• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline! The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy will be available on November 16, 2021 and can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is being released January 14, 2022, and is available for ordering here.

⭐ Official Review Carpenters Royal Philharmonic Review and Comments Thread

How would you rate Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra?

  • ⁕⁕⁕⁕⁕ (Best)

    Votes: 33 35.1%
  • ⁕⁕⁕⁕

    Votes: 43 45.7%
  • ⁕⁕⁕ (Average)

    Votes: 15 16.0%
  • ⁕⁕

    Votes: 1 1.1%
  • ⁕ (Worst)

    Votes: 1 1.1%
  • Did not listen to this album yet

    Votes: 1 1.1%

  • Total voters
    94

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I caught a bit of a slip in this UK RPO interview March 27, 2020, Richard relates a story (3:38-3:56) about drums in the basement--in 1962--
but, then says Karen was 14 at that time (of course, she was 12 in 1962). Another nice interview.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I hope this isn't too unpopular of an opinion. I love the arrangements on this album. However, the mastering of it is way too loud. There are some tracks where Karen's voice sounds like it's cracking above the VU meter. This gets into the loudness war debate, which has been discussed in various Internet forums.

I also noticed that Karen's voice is lightly autotuned (?) or processed on a few tracks, like "Hurting Each Other." In my opinion, Richard and Karen were so talented that neither needed autotune, even though those bells and whistles are standard on virtually any album released after 2010.

It's a bit surprising to me that Bernie Grundman mastered this album, only because the way he mastered the Carpenters CDs in the 1990s took the complete opposite approach (which I love)--don't tweak anything; let the quality of the original tape shine through.

If these two critiques were addressed, I would say that this album would be basically the Carpenters' version of the Beatles' Love--a fresh, radical reimagining and transformation of Carpenters classics for today's listener.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
...

I also noticed that Karen's voice is lightly autotuned (?) or processed on a few tracks, like "Hurting Each Other." In my opinion, Richard and Karen were so talented that neither needed autotune, even though those bells and whistles are standard on virtually any album released after 2010.

...
I don't know about auto tuning- that's the first I've ever heard about it with reference to any Carpenter recording, and with Karen's well-known & highly celebrated mastery of pitch it's use would have been superfulous and outright laughable - i believe Richard, after reviewing the recordings for the project, even said something to the effect that she never missed anything...

Richard did say that he removed the little bit of reverb he had added on previous mixes of some of the songs - which was a big step in the right direction. Most people who have commented on her voice here have agreed that she sounded fresh and natural, i.e. never purer and more personal, which is to say, more incredibly gorgeous.

But any autotuning and the reverb were very far from the worst and most egregious recording mistake he consistently made over the years, which of course, was the double-tracking of Karen's lead vocals on so many of their songs - a terrible practice that I've berated here once or twice before, and which he totally failed to correct on this project, and which thus prevented it from being a near perfect achievment...
 
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Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I don't know about auto tuning- that's the first I've ever heard about it with reference to any Carpenter recording, and with Karen's well-known & highly celebrated mastery of pitch it's use would have been superfulous and outright laughable - i believe Richard, after reviewing the recordings for the project, even said something to the effect that she never missed anything...

Richard did say that he removed the little bit of reverb he had added on previous mixes of some of the songs - which was a big step in the right direction. Most people who have commented on her voice here have agreed that she sounded fresh and natural, i.e. never purer and more personal, which is to say, more incredibly gorgeous.

But any autotuning and the reverb were very far from the worst and most egregious recording mistake he consistently made over the years, which of course, was the double-tracking of Karen's lead vocals on so many of their songs - a terrible practice that he totally failed to correct on this project, and which prevented it from being a near perfect achievment...
You definitely echo my sentiments. Hearing "Touch Me When We're Dancing" without the reverb was so refreshing.

If someone could take a listen to "Hurting Each Other" and let me know what you think about Karen's vocals... was she autotuned? Her voice is definitely digitally processed somehow... :\
 

moog

Well-Known Member
You definitely echo my sentiments. Hearing "Touch Me When We're Dancing" without the reverb was so refreshing.

