Live listening notes:
Live listening notes:
The History of the 78
The 78 record was made around 1898 and continued into the late 1950s and playing at a speed around 78 revolutions per minute. The most common material that these records were made of is called shellac. This is a brittle material which uses a shellac resin.(Yale, 2014)
78s have various sizes, however, the most common sizes are a 10inch and a 12 inch diameter. The 10 inch records could hold about three minutes of recordings. The 12 inch record could hold about four to five minutes of recording time.
“Earliest speeds of rotation varied widely, but by 1910 most records were recorded at about 78 to 80 rpm. In 1925, 78.26 rpm was chosen as a standard for motorized phonographs, because it was suitable for most existing records, and was easily achieved using a standard 3600-rpm motor and 46-tooth gear (78.26 = 3600/46). Thus these records became known as 78s (or “seventy-eights”).”(Yale, 2014)
Due to the events of World War II, Shellac was in demand, therefore companies started pressing 78s to vinyl pressings.
Before the 1930’s, 78s were recorded by having the talent sing or talk into a big horn, their own voice was the power that directly vibrated the recording stylus. Once this was vibrating, the stylus would cut the wax of the master record. These discs are known by audiophiles as “acoustic” recordings.
78 recordings are fascinating. It’s really the first step to all of the other steps that needed to happen in order to make the possibility of portable music. This was one of the first (if not the first) ways in order to record sound directly on to a recording medium.
This is a phenomenal short film from 1946 about 78s. It’s certainly worth the watch.
“The history of 78 RPM recordings.” The history of 78 RPM recordings. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Aug. 2014. <http://www.library.yale.edu/cataloging/music/historyof78rpms.htm>.
First, It should be stated that when I say “Bad” jazz, I’m simply referring to the sound quality of the recording.
Things I’m listening for:
Are the instruments clear?
Is there any signs of clipping?
What is the instrument orientation like in the environment?
Does it sound good?
These are a few questions that I’m asking in order to locate “Bad” jazz.
On my quest to find some “Bad” jazz, I was led to the live recording of the Miles Davis Quintet, they were recorded live in 1969 in Europe. I choose this recording because I found the recording to be harsh and amateur. For example, during the drum solo, I found my self wanting it to be louder, clearer or even cleaner. Once the drum solos are over and the rest of the instrumentation comes in, you can hear faint echoes of a crowd that is there. The crowd was not incorporated into the recording very well, they sound very distant and disinterested.
The saxophone in this recording seems to hit the threshold of pain while listening to this recording. It’s full of clipped notes and unbalanced noise. Half way through the recording I didn’t even notice that there was a piano in the mix! The stand up bass is in the background and sticks out, however it is easily covered up by the unbalanced mixing when the trumpet comes in.
The trumpet (even though the featured instrument at times) seems tremendously overwhealming.
One of the main reasons that I think this recording lacks a good quality is because it’s not only live, but it’s recorded in Mono. This automatically limits the engineer in not being able to create a space in which the listener can relate to in reference to where the instruments are. Compare this recording to a Rudy Vangelder live recording and you would be astonished!
The beach boys have been apart of American culture since the early 60’s. It was their close knit harmonies and fun attitude that brought them instant popularity among the youth culture in America.
An interesting thing about the 50’s and 60’s is that music was undergoing a transition in how it was mixed. Most artist from the beginning of recorded sound until the 50’s and 60’s were recorded and mixed in monophonic traditions. When the stereo mix came out, engineers didn’t know what to do with it. In fact, a lot of time the Mono mixes had the bands approval and the stereo mixes were something that the studio produced so they could sell it.
Below are two Youtube clips featuring the song “Little Deuce Coupe” from the 1963 capital records Lp. There are two versions of this song in which I will be comparing, a monophonic version versus a stereophonic version and the difference between them. Take a minute to listen to both versions.
Mono: The mono mix of this song seems to be overall well balanced and simple. The vocals are clear and the harmonies add a nice addition (which was their signature sound). The drums are apparent but not overwhelming and the guitar is crisp and add color to the fun culture of the song.
Stereo: From the opening of the song it’s apparent that the voices are now in stereo. The vocals stand out in an extreme way from the rest of the music. It’s almost as if Capital decided to just put the voices in a stereo mix and leave the rest in Mono. The music seems to be at the same level as the monophonic mix and doesn’t seem enhanced in any way. In the vocals specifically you can hear the inconsistencies in the recordings. The pops and slobber from the singers is also present which I found to be very distracting. One last comment, the lead vocal seems to be time delayed in each side to give a greater stereo effect.
After examine each track, it’s easy to see why a lot of people enjoy the original mono mixes over the remastered stereo releases. A lot of this music was actually meant to be heard in mono, so let’s keep it that way. However, as a Beach Boys fan I think I would love to listen to both side by side and do a comparison of the entirely of the record. Luckily, I’m fortunate enough to own the mono vinyl pressing and can’t wait to go and listen to it once again.
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