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Re: [RedHotJazz] sound distortion on some Timeless & Retrieval CDs/How to play in true mono?

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  • Michael Rader
    I think both Gerard and Howard mentioned the possibilty of playing CDs in mono. My question is how do you do it? Combine both channels into mono or play just
    Message 1 of 13 , May 22, 2005
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      I think both Gerard and Howard mentioned the possibilty of playing CDs in mono. My question is how do you do it? Combine both channels into mono or play just the one channel with less noise? Most modern amplifiers no longer have the option of even combining into mono, let alone playing each channel separately. There are gadgets for the purpose, such as something called an audio noise director, which I have for records.

      As I indicated, I have transferred one of the CDs in question (the Jack Hylton) to a blank via the computer hard-drive and my first impression is that there is definitely less noise, but I didn't really have the leisure for close listening at the week end, so that I have to defer my final opinion and maybe try out the Charley Straight sides and some Clarence Williams as well.

      The producers cannot be unaware of the problem, since I, for one, sent in an afflicted CD to Challenge for replacement and Gerard obviously sent some in to Timeless. I strongly suspect they just sent a new CD from the same batch in replacement and didn't bother to check.

      As I said before, the two Timeless affected by this phenomenon were issued at around the same time: they have consecutive serial numbers. I'm not sure about the Retrieval, but if both are using the same manfacturing plant, this could be some flaw in the manufacturing process at the time. Since I'm not familiar with CD production techniques, this is just wild specualtion on my part.

      Cheers

      Michael Rader

      Karlsruhe, Germany

      RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com schrieb am 22.05.05 22:43:06:
      >
      > on 19/5/05 18:12, Fitzpatrick, Gerard at gfitzpatrick@... wrote:
      >
      > > Could any group members explain the sound distortion on 3 CDs that I own?
      > > One is from Retrieval ("Hot Hylton") & 2 are from Timeless
      > > ("Brunswick/Vocalion Odds & Bits" & the second disk from the 2-CD set
      > > "Clarence Williams & His Orchestra, vol. 1, 1933-1934").
      >
      > My copy of the latter is certainly also afflicted. It's obvious why I had
      > never noticed. I play mono records in true mono and in mono it is hardly
      > noticeable, which may also explain why the producers didn't spot it.
      >
      > I probably never would have noticed it as anything other than a surprisingly
      > high surface noise level in places if I hadn't been prompted. Playing in
      > stereo does of course make it obvious that the noises are extraneous and
      > makes them very irritating.
      >
      > Now I have noticed I think I'll be hanging on to those Swaggie LPs!
      >
      >
      > Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
      > howard@...
      > Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >


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    • Howard Rye
      ... The answer is that I have an amplifier which does. I am unhappily aware that replacing it when it dies may prove an expensive business since this
      Message 2 of 13 , May 22, 2005
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        on 23/5/05 7:19, Michael Rader at Rader.Michael@... wrote:

        > I think both Gerard and Howard mentioned the possibilty of playing CDs in
        > mono. My question is how do you do it? Combine both channels into mono or play
        > just the one channel with less noise? Most modern amplifiers no longer have
        > the option of even combining into mono, let alone playing each channel
        > separately. There are gadgets for the purpose, such as something called an
        > audio noise director, which I have for records.

        The answer is that I have an amplifier which does.

        I am unhappily aware that replacing it when it dies may prove an expensive
        business since this requirement is now distinctly a minority one, but how
        can you play 78s without a mono button? They sound vile with stereo surface
        noise. It's still there of course, it's just easier for the ear to ignore
        it, and this evidently applies to badly made CDs as well as 78s.

        Incidentally I have no idea whether a mono button generates "true mono", but
        it sure reduces the intrusiveness of surface noise.

        Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
        howard@...
        Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
      • Michael Rader
        Just a couple of points about Howard s answer: - The mono button to be found on some amplifiers, like a 25 year old+ amplifier I have in my basement, simply
        Message 3 of 13 , May 23, 2005
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          Just a couple of points about Howard's answer:

          - The mono button to be found on some amplifiers, like a 25 year old+ amplifier I have in my basement, simply combines both channels, so the noise is still there, but may be less obtrusive. Some CDs are characterised by a glorious stereo spread of surface noise because whoever transferred the original discs played them in stereo.

          - Older amplifiers, like a very cheap Japanese job I had in the 1970s, had additionally the option of playing each channel separately, which can make the world of difference on a mono recording, since you can switch off the surface noise from the noisier channel.

          - Colin Bray told me about a fairly simple device called the audio signal director, available from KAB electronics in the USA (www.kabusa.com), which costs about $100. With this you can select channels, combine both channels or switch channels, i.e. hear what is on the left channel to you right and vice versa. I use this for playing mono records and I guess you could also use it for CDs. The only problem is that you would probably have to hook it up anew each time you switch between analogue records and CDs: I think there's only one input and there would be a problem with ouput due to the use of preamplification for record players. You could always buy two or make your own. The circuitry is probably quite simple, but beyond my own technical capabilities.

          There is additionally the option of only recording one channel onto a copy of the CD (see my other mail).

          Cheers,

          Michael Rader

          Karlsruhe, Germany

          RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com schrieb am 23.05.05 08:58:09:
          >
          > on 23/5/05 7:19, Michael Rader at Rader.Michael@... wrote:
          >
          > > I think both Gerard and Howard mentioned the possibilty of playing CDs in
          > > mono. My question is how do you do it? Combine both channels into mono or play
          > > just the one channel with less noise? Most modern amplifiers no longer have
          > > the option of even combining into mono, let alone playing each channel
          > > separately. There are gadgets for the purpose, such as something called an
          > > audio noise director, which I have for records.
          >
          > The answer is that I have an amplifier which does.
          >
          > I am unhappily aware that replacing it when it dies may prove an expensive
          > business since this requirement is now distinctly a minority one, but how
          > can you play 78s without a mono button? They sound vile with stereo surface
          > noise. It's still there of course, it's just easier for the ear to ignore
          > it, and this evidently applies to badly made CDs as well as 78s.
          >
          > Incidentally I have no idea whether a mono button generates "true mono", but
          > it sure reduces the intrusiveness of surface noise.
          >
          > Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
          > howard@...
          > Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >


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        • Howard Rye
          ... Yes, indeed. I strongly suspected that you knew a lot more about the technicalities of this than I did! Yes, the noise is still there, you just notice it a
          Message 4 of 13 , May 23, 2005
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            on 23/5/05 8:19, Michael Rader at Rader.Michael@... wrote:

            > Just a couple of points about Howard's answer:
            >
            > - The mono button to be found on some amplifiers, like a 25 year old+
            > amplifier I have in my basement, simply combines both channels, so the noise
            > is still there, but may be less obtrusive.

            Yes, indeed. I strongly suspected that you knew a lot more about the
            technicalities of this than I did! Yes, the noise is still there, you just
            notice it a lot less, at least you do if you are used to playing old
            records. It probably still sounds like listening to music in a hail storm to
            most "normal" people.

            Your next point sounds like an even better commercial for never ever having
            an amplifier without a mono button.


            >Some CDs are characterised by a
            > glorious stereo spread of surface noise because whoever transferred the
            > original discs played them in stereo.
            >
            > - Older amplifiers, like a very cheap Japanese job I had in the 1970s, had
            > additionally the option of playing each channel separately, which can make the
            > world of difference on a mono recording, since you can switch off the surface
            > noise from the noisier channel.
            >
            > - Colin Bray told me about a fairly simple device called the audio signal
            > director, available from KAB electronics in the USA (www.kabusa.com), which
            > costs about $100. With this you can select channels, combine both channels or
            > switch channels, i.e. hear what is on the left channel to you right and vice
            > versa. I use this for playing mono records and I guess you could also use it
            > for CDs. The only problem is that you would probably have to hook it up anew
            > each time you switch between analogue records and CDs: I think there's only
            > one input and there would be a problem with ouput due to the use of
            > preamplification for record players. You could always buy two or make your
            > own. The circuitry is probably quite simple, but beyond my own technical
            > capabilities.
            >
            > There is additionally the option of only recording one channel onto a copy of
            > the CD (see my other mail).


            Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
            howard@...
            Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
          • Michael Rader
            As Howard suggests, the mono button only just partly disguises the problem. The real solution is to have something that can play channels selectively. Some
            Message 5 of 13 , May 23, 2005
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              As Howard suggests, the mono button only just partly disguises the problem. The real solution is to have something that can play channels selectively. Some home cinema sets have a mono button, but again this just combines. Also, some devices have a mono switch for use with FM radio (weak transmitters), which can't be used for any other functions, such as listening to CDs.

              Having said that, I have to confess that the "noise" on one channel of the Jack Hylton CD was due mainly to a defective earplug. The CD sounded far better on other headphones, even though these are ancient and missing the foam rubber cushion. I'll continue to experiment, maybe with the Cl. Williams this time, and report back.

              Cheers,
              Michael

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            • Joel Fritz
              ... The mono button makes each channel the sum of the left and right channels. As far as what constitutes true mono, it s a semantic deal. You can record on
              Message 6 of 13 , May 23, 2005
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                Howard Rye wrote:
                > on 23/5/05 7:19, Michael Rader at Rader.Michael@... wrote:
                >
                > > I think both Gerard and Howard mentioned the possibilty of playing CDs in
                > > mono. My question is how do you do it? Combine both channels into
                > mono or play
                > > just the one channel with less noise? Most modern amplifiers no
                > longer have
                > > the option of even combining into mono, let alone playing each channel
                > > separately. There are gadgets for the purpose, such as something
                > called an
                > > audio noise director, which I have for records.
                >
                > The answer is that I have an amplifier which does.
                >
                > I am unhappily aware that replacing it when it dies may prove an expensive
                > business since this requirement is now distinctly a minority one, but how
                > can you play 78s without a mono button? They sound vile with stereo surface
                > noise. It's still there of course, it's just easier for the ear to ignore
                > it, and this evidently applies to badly made CDs as well as 78s.
                >
                > Incidentally I have no idea whether a mono button generates "true mono", but
                > it sure reduces the intrusiveness of surface noise.
                >
                > Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
                > howard@...
                > Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
                >
                >
                >


                The mono button makes each channel the sum of the left and right
                channels. As far as what constitutes true mono, it's a semantic deal.
                You can record on one channel using multiple inputs.

                Stereo records have one channel in the up and down direction and the
                other in side to side. Since 78s have information only in one plane
                (mostly side to side) scratches or surface imperfections in the other
                can cause problems.

                One solution that may involve more work than it's worth is to record the
                cd to your hard drive, use a sound editor program to combine the two
                channels, and dub it to a new cd. Free to cheap editors can combine the
                two channels by addition. Fancier ones give you pretty much all the
                ways you can add or subtract two channels.

                I can't blame anyone for just wanting to listen to the music without
                having to worry about post processing a cd that cost money.
              • aclassicjazzfan
                While I ve learned an enormous amount from Michael & Howard about the intricacies of stereo equipment and reproducing music files in various formats, I feel
                Message 7 of 13 , May 23, 2005
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                  While I've learned an enormous amount from Michael & Howard about
                  the intricacies of stereo equipment and reproducing music files in
                  various formats, I feel bad that my initial inquiry about the sound
                  distortion on several CDs has prompted them both to go through so
                  much trouble on my behalf, but I certainly appreciate their efforts.

