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In Reply to: RE: It says "Transferred from a 15ips 2-track tape"? posted by Tre' on September 22, 2022 at 14:27:57
Those can be very good but the website doesn't make it clear what tapes they are using. :-(
Have Fun and Enjoy the Music
"Still Working the Problem"
I am not aware of any suggestion that HDTT had access to a direct copy of one set of the KOB in-machine session tapes (which are a separate issue in and of themselves).
Unless HDTT shows up and says otherwise, I assume that HDTT started with a commercial RTR tape from the 1960s, please see image above and link below.
It's not really relevant to this discussion, but, while backup tapes are often copies, the big studios with big budgets often in those days ran FOUR tape recorders at the same time:
MONO Prime, and Simultaneous Backup
STEREO Prime, and Simultaneous Backup
That must have kept the Tape Ops on their toes!
As explained in my SP column linked to above, due to the pitch error on Side A, since 1992, all authorized issues have derived from the three-channel simultaneous safety master--so there is no generational loss at that point. Dunno if Sony sends out the Jewel in the Crown three-track backup masters, or, do they send a 3-to-2 mixdown to stereo?
BTW, it's funny to see the RTR tape box duplicate the spelling error in Cannonball's family name (Adderly not Adderley) that is the distinguishing mark of the first 50,000 LPs pressed.
My Spirit Guide just pinged me--she texted
That's "Get a Life"...
But in KLINGON.
Interesting post. Thanks!
Just as a follow-up, I have the orginal mono "Kind Of Blue", Columbia 1355. Got it from a family member. Oddly, I've never listened to it, 'cause I'm not a fan of Miles Davis. Maybe I should listen to his early recordings, before he went psycho.
Anyway, my old acquaintance John Stephens took me to The Mastering Lab, waaaay back in the mid-70s. They only had two tape recorders (that I know of). But that was the '70s.
We are inclusive and diverse, but dissent will not be tolerated.
Are you speaking of Doug Sax's establishment?
I worked on one project with Doug Sax--one of my BEST!
Ironically enough, the original, razor-blade-edited, in-machine, at-session 30 ips half-inch two track David Hancock master tapes are at...
HDTT! Expect a glorious resurrection of Nathaniel Rosen's "Orientale" in 4 weeks or so.
Getting back to the point, for mastering in the sense of LP cutting, back then you only really needed one tape deck, but two would make it easier, at least in the time frame when mono LPs were still sold because the $1 price increment to stereo was a deal-breaker for some people.
when you accomplish what they were able to, you are a recording 'studio'.
What do you call it then when they run long balanced mic cables from Wylee Chapel into Sheffield to record D2D? Remote?
Here's an appropriate def - " a room where an artist, photographer, sculptor, etc. works "
Is that good enough? I hope so. I have the utmost respect for DS and hate when people decide to 'redefine' words or phrases. (I mean no disrespect 2U BTW)
The point I was trying to make is that back in the day, recording studios such as Capitol Records in Los Angeles and Columbia's 30th Street usually would run four tape decks at once.
(A) to avoid generational loss on the backups; and
(B) have a "Native" mono set of tapes from which to cut mono LPs.
I have the utmost respect for Mr. Sax. We got along famously on a personal level, and the project I was running where he cut the lacquers is legendary, with the 2-LP set having sold for as much as $600 on eBay.
Well, heck, I may be mistaken. It was either The Mastering Lab or The Producer's Workshop. This was 1975 or 1977. In either case, almost 50 years ago. What the heck did I know. I do know that they had a Stephens 24 track closed-loop tape deck, and I'm fairly certain that there were Altec 604 speakers in the control room soffet. The studio was pretty narrow, left-to-right. Don't remember anything about the console - I was a "kid"! Did I mention almost 50 years ago? ;)
We are inclusive and diverse, but dissent will not be tolerated.
. . . was based on various private email exchanges and phone conversations with Robert Witrak (sp?).
I can believe that HDTT might (every now and then) have access to tapes that weren't available from record clubs.
There's an amazing Mahler DLvdE that can be heard today only because it was a radio broadcast and the conductor got a courtesy dub that decades later was discovered when his estate was being wrapped up.
HOWEVER, even though there have been lots of stories of rather low-level studio or record label employees stealing tapes, I'd be very skeptical that HDTT had access to a 3rd-gen KOB tape. (In-machine 3-channel master is 1; Studio Stereo Mixdown is 2; and an LP cutting copy sent to the UK or France would be 3.)
HDTT supposedly has the best available playback electronics, which might go a long way toward explaining the happy customers, if, as I suspect, HDTT's original source was a pristine early 7.5 ips commercial four-track stereo tape.
John, Bob as posted on his KOB webpage that the source was a 15ips 2-track tape. AFAIK, such a consumer tape was ever commercially released. Beyond this, who knows? A safety master? A courtesy copy? Whatever the source, it sounds better to my ears than any other digital release in my music library.
Not certain I understand why some would expect these to be from an original master tape. AFAIK that's not even implied on the website.
Every HDTT track has a short sample available; have found that what I hear on the samples, played on a small desktop system, does convey what I hear when the full track is played on my large audio rig, just more so on the latter.
My impression is that the transfers seem to be much louder than the original recordings, with a somewhat hyped HF range. You hear all the original tape hiss and then some, and you hear every little bit of distortion that was on the original recordings, including mic and mic pre-amp overloads. Stereo separation also seems more extreme than on the original recordings. If listening to jazz, as I do, you will hear the spittle on the saxophone reed. Spot micing sticks out like a sore thumb.
As Analog Scott says, if you like these recordings, buy and enjoy. With the free preview of everything, it's hardly as if you won't know what you're getting.
There is a reason the company's address is in Canada while the recordings are made in the US, but I'll leave that to be deduced by those who are so curious about the provenance of the original tapes.
Kind of Blue was both an instant hit, and a title that kept on selling for decades.
In order to meet worldwide demand, everywhere Columbia had a pressing plant, they had to send a 15 ips 1/4 inch two-track for LP cutting. Worldwide.
At some point, in many markets, those LP cutting tapes became obsolete.
Go look in eBay! There are master tape copies by the busload! See the link to a Vic Damone (purportedly) backup.
And you're also right about HDTT's playback electronics. From time to time, they've made improved versions available of some of their earlier releases - and sometimes the improvements are really ear opening. I asked Robert one time what exactly he did to get such an improvement between an earlier version of one of his titles and the updated version (which they sometimes call a "redux" version). He answered that they didn't really "do" anything to the updated version - they had just gotten better equipment in the meantime! ;-)
HDTT is currently working on a new issue of Jascha Horenstein's Mahler 3 (LSO), which was originally released on Unicorn (and on Nonesuch in the USA). The original release had some very odd balances, but apparently someone else was permitted to use a totally different mic setup to record the sessions, and those tapes are what HDTT reportedly has on hand. I heard a substantial sample from the first movement, and it was certainly a sonic improvement.
This performance used to be my favorite Mahler 3 (I like some others better now), but I'm eager to hear the whole thing once HDTT releases it.
"I'm eager to hear the whole thing once HDTT releases it."
Yes, I am, too. This sample sounds very encouraging. BTW, the sample, at 24-192, is available on HDTT's website along with a lengthy post from John Haley about what he's doing to get this into form for release. Just look for the blog post by John.
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