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Spectropop V#0165

  • From: The Spectropop Group
  • Date: 10/14/98

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       Volume #0165                     October 14, 1998   
                      "Wide Dynamic Range"                 
    Subject:     compression
    Sent:        10/13/98 9:13 am
    Received:    10/14/98 1:18 am
    From:        Marty Rudnick,
    To:          Spectropop List,
    john rausch, jXXXX@XXXnet wrote:
    > all this talk about tape compression...
    > can someone please explain what "compression" is ?
    > I have a vague idea but would like someone's professional opinion.
    > thanks
    > jonr
    Marty sez:
    Compression is in effect squeezing the dynamic range of the 
    program material such that it is at a uniform volume. Best 
    examples of compression? AM Radio and/or The Raspberries' first 
    It also has a net effect of making the program material seem 
    louder -- more "in your face"
    The opposite is usually called "Wide Dynamic Range", and an 
    example might be a proper classical recording where you can easily
    discern and "feel" the difference between soft quiet passages and 
    thunderous crescendos.
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Re: compression
    Sent:        10/13/98 11:49 am
    Received:    10/14/98 1:18 am
    From:        Marc Wielage,
    To:          Spectropop List,
    John Rausch <jXXXX@XXXnet> asked on the Spectropop List:
    >all this talk about tape compression...
    >can someone please explain what "compression" is ?
    >I have a vague idea but would like someone's professional opinion.
    Well, as a working recording engineer in LA, I'll give it a try 
    [even though my expertise is more in video than in audio].
    In a superficial way, "compression" is just a fancy way of saying 
    "controlled volume," or at least controlling the _dynamic range_ -
    the relative loudness and softness of the recording.
    A COMPRESSOR typically brings up the level of quiet sounds, and 
    then brings _down_ the level of very loud sounds. Different 
    adjustments yield different results, some subtle, some not. To 
    give you an example of an extremely-compressed recording, listen 
    to "Any Way You Want It" by The Dave Clark Five. The whole thing 
    sounds loud, distorted, and grossly-compressed, from start to finish 
    -- but that sound probably contributed to making the song a hit.
    There's also a LIMITER, which is a device used to prevent only the
    loud sounds from getting too loud. Many limiters combine 
    compression circuits in the same box, and different kinds of 
    limiter/compressors can sound very different from other devices. 
    For example, some engineers and producers love the sound of old 
    1960s-era tube-type compressors for certain vocals, feeling it 
    adds a kind of "warmth" and texture to the sound quality that you 
    can't get any other way. Overused, you can hear certain kinds of 
    limiters doing their job; as an example, listen to the 1972 
    Raspberries' hit "Go All the Way," where the limiter "pumps" the 
    volume up and down throughout the recording. (Great song, BTW.)
    Without any limiting or compression, you run the risk of winding 
    up with a recording that has an excessively wide dynamic range. 
    This can happen with movie soundtracks, where the audience has to 
    strain their ears to hear the dialog, but then they get blown out 
    of the room when the music jumps in or if there's a loud explosion.
    And as far as 1960s music is concerned, if you hear the flat, 
    uncompressed studio tape without any compression, it can have a 
    drastic effect on the sound you might remember hearing on vinyl. 
    Compressors and limiters were standard equipment in many 
    record-cutting lathes of that era, because the equipment wasn't 
    capable of cutting loud or deep-bass grooves very well.
    -= Marc Wielage      |   "The computerized authority     =-
    -= MusicTrax, LLC    |       on rock, pop, & soul."      =-
    -= Chatsworth, CA    |         =-
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Re: Sunshine Company
    Sent:        10/13/98 11:38 pm
    Received:    10/14/98 1:18 am
    From:        David Bash, BashXXXX@XXXom
    To:          Spectropop List,
    << Another record I found but somehow didn't end up buying (it's not 
     easy having the memory of a goldfish) was one with The Sunshine 
     Company - did I miss something great? It's the only time I've seen
     one of their LPs.....
    Hi Tobias,
    The Sunshine Company had three albums of good to excellent "soft 
    pop" in the late '60s. Based upon my impressions of your taste, 
    you should probably pick up all of them. I'm hoping that someone 
    will one day issue a solid CD compilation of Sunshine Company 
    material. Varese would be a good bet, except for the fact that The
    Sunshine Company had no big hits the label could use as a selling 
    point. Possibly Sundazed, but the wimp factor may be too high for 
    them (yes, I know about The Yellow Balloon but that album has 
    hipness factor among collectors). Perhaps a Japanese label? Or 
    perhaps Revola? :-)
    Spectropop Rules!!!!!
    Take Care,
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Lesley Gore's Backup Singers
    Sent:        10/13/98 10:13 am
    Received:    10/14/98 1:18 am
    From:        CLAUDIA CUNNINGHAM,
    To:          Spectropop List,
    One of my favorite things about Lesley's great hits is her 
    excellent pick of background singers...mostly girls. Interesting 
    that Ellie Greenwich sang backup on most of her albums. Does 
    anyone else know which singers, by name, she used ...especially on
    "Look of Love" which still gives me chills after thirty plus years.
