Title: Hallelujah!
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Jon-G
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(Date Posted:12/16/2011 20:08)

So, I grew up listening to Percy Faith - Music of Christmas, and that has always been a favorite of mine.  I remember as a kid seeing the V. 2 CD for sale in a store, and thinking of suggesting to my mom that she pick it up, but somehow that didn't happen, and I'm not so sure if she would have anyways.  But years later when I saw the going rate on amazon, how I wished I had.

So, being that Music of Christmas has always been my favorite Christmas album, I made a point to pick up a vinyl copy of Hallelujah maybe about 5 years ago.  I guess I was late to the game as far as that one goes, but better late than never.  So, I have a digital conversion of my vinyl that I made that gets played many times every year around Christmas time.  But still, it would be nice to have something to listen to that comes from a master tape source, rather than a vinyl source.  Don't get me wrong, I love vinyl, but if I'm going to listen to a CD or digital copy of the album, a professional CD mastered from the master tape is going to do better than a CD made from vinyl.  Unless they screw it up in the mastering. 

Anyways....

So, a few weeks ago a 2 track 1/4" 7.5 ips reel to reel tape shows up on ebay, which I immediately eye up.  7.5 ips reels have a nice sound to them, so I found this to be highly desirable since it's out of print.  Somehow, I got it for under $10.  Not bad.

So now I'm recording it in to 96kHz 24bit flac, and out of curiosity I decide to check the going rate of the CD on amazon.  And what do I see?  Hallelujah is sorta back in print......as an mp3 album.

I hate mp3 and wish flac would become the norm, but hey, it is nice to see this album available for purchase again.  I think I'll stick to my reel, but figured all of you here might like a heads up in case you've been stuck to vinyl for this, and want a more portable and convenient version of this album without having to make your own.

12-16-11 @ 21:20 PM
Follow-up to above message:


ACK!!!!!

The reel only has half the album......wtf?

I'm gonna have to resort to vinyl for Gesu Bambino, Bring a Torch, and Good Christian Men Rejoice.

At least I have the compilation CD that recently came out for Angels from the realm of glory, o tannenbaum, and Christians Awake.

What a bummer that they would commit such a crime against this album by cutting 6 tracks to fit it on tape. Maybe there's a 4 track version that has the whole album, I'll have to keep searching on ebay.



*Message edited by the Yule Log.com Message Board Administrator on 12/16/11 to combine two consecutive reply posts by the same member. Also, double-post was deleted.

**Click here to review my post regarding same-day double-posting.

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Pelstream
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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/17/2011 15:43)

I wouldn't be in too much of a hurry to buy the MP3 of Hallelujah!  It's taken from a Hallmark CD - a label with a terrible reputation here in the UK for shoddy transfers, often taken from less than pristine LPs. Not only that, it's the mono version.

Alan
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Jon-G
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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/17/2011 17:34)

Thanks for the heads up on the mp3s.  I'll have to piece together a new CD using the compilation CD, my reel, and the vinyl.  Hopefully one of these years they'll get it right, it still puzzles me that this album stays out of print while the other 2 stay in print.
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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/18/2011 01:38)


Jon,

Check the artwork that came with your 2 track tape; I'm sure it lists all the songs. My friend told me that if you are playing your 2 track tape on a 4 track player, you will not be able to hear all the songs. It needs to be played on a 2 track player.


 
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Jon-G
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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/18/2011 06:28)

Thanks for taking the time to research and offer help and suggestions on this, I really do appreciate that.

I'm quite familiar with the 2 track vs. 4 track format.  And you are correct that a 2 track tape should be played back on a 2 track player, since the 4 track player won't line up precisely with the 2 track layout.  But I assure you that this tape contains only 8 songs as listed on the box, and that there isn't a set of tracks on this tape that would be unable to be heard due to a lack of 2 track machine.  I have a 4 track deck that also does quad playback, so I do have the ability to make use of all 4 tracks on a 4 track format at once, and have been able to get a compromised 2 track playback on it by using the outside track (1 and 4) of the quad head.  Yes, a 2 track head would get a technically better play off of this tape, but it will not reveal content that unreachable, and the artwork also confirms the 8 track listing.

