David Ayers

Classic Blue Notes on SHM-CD

1,276 posts in this topic

Cuscuna has verified that the Japanese master tape of "Sweet Honey Bee" is a dub of the US master tape, which is a needle drop. He even went so far as to get a copy of their tape for RVG to use on his US RVG CD. After extensive searching a couple of times in the past decades, it doesn't appear that there is a copy of this master tape that is not from the needle-dropped master. According to Cuscuna, the Japanese remove all evidence of the needle drop during the mastering, hence the assumption that it must be from a different master tape. It's not.

Kevin,

When did Cuscuna provide this information and was it specifically in regard to the SHM-CD of Sweet Honey Bee or an earlier reissue (such as the RVG CD)? Since Grundman is transferring the entire back catalog in this new "75th ann" series, is it not possible Grundman came across the master tape for Sweet Honey Bee in the vaults and it was used for this SHM title?

Also - if I understand your post correctly, the US RVG CD of Sweet Honey Bee is a dub of a dub of a dub of a vinyl record? For example: US makes a tape of vinyl record -> Japanese receive a tape copy of the US tape of vinyl record -> Cuscuna obtains a tape copy of the Japanese copy tape of US tape of vinyl record --> Rudy transfers a 3rd gen source for the RVG CD. Why didn't Cuscuna just put the word out to find a mint first press vinyl copy and do a new transfer for the RVG CD?

Well, this SHM-CD is the Redbook copy to get then as it sounds best here to me, few lp artifacts to draw attention to themselves. A great Blue Note album however sourced.

So are you saying you are hearing LP artifacts in the SHM CD?

Actually, I remember Cuscuna (through someone) asked specefically on the Blue Note Bulletin Board if anyone of the members had a sealed or mint first pressing of Sweet Honey Bee prior to the production of the Rvg reissue.

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Sonny Clark - Cool Struttin' (TYCJ-81003)

Unlike the XRCD, which has the two bonus tracks in mono, the SHM-CD contains the complete session in stereo.

The two bonus tracks can also be found on Sonny Clark Quintets (UCCQ-5001) along with Cool Struttin' as a bonus track (all in mono).

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When did Cuscuna provide this information and was it specifically in regard to the SHM-CD of Sweet Honey Bee or an earlier reissue (such as the RVG CD)? Since Grundman is transferring the entire back catalog in this new "75th ann" series, is it not possible Grundman came across the master tape for Sweet Honey Bee in the vaults and it was used for this SHM title?

Also - if I understand your post correctly, the US RVG CD of Sweet Honey Bee is a dub of a dub of a dub of a vinyl record? For example: US makes a tape of vinyl record -> Japanese receive a tape copy of the US tape of vinyl record -> Cuscuna obtains a tape copy of the Japanese copy tape of US tape of vinyl record --> Rudy transfers a 3rd gen source for the RVG CD. Why didn't Cuscuna just put the word out to find a mint first press vinyl copy and do a new transfer for the RVG CD?

When Blue Note announced that "Sweet Honey Bee" was coming out in the RVG series, I called him to tell him that people were saying that the Japanese TOCJ CD issue of this title sounded like it was not taken from a needle drop like the US CD. Cuscuna said that he directed Rudy to pull the Japanese master tape for his master, which he did. Michael said it is just a cleaned up dub of the master tape in the US vault.

As for the "dub of a dub of a dub of a vinyl record" comment, I think you have one extra dub in there. Michael said that he had Rudy use the Japanese tape for his master.

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Has Morgan's "The Gigolo" SHM been discussed on this thread

anyone compared it to the previous RVG (US) & McMaster editions - as far as I can recall the RVG sounded horrible with the McMaster version sounding slightly superior (not sure re the TOCJ versions)

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Has Morgan's "The Gigolo" SHM been discussed on this thread

anyone compared it to the previous RVG (US) & McMaster editions - as far as I can recall the RVG sounded horrible with the McMaster version sounding slightly superior (not sure re the TOCJ versions)

I picked up the SHM CD and compared it to my RVG. The RVG CD was squashed like a pancake from compression and the stereo image is narrowed and quickly generates listener fatigue. Additionally, Aphex Aural Exciter artifacts suggest that Rudy used the device to manipulate and goose up the sonics and results in an artificial splashing of the cymbal across the stereo image in a bizarre phasing effect. The RVG of Morgan's The Gigolo is truly one of Rudy's most awful remasters. In contrast, the SHM CD has a wider sound stage, greater dynamic freedom and more natural cymbal presentation.

