Re: [RedHotJazz] Reissues - Schaap's Hot 5s&7s set
- I have not had time to read every step of this interesting topic, so maybe
some of these have already been said... but I am under the impression that
there is a permanent confusion between the "media" onto which the music is
transferred, and eventually the one which makes it available to the
individual listener, on the one hand, and on the other, the various
treatments applied to the sound. These can result in clever and natural
rendering, or artificial and exasperating "ehancement", but I think this is
absolutely independant of the analog vs. digital preference.
We can remember LP's with various "false stereo" effects, either a simple
echo obtained by delaying one channel of an originally mono track by a few
miliseconds, or a spatial effect produced by a different equalization
applied to each channel, or even phase inversion which can result in
something reasonably comfortable to the ear (one of the many reissues of
Charlie Christinan's recordings at Mintron's and Monroe's) or definitely
unbearable (all of the original Chess "Real Folk Blues" LP's I have heard).
These predated the digitization era, as well as the purely analogic filters
which could be applied in excess so as to get a "clean", but thouroughly
muffled sound (most of the old Biograph LP's), or ignored, as in the
scratchy and sharp Matchbox and Roots LP reissues.
The question is not whether the end-user will prefer the CD or LP version, I
have many records on both which were issued from the same analog tapes
without any further treatment, and the only difference one can hear is the
accidental damage and wear of the LP (I quite understand that some enjoy
this, I need my personal clicks at precise moments of the music on records
which have been my long-time companions, and also enjoy the spinning of the
LP, even more of a reel-to-reel tape... I am nearly sure these can influence
the acoustic pleasure, as much as temperature, air-pressure, environment, or
the speed of one's heart's pulse which all contribute to the overall
"feeling" of the music in a definite period of time. But not according to
objective acoustic criteria, I think.
At the top-level of the remastering process, and until laser reading of 78's
has become affordable, there is always a needle, one or several microphones
(except in the crazy case of the earliest pre-war flamenco reissues I have
heard, for which they had the bright idea of attaching a piezzo capter to
the arm... brrrr !) so it's all "analogic", and there is no reason why the
*raw* digitized sample should be less accurate that the good old tape
recording, with its limitations in frequency, inavoidable hiss and further
pre-echo damage (remember these hi-fi LP's on which the voice anticipated
itself in a silent background?) and variations in speed. In either case, it
is obvious that one cannot add to the music whatever was not originally in
it, all one can do is correct the speed, "clean" possible damage, and find
the best equalization - which has to be done anyway, even for LP's.
The speed (and therefore, pitch) correction which JRTD applied by ear and
controlled with a car horn (but I've always thought this was a good joke)
can be achieved in a more accurate way, even by using free and simple sound
software, with a digital sample than by using any mechanical device.
Patiently removing pops or clicks is a painstaking, but fairly easy job on a
computer, where you can actually "see" them and reduce them to silence,
removing much less of the music than by rubbing the back of the tape with a
pencil ;) I do not know whether equalization is made easier by today's
direct treatment of the samples, or if some professionals hold on to
analogic processing, but this does not really matter, it can be applied to
What I mean is that there is no reason to blame digitization in itself, and
believe it "removes" something from the music, remastering consists in
removal anyway. Caricaturally, I remember owing one of these early
Telefunken tape recorders when I was 18, and my friends were amazed by the
quality of the recordings of their... own LP's, which they said sounded
"better than the disk"... only because, in fact, the automatic gain control
(with the "magic eye" some of you may remember) resulted in excessive
compression, and a "warmer" sound envelope than what we got from our cheap
I doubt anyone nowadays takes time to remove clicks one by one, or use their
own ears and appreciation to determine which frequencies should be ehanced
or reduced, the tendency is rather to calculate and apply filtering in a
single operation - with the extreme of the "Pristine" process in which no
human intervention is needed, whether one loves or hates the ending result.
But I think the technology which did make this possible should not be
blamed, instead of the economical choices (or constraints) actually
responsible for laziness.
- Thanks Michael
I see no reason not to accept Elgar's reported memory.
What it proves, yet again, is that more players recorded than those whose
names are known to us and that it is dangerous to seek to attribute
everything to those whose names we do know.
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