It contains, in this order:

Hallelujah Chorus
I Wonder as I Wander
We Three Kings of Orient Are
Away in a Manger
Angels We Have Heard on High
What Child Is This (Greensleeves)
I Saw Three Ships
Carol of the Bells

The two inside faces of the box contain along with the track listing, the blurbs for those 8 tracks which exist on the vinyl artwork, with no mention nor blurbs for the cut tracks.

While I am familiar with the concept of 2 track reel releases, I'm not that familiar with them, so I do not know if cutting tracks, and cutting tracks to this extent, was standard or normal for 2 track releases.

I will be happy to send scans of the box for your archives if you like, I'm kinda surprised you don't have a copy yourself since this is number 2 on your list, I figured if anyone would have one it would be you....but, that's me, I'm a nut for having things I'm hardcore about in all available formats.


(Message edited by Jon-G On 12/18/2011 16:07)
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Strider77
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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/18/2011 15:19)

Jon,

I have the same reel to reel tape with the exact same song listing (Columbia GCB 35.)  It plays just fine on my 4 track reel to reel tape deck as well.  My guess is that when these tapes were initially released, that 4 track playback was not in vogue.  Judging by the amount of tape on the reel, I don't see where they could have fit anymore songs on the reel without offering a second reel for the other six songs.

This is the only two track reel to reel that I own.  I was initially patting myself on the back for getting this masterpiece on reel to reel until I found out that it was missing six songs.  I eventually found a copy of the album on CD as well as an unopened copy on vinyl.

If this album was ever released in a four track version, I am unaware of it.

-=Perry
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Pelstream
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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/18/2011 18:28)


At the time Columbia were issuing their 7.5 i.p.s. 1/2 track stereo tapes standard play tape was usually used as LP tape was relatively new. This meant that the maximum duration of a 7" reel was 30 minutes, so most of Columbia's issues didn't contain the complete LP.  All of the 1/2 track Faith tapes I have seen have only 8 tracks.

This was rarely, if ever, mentioned in their advertising and the tapes themselves didn't tell the purchaser that it contained less than the LP, so there must have been many people who were very disappointed to be short-changed when they bought the tape version of a favourite album.

Nor was the quality as good as many people claimed - tape recorders of that era were usually only within  plus or minus 3db at 10 kHz and few domestic ones achieved the 15kHz that was common on LPs at that time. The poor quality tape often used also suffered from drop-outs and other problems caused by the high-speed duplicating methods used by some companies

So far as I know Hallelujah was never issued as a 4 track tape - there is an (incomplete) listing of Percy Faith tape issues within my Percy Faith Discography - and yes, it does contain a warning that the 7.5 twin track tapes aren't complete albums.

If anyone can add to this listing I would very much like to hear from them.

http://www.pelstream.co.uk/pftapes.htm


Alan

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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/18/2011 23:45)

Jonathan:

I have never owned one of these reel-to-reel players; so therefore, there was no reason for me to buy the tapes. It is perhaps because you are a young man and didn't grow up in the era when these reel-to-reel tapes were made that you are not aware that they were never the preferred format for music by the general buying public. It was LP, 8 track and cassette.

However, I must say emphatically that it is a true shame that the 4 track 7.5 ips reel-to-reel tapes that were offered by the record companies weren't the preferred format because they are actually better than today's CDs -- especially the CDs where the original recordings have been remastered. The reason for this is because when the record companies remaster these recordings, they usually remix them as well -- and many times the remixing process alters the sound of the original recording. This was definitely the case with the great Percy Faith's classic and legendary album, Hallelujah (aka Music Of Christmas, Volume 2). Sony did a beautiful job remastering it in 1997, but because of the remixing process, the music was altered slightly and the CD had a distinctly different sound from the original recording. Many folks might not even notice a difference, but I know this music as well as I know my own name and I can tell you unequivocally that there was a decided difference in the music on the remastered CD than from the original LP.