Edited by monkboughtlunch

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Has Morgan's "The Gigolo" SHM been discussed on this thread

anyone compared it to the previous RVG (US) & McMaster editions - as far as I can recall the RVG sounded horrible with the McMaster version sounding slightly superior (not sure re the TOCJ versions)

I picked up the SHM CD and compared it to my RVG. The RVG CD was squashed like a pancake from compression and the stereo image is narrowed and quickly generates listener fatigue. Additionally, Aphex Aural Exciter artifacts suggest that Rudy used the device to manipulate and goose up the sonics and results in an artificial splashing of the cymbal across the stereo image in a bizarre phasing effect. The RVG of Morgan's The Gigolo is truly one of Rudy's most awful remasters. In contrast, the SHM CD has a wider sound stage, greater dynamic freedom and more natural cymbal presentation.

many thanks - I've added the SHM version to my latest HMV Japan order

Aphex Aural Exciter artifacts - what an alliteration - sounds like something from Dr Who (thought you were taking the piss initially but this is real!!)

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What are thoughts on the 3 Sounds releases in the SHM CD series? Are any of these three titles standouts worth picking up? I'm not familiar with these titles. (Here We Come, Hey There, Black Orchid)

Hey There is surely the best for the money because you also get 10 of 11 tracks issued as Babe's Blues, and holy bleeep, the unissued track from that day's session, "Billy Boy," is a burner. And as a very nice added bonus, there is a quite extended series of fours between Gene and the under-appreciated Bill Dowdy. Superb!

I agree. A wonderful disc this SHM-CD. Cuscuna mentions in his note, that this unissued Billy Boy rec is from the same 8/13/61 session that produces all other tracks from this CD, while the issued version was from a later session (as you may know of course).

By the way, Donald Byrd's New Perspective finally found a great easy to the ear remastering in this latest batch of SHM-CDs. The RVG is really hard to the ear. Highly recommended this SHM as well.

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Has Morgan's "The Gigolo" SHM been discussed on this thread

anyone compared it to the previous RVG (US) & McMaster editions - as far as I can recall the RVG sounded horrible with the McMaster version sounding slightly superior (not sure re the TOCJ versions)

I picked up the SHM CD and compared it to my RVG. The RVG CD was squashed like a pancake from compression and the stereo image is narrowed and quickly generates listener fatigue. Additionally, Aphex Aural Exciter artifacts suggest that Rudy used the device to manipulate and goose up the sonics and results in an artificial splashing of the cymbal across the stereo image in a bizarre phasing effect. The RVG of Morgan's The Gigolo is truly one of Rudy's most awful remasters. In contrast, the SHM CD has a wider sound stage, greater dynamic freedom and more natural cymbal presentation.

It would be interesting to know if RVG did use the Aphex Aural Exciter on these CDs as it might explain some of the squirrely phasing on some of them. Michael Cuscuna doesn't believe that RVG used it on the Blue Note reissues though. Michael says that RVG typically uses it for recordings that "need more pop".

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Has Morgan's "The Gigolo" SHM been discussed on this thread

anyone compared it to the previous RVG (US) & McMaster editions - as far as I can recall the RVG sounded horrible with the McMaster version sounding slightly superior (not sure re the TOCJ versions)

I picked up the SHM CD and compared it to my RVG. The RVG CD was squashed like a pancake from compression and the stereo image is narrowed and quickly generates listener fatigue. Additionally, Aphex Aural Exciter artifacts suggest that Rudy used the device to manipulate and goose up the sonics and results in an artificial splashing of the cymbal across the stereo image in a bizarre phasing effect. The RVG of Morgan's The Gigolo is truly one of Rudy's most awful remasters. In contrast, the SHM CD has a wider sound stage, greater dynamic freedom and more natural cymbal presentation.

It would be interesting to know if RVG did use the Aphex Aural Exciter on these CDs as it might explain some of the squirrely phasing on some of them. Michael Cuscuna doesn't believe that RVG used it on the Blue Note reissues though. Michael says that RVG typically uses it for recordings that "need more pop".

If that's the case, Rudy must have felt every recording made in the 1950s and 60s needed "more pop."

The proof is in the pudding. The phasing artifacts heard only on RVG CD remasters (and not any other remasters of the material such as those by Hoffman, Yoshida, Grundman) tell the tale of how Rudy marred his own beautiful recordings with horrid remastering techniques. The fact that Michael Cuscuna apparently confirmed to you that Rudy owns and uses an Aphex Aural Exciter device clinches it.

The new SHMCD series is wonderful as I can finally upgrade and ditch some of the worst RVG CD remasters with fatigue inducing dynamic compression and phasing artifacts.

Edited by monkboughtlunch

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I have many of the original Blue Note CD issues done by Ron McMaster in the 80's, these CDs were made by transferring the one step analog master (two track analog tape) to digital.

To my ears many of them sound better than the RVG editions and 24bit TOCJ.

Can anyone confirm this?

I've quite a few of these and some of the Columbia Miles Davis from the early 90's too - all transferred from the original master tapes and sound pretty good. I've come to the conclusion that it's not so much better or worse with different remastering, just difference.

The much maligned RVG editions which everyone despises and who say sound compressed and awful, also sound pretty good to me on my set-up.

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If that's the case, Rudy must have felt every recording made in the 1950s and 60s needed "more pop."