If someone could take a listen to "Hurting Each Other" and let me know what you think about Karen's vocals... was she autotuned? Her voice is definitely digitally processed somehow... :\
If so, I’m surprised, because Richard has stated his distaste for autotune before.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
It’s not auto tuned. Only used for singers with poor quality voices or rap. Mostly junk to my ears.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
BTW I just received a SHM version last week. Of all the Carpenters SHM discs I have, including the box set, it has the best sound. It doesn’t hurt my ears on the high end. I have to turn the treble down a notch to listen to them. Very high pitched. The RPO is mixed very nice and clear. It never sounded better. I love the vinyl, but all 3 copies I’ve purchased are really noisy, and the pressings are just as bad as the box set. UMe sure blew it on such an amazing group that deserved so much better quality product from them.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
BTW I just received a SHM version last week. Of all the Carpenters SHM discs I have, including the box set, it has the best sound. It doesn’t hurt my ears on the high end. I have to turn the treble down a notch to listen to them. Very high pitched. The RPO is mixed very nice and clear. It never sounded better. I love the vinyl, but all 3 copies I’ve purchased are really noisy, and the pressings are just as bad as the box set. UMe sure blew it on such an amazing group that deserved so much better quality product from them.
I was also going to mention that the treble is very strong on this album. I'm pleased to hear that the SHM has a more neutral sound!
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
You definitely echo my sentiments. Hearing "Touch Me When We're Dancing" without the reverb was so refreshing.
Yes, I agree fully - along with "Baby It's You" and "Ticket To Ride" and (as hard as it is to believe) an even better sounding "Rainy Days" some of the most delightful and refreshing "new" sounds on the RPO album...
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
You definitely echo my sentiments. Hearing "Touch Me When We're Dancing" without the reverb was so refreshing.

If someone could take a listen to "Hurting Each Other" and let me know what you think about Karen's vocals... was she autotuned? Her voice is definitely digitally processed somehow... :\
No AutoTune was used. It's just reverb as the result of a remix.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Besides, we’ talking Karen here and not the hot thing of the month that couldn’t sing in key if her life depended on it.
She was definitely a brilliant musician and one of the best singers (my hands-down favorite) of all time. I'd shudder to think that her voice was being altered or manipulated in any way!
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
No AutoTune was used. It's just reverb as the result of a remix.
And now that you mention it, this explains why I'm not a fan of the later mixes from the 1980s-on that are heavier on the reverb. Light reverb to make it not sound like an empty anechoic chamber would more than suffice, imho. That's why "Touch Me When We're Dancing" on this album is so refreshing to me!
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
She was definitely a brilliant musician and one of the best singers (my hands-down favorite) of all time. I'd shudder to think that her voice was being altered or manipulated in any way!
But it was - on every song where they "double tracked" her lead vocals...
 

John Adam

"A House Is Not A Home"
However, the mastering of it is way too loud.

This gets into the loudness war debate, which has been discussed in various Internet forums.

You definitely echo my sentiments. Hearing "Touch Me When We're Dancing" without the reverb was so refreshing.

I agree the CD is a bit loud. Compared to other Carpenters CD's, you have to remember to adjust the volume down! Louder is not always better, but it sounds and plays magnificently. On the download especially, Touch Me When We're Dancing is heard in a new way, less cluttered with background vocals. The whole vocal experience is better with less reverb. That is why I'd like to see another volume done this way. :)
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
I don't consider double-tracking manipulating or altering her voice (it's just two recordings of her voice being played over each other), but that's my opinion.
I guess we'll have to disagree on the meaning of the words "manipulating" and "altering" - in real life no one sings along with or sings over top of themselves - it's obviously a physical impossibility - any recording during which a singer's pure, simple, natural, real voice is not heard as such, and solely by itself, either through the use of one or more electronic effects or the technique of recording over top of the original recording (double-tracking) can only be considered as one thing: a manipulation or alteration, and thus, a distortion of reality - a change to what the singer actually sounds like, by herself, in real life.

