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. latheofheaven

    latheofheaven My Pants are FULLY Analog...

    You don't need all 3, do ya...?

  2. latheofheaven

    latheofheaven My Pants are FULLY Analog...

  3. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing


    I have your exquisitely remastered Spirit albums (their first two LPs remastered for CD on Audio Fidelity) and the amazing job you did on the DCC "Pet Sounds" mono vinyl (that DCC reissue is the definitive Pet Sounds release IMHO).

    All are quite fantastic, Steve. How did those compare, Spirit vs. "Pet Sounds", as far as remastering -- were they similar in the time spent, and the work it took get your final results?

    As an engineer from the "minimalist school", I understand your working philosophy: less is more... but how much did you actually have to do? Dealing with compression, reverb etc. Or were they both mostly "there" with only your expert tweaking needed to prepare them for the new releases (not to diminish what you achieved).

    Did you have all the original masters to work from?

    A fascinating subject, so I hope you don't mind my questions.

  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Spirit vs. Pet Sounds. Nothing to compare, 25 years apart in mastering but same old Steve Style. Just polishing the diamond a bit, letting the music shine out. Same as always.
    Tommyboy and NYMets41 like this.
  5. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing

    Thanks. That's what I'm talking about. You put it best!
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Just wanted to play you this 1955 Decca recording. As you can hear, in 1955, most (except Sun and a few other) country recordings were dry as a bone. By 1957 that totally changed with WET being the key word.

    I like the dry sound and I love the sound of the old Castle Studio in Nashville. Beautiful, silky RCA ribbon microphones, all-tube console and an Ampex tape machine (30 ips 1951-53, 15 ips after 1953). They should never, but never have torn the hotel down. Ugly parking structure is there now. Sad.

    JeffreyB, WMTC, dalem5467 and 7 others like this.
  7. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    New Braunfels, TX
    I always thought that method of reverb was exclusive as in patented by Capitol Records.

    Did others like Gold Star use the Neve mixing console to get their versions or was it just a different approach to low tech recording of a recording in a little room through I'm assuming very high quality accurate speakers and mics?

    Neve 8078 - Wikipedia
  8. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    New Braunfels, TX
    OMG! I had no idea it got that bad! I'm so glad I didn't have to listen to that back in the day.
  9. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    New Braunfels, TX
    So what do you call this kind of echo-less reverb 30 seconds in on Disclosure's "F For You"?...

    Is there a name for that effect in the lead vocal?
  10. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    That's just the digital version of tape delay, like originally used on BEATLES' Revolver, etc. First used by Capitol Records to make their mono records into phony stereo (Duophonic).

    Can't stand the effect personally but I guess it has its use.
  11. SkeletonPete

    SkeletonPete Forum Resident

    Thanks Steve,

    Wonderful stuff. Up close and intimate.
  12. Mal

    Mal Phorum Physicist

    Echo chamber - oldest trick in the book.

    The BBC say it was in use at Savoy Hill from 1926: (page 12)

    Here's British Pathé's chamber in 1952:

    Maurice Gibb and David Gold in Gold Star's chamber:


    Story here (scroll down):

    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
    Tim Lookingbill likes this.
  13. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    New Braunfels, TX
    Tape delay as in slowing down one of the left or right stereo or duped mono channels? Is it the same as flange effect?

    I don't hear phony stereo effect. On headphones and my Sansui solid state amp and 2way Norman Labs it sounds voluminous big, deep, wide, open AND LOUD. The phony stereo sound effect that I can create in Audacity by time shifting between two duped mono channels or existing stereo channels always pushes the front stage way back and too far apart. I always try to boost the volume to bring the front stage up front with an EQ and get crappy results.

    I have that Disclosure CD and that song measures -8db RMS (even in the vocals). Is this loudness boost the same attempt to maintain front staging?

    Even in your posted "bad reverb" examples the front stage gets pushed way back. Thanks for your feedback on this.
  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    The echo chamber was used in radio broadcasting as a trick effect for many years. Mainly when Jack, Doc and Reggie (I Love A Mystery) were in a cave or something. In those days, records were recorded in dry studios, the "reverb" would be from your home listening room (if any). Even classical orchestras were recorded in dry studios. Same for movie music, etc.

    In those first days of Hi-Fi, a natural environment was all of a sudden important to the "audiophile" so big orchestras started to be recorded in giant halls with microphones up in the air to catch the "echo" from the stage. In pop records, this unheard of effect started to be used when Bill Putnam made the first recording studio chamber in Universal, Chicago. It caught on and by 1953, the studios were still dry but the "echo" was simply pumped in via the little echo chamber. It was a nifty effect, still in use all these years later (digitally recreated now).
    McLover and Mal like this.
  15. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    New Braunfels, TX
    Steve, do you start these kind of threads to spark a discussion on the nostalgia of your industry?

    I'll be turning 60 the middle of this year and I feel like a kid in a candy store wanting to ask all these technical questions and have a detailed discussion about reverb, but I'm getting the sense from yours and other's responses this is not what you intend this and other similar threads to become.