The proof is in the pudding. The phasing artifacts heard only on RVG CD remasters (and not any other remasters of the material such as those by Hoffman, Yoshida, Grundman) tell the tale of how Rudy marred his own beautiful recordings with horrid remastering techniques. The fact that Michael Cuscuna apparently confirmed to you that Rudy owns and uses an Aphex Aural Exciter device clinches it.

Michael Cuscuna actually said, "I don't believe he did" (use the Aphex Aural Exciter), which is far from clinching it. :)

We can agree to disagree that every RVG CD is somehow messed up. I like some and dislike others.

Back to SHM-CD discussion...

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How long does CDJAPAN usually take to get here using their cheapest shipping method? They say 1-3 weeks (but it could be 12 weeks). I've only ordered from them once before, and I seem to remember it took a couple weeks or so - is that about right?

Finally got around to ordering Unity (with the alternates), and also got Mode For Joe (also for the previously unreleased alternate) -- and hoping they get here before I'm out of town in early June.

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I THINK you'll get them before you leave but it's been ages since i used the cheapest methods and I've read it can take longer. I usually do airmail or FedEx International Priority. Air Mail can somtimes take two weeks. I use my points to defray higher shipping charges.

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I THINK you'll get them before you leave but it's been ages since i used the cheapest methods and I've read it can take longer. I usually do airmail or FedEx International Priority. Air Mail can somtimes take two weeks. I use my points to defray higher shipping charges.

Thanks. They said they shipped it on May 13th (or maybe 12th, depending on the time/date difference) -- or I got the email that said that it had shipped "today" around 4:30am (Eastern) on 5/13.

If it gets here, great -- if not, it'll be waiting for me when I'm back.

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The cost/benefit ratio for using EMS is overwhelming positive, but that's just in my opinion.

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How long does CDJAPAN usually take to get here using their cheapest shipping method? They say 1-3 weeks (but it could be 12 weeks). I've only ordered from them once before, and I seem to remember it took a couple weeks or so - is that about right?

Finally got around to ordering Unity (with the alternates), and also got Mode For Joe (also for the previously unreleased alternate) -- and hoping they get here before I'm out of town in early June.

I got a shipped email from them on Friday 5/15 & it got here today. That was with the cheap air mail shipping option to Ohio.

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If that's the case, Rudy must have felt every recording made in the 1950s and 60s needed "more pop."

The proof is in the pudding. The phasing artifacts heard only on RVG CD remasters (and not any other remasters of the material such as those by Hoffman, Yoshida, Grundman) tell the tale of how Rudy marred his own beautiful recordings with horrid remastering techniques. The fact that Michael Cuscuna apparently confirmed to you that Rudy owns and uses an Aphex Aural Exciter device clinches it.

Michael Cuscuna actually said, "I don't believe he did" (use the Aphex Aural Exciter), which is far from clinching it. :)

You did clinch that Rudy uses an Aphex Aural Exciter as verified by Cuscuna. --> "Michael says that RVG typically uses it for recordings that "need more pop".

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So what we are saying is that the Aphex Aural Exciter is a very bad, bad, bad thing?

Is that because Rudy is using it?

The time will come when the RVG CD's are rehabilitated in polite hi-fi listening society. It will likely start with Birth of The Cool and continue from there.

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The hi-fi clubs in old folks homes everywhere will surely appreciate Rudy's extreme treble boost on Smoke Stack. I can see it.

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I can see it.

You mean ... feel it? The boosted highs always make the cabinets rattle. Though I can understand, if we're talking retirement homes, how an Aural Exciter could be beneficial for the hard of hearing. I suppose just about everyone would like to be aurally excited now and then.

Back on topic, I must now go on record stating that UCCQ 5043 is the best version I've heard of that album. Sold the APO hybrid SACD, which felt under-powered, as a result. I've now owned the 80's vinyl, McMaster, RVG, hybrid SACD, and SHM-CD of this record. Hopefully I'm done re-purchasing this title for a while. :w

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I intend to sell all of my Hoffman Blue Note APO SACDs, but will wait until they are OOP. Let those suckers pay through the nose. ;)

Edited by erwbol

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I'm invested all my bucks in the RVG edition revival which will surely come. I was pleasantly surprised to see today, a number of RVG Blue Note editions being sold for the dizzying price of €19.99 - €21.99, which is good inflation, considering they were selling for €4.95 in most other music stores in the Netherlands!

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Though after EMI's pressing plant in Uden, the Netherlands closed, those RVG discs selling for $5 sometimes had faulty or deviating/improvised artwork, and I also had one CD that looked perfect under lamplight, but had a manufacturing defect. Quality control was let go off, in my experience. They were pressed at several different EU locations. And not all titles first released with copy control tech after sometime in 2002 were reissued without this tech at the end.


This was before the Universal takeover. Universal discs from EDC, Germany with the Universal watermark logo in the matrix ring (e.g. ECM, Concord Music Group) are of high quality.

Edited by erwbol

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