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Reader's Digest Bacharach Medley 1993 vs. 1997 mix

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
Hi all,

I'm not sure if I'm the only one who does this, but when I have two songs that are almost identical, but not quite, I sometimes "tinker" to see what the differences are. Here's my process:
  1. In Audacity, I normalize the volume and adjust the speed to line them up as well as possible.
  2. One version, I shove to the left channel and fold down into mono. The other version, I shove to the right and fold down into mono.
  3. In theory, if the two sounds are completely identical, the left channel and the right channel should be identical as well, and the end product should sound mono, or close to it.
So, I did this process in addition to looking at the spectrograms with the 1993 UK Reader's Digest medley (Magical Memories of the Carpenters) in the right channel and the 1997 US Reader's Digest medley (Their Greatest Hits and Finest Performances) in the left channel. Some fascinating (but perhaps not surprising) differences.

After performing the above steps, the end product did NOT sound mono. The timing was off in a non-linear way; that is, I couldn't just speed up or slow down the audios to match up. So the best I could get was an approximation/best average. The audio actually starts off with the right channel (1993) ahead by a hair, then in the middle of the song the right channel falls behind by a hair, then toward the end, the right channel speeds back up ahead of the left channel by a hair. Go figure.

Even if someone were to find a magical way to perfectly align the two versions (1993 and 1997), there are sonic differences between the left (1997) and right (1993) channels. The right (1993) channel has a much stronger bass drum (but could be due to less peak limiting than the 1997 mix). The left (1997) channel has a much stronger bass guitar that is non-existent on the right (1993) channel. But, at times, the right (1993) channel has a totally different bass guitar that is non-existent on the left (1997) channel. The bass (guitar) line at around 10:38 indicate the 1993 and 1997 mixes have two totally different bass lines at that point!

Take a listen for yourself...


Both versions sound very studio-enhanced to me, but my general feeling is that, if you love a thumpy bass drum, you'll enjoy the 1993 version (UK Magical Memories of the Carpenters) better; if you love a thumpy bass guitar, you'll enjoy the 1997 version (US Their Greatest Hits and Finest Performances) better.

Now that I've had sonic confirmation that the two versions are indeed different mixes, I will post both the 1993 and the 1997 versions to my YouTube channel in the coming days (untouched and untinkered by me). :)

Please take a listen through a good pair of headphones and let the forum know what differences you hear in the left (1997) channel and the right (1993) channel!

P.S. Those of you who, like me, are most familiar with the 1997 US version, with the spoken intro... the spectrogram gave me visual confirmation that there is a splice between Richard's spoken intro and the song. There is a split moment, maybe no more than a quarter of a second, between the count-in and the song that is totally blank on the spectrogram, which signifies that those two sounds are from two different takes. :)

P.P.S. The 1993 (UK) version has a higher dynamic range. Looking at the waveforms of the two, it's obvious that the 1997 (US) version has quite a bit of peak limiting of the loud drum noises, and the volume was maxed out. The 1993 (UK) version has a fair amount of head room, which to me is another sign that there was minimal to no peak limiting.
 
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newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Both versions sound very studio-enhanced to me

That’s because they are very studio enhanced, they’re not true live recordings. In part that’s not actually Richard’s fault, because he found that certain tracks on the recording were not there on the multitracks when he pulled them in the 1990. He had to add his own vocals, plus bass guitar and the kick drum. The backing vocals are clearly his own, overdubbed, rather than those of Doug, Gary etc which sort of spoils it for me. The bass guitar is also far too loud for my ears and I’m sure he’s used that dreaded keyboard kick drum which blighted the remixes of “Love Is Surrender” and “Top Of The World”.

There is a split moment, maybe no more than a quarter of a second, between the count-in and the song that is totally blank on the spectrogram, which signifies that those two sounds are from two different takes.

I’ve noticed the same thing before too, but that could have just been where he’s cut continued chat to the audience that he did not feel was relevant to this “studio/live” medley.

You can also find this medley on the Japanese Anthology (both versions), the first dating back as far as 1989.
 
