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When people from Australia or Japan or Italy say, 'Oh, I love the blues,' they're not talking about the Southwest blues styles, the Georgia 12-string players, ragtime Piedmont styles or whatever. It's the Delta blues. If you say, 'Who do you like?' they'll name Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, Son House - Dick Waterman, to Francis Davis, quoted in Davis' book

Author Topic: Third Man Records & Document teaming up  (Read 4915 times)

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Offline Stuart

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Re: Third Man Records & Document teaming up
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2013, 07:58:50 AM »
I'd like to know the details. I remember reading Nick Perls saying something to the effect that the best re-issues sometimes come from several different 78s, the best sections being taken from each and spliced together before being pressed to a LP. Obviously, things have changed in the 35+ years since I read this, but it's still going to require several intermediate steps before the music gets to the LP and I'd like to know the specifics of those steps.

Offline misterjones

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Re: Third Man Records & Document teaming up
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2013, 08:08:32 AM »
I hear what people like you are saying, which is why I'm pushing it at the Third Man Records forum.  I don't have personal experience (or audio engineering expertise), so I'm limited in this regard.

I didn't want to say anything at the other forum because a lot of people there seem have a blind love of Document Records, but Document Records doesn't seem to me to be the best for assembling the best 78s or subsequent remastering.  Overall, Yazoo is still the best in this regard and I would like to seem them issue some non-digital vinyl.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Third Man Records & Document teaming up
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2013, 08:13:46 AM »
Hi all,
Speaking only for myself, I've never been able to wrap my mind around an audiophile approach to listening to historic blues recording.  It seems like an oxymoron:  country blues audiophile.  Much of the very best music is so aurally compromised in the first place, either through being acoustically recorded (though some acoustic recordings sound great), having been made on inferior material, or most often, being available only on one or two very heavily played or damaged copies.  Except in instances of the only surviving copy of a record being absolutely whupped, I think many or most people who listen to this music for an extended period of time soon get to a place where they unconsciously edit out the noise on a re-issue and listen for and hear the musical sound they want to hear.  I think there is a danger in confusing the fidelity of a recording with the music.  They're not the same thing at all, whether you're talking about blues, early jazz or historical Classical recordings.  If you can hear a singer's vocal tone and a player's tone on his/her instrument, you can hear the music.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Stuart

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Re: Third Man Records & Document teaming up
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2013, 08:49:06 AM »
I hear you, John. Again, it's in the specifics. If the restoration process removes noise that detracts from the music, that's one thing, but beyond a certain point, it seems to be done only for the sake of doing it--and churning the market.

Offline eric

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Re: Third Man Records & Document teaming up
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2013, 08:49:49 AM »
My experience listening to 78s over many years is that after a while the noise and other recording limitations fade into the background and the music moves to foreground.  It's remarkable, really, and when it happens it can be quite striking.  It's a brain function, not an ear function.   
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Eric

Offline misterjones

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Re: Third Man Records & Document teaming up
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2013, 08:52:18 AM »
I guess I am just looking for a different listening experience that (I'm hoping) would combine the earthiness of the 78s without any digital changes that would reduce that experience.  I, too, cannot vouch for the notion that vinyl (with or without a wax source) is better than CDs.  Though it was a 1951 recording, I was blown away by the sound of my Miles Davis 78 (Morpheus b/w Blue Room) on my cheap record player in comparison to the CD versions I had.  I also recall the depth of the sound of the Velvet Underground's VU when listenting to an LP version.  Based on these two limited experiences, I thought maybe there was something to the notion that CDs were inferior, which I originally dismissed as nonsense.

My brother-in-law has a lot of old LPs, like Johnson's King of the Delta Blues, so maybe I should just buy a turntable and get cracking.  But that doesn't solve the issue of whether the Third Man Records releases would measure up to pre-digital vinyl or wax.  I don't want to buy a vinyl version of the CDs I already have.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 08:54:03 AM by misterjones »

Offline eric

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Re: Third Man Records & Document teaming up
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2013, 08:56:21 AM »
On the other hand, you could try a couple of these ;D:

http://boingboing.net/2005/11/07/astronomically-overp.html

--
Eric

Offline dj

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Re: Third Man Records & Document teaming up
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2013, 09:00:18 AM »
Quote
What do you all think of the importance of ensuring that such reissues do not have any digital steps in their creation?

To me, it's not important at all.  With the current state of digital technology (and the current state of my ears) a careful digital remaster should not be audibly different from a careful analog remaster.   

Now that John R. T. Davies is gone, Doug Benson is probably the best in the world at remastering from 78s.  I love his comment on remastering that was included in the Off The Record release of the Wolverine Orchestra's complete recordings.  I don't have the CD at hand, so I'll have to paraphrase.  In essence, he said "My most basic belief when remastering is to get the best possible sound off the existing record and let that sound speak for itself without any digital massaging or filtering.  Some of the records here were recorded so badly, and survived in such a deteriorated state, that I felt I couldn't get an acceptable sound from purely analog techniques.  So my basic belief went out the window.  I have judiciously used digital filtering and processing to enhance the sound on these recordings."  Pragmatism rules.     

