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Tone Poet Blue Notes

Discussion in 'music' started by poco a poco, Feb 26, 2019.



    Thanks Jim, yes, that's what I heard as well - however my thinking is that, as you say, he was running both recorders simultaneously, but he would have been connecting both to the same mixing console, so the mix/levels would have effectively been the same, regardless of which recorder it was being sent to. I can only compute him monitoring one of the mixes - either stereo or mono - and indeed, according LJC, he did not have a stereo monitoring setup in Hackensack until 1958, or after blue train was recorded, so he monitored and set levels for mono while also sending the same levels to the stereo recorder, but probably never even heard the stereo until a couple of years later when BN were readying the stereo release

    I can therefore understand why some prefer those early mono mixes, as the levels during the session were set for mono

    I guess the only thing to do is for me to buy both when they come out and compare them - these's a sucker born every minute!

    I'd be interested if anyone else has a reason why the mono's from this period are said to sound better :)
  2. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    I'd never really thought about this but that makes sense. Differences could be made at the mastering/cutting stage, and there might be differences in track length/fadeout, but the actual mix would be the same.

    I wonder if anyone has make a thorough comparison.
  3. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    All the out of phase information L and R will disappear in the summed mono signal so they will not sound the same, no. I have no doubt that RVG was thinking stereo.
  4. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    @AGUYCALLEDSIMON yes you are correct. He was running from the same console and he only had one speaker that he was monitoring on. He was though using the console to split the instruments across two tracks for the eventual Stereo release. These should really be referred to as two track tapes rather than true stereo recording. He then did the final balance when producing the Stereo acetate cut or more likely on most cases a production copy tape for the pressing plant(s). He was though as well as experimenting with stereo production also experimenting with the best instrument positioning on the stereo tape. Difficult when he only had one speaker. This became clear when he he produced the Stereo cuts as his first favoured instrument position was bass and drums in the right channel and all other instruments in the left channel as it proved very difficult to cut because of the bass position. After a few of these he changed the position of the bass to the centre by spreading across both channels and continued to play around with other instrument positions. He eventually mainly, depending on number of soloists, had one brass instrument in each channel. Bass centre and drums right. There is some blend as well and mike bleed of course.

    This is one of the reasons on the very early stereos I tend to prefer the mono as there is often a lot of instruments located hard left and just bass and drums hard right. While there is a little centre fill this is mainly from mike bleed and the later added reverb. It is a bit replay system and room dependant, but my system and room emphasises the separation and it can sound a bit odd. With the Blue Train versions I have I prefer the mono, although that is not the probably best mastering out of those I have.

    Van Gelder, at least in the early stages preferred the Mono, but that was probably due to the problems and extra cost involved in going stereo. Joe Harley usually prefers the stereo two track tapes to master from as he claims there is more ‘air’ and ambience with these. This can be heard in his and Kevin’s remastered pressings, but I am still of the opinion that I prefer the overall balance of the monos for the ‘experimental period’ as long as remastered as well as possible. Some of the Music Matters reissues I have are in mono versions and are really excellent.

    A detailed breakdown of Van Gelder mono and mono and stereo releases from two track tape by DG Mono here :

    And his opinion on mono v stereo playback:

    I play monos with a dedicated mono cartridge in a different arm, but one with some vertical compliance as all (near all there is one exception I believe) modern reissues are cut with a stereo cutting head and can possibly be damaged with a lateral compliance only mono cartridge intended for original mono cut only records.
    Nagraboy likes this.


    I think that is the point here though- these early ones were not summed - they were both captured simultaneously on mono & stereo recorders , and at the time RVG was not even able to monitor in stereo (reportedly) - a few years later RVG did make only stereo recordings and then sum the stereo channels to make the mono versions, but not until around 1960 - so for Blue Train there would be no phase cancellation or similar

    for my logic the pre 1960 could be better as mono, and after 1960 should be better as stereo, but as you say, the summed versions will likely sound different, the direct-recorded from pre 1960 less so, if at all be continued when they do the release and we can compare them... :)
    Graham H likes this.
  6. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled



    Absolutely - i am going to dig out the MM of BLP1518 Horace silver - I always thought "Creepin" sounded amazing (TBH its such a good track that it would probably sound amazing on a wax-time pressing....)
  8. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    Is that not just a question of cabling though, or did he run completely seperate mics? The later would be odd no? As you say he wouldn't have any monitoring facility at all.
  9. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    Paul, I meant difficult to judge how the final result of the Stereo balance would sound with only one speaker to listen through.
  10. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    Gavin, well by reports Van Gelder was a bit of a gear head and was changing upgrading equipment all the time, or at least when he could afford to. He was still working as an Optometrist in the day at first. I pretty certain there were only one set of mikes for the recordings, at least for the dual tape recorder period.
    gavreid likes this.
  11. RickyC6

    RickyC6 Infuriate the frog-men

    I don’t need it really but I’m in for the stereo like the pathetic consumer I am.
  12. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    In reference to Blue Train (Hackensack, September 1957) - RVG was using a 50/50 system that enabled mono and stereo tape machines to record simultaneously, avoiding any generational loss incurred by folding down from stereo tape to mono tape. However, the 50/50 system was monitored in mono only. It’s arguable that the mono version represents what RVG heard and intended. The stereo versions of albums recorded with the 50/50 system are said to be very left and right orientated, without much happening in the middle. This aspect apparently didn’t change until RVG began monitoring in stereo, when the stereo image improved.

    Here is the definitive article, by our hero Richard Capeless aka Deep Groove Mono:


    Personally I think it is down to personal preference. I have the mono MM33, and it sounds great. I’d also add I think the reason TP are releasing both is that they are very different, as opposed to fold down monos which can sound disappointing.
    gavreid and paulfromcamden like this.
  13. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    Yes. And I'm agreeing with you Jim - extremely difficult!
  14. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    Graham H likes this.
  15. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    I’m hoping that Joe Harley relents again next year and with Kevin does a similar package 1595 Something Else also recorded in the ‘experimental period’ on 9th March 1958. First released in Mono in May 58 and Stereo in May 59. :D
    No it’s not going to happen.
  16. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    Has anyone managed to pre-order the Blue Train LPs? Can’t find any UK vendors yet.

    I’m definitely ordering both versions. Right now I just have the 75th anniversary stereo LP and the Analogue Productions stereo SACD ripped to HDD.
  17. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    Out Sept 16th - I appreciate that doesn't answer your question though. I would guess this weekend if we're lucky.
  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    This one won’t be limited beyond what they think they can sell! I suspect the vinyl drought is coming to an end with several new pressing plants coming online.

    PS I’m passing on this one as I have the 200g Classic Records stereo. Done unless I stumble across anything mint with an RVG stamp that’s been mispriced!
  19. kjb

    kjb pfm Member

    Indeed! I have two versions of this - one on CD and the BN75. TBH, it's not one of my go-to Coltrane's as I much prefer the best of both the Atlantic and Impulse recordings. Nonetheless I will put a pre-order in for the Mono edition.

    I'm wary of "alternate takes" as a hook as I nearly always end up playing these once and then then not bothering again.
    poco a poco and gavreid like this.
  20. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Most of these really look like cutting-room floor sweeps too, lots of false starts etc. Just looks like a cash-in to me. A double with both the stereo and mono would have made more sense IMO.

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