This remixing process is exactly why Stu Phillips (Maestro of the Hollyridge Strings) had told me why he wanted to sit in on the remastering sessions in 2008 when Capitol Records remastered his classic 1965 Christmas album, Christmas Favorites. I asked him why the record companies seem to find it necessary to remix the music for these reissue CDs and here is what he said:

"It seems that all the record companies think that they have to better what was done before. Make it sound more today. I am sitting in to make sure that they don't mess with the original sound."

Thankfully the Hollyridge Strings reissue CD turned out fine. But that's not always the case with these remastered reissue CDs. That's why I'm such a big fan and advocate of these 4 track reel-to-reel tapes. They contain these classic recordings in their original form with ultra crisp, clear and vibrant sound completely devoid of all the crackles, pops and hiss that were so prevalent on the original vinyl LPs.

My friend has a 4 track reel-to-reel player and has been collecting these tapes for years. He transfers them to CD-R, and thanks to him, I now have a good percentage of my collection on CD-Rs made from these great 4 track reel-to-reel tapes.



Alan:

Yes, Columbia Records definitely issued Hallelujah on 4 track 7.5 ips reel-to-reel tape; however, it was released in its reissue form of Music of Christmas, Volume 2. Copies show up on eBay from time to time.

 

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Jon-G
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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/19/2011 00:33)

Once again Chip, thanks for going above and beyond in your commentary and feedback.

I am aware that reels weren't the norm, but yes, you are absolutely right in your comments about the fidelity of the reels vs. CD and LP, which is exactly why I was so delighted to have obtained the reel for such a low price, before I found out it was incomplete.  I still think I got a good deal on it, just that it is a little bit of a disappointment.

The practice of remixing for reissues certainly is a topic that could be heavily discussed and debated.  There are certainly pros and cons.  On the one hand, going back to the multi-track eliminates a tape generation, and certainly does offer one an opportunity to use modern technology to preserve every last sound on the original tape, and perhaps offer a clearer mix from the original.  On the other hand, it is usually impossible to exactly re-create the original mix, and can result in something that just is unsettling in its difference.  I imagine the Percy Faith albums would be impossible to remix to sound like the original.  I know I read somewhere that these albums made use of chambers to add reverb effect.  And I'm guessing whoever went back to the multi-track to remix probably didn't have access to the same chambers used in the original mixdown, and probably used modern reverb units, which just won't sound the same.  This is probably why the CD issue just doesn't sound the same to you.

I kinda feel like, if you wanna remix something, go ahead.....but make it a twofer.  Keep the original in print, let a remix compliment the original.  But, that is rarely what happens.

I'm gonna have to keep an eye out on ebay for one of those 4 track reels now, thanks for confirming that they exist.
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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/19/2011 09:25)

Chip,

Since this topic mentioned Reel-to-Reel tapes, didn't the recording studios actually use them for their masters?  I could be wrong, but also wouldn't they have been the 10 in reels?  I remember my days while working as a Secretary for a Sound Company and we used 4-Track/Channel Reel-to-Reel recorders and we had a 16 track mixing board capable of expansion.

When we did recordings, they were done on the 10 inch reels and sometimes 7 inch reels, and then sent off to a record pressing company.  I can't remember what speed the machines recorded at though.  But they also had "Sound on Sound" so that the music could be recorded by itself and then played back and you could sing along and it would be in sync with the music for the final recording.  I can't remember if it was Sony or Teac that we had back then, but I sure wish I had one of them today.

8-Tracks were, in my opinion, a mistake because too often different record companies tapes wouldn't line up properly and you would get crosstalk between tracks.  Then too if you didn't clean the capstan enough, the tapes would get eaten a lot easier than cassettes.  Then they came out with "Dolby┬«" so that was a huge help in reducing "Hiss" on tape recordings.

There are a lot of Reel-to-Reel tapes out there for very reasonable prices that I would love to have in my collection, but alas, I do not own a Reel-to-Reel tape recorder.
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Susan

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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/20/2011 12:24)

 

Susan,

The record companies recorded music on mutlitrack tape, which was then mixed to create a mono and/or stereo master.


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Christmas Always
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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/20/2011 14:26)

Chip,

I understand that they were multi-track tapes and then mixed down into Mono or Stereo, but were they considered Reel-to-Reel tapes for the recording studios.  Or were they different and then had the Masters made from them onto the 10 inch Reel-to-Reel tapes for the record pressing companies?