    I'm a hobbyist and already know I'll never make a living in anything that interests me which is movie making, audio editing and photography. Digital technology told me the entire landscape for working in these pastimes are over for guys my age. It's just a fact of life, but I'm not one to start going down memory lane on any of this. The past is the past and I'm interested in the now.
  16. Funi

    Funi Forum Resident

    Thank you so much for the explanation, completely sensible.
    Steve Hoffman likes this.
  17. Artur Torres

    Artur Torres New Improved Full Dimensional Stereo

    Sincerely, excessive reverb disgust. I wish I could listen to most Capitol recordings from the '50s and' 60s and Percy Faith recordings at Columbia also from the '50s and' 60s in "dry" sound. And I'm going to work in the two areas of audio engineering: mixing and mastering.
  18. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    NS, Canada
    Interesting thread. If I heard the two songs, for the first time, by Moon Mullican, but a few days apart, I would hardly have recognized that I had heard him a few days earlier.

    Before Steve brought up the record Heartbreak Hotel, I wondered what Elvis singing it into a cardboard box would have sounded like. :)

    Mercy Mercy me, The Echology :winkgrin:
    WMTC likes this.
  19. Splanky

    Splanky Member

    The early Flamingos' recordings, produced or engineered by Bill Putnam, still sound great today (provided you're not listening to a public domain compilation). I have written a song-by-song account of all the Chance and Parrot sides, and about Putnam's role, here: Pismotality: The Flamingos

    And given where doo wop groups used to rehearse it seems entirely fitting that he took advantage of "the remarkably smooth, natural decay of the restroom's marble tiles" in the Chicago Opera House building for the Harmonicats' Peg o' My Heart, the record which made him enough money to set up a new studio.
  20. Joy-of-radio

    Joy-of-radio Forum Resident

    Skowhegan, ME
    I have a few original records where there is reverb, but have been reissued dry. One that always comes to mind when I think on this subject is Earth Angrl, a classic by The Penguins. My 45 rpm on the maroon and silver DOOTONE label has reverb. I was surprised when I bought the RHINO compact disc The Best Of Doo-wop Balads to hear it dry! I love it!

    Also, my favorite CD mastering of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is the original ATCO edition. While the RHINO and MFSL editions sound very clear and detailed, both have reverb.

    My latest CD purchase is Dancing At The Nick At Niteclub. I bought it specifically to hear the mix of Shotgun by Jr. Walker & The All-Stars. I read in a SHF thread that it is one of the best sounding stereo mixes. The only stereo mix I've heard and is in my collection sounds distorted. I'm looking forward to hearing this CD when it arrives in the mail, which I got very cheap!
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
    Steve Hoffman likes this.
  21. TheDailyBuzzherd

    TheDailyBuzzherd Forum Resident

    Northeast USA

    Hey, good to know there's originalists out there
    who value the integrity of the original recording
    and wish to keep it that way. Otherwise, we'd have
    museums full of Rembrandts and Monets with
    saturated colors and glitters sprayed all over 'em.

    BTW, you just missed Bing by a few years. How cool
    would it have been to be in a listening meeting!
    Steve Hoffman likes this.
  22. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    New Braunfels, TX
    Could it be from this?... Haeco-CSG - Wikipedia

    I'm just throwing that out there FYI after researching mono to stereo treatments and digital reverb enhancements on YouTube and stumbled on a MixerRog who's done some really convincing (remixes?) of mono to stereo. Not all are good but the Frank Sinatra's Cycle's album was one album that had this Haeco-CSG applied that MixerRog did a convincing fix on the title song. Learned something new about the history of audio engineering. It never ends. There's always some engineer back in the day messing around with mono/dry originals so it stands to reason there's folks today wanting to do the same on YouTube.

    Here's the original with the Haeco-CSG applied. Listening on headphones Frank is off center as if he's positioned to left of the mic.


    Really good sounding reverb though.
  23. raphph

    raphph They finally, REALLY did it!

    Any way you can get the correct version of Every Which-A-Way on CD?
  24. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Forgot to mention, in this Quebe Sisters YouTube clip you can hear digital stereo echo (reverb) nicely reinforcing the instruments and voices. Just a little taste of echo transforms this into something better than a tuneless one-dimensional mono TV studio setting. Too much reverb and the illusion is ruined, no reverb and the performance would suffer a bit, sounding too dry and boxy. The mixing engineer added just the right amount; a pinch!
    Joy-of-radio likes this.
  25. Mal

    Mal Phorum Physicist

    Here's some early slapback at Atlantic, New York - May 1953. This is back when Atlantic's "studio" was their office space (234 West 56th Street, New York) - using one area as a live room and another as a control room of sorts.

    Ray refers loosely to the echo effect as "the chambers" but it sounds like it's just slapback (it seems the tape monitor signal is being played back into the live room while recording).

    The rehearsals are from 10th May 1953 whereas the master take was recorded on the 17th. The master has the slapback although more subtly applied than in rehearsal - this is on top of the usual nice balance of room ambience on the accompaniment achieved with positioning various players in the room further from the microphones.

    It seems that in this case the master was recorded live with the slapback (in keeping with Ray's request for the same in the rehearsal).

    Losing Hand & Dialog #2

    Losing Hand & Dialog #3 (w/reverb)

    Losing Hand & Dialog #4 (w/reverb)

    Master: "Losing Hand"

    For a comparison, here's another master recorded the same day but without the slapback:

    "Funny (But I Still Love You)"
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019

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