                  Michael notes that two of the CDs in question were produced during
                  the same period. True, "Odds & Bits" is Timeless 55 & "Clarence
                  Williams & His Orchestra, vol. 1" is Timeless 56. Why, then, does
                  disk *one* of the CW set sound fine while disk *two* sounds like it
                  was recorded "in a hailstorm"? (wonderful metaphor, Howard) I don't
                  yet have vol. 2 in this CW series (Timeless 57). Can anyone report
                  on its sound quality? I do have most of the Timeless volumes just
                  before 55 and just after 56 and they all sound fine. At least in
                  the case of Timeless, the problem seems to be limited to just a
                  couple of CDs produced within a narrow time frame.

                  What baffles me is why some Timeless & Retrieval CDs would have the
                  same problem. I know both companies are based in the Netherlands.
                  Do they share plants and personnel? Promise me, though, that you
                  won't travel to foreign soil to find out!

                  Gerard


                  --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Rader"
                  <Rader.Michael@w...> wrote:
                  > As Howard suggests, the mono button only just partly disguises the
                  problem. The real solution is to have something that can play
                  channels selectively. Some home cinema sets have a mono button, but
                  again this just combines. Also, some devices have a mono switch for
                  use with FM radio (weak transmitters), which can't be used for any
                  other functions, such as listening to CDs.
                  >
                  > Having said that, I have to confess that the "noise" on one
                  channel of the Jack Hylton CD was due mainly to a defective earplug.
                  The CD sounded far better on other headphones, even though these are
                  ancient and missing the foam rubber cushion. I'll continue to
                  experiment, maybe with the Cl. Williams this time, and report back.
                  >
                  > Cheers,
                  > Michael
                  >
                  > __________________________________________________________
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                • Howard Rye
                  ... Well, I ve got it. I suspect I haven t played it yet and I ll be honest that I m not really very keen on playing it in stereo to find out whether it would
                  Message 8 of 13 , May 23, 2005
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                    on 23/5/05 18:34, aclassicjazzfan at gfitzpatrick@... wrote:

                    > Why, then, does
                    > disk *one* of the CW set sound fine while disk *two* sounds like it
                    > was recorded "in a hailstorm"? (wonderful metaphor, Howard) I don't
                    > yet have vol. 2 in this CW series (Timeless 57). Can anyone report
                    > on its sound quality?

                    Well, I've got it. I suspect I haven't played it yet and I'll be honest that
                    I'm not really very keen on playing it in stereo to find out whether it
                    would have been more sensible to stick to the LPs!

                    Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
                    howard@...
                    Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
                  • Michael Rader
                    The Retrievals in question bear the legend Made In Germany while the Timeless do not. The Timeless Clarence Williams are from 2001 the Brunswick Odds and
                    Message 9 of 13 , May 23, 2005
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                      The Retrievals in question bear the legend "Made In Germany" while the Timeless do not. The Timeless Clarence Williams are from 2001 the Brunswick Odds and Bits from 1999, while the Retrievals are from 1999 or 2000. I think that there is some noise on the Clarence Williams Vol. 2, but won't draw any final conclusions before checking my headphones
                      ;-).