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Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
The backing vocals are clearly his own, overdubbed, rather than those of Doug, Gary etc, which sort of spoils it for me.
It would be really neat to hear the performance as it was in 1974, de-specialized, for this reason alone!
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
I just checked the Complete Recording Resource and found that the first appearance was on Anthology (1987)! Now I'm here wondering if that version is identical to the one on Magical Memories (1993). If that's the case, then I should have titled the thread 1987 remix vs. 1997 remix!
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
I just checked the Complete Recording Resource and found that the first appearance was on Anthology (1987)! Now I'm here wondering if that version is identical to the one on Magical Memories (1993). If that's the case, then I should have titled the thread 1987 remix vs. 1997 remix!
*1989 remix!

If anyone is willing and able to send, could I get a CD rip (lossless please) of the version on “Anthology (89)”?

Thank you!
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
That’s because they are very studio enhanced, they’re not true live recordings. In part that’s not actually Richard’s fault, because he found that certain tracks on the recording were not there on the multitracks when he pulled them in the 1990. He had to add his own vocals, plus bass guitar and the kick drum. The backing vocals are clearly his own, overdubbed, rather than those of Doug, Gary etc which sort of spoils it for me. The bass guitar is also far too loud for my ears and I’m sure he’s used that dreaded keyboard kick drum which blighted the remixes of “Love Is Surrender” and “Top Of The World”.



I’ve noticed the same thing before too, but that could have just been where he’s cut continued chat to the audience that he did not feel was relevant to this “studio/live” medley.

You can also find this medley on the Japanese Anthology (both versions), the first dating back as far as 1989.

According to the Reader’s Digest booklet, Richard added the missing elements in 1977.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
According to the Reader’s Digest booklet, Richard added the missing elements in 1977.
The kick drum and bass sound very digital (à la 1987-1991 remixes) to me. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the elements were added in 1977.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
The kick drum and bass sound very digital (à la 1987-1991 remixes) to me. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the elements were added in 1977.

Richard was recording and mixing in analog upto the 2000’s; he may’ve digitally recorded Akiko & Veronique’s albums, but his solo album and Scott Grimes album were recorded in analog. Really it’s only the RPO album that features digitally recorded and mixed selections.


#42
 
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John Tkacik

Well-Known Member
I just checked the Complete Recording Resource and found that the first appearance was on Anthology (1987)! Now I'm here wondering if that version is identical to the one on Magical Memories (1993). If that's the case, then I should have titled the thread 1987 remix vs. 1997 remix!
The original Japanese release of the vinyl LP Anthology set was actually in 1985. I recall this was mentioned in a topic regarding the 1st public release of "Honolulu City Lights".
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
The original Japanese release of the vinyl LP Anthology set was actually in 1985. I recall this was mentioned in a topic regarding the 1st public release of "Honolulu City Lights".
Interesting. In any case, would love to hear the Bacharach Medley as it was in 1985 or 1989... whichever is the earliest public appearance of this song. :)
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
According to the Reader’s Digest booklet, Richard added the missing elements in 1977.

I don’t believe for a second that’s the case. I’ve read his liner notes of the Anthology set and they clearly detail that the additions were done much later. At any rate, the sound values of the enhanced medley recording sound far too modern to me, much more in line with the other late 80s remixes - which fits with his notes. If he did add anything in 1977 it’s either buried in the mix or left off altogether.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I don’t believe for a second that’s the case. I’ve read his liner notes of the Anthology set and they clearly detail that the additions were done much later. At any rate, the sound values of the enhanced medley recording sound far too modern to me, much more in line with the other late 80s remixes - which fits with his notes. If he did add anything in 1977 it’s either buried in the mix or left off altogether.
On page 14 of the RDM booklet it says:

“In 1977, Richard added the missing background vocals and kick, and Joe Osborn played the bass part.”
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Hi all,

