1. Bonnie Johnson

    Bonnie Johnson Member Thread Starter

    Are the original tapes required to make vinyl records (and I guess CD's for that matter) that sound like the original sound on vinyl records?

    Thought this bit of information was interesting:

    "In 2000, Alpert acquired the rights to his music from Universal Music (current owners of A&M Records) in a legal settlement and began remastering his albums for compact disc reissue."

    Herb Alpert - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia »
     
  2. Yes, Herb owns his own masters (and his wife Lani Hall's as well). At around 2000, when these rights were acquired, the settlement allowed Universal/A&M one more compilation from Herb. It was called DEFINITIVE HITS and remains in print to this day. Until this point, there hadn't been much use of the master tapes since the mid-late-80s when that round of CDs were issued.

    When many of us at A&M Corner listened to DEFINITIVE HITS, we heard some degradation in the sound quality - particularly on "Tijuana Taxi" - but it was present in some other older tracks too. During the next few years, Herb set up a licensing deal with Shout! Factory to issue a bunch of these older recordings in their original album format. In the first bunch, we saw THE LONELY BULL, SOUTH OF THE BORDER, and a new compilation of previously unreleased stuff called LOST TREASURES. Next came WHIPPED CREAM with a couple of bonus tracks, and GOING PLACES, on through THE BEAT OF THE BRASS. It was the first time that SOUNDS LIKE and NINTH had been digitized.

    Skipped over were VOLUME 2, WARM, and THE BRASS ARE COMIN', but Shout issued those as digital files through iTunes and later Amazon and elsewhere. RISE and FANDANGO from the solo years were also released through Shout - as well as a new take on WHIPPED CREAM called RE-WHIPPED. That contained modern DJ-type remixes of the old songs from that album, with Herb participating and adding in some new solos.

    Most of these Shout Reissues were remastered by Bernie Grundman, with the first three handled by Ted Jensen. While we die-hards could still hear some anomalies in these remasters, they seemed to be an improvement over what we heard on DEFINITIVE HITS.

    Now another decade has passed and Herb is once again releasing nearly all of his recorded material that will hopefully reach another generation. Herb's nephew, Randy Badazz, co-composer of "Rise", has been charged with preparing the old master tapes for another round of reissues. Two have already come out - CHRISTMAS ALBUM and WHIPPED CREAM were released toward the end of 2015. The latest info we've heard on the balance of the catalog is that it will all be released on CD in September. Some albums will see a vinyl release, and all have already been released as digital downloads in both standard definition and high-definition audio.

    Randy's remasters of WHIPPED CREAM and CHRISTMAS ALBUM have gotten good reviews here and in some cases have never sounded better. But tape is tape, and it does degrade over time. Some of these recordings are well over 50 years old, so any degradation in sound is perhaps to be expected. So far, so good, but in some cases, those old vinyl grooves, if clean and quiet, might be the best bet.

    A case in point is "Our Day Will Come". It appeared on The TjB's S.R.O. album as the very first track. I was one of the lucky ones to snag the Japanese import of that CD back in the '80s. For years, I was a happy camper as I listened to it at home and in the car, thinking it sounded great. In preparing a dub of that CD for someone, I listened back to it carefully with headphones and thought there was something wrong with my connections. There was this awful, intermittent audio in one channel during the first minute or so of the song. I checked my connections and listened to the actual CD and was appalled that it was in that master. It sounded like a wrinkled-up cassette tape.

    I then dug out my old S.R.O. vinyl, and through the inherent vinyl noise, I could hear this same distortion. It wasn't as evident with the vinyl noise around it - but it WAS there. The distortion remained even in the Shout Reissue and from what I've heard is still present in the latest remaster. It's improved a bit. I'll give Randy credit for that. But mangled tape is mangled tape - if that's what caused it.

    In the past year I've been collecting all of Herb's old 45 RPM records and found one with "Our Day Will Come" as the flip side of "Mame". Surprise, surprise, there's no distortion on this old mono track. I also don't hear it on the mono version of the album S.R.O.

    Also in the past year, I saw a funny-looking copy of S.R.O. on eBay. It had a lady hanging on the light pole off to the right.

    SRO HorZu.JPG

    Just for kicks I ordered it. This was a German version of the album on the HorZu label. When I received it, I was absolutely floored to hear "Our Day Will Come" - in stereo - and sounding as pristine as it could. No distortion - no mangled tape.

    So, putting 2+2+2+2 together, I figure that when S.R.O. was first recorded, a copy of the master was sent to Germany where this album was issued. Something happened stateside to the actual master and it was issued as-is, with the idea that no-one would really notice. No-one would be analyzing this stuff all that closely.