                      Michael

                      > While I've learned an enormous amount from Michael & Howard about
                      > the intricacies of stereo equipment and reproducing music files in
                      > various formats, I feel bad that my initial inquiry about the sound
                      > distortion on several CDs has prompted them both to go through so
                      > much trouble on my behalf, but I certainly appreciate their efforts.
                      >
                      > Michael notes that two of the CDs in question were produced during
                      > the same period. True, "Odds & Bits" is Timeless 55 & "Clarence
                      > Williams & His Orchestra, vol. 1" is Timeless 56. Why, then, does
                      > disk *one* of the CW set sound fine while disk *two* sounds like it
                      > was recorded "in a hailstorm"? (wonderful metaphor, Howard) I don't
                      > yet have vol. 2 in this CW series (Timeless 57). Can anyone report
                      > on its sound quality? I do have most of the Timeless volumes just
                      > before 55 and just after 56 and they all sound fine. At least in
                      > the case of Timeless, the problem seems to be limited to just a
                      > couple of CDs produced within a narrow time frame.
                      >
                      > What baffles me is why some Timeless & Retrieval CDs would have the
                      > same problem. I know both companies are based in the Netherlands.
                      > Do they share plants and personnel? Promise me, though, that you
                      > won't travel to foreign soil to find out!
                      >
                      > Gerard
                      >
                      >
                      > --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Rader"
                      > <Rader.Michael@w...> wrote:
                      > > As Howard suggests, the mono button only just partly disguises the
                      > problem. The real solution is to have something that can play
                      > channels selectively. Some home cinema sets have a mono button, but
                      > again this just combines. Also, some devices have a mono switch for
                      > use with FM radio (weak transmitters), which can't be used for any
                      > other functions, such as listening to CDs.
                      > >
                      > > Having said that, I have to confess that the "noise" on one
                      > channel of the Jack Hylton CD was due mainly to a defective earplug.
                      > The CD sounded far better on other headphones, even though these are
                      > ancient and missing the foam rubber cushion. I'll continue to
                      > experiment, maybe with the Cl. Williams this time, and report back.
                      > >
                      > > Cheers,
                      > > Michael
                      > >
                      > > __________________________________________________________
                      > > Mit WEB.DE FreePhone mit hoechster Qualitaet ab 0 Ct./Min.
                      > > weltweit telefonieren! http://freephone.web.de/?mc=021201
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >


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                    • Bryan Wright
                      ... The easiest (and cheapest) way to hear true mono if your amplifier doesn t have a switch is just to get a couple of Y-cables with standard RCA connectors.
                      Message 10 of 13 , May 24, 2005
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                        > > My question is how do you do it? Combine both channels into
                        > > mono or play
                        > > > just the one channel with less noise?

                        The easiest (and cheapest) way to hear true mono if your amplifier doesn't have
                        a switch is just to get a couple of Y-cables with standard RCA connectors. Get
                        the first RCA Y-cable that will take two RCA inputs (from your turntable or CD
                        player's outputs) and combine them to one RCA output. Then get a second RCA
                        Y-cable that takes one RCA input and splits it to two RCA outputs. Connect
                        these to the inputs on your amplifier. Voila -- instant mono! Each of the two Y-
                        cables costs about $6 at Radio Shack, so you can do the whole thing for about
                        $12 and the results are well worth it (I notice a tremendous difference when I'm
                        playing 78s). Essentially, you're combining the stereo signal into one mono
                        signel, then splitting it back to two identical mono signals so that you can hear it
                        out of both of your stereo speakers. I have a stereo/mono switch on my mixer,
                        but when I'm transferring records to CD, I bypass the mixer aand use this
                        cabling setup because the mixer sometimes introduces a tiny bit of noise.

                        Hope this helps!
                        Bryan
                      • Bryan Wright
                        ... The easiest (and cheapest) way to hear true mono if your amplifier doesn t have a switch is just to get a couple of Y-cables with standard RCA connectors.
                        Message 11 of 13 , May 24, 2005
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                          > > My question is how do you do it? Combine both channels into
                          > > mono or play
                          > > > just the one channel with less noise?

                          The easiest (and cheapest) way to hear true mono if your amplifier doesn't have
                          a switch is just to get a couple of Y-cables with standard RCA connectors. Get
                          the first RCA Y-cable that will take two RCA inputs (from your turntable or CD
                          player's outputs) and combine them to one RCA output. Then get a second RCA
                          Y-cable that takes one RCA input and splits it to two RCA outputs. Connect
                          these to the inputs on your amplifier. Voila -- instant mono! Each of the two Y-
                          cables costs about $6 at Radio Shack, so you can do the whole thing for about
                          $12 and the results are well worth it (I notice a tremendous difference when I'm
                          playing 78s). Essentially, you're combining the stereo signal into one mono
                          signel, then splitting it back to two identical mono signals so that you can hear it
                          out of both of your stereo speakers. I have a stereo/mono switch on my mixer,
                          but when I'm transferring records to CD, I bypass the mixer aand use this
                          cabling setup because the mixer sometimes introduces a tiny bit of noise.