As one of the most striking examples of this (among many) as regards Karen can be heard during the song "I Won't last a Day Without You" - listen to the stark difference between how she sounds (her tonal quality) on the verses (natural) and the choruses (double-tracked) - there is a vast and unnatural difference - something has been manipulated or altered or distorted here - if one is going to praise her voice for it's natural beauty (as one should) then one has to be referring to only one of these two "Karen sounds"...one may like the way she sounds on the choruses but there can be no doubt that it's a change (alteration) from reality.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I guess we'll have to disagree on the meaning of the words "manipulating" and "altering" - in real life no one sings along with or sings over top of themselves - it's obviously a physical impossibility - any recording during which a singer's pure, simple, natural, real voice is not heard as such, and solely by itself, either through the use of one or more electronic effects or the technique of recording over top of the original recording (double-tracking) can only be considered as one thing: a manipulation or alteration, and thus, a distortion of reality - a change to what the singer actually sounds like, by herself, in real life.

As one of the most striking examples of this (among many) as regards Karen can be heard during the song "I Won't last a Day Without You" - listen to the stark difference between how she sounds (her tonal quality) on the verses (natural) and the choruses (double-tracked) - there is a vast and unnatural difference - something has been manipulated or altered or distorted here - if one is going to praise her voice for it's natural beauty (as one should) then one has to be referring to only one of these two "Karen sounds"...one may like the way she sounds on the choruses but there can be no doubt that it's a change (alteration) from reality.
Well, I do prefer the one-tracked verses over the double-tracked verses in “I Won’t Last a Day Without You,” (same with the 1977 mix of “Calling Occupants” vs. the remixes) but my original comments were regarding auto tune and digital manipulation, so I’m considering this conversation to be a red herring.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
I guess we'll have to disagree on the meaning of the words "manipulating" and "altering" - in real life no one sings along with or sings over top of themselves - it's obviously a physical impossibility - any recording during which a singer's pure, simple, natural, real voice is not heard as such, and solely by itself, either through the use of one or more electronic effects or the technique of recording over top of the original recording (double-tracking) can only be considered as one thing: a manipulation or alteration, and thus, a distortion of reality - a change to what the singer actually sounds like, by herself, in real life.

This again? Well if you're really going to be a perfectionist, you must admit that running a voice through a microphone and amplifying it is unnatural too. If you really want to be a purist, you should only listen to the pure, simple, natural real voice unaltered by amplification, and CERTAINLY not reproduced from something as primitive and unnatural as a recording, which can only lead to an alteration of the way the singer actually sounds like, by herself, in real life.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
This again? Well if you're really going to be a perfectionist, you must admit that running a voice through a microphone and amplifying it is unnatural too. If you really want to be a purist, you should only listen to the pure, simple, natural real voice unaltered by amplification, and CERTAINLY not reproduced from something as primitive and unnatural as a recording, which can only lead to an alteration of the way the singer actually sounds like, by herself, in real life.
Recording a singer's voice is only that & nothing more - top quality recording equipment neither adds nor subtracts anything from that voice, and is not a manipulation or alteration of it - bad recording or playback equipment can change how a singer really sounds in person, but this is due to a limitation in the quality of that equipment, and is not a deliberate attempt to artificially alter the tonal quality of that voice by electronic techniques or recording over all or part of a song multiple times.

Amplification is an increase in the volume of the reproduced sound and has no direct bearing on it's quality, and again, is not a deliberate attempt to alter it.

And yes - this again. It came up in the normal course of a discussion between 2 members here who have the right to discuss many topics - including this one - as long as it's carried out civilly and according to the rules of use of this forum. You have the right to ignore my posts and/or shun me (or as moderator, bar me from participation for any reason, good or bad) but please don't try to intimidate me with needless insinuations about the frequency with which I discuss a certain subject - I didn't see anything in your rules about limitations on that.
 
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