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Holidays! EXCLUSIVE! Merry Christmas, Darling: Carpenters Public TV Special and DVD

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by newvillefan, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    Just watched it and it brought back so many memories. It ended all too soon! The thought I had while listening to each song was that Karen never sounded better! It was worth every cent! And to all who took each and every step to ensure arrival before Christmas: thank you!
    theninjarabbit likes this.
  2. Song4uman

    Song4uman Active Member

    just ordered mine. will let you know when I hear something.
  3. Guitarmutt

    Guitarmutt Active Member

    Waiting in San Francisco, still.
  4. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I just finished watching it tonight. I am happy to report these transfers are very good. In fact, I had mentioned earlier about having watched the 30 min segment on PBS and how dark it appears in some scenes. This is not the case on the DVD, the scenes are much brighter and contrast is much better. The opening scene is glorious and bright. :) I am very happy. I can't account for why it seemed so much darker on the PBS transfer other than their signal (I watched the PBS special on a high def channel) so maybe something in how the signal transferred that made it appear that way. The DVD is so much better in colors and brightness levels. I'm playing mine through my Sony blu-ray player on an HD tv with surround sound system and the sound is superb considering the age of the videos.

    I won't give away anything but someone mentioned earlier that there are some added spots and they are fantastic. I was wondering how this was going to come together with so many different videos but it flows very nicely.

    I immediately noticed one difference so stop reading if you don't want to hear this......

    The footage of Santa Claus is Coming To Town sounded different to me on the Christmas Memories DVD, so I immediately went to grab my Perry Como Christmas DVD to compare them and sure enough the sound is different. Since the video footage is exactly the same I'm not sure what accounts for the sound being different. Was the Perry Como special broadcasted in mono sound because there is no reverb at all on this song. It sounds much more like stereo sound on the Memories DVD but there is more reverb/echo. I'm not saying either is good or bad but that there is a difference in sound and I would like to hear what others think when they have a chance to compare this song from these 2 DVD transfers we now have released. As I mentioned the video footage is exactly the same except for 1 small detail, at the very end after the song is over they pan to Karen and Richard smiling, the Perry Como DVD has Karen in full frame, her hair fully showing, however on the Memories DVD Karen is not completely in full shot, the very top of her hair is slightly cut off. This leads me to believe it may have been zoomed in slightly on the Memories DVD for that scene not a big deal since it's only about a 5 second shot. It's just something I noticed.
  5. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    You have to remember that prior to about 1985, there was no stereo tv recording. All TV was mono. Tracks could be recorded in stereo but the final mix had to be mono.

    The Perry Como DVD features the mono 45 mix for Santa Claus, which is identifiable by the sax solo that sounds like it was recorded as the saxophonist walked down a set of stairs. So maybe for this DVD Richard used the stereo master for the 45, or he might've used the 1984 remix.
  6. And that was my expectation with this release since Richard seems to be adamant about providing the best sound quality possible when re-issuing material.
  7. It's the 1984 remix on the MEMORIES DVD and the original mono single mix on the Perry Como DVD. For this Public TV release, where possible, Richard used the more modern remixes. On things like "O Holy Night" with orchestra and "Carol Of The Bells" with added choral parts, the old mono TV mixes were retained. Same with "Christmas Alphabet" and "Make Me Laugh".

    One thing that got past me and I need to revisit is "Ave Maria". I didn't hear any choir, yet it sounded rather reverb-y. As it first started, I assumed it was the 84 remix, but as it was wrapping up, I didn't notice the choir.
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  8. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Your right, the choir is missing on Ave Maria. I can't remember was the choir on the original tv broadcast? How about Ave Maria from the Close To You DVD was it on that?

    I was wondering before I got the Christmas Memories DVD how the sound was going to be implemented against these old video transfers. So Richard or whoever worked on the transfers must have really put a lot of work into syncing up newer mixes against older videos while still retaining the original master overlay such as audience clapping etc...
  9. This is straight from ABC-TV to my VHS, so it's the original. No choir - and very little reverb.