    The vocals are lush and full and completely compliment Lesley's 
    unique style without drowning her out...a great musical marriage.
    I always thought Bobby Rydell's girl backups were tops but 
    Lesley's are right up there with the best of them. And, while 
    we're on the subject, did her song writer brother Mike ever sing 
    background on any of her tunes? I did detect some male voices on 
    "Sunshine Lollipops and Roses."
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Lesley stereo
    Sent:        10/13/98 1:00 pm
    Received:    10/14/98 1:18 am
    From:        Ron Bierma, ELRONXXXX@XXXom
    To:          Spectropop List,
    In a message dated 10/8/98 6:50:11 PM, you wrote:
    <<Speaking of "Leader" & stereo, has anyone found a stereo copy of 
    Lesley Gore's "Look of Love" in the "single-mix" form? >>
    both dubbed & undubbed versions appear on the Bear Family Box-both 
    in stereo-back to back!!  1-2 punch...RB
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     RE:  MOJO's Top Singers
    Sent:        10/13/98 12:58 pm
    Received:    10/14/98 1:18 am
    From:        Stuart Kazanow,
    To:          Spectropop List,
    >Mojo Magazine's latest issue has it's 100 greatest singers of all
    >time as voted by a number of rock musicians (Brian Wilson, Robert 
    >Plant, Bobby Womack, Pat Boone, etc.) The Top Ten are:
    >1) Aretha Franklin
    >2) Frank Sinatra
    >3) Ray Charles
    >4) John Lennon
    >5) Billie Holiday
    >6) Marvin Gaye
    >7) Elvis Presley
    >8) Stevie Wonder
    >9) Sam Cooke
    >10) Otis Redding
    >Bob Dylan
    >Third: Bob Dylan the singer? Give me a break. As one researcher 
    >said: You have to be a lead edge baby boomer to get this joke. A 
    >GREAT songwriter. As a singer, yeah, placing him above Sarah 
    >Vaughan makes sense.
    I was going to write about this on another list a few days ago in 
    regards to E. Costello, but now seems as good a time as any. 
    People have a really bad habit of underestimating Dylan's vocal 
    prowess. Seems that people mistake the ability to sing with the 
    ability to make clear tones.
    The true art of singing is in delivering the emotional impact of a
    song. Many singers can hit the notes but still be mediocre singers 
    (Mariah Carey and Celine Dion come to mind). They are more 
    interested in vocal pyrotechnics than truly selling a song. Other 
    singers can have mediocre voices, but surely deliver the goods. For
    instance, give a good listen to current recordings by Tony Bennett.
    The man's voice isn't that great anymore, but hell if he can't sell
    a song. Much better than any later year Sinatra.
    While Dylan's voice is not "clean," he can still sell the songs. 
    In fact, outside of Hendrix's take on "All Along the Watchtower," 
    I would have trouble naming one artist who has even done justice 
    to Dylan's lyrics besides himself. Listen to "Positively 4th 
    Street." No one has ever been cut down so viciously in popular 
    music as the subject of this song by Dylan. Flo and Eddie may 
    sound vocally better, but damn, did they miss the boat on "It 
    Ain't Me, Babe." And despite how much I like some of the Byrds' 
    interpretations, they never really hold a candle to the originals.
    It is probably said best by Paul Evans, in the Rolling Stone 
    Record Guide:
    "...he employed words provocatively, often cryptically, and with a
    surreal, dreamlike power. And those words served a range of emotion
    - irony, prophecy, anger, anxiety and private jubilation- that had
    by and large gone unspoken in mainstream pop. Fittingly, the voice 
    delivering the new language was a startling one- absolutely 
    unschooled, Dylan's singing struck some of the radio-ears of his 
    moment as ugly or funny, but as an interpretive vehicle it soon 
    became understood as a revelation: Dylan sang with the immediacy 
    of talking, of sharing secrets and conveying intimate truths."
    Consider the group of "singers" that Dylan shares company with...
    voices that while not pretty, say much more than a million pretty 
    voices can:
    Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Robbie Robertson, Mick Jagger, Elvis Costello, David 
    Byrne, Captain Beefheart, Roger Waters, Billy Bragg, Bruce
    Springstein, Alex Chilton, Mick Jones, Randy Newman, Mark Knopfler.
    Not too shabby, IMHO.
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Lesley's 2Cd set/Cinderellas/Crystals
    Sent:        10/13/98 10:14 am
    Received:    10/14/98 1:18 am
    From:        Stos, William,
    To:          Spectropop List,
    I have Lesley's set, and there are many great songs! I have to 
    agree with Doc, Lesley's version of "Wedding Bell Blues," is 
    supreme. But I seem to like some of the lesser known original 
    recordings of some of the songs she did. The Cookies ruled on "The
    Old Crowd," and the Shangri-las in my mind own "What's A Girl 
    Supposed To Do." meanwhile I still feel the Chiffons' "What Am I 
    Gonna Do With You," blows Lesley right out of the water! Even with
    Specs producing it can't compete with my favourite girl group's 
    harmonies or feeling. Judy Craig sings her heart out on the 
    Chiffons' cut. Hands down my favourite GG record ever!
    I have some questions about the Cinderellas. I have their double 
    sided flop Baby baby (I Still Love You)b/w Please Don't Wake Me, 
    but what else is out there. I know groups recorded using that name
    during the sixties, but is anything else out there that good?
    Finally, I'm friends with Barbara Alston of the Crystals, and I've
    told her about this list. Just in case she joins, let's make sure 
    we hear some good things about the Crystals in upcoming editions!
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

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