Reisues are not what they seem

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Reisues are not what they seem

Postby renowden » Sun Mar 16, 2008 5:58 pm

I have no idea what everyone is digitising out there and, anyway, this may be common knowledge...

I have been spending some time digitising some reel-to-reel tapes in glorious mono recorded between 1964 and 1971 of original singles in the 45 rpm vinyl dating from about 1959 to 1969.

The re-issues you get on "Original Artists" CDs are not the same - or very few of them are. They seem to have either been re-recorded at a later date with some or all of the original artists, mangled into pseudo stereo, versions from albums, live or studio out-takes or something else. They don't relive the original experience of the dance hall. To the extent that I feel the CDs are a bit of a ripoff.

So the effort is worthwhile as a historical record - not counting the enjoyment.
Cheers,

Rick Parsons

Bristol, England
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Postby Glenn » Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:24 am

Hi Rick;

Not wishing to sound facetious, but do you think it's possible that your ears prefer what they've been hearing these past 30+years over the more recent re-issues?

I recently digitized an lp of an old obscure Vanguard recording on the MFP label, a record I bought as a young teen. I have the same piece, a newer recording of Beethoven's 5th on DGG with Carlos Kleiber conducting the Vienna Philharmonic, arguably a much better performance/interpretation/recording/pressing than the MFP version, but guess which one I prefer. The MFP recording seems more organic, more spontaneous and less contrived than the exhalted Kleiber recording. To my ears this is also more typical of the earliest stereo recordings, which I count among my favourites.

I think it depends on what one grew up with.

Glenn
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Postby renowden » Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:46 pm

Hi Glenn, what you say is undoubtedly true except that in the case of classical music you have the evolution of interpretation in addition to improvements in technology so it is impossible to predict which one you will prefer. A matter of taste, recording by recording.

In the case of the pop I am doing, often I haven't heard the originals much at all in the intervening years and, suddenly, on reviving these old tapes I have discovered what got us jumping in the first place - the vitality of it. To be honest, the engineering quality and even the playing on some of them is dire - take the early Rolling Stones singles for example - but that doesn't take away the energy and life from them. The later re-issues, I think the worst are some of the Four Seasons ones, sound tired lacklustre for all their virtuosity gained with experience and better multi track equipment.

I am so pleased that this technology, including Derek's software, has allowed me to recover these recordings before the equipment to play them on vanishes entirely. It is a shame that some of the originals were worn out before being put on tape :( most of the "B" sides are good though.

btw. I also had learned the gems that were available on MFP. They salvaged a lot of recordings from old labels that would otherwise have been lost forever. It is true that some of their stuff was compressed to extinction to squeeze an extra few minutes onto each side of the album, but others are examples of the best pressings available anywhere at the time.
Cheers,

Rick Parsons

Bristol, England
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Posts: 68
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Postby Glenn » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:30 am

Hi Rick;

I thought you were referring to the fact that you prefered your old mono tapes to the cd reissues. Even though the label claims "original hits - original artists", doesn't mean they are the original recordings. Or if they are, it doesn't mean they were taken off the original master tapes. If that were the case they would advertise the fact because securing the original tape would require more effort than to simply work off the nearest available copy.

Getting back to the old recordings, I think, requires the original media in which they were released in order to fully appreciate their merits. Without getting into the cd vs vinyl argument, I think it's fair to say that what the producers heard way back when is what one should hear now. I've long believed that analog recordings made before the digital age will sound better as analog than they do when digitized.

If you really want to relive those moments, I wouldn't be surprised if those old singles are still being released on vinyl. As a matter of interest, on the evening news seen here recently on television was a report on how vinyl singles in Britain are in fact on the verge of overtaking cd singles in total sales. Imagine that: I suppose kids these days are considering the rapid turnover of digital technology while their grandparents are still spinning their old records. The music may not be timeless, but vinyl seems to be.

Glenn
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Postby renowden » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:06 pm

Yes Glenn, your first paragraph is exactly what I was saying, just that I find it hard to be as clear :oops: If it wasn't for the copyright problems I could make a mint running my 45 collection through WC and cutting them to CD for sale to fellow silver haired rockers.

I wouldn't want to raise the analogue/digital argument either - I don't think I can tell the difference any more even if I ever could.

I think the current vinyl single sales are 12" for the DJs. It just shows haw few singles are sold at all thee days.
Cheers,

Rick Parsons

Bristol, England
renowden
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:20 am
Location: Bristol, England

Postby Glenn » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:58 pm

I think the current vinyl single sales are 12" for the DJs. It just shows haw few singles are sold at all thee days.

Well Rick, I have some good news for you.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/jul/16/musicnews.music

and

http://news.cnet.co.uk/digitalmusic/0,39029666,49286038,00.htm

are 2 UK based news stories that'll bring some warmth to heart. Google 'vinyl singles' and you'll find just how enduring vinyl really is.

Cheers

Glenn
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Postby renowden » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:05 am

Fascinating. Thanks for those links Glenn.
Cheers,

Rick Parsons

Bristol, England
renowden
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:20 am
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