  10. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I think most of us here have had or still own some of the old tv specials on tape most likely old VHS tapes. I know my copies are pretty bad and most of what's out there are copies of copies and so much detail is lost including the audio. I know on some of mine the audio is so deteriorated that the sound will fade in and out in spots.

    This new PBS Christmas DVD is really a 2 fold keepsake not only are the video transfers terrific, the sound is great as well. There is one spot where Karen is sitting down speaking and the video is so clear it was breathtaking watching her.
  11. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Interesting, so would you consider this sorta like a "new mix" on the DVD since it sounds like the 84 remix but it doesn't have the choir. We have nothing like that on CD.
  12. That's what I'm thinking. It really is a new mix, unique to this video, much like that extended "Those Good Old Dreams" original mix on the GOLD video.
  13. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I actually love when Richard does this kind of stuff, it tells me he is paying attention to all the little details. He could easily have just used the 84' remix and left in the choir for this DVD. He obviously knows how it sounds with and without the choir and from all past notes the song should always have had the choir in it. So in this case he's staying true to the original broadcast (no choir) while still adding an updated sound (84').
    Mark-T likes this.
  14. Since our "Resource" doesn't really delve into videos, I've added a note in the "Ave Maria" section about this remix.
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  15. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    First off, I am figuring that if you haven't got your DVD and you don't want any spoilers that your either not reading this thread or skipping over posts, so this is one you should stop reading now.....

    Since getting the DVD, I decided to extract all the music and create a audio copy so that I could listen on the go and I found out that it really creates a great CD as well. When I had all the audio, I imported it into Audacity so that I could split up the tracks and label each accordingly. The main reason I decided to do this was that I could have an mp3 of Ave Maria since as we mentioned before I believe this to be a new edit.

    At first I was going to remove Richard's overlay before each song so that I could just have a CD of the music only however after setting it up in Audacity I realized splitting up the tracks would create more harm than good as some of these overlay his words into and out of some musical notes and removing it would create less polished transition. There was a short piece I did not add since it wasn't complete and wasn't even mentioned on the DVD cover. There is one thing that sorta bugged me about the DVD back cover, the track listing is not in order, in fact I don't think we even have a set order of the exact flow in writing anywhere. So I decided to leave in the intro, however I decided to split up the intro before Ave Maria so that I could basically have that as a stand alone track.

    Once I had the track listing the way I wanted it to flow, I immediately compared the Ave Maria rip from the DVD to my German Pressing CD of Ave Maria and I also compared it to Ave Maria from my Anthology set. So I opened each (individually) in Audacity...The DVD 2016 mix (no choir), the German Pressing 1978 mix (no choir) and Anthology 1984 mix (w/ choir) I'm still under the belief that DVD mix does sound like it has more reverb like the 84'remix yet it's missing the choir. What I did discover is that the audio is pretty compressed and that all the instruments and vocals appear to be at the same wavelength in Audacity, almost fighting against each other, there are no highs and lows like you see on other wavelengths for studio CD's.....meaning Karen's vocals seem to be just as loud as some of the strings and backing track which I wondered if could be creating some of this reverb I'm hearing. So I'm still not 100% in belief that this DVD mix is the 84 remix minus the choir. I'd need more listening hears to chime in.

    Screen cap Ave Maria DVD version 2016 (no choir)

    Back to my homemade audio CD of the tracks, here is what I came up with and it really flows quite nicely as an audio only set. Of course this is not perfect and not the way to really listen to these track but I have the original CD's for that, this is just a project for fun. I've labeled them (DVD) so as not to confuse these with all my other official CD tracks with the same name. Some of these titles I made up myself just for reference 11, 12 & 17.