I'm not sure if I'm the only one who does this, but when I have two songs that are almost identical, but not quite, I sometimes "tinker" to see what the differences are. Here's my process:
  1. In Audacity, I normalize the volume and adjust the speed to line them up as well as possible.
  2. One version, I shove to the left channel and fold down into mono. The other version, I shove to the right and fold down into mono.
  3. In theory, if the two sounds are completely identical, the left channel and the right channel should be identical as well, and the end product should sound mono, or close to it.
So, I did this process in addition to looking at the spectrograms with the 1993 UK Reader's Digest medley (Magical Memories of the Carpenters) in the right channel and the 1997 US Reader's Digest medley (Their Greatest Hits and Finest Performances) in the left channel. Some fascinating (but perhaps not surprising) differences.

After performing the above steps, the end product did NOT sound mono. The timing was off in a non-linear way; that is, I couldn't just speed up or slow down the audios to match up. So the best I could get was an approximation/best average. The audio actually starts off with the right channel (1993) ahead by a hair, then in the middle of the song the right channel falls behind by a hair, then toward the end, the right channel speeds back up ahead of the left channel by a hair. Go figure.

Even if someone were to find a magical way to perfectly align the two versions (1993 and 1997), there are sonic differences between the left (1997) and right (1993) channels. The right (1993) channel has a much stronger bass drum (but could be due to less peak limiting than the 1997 mix). The left (1997) channel has a much stronger bass guitar that is non-existent on the right (1993) channel. But, at times, the right (1993) channel has a totally different bass guitar that is non-existent on the left (1997) channel. The bass (guitar) line at around 10:38 indicate the 1993 and 1997 mixes have two totally different bass lines at that point!

Take a listen for yourself...


Both versions sound very studio-enhanced to me, but my general feeling is that, if you love a thumpy bass drum, you'll enjoy the 1993 version (UK Magical Memories of the Carpenters) better; if you love a thumpy bass guitar, you'll enjoy the 1997 version (US Their Greatest Hits and Finest Performances) better.

Now that I've had sonic confirmation that the two versions are indeed different mixes, I will post both the 1993 and the 1997 versions to my YouTube channel in the coming days (untouched and untinkered by me). :)

Please take a listen through a good pair of headphones and let the forum know what differences you hear in the left (1997) channel and the right (1993) channel!

P.S. Those of you who, like me, are most familiar with the 1997 US version, with the spoken intro... the spectrogram gave me visual confirmation that there is a splice between Richard's spoken intro and the song. There is a split moment, maybe no more than a quarter of a second, between the count-in and the song that is totally blank on the spectrogram, which signifies that those two sounds are from two different takes. :)

P.P.S. The 1993 (UK) version has a higher dynamic range. Looking at the waveforms of the two, it's obvious that the 1997 (US) version has quite a bit of peak limiting of the loud drum noises, and the volume was maxed out. The 1993 (UK) version has a fair amount of head room, which to me is another sign that there was minimal to no peak limiting.

This is entirely out of phase and I can't listen to it. You might take a listen to this again and I'm sure you'll hear it.

Ed
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Interesting that this topic has arisen as I recently got hold of the Magical Memories set and the version of the Bacharach/David Medley on there did sound slightly different to me compared to the version with the spoken intro that I've heard before - it seems a bit 'sweeter' and more produced.

Given that the various versions of the Japanese Anthology set feature different remixes, is it possible that the Medley was also tinkered with at some stage so that there is more than one mix of it on the various LPs/CDs?

On a slight tangent, it still seems odd that this medley was left off both From the Top and The Essential Collection. This is exactly the sort of 'rare' track that to me would have been a perfect fit for a box set...
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
This is entirely out of phase and I can't listen to it. You might take a listen to this again and I'm sure you'll hear it.

Ed
That was my point — it’s not possible to put it into phase. The time distortion is non-linear. :) To me, this suggests they’re either two different tape transfers, or there were timing edits done on one (or both) mixes that made them fall out of line with each other. In this particular case, I could have either matched up the beginning and end and had a completely out-of-sync middle, or I could have had the audio drift in and out of phase (which is what I ended up going with). I can also try lining it up again… will update the audio if I can achieve better results.