I used to know most of this being I worked for the Sound Company, but it was in the 1970's and technology had changed some from the early years.

If my memory is correct, I believe that the original 78's Lacquer records were done with a cutting needle directly from the sound source into the tonearm/cutting head while the lacquer was still wet.  Or maybe it was a just hot cutting needle.

I understand too that vinyl records were cut, then the master was sprayed with an thin layer of liquid metal of some type and it was then used as the revers image for pressing vinyl records.  I apologize again if I'm not explaining things correctly, but I think I have the general idea explained properly.  I don't intentionally give people incorrect information.  But if I am wrong, I know you can explain it correctly.  And I thank you for all the clarifying you have done for all of us.
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Jon-G
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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/20/2011 14:50)

Yes, recording studios do use reel to reel tape.  There are various types and sizes used for various uses.  In my educational experience, I had opportunities to record to 24 track multitrack 2 inch tape.  However, by the time I was learning recording, most stereo mixing was being done to digital DAT tapes, which are not reels, but small cartridges that are digital and hold CD quality sound.  There was a 2 track reel deck that could be used for mixing down to analog, ironically that was in the studio that only had digital multitracking. 

The reels that are used in studios are different than consumer reels.  As you pointed out, they are typically 10 inch (or larger), while consumer reels are typically 7 inch.  Also, while consumer reels run at 3 3/4 ips or 7.5 ips, in a studio you're more likely to see reels run at 30 ips or sometimes 15. 

You are correct that before tape, records were cut live direct to the disc. 


If one is interested in how records are made, the following youtube clips are interesting:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUGRRUecBik
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IReDh9ec_rk&feature=related
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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/21/2011 07:02)

Thanks Jon,

I had heard of DAT coming out later in the record/mixing process, but that is when "Digitizing" started to basically ruin the sound quality of Analog Audio recordings.  I can't remember if it was in this thread or another where I was mentioning that anytime you digitize any format, you lose quality.  Whether or not it be an Audio clip, Video clip or even a photograph.  The Digitizing compresses everything so much that it can't be recovered when it's converted back.  That is why I prefer the older vinyl recordings as they sound as good today (as long as they aren't scratched) as the day they were first pressed.

I've often come across a record album in a thrift store that was still factory sealed and even from the early 1960's and not a re-issue and I dreaded opening it, but if you don't open it, you can't listen to it.  And it was pristine.  Not anything you could get the same quality on a CD from.

I've even noticed that when I've copied a VHS video tape to the computer and made a DVD of it, though there really isn't a difference in the way the movie sounds on the TV, but if I time the VHS tape from start to finish, and it's 88 minutes and 20 seconds long, the DVD is under 88 minutes, but yet it doesn't sound as if it's been sped up any and there aren't any missing words or frames.

Even the 2-hour version of the WPIX Yule Log from before the restoration.  I came across a videotaped recording I did from the 1980's and when I converted it to a DVD, it was under two hours.  But the music still sounded the same not sped up.

Digital is convenient, but IMO not necessary.  But I have always been partial to Analog for everything, including Television.  But I'm getting way off topic now.

I was going to ask in my previous post if it was 2 inch tape they used, but you answered that for me too.

Thanks again.
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Jon-G
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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/21/2011 17:16)

The issues of digital vs. analog and CD vs. vinyl are certainly issues that could be heavily discussed and debated.  And those two comparisons are two very different things, as vinyl and CD are both formats that do not represent the best that either has to offer.

When it comes down to it, both analog and digital used to their greatest capabilities are probably able to perform better than the human ear is capable of hearing.  They really are different technologies that work very differently and are capable of being used in different ways, and each has their pros and cons, and their uses.

