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Official Review [Album]: "PASSAGE" (SP-4703)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Aug 6, 2013.

How Would You Rate This Album?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    7 vote(s)
  2. ****

    39 vote(s)
  3. ***

    25 vote(s)
  4. **

    4 vote(s)
  5. *

    0 vote(s)
  1. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I would chalk that up to the debate over LP vs. CD. It is in that article I referenced, too. In best conditions, some cannot tell one source from the other, yet others notice spot on. I think it's a debate that will never die. It's probably part of the reason people are tempted to spend an enormous amount on turntables, not to mention stylus and cartridge, trying to capture that perfect sound. I have heard the best played on the best and with all of those 'bests' with a tube amp and exceptional speakers can send you (can me, anyway) into another world that Dolby, in my opinion, still tries to capture. Audio is a lot of fun! I thank God every day for good hearing and good audio equipment, next to air conditioning, which in the south, is one of God's greatest gifts to man.

    Back to compression. If you take the program, Adobe Audition and play with compression, one can hear vastly different results with the same passage at different ratios. For all I have played with it in different situations, my best guess would be that compression is the reason. The wrong one chosen can even take away the style out of an instrument or a voice as well as enhance it with correct settings. But, I have found that compression comes at a price for not everything becomes the focus, and some sounds are almost hidden, or exploded and a nuisance is now a distinction. But I don't have individual tracks to play with and since Chris explained that some sounds were grouped, this all could possible make sense.
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  2. Don Malcolm

    Don Malcolm Well-Known Member

    I think we've certainly given Chris a good bit more to work with in terms of asking Richard to look back at the overall process of recording, mixing and mastering B'wana during (and possibly after) the PASSAGE sessions. It's certainly possible that the logistics of their "live" recording process painted them into some corners when it came time to mix the track...but that's mixing, not mastering or post-production effects. The question that would really be interesting to have answered would be if they went back for the 45 and added effects or boosted EQ on specific tracks or if what we are hearing is a "global" effect.

    Harry, if you don't mind indulging those of us who are getting more fascinated about all this, it would be great if you could see you way to putting the original LP version of B'wana up on YouTube so those who want to totally geek out can see if they can hear any differences between it and the 45 version. That might help us make some educated guesses that could help shape the direction of Chris's questions for Richard, and actually help Richard focus on something that, after all, happened forty years ago.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  3. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    I'd disagree with that. The Complete Singles version sounds like the gain has been turned up on the Remastered Classics version to get something that's less muddy. But its still muddy, just louder now, and with some clipping.
  4. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    It would be interesting if Richard went back and made a either a new stereo mix from the existing masters (either the originals or digital copies) or even a 5.1 mix. He could even do a DualDisc release of Passage with a 5.1 mix of the album on the DVD side.
  5. I was referring to the version, not the mastering. When it comes right down to it, almost every CD out there is slightly different from the others based on mastering choices. Some are louder, some are softer, some have clipped intros compared to others, some have longer fade-outs compared to others.
  6. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    It does make some sense, but at the same time, I was just counting what is on the packaging for Passage and it doesn't explain why Richard and Karen would not have done a better job at making a stereo version of "B'Wana", as it appears that, on a 24-track recorder, in a live setting they would've used 9 tracks for the recording (with 1 track for piano, 1 for electric piano, 1 for bass, 1 for drums, 2 for percussion, 1 for the conga, 1 for the electric guitar and 1 for either the tenor sax or alto flute with 1 track left open for the sax or flute, whichever was not recorded live) of the instruments, not to mention, but for instuments like the electric piano, bass and electric guitar, those instruments, even in the 70's, would most likely be plugged directly into the board, so there should be no leakage on those tracks. The acoustical instruments, okay they were probably done with mic's that probably did pick up some leakage, but probably not that much. Otherwise, after the instruments the Carpenters still had 14 tracks to play with for vocals and final mix down that I'm counting (and if they were recording on a 16-track recorder, then they still had 6 tracks for vocals). Otherwise this final mix reminds me of when I run the soundboard at my church versus when I mix audio for TV. At church, where I usually play with 32 digital channels, not 24 analog, in order for the sound to sound good in a live area, I usually have to mix the audio into mono so that wherever you are in the room, you are getting the full sound. Whereas when I mix for TV or video, unless I'm mixing for mono, I'm usually doing stereo, and I move things all over the stereo soundstage. So its surprising that Richard and Karen left the mix sounding like it was designed for a live venue, rather than being presented on a stereo device.
  7. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Here is the LP version of B'wana She No Home taken from my promo LP.
    It sounds very similar to the 45 single although I feel the LP version sounds like it has a little more stereo presence but overall the open and airy feeling along with the reverb we talked about is still there. When you listen to the 45 and the LP versions and then jump to any of the CD versions you might have....the difference is quite noticeable.

    Don Malcolm likes this.
  8. Eyewire

    Eyewire Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the needle drops, Harry and Rick!

    I've listened to all five of my copies of B'wana She No Home on CD as well as these digitized vinyl versions and I agree that it is in stereo, albeit extremely narrow as others have mentioned. Rick's upload seems to have the most stereo separation out of them all, at least to my ears (I mostly use headphones). But it still seems very narrow compared to the rest of the tracks on this great album.

    To test this, I used the mono mode on my computer. Turning it on is just like pressing the "Mono" button on old receivers and amplifiers. While it does collapse the song a little, the difference between stereo mode and mono mode on B'wana She No Home is extremely subtle. For the next song however, (All You Get From Love Is A Love Song), turning the mono mode on and off produces a huge difference by comparison.

