Master of Turntablism and now electronics wizard, MC VG-Minus, announces technology breakthrough at LJC: Vinyl rip comparisons now directly from the LJC Avid turntable, via a Citronic AC-1 USB audio capture device, into a laptop running Audacity, exported to MP3 at 160 kbps.Wicked eh?
The source is the best on offer, playback quality is still limited to the standard for the WordPress embedded audio player and whatever you use to listen. No more complaints, ha! I’ve let the entire LJC Complaints Team go. All twelve of them.
I won’t repeat my review of the music, which was blogged back in June last year here. Suffice it to say this is one of Pepper’s essential titles, following the recording of which in late 1960 Art departed for a three-year holiday at the Fed’s expense.
To celebrate a technology breakthrough, a War of Independence re-match on like for like vintage vinyl: UK vs US, Contemporary Records mono.
Selection: Art Pepper Quintet – Smack Up (Harold Land)
Jack Sheldon (trumpet) Art Pepper (alto saxophone) Pete Jolly (piano) Jimmy Bond (bass) Frank Butler (drums) recorded Los Angeles, CA, October 24 & 25, 1960
UK release mastered and pressed by Decca, New Malden
Which has the edge: US or UK edition? Is it true that sourcing from copy tapes rather than the original tapes causes audible loss? Or is the issue the engineer remastering judgements, which lead to them sounding different rather than necessarily one worse. Or is it impossible to say listening on today’s portable technology. Go ahead, have your say, make my day:
If anyone has any advice on improving sound using Audacity in a smarter way, or some other free open source software, I’m not proud. These are my first recordings with DJ-type equipment (ahem, don’t laugh). It is great fun watching the sound waves on a laptop screen, but a bigger decision is whether to wear my new baseball cap backwards or sideways?
Technical Supplement, for any sound engineers out there –
Why do Contemporary Records sound good (reasons other than Art Pepper)?
Technical data from the US liner notes: not that I understand most of these things, but I note two things: nothing digital in sight (the irony is not lost on me that the rips presented here are digitally sampled) and do I see a poke at Bob Weinstock and recycled vinyl: “noise-free vinylite”, 1961, they knew.
Vinyl: The labels, both deep groove. No doubt someone understands why the lead-out groove differs.
Occasionally the opportunity turns up to compare like pressings of the same recording, to see if there is anything practical to be learned.
It was on the strength of this sort of comparison that I now reject some UK pressings in favour of US originals, case in point being US Columbia over both UK CBS and UK Philips/Fontana editions of Columbia recordings. With Contemporary I think it is a much more close call. I’m going to be especially interested in any comments.
du Nann bread: The advantage of US Contemporary is the more common availability of Stereo editions. Of my twenty-six UK Contemporary Vogue titles only three are stereo, for reasons that are hard to fathom, titles by Shelly Manne. Perhaps someone at Decca was a Manne-fan? Contemporary stereo I class up there with Columbia.
Technical Legacy: bye-bye Numark usb turtable
Previous rip of Smack Up from the US mono edition. taken with a Numark usb turntable, also 160kbps MP3
To me the old rip doesn’t sound as good as the new rip sourced from the Avid Turntable. However on a cost comparable basis the numark is a wee bit less expensive than the Hi Fi system. The new Citronic/usb/laptop/Audacity set up also makes it easy tocompare samples from digital sources – streaming from CD, with vinyl. Expect a few more quality comparisons in future, only at LJC. Suggestions always welcome.