49 square inches of something again

Posted by Whitmore, September 2, 2007 12:15pm | Post a Comment

“This is in no sense a  stunt record. Let the record speak for itself.”

Says that right here on the back. Of course the record starts with the sound of a train, moving from left speaker to right.

“In spite of the high
degree of perfection
reached hitherto in the art of commercial disc recording, especially
since the advent of the long-playing record, the  monaural or one-channel system has certain limitations. The listener is deprived of any real sense of perspective in the sound.”

But wait, there is something astonishingly beautiful and perfect about some monaural mixes: and that beauty is called “clarity.”  To my weary, tinnitus-filled ears, the mono mix of the Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle is perfection, even in headphones. There’s separation. The piano, the organ, the harpsichord, the guitars, drums, the vocals, the reverb … it’s all there sounding just about what you would like these things to sound like, without the sugar-coated, frosty-haze of full frequency stereophonic sound creeping into your left and right ears, ping-ponging one at a time!  Another great psyche classic, Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn also benefits from a mono mix,  as it was originally released in mono. There is something distracting about the gamesmanship of  “The Piper” stereo mix. That’s right … the gamesmanship.

Coincidentally, (then again, like I’ve written here before,
there are no coincidences …) according to the Pink Floyd
official website, the 40th anniversary edition will be
released on September 4th, 2007, as both a two CD set
and a three CD box set and with both the stereo and mono
versions. Unfortunately The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
has been “newly re-mastered.”

Two words I hate to see on any classic album re-release. When you know a record like the back of your hand, every slight variation becomes a distraction, inevitably something doesn’t sound right … and don’t give me this crap about bringing back to life some old, ill recorded, antediluvian production, whose session atrophied way back in the Mesozoic age, and can only be salvaged by new millennium-man with cape fluttering in the post Patriot Act air, there to rescue the bastard child birthed by outdated clunky technology … that’s bullshit! It’s just another way to sell you that same record for the 4th or 5th time.

 Anyway …

“The outer groove wall carries the right channel; the inner wall the left channel.”


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