Quote
Document Records doesn't seem to me to be the best for assembling the best 78s or subsequent remastering.

Johnny Parth's goal, when he was assembling the Document CD catalog, was to make the recordings available in a (relatively) short amount of time, not to spend years tracking down the best available source and carefully remastering that source.  As I understand it, a lot of Document's "source" was tapes that various collectors sent Parth.  So the "subsequent remastering" involved, at most, whacking the eq a bit.  That Document put out the repertoire that it did, and that it continues to make that repertoire available, is a miracle.  The sound on a lot of Document CDs is a bit less than miraculous.     

Offline Westside

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Re: Third Man Records & Document teaming up
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2013, 09:16:32 AM »
Notwithstanding any audio manipulation and/or remastering, vinyl has a larger dynamic range than a CD.  This is why many prefer the sound of vinyl, right (besides maybe nostalgic reasons or the hipness factor)?  So, if you recorded vinyl to a CD (loosing dynamic range) and then to vinyl again, you would still have that loss of dynamic range right? So you would have vinyl with the compressed sound of a CD?  Verses recording vinyl to vinyl would yield no change in the dynamic range?
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 09:18:28 AM by Westside Ryan »


Offline dj

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Re: Third Man Records & Document teaming up
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2013, 10:32:13 AM »
Quote
vinyl has a larger dynamic range than a CD

No, it's the other way around.  Too much bass or too loud and the needle's path is compromised with vinyl.  No such problems with CDs. 

Vinyl has an infinite number of data points, because the signal comes from a continuous line, while any digital medium will necessarily have a finite number.  But at some point, the ear can't hear the difference.  The analogy is with digital photography.  It used to be that film was superior to digital, but virtually all cameras now record sufficient pixels so that one can't tell the difference. 

The real problem with digital "remastering" of old 78s is when people use too much noise reduction to try to get a "clean" sound and end up leaving the resulting music free of pops and clicks but sounding hollow and distorted.

Offline misterjones

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Re: Third Man Records & Document teaming up
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2013, 10:41:49 AM »
On the other hand, you could try a couple of these ;D:

I'll recycle this one for those who missed it:

http://www.needledoctor.com/Clearaudio-Goldfinger-Statement-Phono-Cartridge?sc=2&category=270

http://www.needledoctor.com/

And an article from the NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/technology/personaltech/a-sound-system-as-resonant-a-concert-hall-tool-kit.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1356978001-cc7GD5rUg6LW+CjTyDfY0w&_r=0

I certainly don't want to go anywhere near that extreme.  I should have mentioned that if I cannot achieve better quality (and/or more interesting/dynamic) sound for less than $500, the issue is moot.

I also agree that Document Records did an amazing job of assembling 78s, but they have long since been trumped by better (and possibly cursory) remastering efforts.  For example, I did extensive comparisons of BLJ CDs and I recall that JSP appeared to use the Document Records recordings as their starting point.  But JSP - which may only have given them a minor audio haircut* and a sound equalization - sounds much better to me (i.e., less surface noise with no reduction in underlying sound quality).

____________
*  I understand that nowadays with old 78s you can do this quickly and accurately without cutting into any of the underlying sound.  Seth Winer, who remastered the recent RJ CD set, said that was the first step in his restoration process, which began in large part with new raw transfers.  (For the record, he had no involvement in the vinyl faux 78s, which he said were unfortunately taken from the flawed early tapes used for the original LPs.)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 10:45:16 AM by misterjones »

Offline Westside

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Re: Third Man Records & Document teaming up
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2013, 10:56:05 AM »
Quote
Quote
vinyl has a larger dynamic range than a CD



No, it's the other way around.  Too much bass or too loud and the needle's path is compromised with vinyl.  No such problems with CDs. 


Now I am confused?  I was told what I stated earlier from the owner of a record pressing plant when I was having my bands records pressed.  Maybe I used the wrong term and should have used "frequency range" instead of "dynamic range", or then again maybe I was given wrong information? 

Offline dj

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Re: Third Man Records & Document teaming up
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2013, 11:48:41 AM »
Yes, vinyl has a higher frequency range than CD/digital.  But that's a big "so what?".  Current CD encoding tops out at 22 kHz.  Vinyl goes up to at least 45 kHz (that frequency was used by the CD4 quadrophonic system), but human hearing doesn't go above 20kHz.  So even if your vinyl plays frequencies above 22kHz, you can't hear them. 

But your dog will be disappointed at the lack of upper frequencies on your CDs.    :P 

Offline misterjones

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Re: Third Man Records & Document teaming up
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2013, 12:00:34 PM »
So what are all these vinyl audiophiles hearing?  Do they just think the quality is better?  Or is there something besides frequency range and the like that makes for a different (if not better) listening experience?  (I swear my Miles Davis and possibly even my Tommy McClennan 78s sound better!  The thump and twang of McClennan's guitar, the three-dimensional sound of Davis' horn . . .)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 12:02:31 PM by misterjones »

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