the way classic jazz records are mixed is getting to me

Discussion in 'Music and Recordings' started by denny_dow, May 5, 2022.

  1. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2021
    Likes Received:
    83
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    hi all... a sort of 'you can't unhear it once you heard it' story. not long ago I acquired a pair of Triangle Titus Ez speakers, a solid step up from modest Polk T50s I started with. the Tituses are finicky with amplification, but are amazing when set up correctly (my vintage Harman HK 620 was a good match) - they are extremely holographic, create a mad soundstage, I have not experienced anything quite like it before. anyway, it was with Tituses while listening to Kind of Blue by Miles that I noticed that the drums, especially the snares, are shifted square into the right speaker. thing is, the Tituses disappear on a good track, but here the snaring was dead in the right speaker, drawing attention to it, and really annoying... at first I thought that this was a feature of a particular record, but no - I listened to Maiden Voyage, Speak No Evil, Idle moments by Grant Green - the last one I listened to both as digital and from a vinyl (Analogue Productions pressing mind!) this sort of drumming treatment is present in all if them. right now I am listening to Royal Flush by Donald Byrd, and it's same old. I plugged the Polks back in, ans sure enough, it's the same. I guess I did not pay attention before as I did not expect a sort of soundstage the Tituses can pull off. this does seem to be a feature of recordings from that era. modern records, GoGo Penguin or Portico Quartet for example, present an amazing vista of sound layers, masterfully done soundscape.

    anyone else experienced this?
     
  2. Questhate

    Questhate Friend

    Friend Contributor
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Likes Received:
    147
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Yep, the left-right panning in old jazz records is very extreme. Especially pronounced on headphones where the drummer is squarely on your right ear and Cannonball is in your left ear and Coltrane in your right ear (on Kind of Blue). I imagine they exaggerated this effect since stereo recording was new back then (maybe someone more versed here can fill us in). I kinda like the effect as it feels like you're in the middle of the band, but definitely different than the more out-front imaging on modern recordings.
     
  3. wbass

    wbass Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2019
    Likes Received:
    887
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    London, UK
    Yeah, this is why a lot of jazzheads seek out mono pressings of classic jazz on LP. And/or make sure to have a mono switch available. I personally don't mind the hard-panning, but it is definitely a choice that eventually (and probably rightly) fell out of fashion.

    People collect mono Beatles stuff for the same reason.
     
  4. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2021
    Likes Received:
    83
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    interesting. I have been wondering about practical application of the mono switch. thanks!
     
  5. Wilson

    Wilson Socially Anxious Volleyball

    Friend Contributor
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2016
    Likes Received:
    5,255
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Ohio
    I definitely prefer the mono mixes of the Velvet Underground or the Beach Boys
     
  6. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

    Friend Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,108
    Trophy Points:
    113
    They were mostly originally mixed in mono and stereo was an afterthought. The same with early Beatles and Cream.
     
  7. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    11,979
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    India
    South Indian classical music has a drum called mridangam, much the same as the North has the better-known tabla. Tabla is divided into the two drums, one played with each had; mridangam has the two combined into a single, double ended drum.

    Usually, the mridangam player sits on the left of the stage as seen by the audience.

    Can you imagine the madness of panning the left side of the drum left, and the right side of the same drum to the right? Probably not, because it insane to the point of vandalism. But I have CDs... more than one... where it is done. The result, to me, is unlistenable. It hurts. Just as it hurts to have senseless reverb, etc, added to what is essentially acoustic music.

    Some people can't keep their hands off their knobs.
     
  8. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2021
    Likes Received:
    83
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    I heard something similar on Deep Purple - Made in Japan vinyl record I own: drumming was all over the place. did not bother me, but I remarked upon it, as it was just not grounded in reality. I mean, I understand this in electronic music, you can go all wild and all, but why would you do it on a record of a live event where there clearly was one drummer and one drum set.

    today I was listening to In Tokyo by Monty Alexander, it's a record from 1979, and there the panning is done in a 'modern' way already.
     
  9. zottel

    zottel Almost "Made"

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2022
    Likes Received:
    474
    Trophy Points:
    53
    Location:
    Franconia, Germany
    I often hear this spreading of the drum set in modern recordings, too, and it bothers me a lot. One cymbal to the left, another to the right, and when the drummer goes from highest to lowest tom in a fill-in, it’s all from left to right or vice versa. No extreme panning, but it sounds so unnatural!

    Maybe it’s better on speakers, but on headphones, this kind of mix doesn’t create the impression of a real drum set at all.
     
  10. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    11,979
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    India
    Which is absolutely against the basic tenet of high fidelity: creating the impression of a real performance; aiming for the truth of the music experience.

    Mixing for effect, psychedelic flying sounds and all, is different, of course. A different kind of truth.

    I'm not a jazz person, but I'm surprised to hear that it is particularly afflicted with this kind of crap: I see a large intersection of ven circles of jazz people and hard-line audiophiles. Maybe that's more in my imagination than reality.
     
  11. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2021
    Likes Received:
    83
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    I have to say, the Tituses have been a mixed blessing so far: they shine on a well recorded track, and then something like The House of Rising Sun by the Animals kicks in, a song I always enjoyed, and it's suddenly apparent that everything is constricted to about 2/3 of space between the speakers... and it's just not the same. unforgiving speakers.
     
  12. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2021
    Likes Received:
    83
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    interestingly, this does not bother me as much when listening through headphones. in fact, I now listen to all my beloved classic jazz records exclusively through headphones.
     

Share This Page