    Later on, when the Japanese put it on CD, the distortion came through. And again, if you're just listening casually or in your car - it goes by unnoticed. Moral of the story is that there is still some magic left in some old grooves. It's just up to us to find it.

    Harry
     
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  3. Bonnie Johnson

    Bonnie Johnson Member Thread Starter

    Wowzer! I am so fortunate to have found this forum! I'll be 68 in October and have just started getting into Mr. Alpert. I'm really out of my league, but, hope to learn a lot from hanging around. Can new master tapes be made of the old before the old degrade too much, or do those things not exist anymore? Why does my Lonely Bull Albumn have a (hope I can explain this) what looks like a thing that was similar to what they put over the Butcher albumns to hide the original cover? My albumn cover isn't a solid piece of cardboard, you can feel and see there is an edge and it looks like the front art work is a separate piece of paper that has been put on it.
     
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  4. A&M used to manufacture its albums with that piece of paper on the front. It was done with the idea of making the paper oversized and having "Stereo" on one end and "Mono" (or nothing) on the other end (top and bottom). Thus a stereo album would be pasted on one way while a mono album would be pasted the other way. It saved multiple printing runs.

    I'm not sure if that's what you've got going on there, but it sounds like that's what you're seeing.
     
  5. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    Welcome to the forum, Bonnie - and don't worry about being "out of your league." We all love answering questions and giving our (usually strong) opinions about Herb and the TJB, so don't be shy!
     
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  6. Bonnie Johnson

    Bonnie Johnson Member Thread Starter

    It would save a lot of money not having to print full albumn covers, just slap something on them. I guess I'm just a little freaked out about fake albumns and the fact (was it you that said) that Lonely Bull is one of the most faked Alpert albumns (they say the same was done with the Beatles Butcher LP).

    Do they still manufacture the tapes?
     
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  7. Bonnie Johnson

    Bonnie Johnson Member Thread Starter

    Thanks Mike
     
  8. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    US
    Randy has indeed done excellent work on this latest batch of reissues, and yes, that was an issue in working with these albums--the tapes are getting older with each passing year, and he has done the best job possible in transferring this all to digital. (Although with some of the solo albums, naturally, they were recorded digital to begin with.) The new vinyl reissues coming out will include South of the Border, Going Places, What Now My Love and Rise. Those will have been mastered directly from the master tapes by Bernie Grundman (who himself was a long-time fixture at A&M). Had this been done ten years from now, likely they will have degraded further (especially some of those original tapes suffering from physical degradation--I won't get into specifics on it).

    I wouldn't worry too much about those "questionable" copyright albums--the majority have altered cover art, so it is easy to spot. The most notorious is this Lonely Bull cover:

    [​IMG]

    Any other vinyl out there (likely used vinyl, as that's the only way to get Lonely Bull) is going to be a legitimate copy.

    Were you referring to tapes like cassette, 8-track, etc.? If so, then no--they haven't made those in decades now.
     
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  9. Actually, some of the worst offenders are those digital albums on Amazon that include "Music To Watch Girls By". It's not even a Herb Alpert track!
     
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  10. Bonnie Johnson

    Bonnie Johnson Member Thread Starter

    I've seen this being sold on Amazon.
     
  11. Bonnie Johnson

    Bonnie Johnson Member Thread Starter

    I was referring to what the master are on.
     
  12. Bonnie Johnson

    Bonnie Johnson Member Thread Starter

    I've also seen this on Amazon. I'm so glad I have gotten the opportunity to talk to you.
     
  13. lj

    lj Active Member

    Is there any hope that Lani Hall's "A Brazileira" album will get transferred to CD in this latest batch of transfers? We who love Brazilian music have been waiting patiently since 1981 for a general release outside Brazil. If not now, I suppose this hope is a lost cause.
     
  14. Steve Sidoruk

    Steve Sidoruk Founder, A&M Fan Net Moderator

    Not a this time.
     
  15. A very brief explanation of what happens to master tapes as they get old. The tape consists of three layers - a layer of transparent plastic, a layer of 'binder' (think of the sticky part of Sellotape) and the iron filings that are energised to create the recording. When the tape is wound, rewound and played frequently, poor brakes on the tape machines can cause sections of the tape to stretch a little causing speed fluctuations and disturbing the fine balance between the part of the tape carrying the left hand channel and the part carrying the right. Often the sticking power of the middle layer starts to decay and some of the iron filings fly off in a cloud of dust, taking the music with them and either causing the audio to sound dull or to create little gaps (dropout). And worst of all (and believe me I still spend much of my life working with this stuff) the sticky part turns into toffee and quite literally gums up the works when you try to play it. The cure is to bake the tape at an exact temperature for a precise time and then play it through once as you transfer it - not to tape, any more, but into a digital storage system. The biggest problem is that many storage systems have also turned out to be volatile - DAT (Digital Audio Tape) is a digital system that uses tiny little tape cassettes, and many of these exhibit the same problems as open reel. But whereas analogue signals might drop out or dull, you can still play them, with digital it's all or nothing and tape flaws usually mean no audio at all. Ever again. Then there are CDs. Home-burning CD-R discs can chemically decay within a couple of years and become unplayable; pressed commercial CDs can suffer other nasties including one where the ink used to print the label turns acidic and burns away the layer that carries the audio. In fact, the only medium that doesn't decay with age if handled and stored very very carefully is good old vinyl - one of a number of reasons why so many people are returning to it. Including Herb!
     