Certainly digital has become the norm.  And, some great things can be done using digital technology.  What is really sad in the digital world is that CD has become the standard.  And what is sadder is that the CD is being replaced by far inferior sounding digital file formats.  The record buying public and the music industry are moving in the wrong direction when it comes to quality.  But, there are better things out there that digital can do.  In the early 2000s there were two formats developed that offered better than CD sound quality, and also offered 5.1 surround sound as well, the dvd-audio, and the sacd.  They were both great sounding formats that could really show that digital could do much better than the CD.  But, between there being a format wars, there being no promotion of the formats, and a very low supply of titles available, what would have been a challenge to succeed at in the mp3 age became impossible to succeed at all.  The music industry fumbled it horribly, basically screwing over any paying customer that bought a player and showed their support for the formats by purchasing what few titles were available.

Anyways....

When it comes to the vinyl vs. CD debate, that's a difficult one.  There have been many arguments made by many intelligent people for both sides, with good points made all around.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want you thinking I'm sounding like I'm pro digital, not at all.  I'm pro everything.  I own a lot of CDs, and a lot of vinyl.  I guess what makes things a challenge in comparing vinyl vs. CD is that it's hard to have a fair comparison, since there are so many variables when it comes to mastering, ie, getting the sound that is on the master tape onto the vinyl or CD.  Nowadays we live in an age of the "volume wars", where CDs are getting louder and louder through use of compression.  The people calling the shots don't want their CDs sounding quieter than the competitions, so the order is given to the mastering engineer to make the disc louder.  The mastering engineer wants to eat, so he does as it told, and damages the audio that has been taken off the tape with limiting and compression.  Sure, the disc sounds louder, but you lose the dynamic range.  So, when you have modern CDs suffering from unnecessary overuse of compression and limiting, and you compare that to a nice vinyl that has been properly mastered, that's going to give the vinyl and edge, which is not necessarily due to the difference between analog and digital.  It's different masterings that are being compared.

Of course, this is just one example.  There are many different things in mastering, different variables in making a record or a CD.  There are some really good sounding CDs and some really lousy sounding CDs, same for vinyl. 

But when it comes to VHS vs. DVD....well, VHS was a horrible format.  No contest, DVD wins that hands down.  I'm not sure why you would have timings changed when going from one to the other, but the process of converting video, and making dvds, are complicated processes, where many things can go wrong or be done wrong if one doesn't know what they are doing every step of the way.  I know, I've messed up lots of things in learning to do VHS to DVD conversions.  Anyways, I would double check everything there, because the timing shouldn't be changing like that.  One thing to keep in mind that I discovered is that there are different methods of timing in video, drop frame and non-drop frame.  I have run into situations where I've taken notes with something laid out in one setting, and used that to set chapters in a program that uses the other, and that results in the chapters becoming out of time, more and more so as it gets more into the program.  Which really threw me off, since I always figured that the second was a scientific unit of measurement, not something that you could just change the value of to fit your use.  But, that's just me, my knowledge of video is not the same as my knowledge of audio.  But, it sounds like your timing was off by more than that, with the drop frame, non drop frame issue, I would have things off by 3 or 4 seconds about 30-45 minutes into a file.  So, if minutes are disappearing from your timing, something has certainly gone wrong in the conversion process....

....anyways, I've gotten way off the topic of this thread at this point.
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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/21/2011 19:52)

The one thing I forgot to mention but have mentioned on this subject in other threads it since going Digital for TV and DVD and Blu-Ray's, there is always an Audio Sync problems and if you pay close attention, you can see the lips move sometimes 3 or 4 seconds before you hear what they said.  With Analog, there wasn't any noticeable audio delay.  I know some newer TV's have a Lip-Sync adjustment, but it really doesn't do much and then you have to readjust it for another DVD etc.

And we can't even get some of our local "Digital" TV Stations anymore with a set of rabbit ear antenna.  So we are forced to pay for our local channels from our Cable, FIOS or Satellite provider.  Then on top of that, they just give you the main channel and not the sub-channels witch carry other programming.  We lost our TV for 4G from the cellpone companies and were told it was to free up bandwidth for EMS which was a downright lie. I knew from the beginning that it was the cellphone companies that had their hand in the pot for this change.

Oh well, we are off topic again.
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johnnyelectron
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RE:Hallelujah!
(Date Posted:12/26/2011 00:24)

Jon-G, check your private mail about RE:Hallelujah!.
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