    Christmas Memories CD

    1. Sleigh Ride (DVD)
    2. Winter Wonderland, Silver Bells, White Christmas (DVD)
    3. O Holy Night (DVD)
    4. Christ Is Born (DVD)
    5. The Christmas Song (DVD)
    6. The Christmas Alphabet (DVD)
    7. Merry Christmas Darling (DVD)
    8. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (DVD)
    9. Carol Of The Bells (DVD)
    10. Make Me Laugh (DVD)
    11. Karen With Family Photos (DVD)
    12. Christmas Special Time Of Year (DVD)
    13. It's Christmas Time (DVD)
    14. Richard Introduces Ave Maria (DVD)
    15. Ave Maria (78' Original No Choir DVD)
    16. Carol Of The Bells (Reprise DVD)
    17. Merry Christmas from Richard And Karen (DVD)

    running time 42 min
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
    GaryAlan and newvillefan like this.
  16. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    Other than the compression, I'm really not hearing much difference between this and the original '78 mix. Richard prefers the choir, so if he would have swapped any audio here like he did with Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, it would have been the version with choir and not an alternate mix without. Just my $.02.
  17. I need to do a better comparison when I get home fron Disney tomorrow.
  18. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    The difference was subtle but enough that I could hear the reverb most notable with her opening lines. Take a listen side by side with a good pair of headphones. The original 78' mix on CD doesn't exhibit this reverb. I can't determine if the compression on the DVD is causing this to sound this way. To me the opening on the DVD sounds more like the 84' mix than the original 78'.
  19. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    I'm actually thinking this is exactly what is going on. I don't doubt that you're hearing a difference but I'm personally not convinced that there was any sort of remix.
  20. Eyewire

    Eyewire Well-Known Member

    For those who received theirs from Iowa, did the DVD arrive separately from the membership card?
  21. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    Yes! A day apart.
  22. Eyewire

    Eyewire Well-Known Member

    Thanks! My membership card arrived last week so hopefully the DVD will follow soon.
  23. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    And just one more point of reference regarding the '78 mix. If you listen carefully during the phrase "ora pro nobis", there is a noticeable ripple in the audio (which has always driven me nuts by the way) that is also audible on the DVD version audio. For whatever reason this was never caught during the original mix-down. This further supports the theory that the DVD contains the original mix from '78. Just thought I'd point that out :)
  24. OK. I'm now confident that Chris May is right - that the DVD contains the original '78 recording and that no remixing was done for this DVD.

    Here's what confused me - and I believe it IS due the compression on the track: One of the hallmarks of the remixes of the Christmas stuff is the reverb used on Karen's vocals, and as it turns out, the original '78 recording DOES feature reverb on her voice in the opening lines of the track. In fact, this has brought to my attention what now sounds like it was maybe an edit point. The opening line, "Ave Maria..." sounds like it has heavier reverb than the next words, "...gratia plena". With headphones, I can almost hear a change in mic presence at the beginning of "...gratia" indicating perhaps the editing together of two different takes.

    Anyway, all of this is present in the DVD, it's present in the old '78 mix on the West German CD and the LP. You can even hear it on the Special Edition version since the choir hasn't arrived yet in the track.

    As a result, I've removed my earlier added line from the Resource.
  25. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    Generally reverb on a vocal lead is more pronounced when it's near naked, like what you hear in the opening line of the song. Eventually the orchestra comes in, therefore making it a little less noticeable on the lead and balanced throughout the mix.

    A general rule of thumb when recording is that you would never print (record) the effect - specifically reverb - on the vocal track itself. This locks the effect into the master vocal track, which can never be altered down the road should the producer ever want to go back and either reduce or change the amount/type of 'verb. Reverb is added during playback & mix-down thru a process known as 'looping', where you simply take the output of the track individually and run it thru the effect, hence added reverb on the vocal at final mix. So even though Karen's lead is most likely a composite of multiple takes all edited throughout the master lead track, that track is completely dry on the master, therefore it wouldn't affect the amount or length of the reverb from one phrase to the next if that makes any sense?

    I know that's probably more information that most people care to hear, but hopefully just gives a little more insight into the studio recording process and protocol. :D

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