    (For those who use a Mac, the mono mode is found in: System Preferences > Accessibility > Audio > Play stereo audio as mono):

    The analyses and discussions in this thread (and everywhere else in these forums) have been fascinating in their level of detail and passion and I am thankful for this. It's like taking an online course in Carpenterology. :)
    Don Malcolm and newvillefan like this.
  9. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Now all we need is some input from Richard which, fingers crossed, @Chris May might be able to secure in a future interview. That would be a great footnote to what's been a fascinating discussion and one I've enjoyed more than any other on this forum for a long time :)
    Jeff likes this.
  10. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Active Member

    No reviving DualDisc please! CD side not Redbook compliant, some players have issues. And too heavy disc, too easily scratched. CD/DVD-A. Surround not my thing.
  11. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    I've had Barry Maniloiw's 50's album for the past decade and it's played fine on any CD or DVD player I've put it in.
  12. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    DualDisc was dead the minute it was first released. I had a computer drive that could not read the discs. No problem on the Oppo. But, it was a stupid idea, to make a disc that could likely not work in the average CD player. In some cases, the surround side wasn't even lossless--it was Dolby Digital. Ugh. Or their idea of "high-res" was 16-bit, 48kHz. Um, nope. Total disaster, that format. Good riddance.

    I'm OK with DVD-Audio to a point...the high-res is good, but the idea of having to use a TV and a menu to play a music disc was, and still is, stupid. SACD doesn't have that problem. But it's all a moot point here since all digital plays from a server through a streamer.

    Surround pretty much died commercially also. There are a few "fan" releases for some of the really popular albums (Pink Floyd, Rush, etc.) but for the most part, just about all of the music-buying public doesn't care, or even has equipment to play it back. New surround mixes are expensive to create, for something that will never pay for itself. I like the few I have but to be honest, adding two or three more channels of tube amplification for something as trite as surround sound is stupid when I'd use it maybe a couple of days a year (as I don't do home theater, and don't have a separate system set up that can do surround).
    KentTeffeteller and Harry like this.
  13. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Without seeing the tape legend itself, we really don't know what they assigned where, what was recorded to 2 tracks stereo on the instrumentation vs. mono on the master etc., so it's really a guess as to truly how many tracks were used for what. I know that by '74, a typical master tracking assignment for a Carpenters session would consist of running 2 tracks for acoustic piano, 4 for drums, 1 for bass, 3 for strings (subbed down - violins/violas/celli), 4 for backing vocals, and then a whole lot of track sharing from there forward with regard to guitars, percussion, woodwinds, lead vocal doubling, solos and so on. So you can see how different things can vary from session to session, depending on the arrangement.

    As one who was a music director for a mega church for almost 10 years, I get what you're saying about the "live" environment. But even then, most house systems (at least as far as church auditoriums go) are set up mono to begin with. A lot of the larger churches are running stereo mixes now, but even then your stemming is going to look a bit different for that environment than it will in a commercial studio application, never mind 40 years ago, on 2-inch 24-track analog!
    KentTeffeteller and CraigGA like this.
  14. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    For whatever reason B'Wana She No Home is definately missing the whole point of creating a stereo recording. It's far too in the centre, even with reverb vocals. Listening to this track with headphones only goes to emphasise the lack of separation. The live sound they created just lacks a certain amount of depth, leaving the final result sounding unfortunately flat. The frustrating thing for me, is that in the studio this performance probably sounded incredible, but when it came to recreating that sound for us, it just didn't hit the right note.
    CraigGA likes this.
  15. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    As I mentioned earlier I ended up ripping my single 45 and then the LP version of B'wana She No Home and have been playing these in my car to and from work these past couple days. I think at this point I'm burned out of this track. Ha I must have played these versions at least 30 times in the past week...yet it is so good.

    The one thing that struck me while in my car was how much it reminded me of radio back in the 70's and early 80's. I still remember hearing my favorite songs on the radio and how that sound came across your radio. I got that same feeling with these vinyl mixes. Playing these back to back you can really hear how the single 45 has a bit more highs, like you cranked up the treble. The LP version gives a bit more warmth, not quite as much highs and gives me the impression of a bit more stereo like. However both of these vinyl version are so much better in my opinion to any CD version. It's a shame we don't have this mix on CD because I feel the added reverb/echo really helps bring the song to life and gives the instrumentation heavily used in this song...a whole different feel.

    I've also noticed Harry added notes to the Resource site here and here.
    Don Malcolm and Rudy like this.
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Too bad the Press Kit for Passage
    utilized Session photos from the Hush sessions.
    Now, the two photos used were great, but....it immediately conjures up the album
    A Kind Of Hush....and that is miles away from Passage.

    Q:There were no separate photo sessions for Passage album ?
  17. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    It's possible she wasn't particularly photogenic at that time for photos maybe?

  18. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    What's funny is for as bad as she began to look, Richard REALLY looked out of it by that point. I think they were all over the map personally by then and needed a break.
  19. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Exactly what I thought.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  20. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    The schedule Sherwin Bash had them on was inhumane. He held a lot of the blame for that.

  21. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    By that time Jerry Weintraub had been their manager for two years, but I agree, Sherwin pushed them further than he ever should have in terms of their touring schedule. I'm sure Richard has a lot of regrets about that because its the reason they didn't release an album in 1974 and also why they started to reach breaking point.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The A&M Press Kit for
    Made In America
    has some photos from the MIA photo-sessions,
    and Karen and Richard look great.
    Which leads me to believe that no matter how the duo actually
    appeared in 1977, a separate photo-session for Passage Press Kit
    could have made them appear just as good--if not, better !
    I remain unconvinced that the lack of a photo-session for Passage
    is merely due to their respective (un)health.
  23. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    Weren't the Harry Langdon shots of Richard and Karen (like the one in Ed's ID image) from 1977? They both look OK in those.
  24. What year was this? It's a Harry Langdon photo:

  25. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

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