                          Hope this helps!
                          Bryan
                        • Michael Rader
                          For one thing, we don t have Radio Shack in continental Europe - I don t know for certain about the UK, but anyway there are equivalents and you can easily get
                          Message 12 of 13 , May 25, 2005
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                            For one thing, we don't have Radio Shack in continental Europe - I don't know for certain about the UK, but anyway there are equivalents and you can easily get Y-cables in most chains tores like MediaMarkt, Saturn, Dixons and whatever else there is ;-).

                            However, when using this solution for mono recordings which have a stereo spread for extraneous noise, I would suggest hooking one output channel on the CD or record player - the one with less noise - with a y-chord to give two identical mono outputs. This is OK if your gear is located so that you can plug and unplug inputs and outputs easily. If it's sitting close to a wall in some shelves, as mine is, this is probably not the easiest solution, since depending on where more noise is, you might have to hook up anew for every record you want to play. Combining both channels into one retains the noise, even if it might be less obvious.
                            Cheers,

                            Michael

                            Karlsruhe, Germany



                            RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com schrieb am 24.05.05 17:09:48:
                            >
                            > > > My question is how do you do it? Combine both channels into
                            > > > mono or play
                            > > > > just the one channel with less noise?
                            >
                            > The easiest (and cheapest) way to hear true mono if your amplifier doesn't have
                            > a switch is just to get a couple of Y-cables with standard RCA connectors. Get
                            > the first RCA Y-cable that will take two RCA inputs (from your turntable or CD
                            > player's outputs) and combine them to one RCA output. Then get a second RCA
                            > Y-cable that takes one RCA input and splits it to two RCA outputs. Connect
                            > these to the inputs on your amplifier. Voila -- instant mono! Each of the two Y-
                            > cables costs about $6 at Radio Shack, so you can do the whole thing for about
                            > $12 and the results are well worth it (I notice a tremendous difference when I'm
                            > playing 78s). Essentially, you're combining the stereo signal into one mono
                            > signel, then splitting it back to two identical mono signals so that you can hear it
                            > out of both of your stereo speakers. I have a stereo/mono switch on my mixer,
                            > but when I'm transferring records to CD, I bypass the mixer aand use this
                            > cabling setup because the mixer sometimes introduces a tiny bit of noise.
                            >
                            > Hope this helps!
                            > Bryan
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >


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                          • aclassicjazzfan
                            ... 57). Can anyone report on its sound quality? I do have most of the Timeless volumes just before 55 and just after 56 and they all sound fine. At least
                            Message 13 of 13 , May 28, 2005
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                              --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "aclassicjazzfan"
                              <gfitzpatrick@u...> wrote:

                              > I don't yet have vol. 2 in the Clarence William series (Timeless
                              57). Can anyone report on its sound quality? I do have most of the
                              Timeless volumes just before 55 and just after 56 and they all sound
                              fine. At least in the case of Timeless, the problem seems to be
                              limited to just a couple of CDs produced within a narrow time frame.
                              >
                              > Gerard


                              I've just acquired "Clarence Williams & His Orchestra, vol. 2: 1933-
                              1937" (Timeless 57). I regret to report that all cuts on both disks
                              in this set have the same sort of sound distortions (short "buzzes"
                              or static) as does disk two in volume 1 (disk one sounds fine). This
                              seems to confirm Michael's theory that the Timeless CDs from 2001 had
                              a production problem. Fortunately, the noise is less intrusive on
                              vol. 2 than on vol. 1. In any case, the music is wonderful.

                              Gerard
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