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Holidays! THE OFFICIAL REVIEW: [Album] "CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT" SP-4726

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Dec 1, 2014.

How Would You Rate This Album?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    42 vote(s)
    77.8%
  2. ****

    11 vote(s)
    20.4%
  3. ***

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. **

    1 vote(s)
    1.9%
  5. *

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Located my
    1978 Cassette Tape of Christmas Portrait,
    have not played it since the 1980's....did so this morn...
    sounded fantastic.
    Ave Maria.....sounded incredibly clear, especially the end,
    Karen's 'Amen'......
    So far, the 'noise' eludes my captivating ears.
    No matter, I love listening to this song !
     
  2. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    The magazine was probably referring to the second set of punch out noise that is present between 1:31 and 1:32, and 1:37 and 1:38. When I was listening to the SE version this morning, I couldn't hear the second out at 1:37 since it was drowned out by the choir, but it was there on the West German CD. But I did find on the West German CD that the second set was louder than the first set.

    As for why the flaws don't show up on the vinyl, I'm going to chalk it up to the surface noise of the vinyl record drowning out the noises, and you don't hear them above the scrapping of the needle.
     
  3. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    Can someone do a test who has Audacity program.
    Take an mp3 of Ave Maria from the German Pressing and then use the filter effect called, "Vocal Remover" and then listen to the spot at 1:25 there is a click or what sounds like a bad edit defect, it's on the exact same spot on both the German Pressing CD and the LP (I have a White Label Pressing LP)
    Then I made an mp3 of Ave Maria from the Special Edition CD using the same filter above and this bad edit defect is not there at 1:25.

    I have never heard this before but using the filter "Vocal Remover" it is really evident.
    What is this?
     
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Ave Maria...."for all the world to love"....Karen Carpenter spoke these words as
    preface to her vocals on the Television Special from 1978, Carpenters A Christmas Portrait.
    This special--as originally aired-- does not have a choir on the song.
    Again, it sounds flawless. (Though, of course, my ears may not be flawless.)
    If I recall correctly, the PBS DVD Remembering the Carpenters does have the (later) added choir .
    Did this "editing flaw" arise while the television special was being created (late 1978?).
    Was this 'noise' heard through the studio monitors while preparing this Special for airing ?
    Or, is the 'take' as heard in the Television Special not the same as found on Vinyl ?
     
  5. The Carpenters TV specials all aired in the age of monaural TV soundtracks, and it is a fact of physics (really!), that stereo recordings, when collapsed to true mono, often lose some noise elements (sound waves cancelling each other out). I'm sure the "Ave Maria" backing track used on the show was straight from the original stereo tapes, but collapsed to mono, hence minimizing some of the noise that was present.

    Also, regarding the noise to begin with: it's entirely possible that with the frenetic things going on surrounding the CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT album and TV special, that it was intended to minimize the noise, but time ran out. Recall that there was a frantic search for missing choral parts still going on. And you've got Richard's absences, which may have been looked on as "He'll fix it later" that never happened. None of this stuff happened in a vacuum.

    Harry
     
    Chris May and GaryAlan like this.
  6. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    The best way I can lead you is to take the mix out to the car, no headphones and listen at 1:10 to the word "Fructus" on the original mix. The "Fr" is literally cut off, with an audible click in the edit. Then listen to the remix of the song. You'll notice that not only is the word completely audible and present, but Karen's catch breath which precedes it is also present, something that was also cut out in the original. Then build the rest of your listening from there. :)
     
    GaryAlan likes this.
  7. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    I'm pretty good at hearing differences and I just went back and listened to the German Pressing CD and went over that spot and I actually hear Karen take her breath right before the word "Fructus" and I'm also hearing her pronounce the Fr. I went and listened to the SE at the same spot and I hear the breath and the Fr as well. I mean Karen might be taking a deeper breath on the SE but I'm still hearing her take the breath on the German Pressing. I just don't hear much difference. Is it possible there were different pressing of the German CD?
     
  8. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Okay, I went back and listened again - I was incorrect on the breath. There IS a catch breath coming off of the previous phrase/word "Benedictus". However the word "Fructus" most certainly has a bad punch on the entrance of the word. I then went back to the remix of the song, and you can hear a punch right in the middle of the preceding breath, allowing it to come in late, however the word "Fructus" is completely in tact. Sometimes what happens when you're editing two takes or phrases together, is you have a breath coming OUT of a word on one take, and a breath going INTO the next word on a separate take. So the idea is to make it sound natural as if it's all one complete pass.
     