I should also note, the audio I posted is not meant to be a work of art — it’s meant for illustrative, contextual purposes only, for the listener to be able to compare the left and right channels (the 1997 vs. 1993 mixes, respectively). (So please don’t listen over speakers or a phone, because you’ll hear that phasing issue in mono, which defeats the purpose of comparing the 1997 and 1993 mixes in real time.)
 
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Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
It sounds to me like Richard did the kick drum and bass guitar one one these versions, then, dissatisfied, decided to tweak it for the latter of the two. It's certainly not the first time he ever did any tweaking - right?
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
That was my point — it’s not possible to put it into phase. The time distortion is non-linear. :) To me, this suggests they’re either two different tape transfers, or there were timing edits done on one (or both) mixes that made them fall out of line with each other. In this particular case, I could have either matched up the beginning and end and had a completely out-of-sync middle, or I could have had the audio drift in and out of phase (which is what I ended up going with). I can also try lining it up again… will update the audio if I can achieve better results.

I should also note, the audio I posted is not meant to be a work of art — it’s meant for illustrative, contextual purposes only, for the listener to be able to compare the left and right channels (the 1997 vs. 1993 mixes, respectively). (So please don’t listen over speakers or a phone, because you’ll hear that phasing issue in mono, which defeats the purpose of comparing the 1997 and 1993 mixes in real time.)

Gotcha. Yeah, it's unlistenable. You kinda had no choice. It may have to be done in pieces in order to achieve the desired result. I was listening with my laptop speakers and it drove me nuts...LOL!

Ed
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Richard actually played both kick drum and the electric bass via his Kurzweil for the Anthology and subsequent versions, along with the addition of his backing vocals of course. :)
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
On page 14 of the RDM booklet it says:

“In 1977, Richard added the missing background vocals and kick, and Joe Osborn played the bass part.”

I didn’t doubt for a second what you posted, what I was saying is that the date was wrong. There’s no way that was done in 1977. The Anthology notes support that:

When the request was received to include the “Bacharach Medley” for this compilation, it dawned on me that we had the live recording from 1974. We pulled the multi-track and much to our surprise and chagrin, discovered that certain things did not get recorded. Thankfully Karen did, along with the orchestra, guitar, and drums; save the “kick”. The bass, piano and male vocalist did not. The resulting version the listener will hear is “live/studio” with a new “kick” drum and bass, piano and vocals handled by “yours truly”. The bass, incidentally, is played on a Kurzweiler synthesizer. Karen’s performance, again, is flawless. I admire her more with every passing day”.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
I didn’t doubt for a second what you posted, what I was saying is that the date was wrong. There’s no way that was done in 1977. The Anthology notes support that:

When the request was received to include the “Bacharach Medley” for this compilation, it dawned on me that we had the live recording from 1974. We pulled the multi-track and much to our surprise and chagrin, discovered that certain things did not get recorded. Thankfully Karen did, along with the orchestra, guitar, and drums; save the “kick”. The bass, piano and male vocalist did not. The resulting version the listener will hear is “live/studio” with a new “kick” drum and bass, piano and vocals handled by “yours truly”. The bass, incidentally, is played on a Kurzweiler synthesizer. Karen’s performance, again, is flawless. I admire her more with every passing day”.
This is correct.

And to the "differences" between releases, to my knowledge the medley has only been mixed one time. However, it has been through more than one mastering treatment if memory serves me.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
This is correct.

And to the "differences" between releases, to my knowledge the medley has only been mixed one time. However, it has been through more than one mastering treatment if memory serves me.
Very curious, because the bass line in particular on both mixes sound subtly different throughout, but dramatically different at a few key points (like 10:38).
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
As I've re-archived my collection upon completion of the Legacy book, I asked @Cuyler to send me both recordings so I could take a listen.

He's correct—these are two different mixes, and the bass track (both clearly played by Richard utilizing the same keyboard patch) is different on both!

The mix from '97 is much more dynamic overall, with a more creative (and ballsy on Richard's part) bassline! :)
 
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