  16. Bonnie Johnson

    Bonnie Johnson Member Thread Starter

    Thanks that was very interesting. Saw a show a few years back where they were working with CD's and how long it takes for them to deteriorate under different kinds of situations. I never leave mine in the car when I go in a store, I put them in my purse. Living in SE Texas one doesn't want to leave anything that might be perishable in their car in the heat of the summer!:tumbleweed:
     
  17. Bonnie Johnson

    Bonnie Johnson Member Thread Starter

    I buy a lot of used albumns and it is amazing that some of them still play. I accidentally had one flip out of my hand as I was putting it in a new inner sleeve and it hit a desk corner. After I ranted and raved I held it to the light and saw a big place where it looked like it had slid down the edge of the desk (by the way it was Going Places). I played it and it hadn't effected it at all, I was absolutely shocked. I received one not too long ago that was covered in mildew, I gave it a good cleaning and it played great. So even some times if they haven't had the best of care they play very well.
     
  18. Captain Bacardi

    Captain Bacardi Well-Known Member Moderator

    I live in Austin and I've left CDRs in my car for months at a time and rarely have any problems. I can always burn another copy if necessary.
     
  19. Bonnie Johnson

    Bonnie Johnson Member Thread Starter

    Howdy neighbor! Well, are you keeping it wierd? lol I'd rather not take the chance. I have Part of the Game by Pablo Cruise that I payed close to $60. for because it was an import, but, it was worth it because every song on it is good! I came close to voting for Kinky when he ran for what was it governor, but, decided against it. Kinky has a CD on Amazon The last of the Jewish Cowboys, The Best of Kinky Friedman.

    Amazon.com: Kinky Friedman The Last Jewish Cowboy: CDs & Vinyl »
     
  20. Captain Bacardi

    Captain Bacardi Well-Known Member Moderator

    Ugh. The slogan from hell. That "Keep Austin Weird" phrase is annoying to most of us. It's one of those millennial "aren't we cute and cool" things that true Austinites hate.

    I was actually talking about CD-Rs, which is a copy of a CD. That's what I keep in my car. I always did that going back to the cassette days. Make a copy of the LP on tape rather than wear out the vinyl. Same thing with a CD, especially if you have a rare CD.

    Yeah, Kinky is a trip. He's probably still on a trip for that matter.... :laugh:
     
  21. Bonnie Johnson

    Bonnie Johnson Member Thread Starter

    I always thought it was probably started by an old hippie. Being a college town it probably attracts an over abundance of oddballs. :biglaugh:

    That's a really good idea of making copies Mr.B.
     
  22. They DO still make TAPES...in "audiophile circles" on 10 1/2" metal reels: in -both- blanks (approx. $60) and niche-market, pre-recorded "albums"; duplicated in 1:1 time at 15 inches-per-second (the HIGHEST analog playback resolution, relatively speaking, you can get -- NO bass and treble boost eq like vinyl...wide bandwidth due to FAST tape speed and wide -compared to other formats- tape "real estate", and...in the case of these select-market tapes: *only* ONE generation removed from the copy source). However, it all comes at a PRICE(!): typically, $300-per-release (depending on license fees).
     
  23. The "sticky shed" thing is mainly a problem, though, with *BACKCOATED* tapes made from (around) 1973-onward...the binder affixing it was very sensitive to *slight* changes in humidity. I've got tapes dating back to 1956 with NO problems.
    Reel-to-reel has less dropout because the speed is fast(er) and, because, the track alignment is wide.
     
  24. It's the only medium, too, susceptible to the most external distortion and where the last track per-side NEVER sounds as good as the opener:shh:

    Scotch 111 and Ampex 641 stocks from the '50s and '60s remain in far better shape than the majority of tape dating from 1972-onward. Maxell, though, was the best ever made and has never degraded.
     
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  25. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    Very true I loved their cassettes and Music CDRs Maxell was my most favorite brand because of its quality and reliability
     
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