  9. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    Yeah, I just spliced the audio at that spot from both the German CD and the SE CD and then joined them together into 1 mp3 so I could hear them right next to each other and to me they sound the same, except that the SE version is louder and makes her breath appear stronger and we know there mastered differently regarding sound. I have no way of uploading the file though.
     
  10. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Yeah, what I'm hearing is a very close (and sloppy) edit between two takes where the "F" overlaps. It happens in "TOTW" as well, although Richard was never able to fix that one. I'm really surprised you can't hear the clicking noise! It's plain as day on my copy!
     
  11. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    I'm just not hearing the clicking noise...this is really weird, gone over it multiple times.
     
  12. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Try panning more predominantly right on the channel - mastering threw it out of phase so it's a little louder off center.
     
  13. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    I just panned it to the right channel and I don't hear any difference between the 2.
     
  14. Here's a tip to hear something odd. Use the vocal remover technique. At the 1:25 Sancta Maria, you'll hear a blip at the start, and then again at the next Sancta Maria.
     
  15. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    Right, I posted about this above. There's an obvious blip noise.
     
  16. I think that's an edit point we're hearing. One of those "Sancta Maria's" was flown in from another take.
     
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Thus, I find this interesting:
    Given the recorded songs present on the original LP,
    this song, Ave Maria, was the only evident "edit fix" needed--or, apparent--
    when remixing songs for the CD era releases ?
    How many vocal 'takes' of this song were recorded ?
    Why wasn't this particular technique 'described' in the 4oth (or, any other) Liner Notes (or, did I miss it) ?
    For that matter, are there (or, were there) multiple 'vocal takes' for all the Christmas songs ?
    Were the multiple takes done for the express intent of using 'punch -ins' to create 'perfect' sounding records ?
    I suppose this centers upon those obscure recording techniques and processes which I find interesting.
    I have enjoyed learning from all regarding the nuances of this song.
    Quite engaging and fascinating !
     
  18. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    Good points Gary. We listen to this song and Karen sings it so effortlessly that it's easy to think it must have been too easy for Karen to sing this when I bet it was more difficult to accomplish the end result. All these yrs I never thought there were any problems in this original recording but this year I've realized there is a blip sound or edit point that I didn't know existed, along with what Chris mentioned above (although I'm still trying to hear what he is hearing).....I always assumed it was just the choir that Richard wanted to fix but apparently it was more than just adding back in the choir.

    It is fascinating indeed!!
     
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    One reason that I had 'assumed' that the original Ave Maria,
    (as heard on Christmas Portrait Vinyl)
    was a perfect one-take vocal ,
    is that the 1978 Long Beach Concert, in which Karen performs the song,
    is stunningly Perfect.
     
  20. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    I think we're overthinking it just a bit. This was pretty standard procedure with most everything they (and anyone else recorded/records when doing an album). To do a few complete takes, then take the best of them and polish it by either re-recording or "punching" in a new phrase or word here and there, or simply making what's called a 'composite'. This is where you take bits and pieces of more than one take and edit them together - either down to one track, or during the mix, by simply leaving one take "live" on the playback until the alternate phrase you want to use comes up, then you mute the first take and unmute the alternate until it is complete, then divert back. It's done all the time, and if you're dealing with a rush job - like in this case, the editing can be a little sloppy. However, "fixable" later on during a remix. Make sense?
     
  21. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    It does make sense and I'm so naive and this shows how I know nothing about the recording process, but I just thought what we hear is all one take by Karen all in one reading of Ave Maria, I never would have thought there would be all this editing, joining and splicing the track all up and then putting it all back together for the finished product. I guess there is more editing and mixing than I would have thought.
     
    GaryAlan likes this.
  22. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Yes, it was. I heard it for myself live and in person!
     
    GaryAlan likes this.
  23. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    Mark, how was the audio hearing it live regarding sound stage and mic (not necessarily Karen's voice) Randy gave us the audio of this performance but I wondered if Karen was using the right mic on stage because there are times she speaks a lyric and it ends up with force push at the end of certain words like mic feedback. This might just be the way this audio was captured, was it a perfect concert setting regarding sound?
     
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I, too, am naive regarding the entire process as detailed above ! Thanks for the enlightenment.
    And, of course, I had no idea that Ave Maria was .....
    (quoting Chris May, above) "dealing with a rush job, like in this case".
    The Karen Carpenter radio interview for Christmas Portrait gives
    no indication whatsoever that this was the case, for this song, or any of the Christmas album.
    (Then again, I'll give that radio interview another listen, perhaps I missed something.)
     
  25. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Anyone have, or heard, a Test Pressing of this LP ?
    Anyone have a copy of the Japan Promo LP from 1986 ?
    Simple curiosity, as I have neither.
     

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