunnel. Why would anyone think this is an improvement?
  7. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    The 2nd one sounds really bad.
    bzfgt, GreatTone and Brian Mc like this.
  8. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    quebe sisters.jpg Forgot to post this, the Quebe Sisters version!

    Love these sisters!
  9. SRC

    SRC That sums up Squatter for me

    New York, NY
    Wow. They sound so different, I felt the need to go back and forth between them expecting to find some slight difference that would show that it was actually an alternate take or session. No, shockingly, it's identical. Whoever did the second version should be disciplined! The pitch makes Mullican sound twenty years older and far less lively, and the reverb makes him sound out of tune.
    hodgo likes this.
  10. heathen

    heathen Forum Resident

    That definitely happens. I think it's also why sometimes video clips will be flipped to make a mirror image of the original.
    latheofheaven and Vintage1976 like this.
  11. Joel1963

    Joel1963 Senior Member

    That added echo is basically fake stereo without the stereo spread IMO.
    Fastnbulbous and bluesfan like this.
  12. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Milwaukee, WI
    It sounds like you’re saying you became a mastering engineer so you could tear your hair out. Better you than me, man, I could never deal with that sort of thing, not while remaining a free man.
  13. JamieC

    JamieC Senior Member

    Detroit Mi USA
    Sounds like an early attempt to make an older record "HiFi", essentially fattening the sound for big speaker hi fis. The sound was "amazing" compared to a Victrola playing a 78.
    McLover likes this.
  14. GreatTone

    GreatTone Forum Resident

    Falls Church, VA
    Ouch. Very cool tune though. May need to suggest it for our band.
    McLover and hodgo like this.
  15. Octavian

    Octavian Forum Resident

    Na, doubt it. Most songs don’t get taken down anymore, they just put some ads on it.
    goodiesguy and Vintage1976 like this.
  16. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Milwaukee, WI
    Also, curious, is this priceless stuff getting shipped around via FedEx or something?
  17. poe_man

    poe_man Forum Resident

    That reverb! :hurl:
  18. Celebrated Summer

    Celebrated Summer Forum Resident

    Dunno if you have any of the Frank Sinatra LPs Columbia issued in the '50s after he'd left the label, but they did this to a lot (if not all) of the songs they put on Love Is A Kick from 1958. Sounds like he's singing from the bottom of a well. Someone must have thought the original recordings (circa '43-'52) sounded too one-dimensional or old-fashioned and needed reverb to get hip, daddy-o and all that.

    Like you said about the Mullican song, I'd have thought this was normal. But around the same time I bought that album, Columbia came out with its box set The Voice, which had much better transfers of the source material. So I was able to hear how they'd altered the sound back in the '50s.
  19. Brian Mc

    Brian Mc adiós

    Denver, CO
    The 2nd version is horrendous.

    Quebe Sisters are now on their way to my home!
    John DeAngelis and latheofheaven like this.
  20. Michael

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

    thanks Steve for sharing! : )
    RickH and Fishoutofwater like this.
  21. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Athens, Tennessee
    With Moon Mullican, takes a scorecard. Usually the original 78 RPM and 45 RPM issues on King are best when you can find a clean copy. That is a very rare happening. The reverb got added for King LP discs later on. And this applies to post 1956 LP discs. Usually King modernized a good bit of their older Country material on later reissues. And there's Starday re-recordings sometimes to contend with.
  22. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Athens, Tennessee
    This sounds like rechanneled Stereo rubbish to these ears. Reverb abuse of the worst kind. This one is a horrible sonic equivalent of a Dog Turd. Sounds like what Gusto or worse yet, Power Pak would do to classics like this. The ultimate insult to fine music.
  23. steviebee

    steviebee Always playing Ese and The Vooduu People

    London, England
    GREAT song! Love it!
    Never heard of MM before, but thanks to you, I have now - time to find more of him :) Thanks for posting!

    And yep, the first is the best!
  24. JamieC

    JamieC Senior Member

    Detroit Mi USA
    Had some great stuff on Decca as well.
    clhboa and McLover like this.
  25. Cachiva

    Cachiva Forum Resident

    Houston, Texas
    Sorry to dogleg here, but it's a good example of how being able
    to have 2 YouTube videos per post would simplify things. Is it
    possible to modify the back end of the board to allow two vids
    per post?

    Sorry again for the intrusion. #petpeeve

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