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ELO-Jeff Lynne Incredible feat...yet tragic!
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greggybud
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20th December 2012
Old 20th December 2012
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ELO-Jeff Lynne Incredible feat...yet tragic!

Has any charting popular artist of the past ever achieved what Jeff Lynne did with "Mr. Blue Sky The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra?"

In a nutshell, from what I have read, he completely re-recorded his songs. (See this month Tape Op or read the liner notes on the CD.) The amazing part IMO is how accurate he was. These tracks were recorded over 30 years ago yet I doubt a casual ELO fan will even notice it. Serious ELO fans will hear changes, but they are minor. His accuracy even with his voice is amazing.

So has anyone else ever done this with such accuracy?

The tragic part, as usual, is they were ruined at mastering. More dull and lifeless. Anyone with hearing can immediately detect a loss of high end on the new CD. This happens over and over these days, but what makes this so incredibly sad is he spent years re-recording these tracks..from what I read everything from scratch...only to be made "competitive."

Since I have Wavelab to instantly provide some crazy dB RMS numbers..

Mr Blue Sky (from Out of the Blue) L -13.21 R -13.09
Mr Blue Sky (from The Very Best..) L -7.07 R -6.77

Turn to Stone (from Out of the Blue) L -13.08 R -12.69
Turn to Stone (from The Very Best..) L-7.26 R -7.72
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21st December 2012
Old 21st December 2012
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I was thinking about the same thing after hearing about the project and then seeing who mastered it. After hearing the new Joe Walsh album that Lynne produced and was mastered by the same ME, I figured the outcome would be similar.

The documentary "Mr Blue Sky" that was showing on Palladia and elsewhere is very good.
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21st December 2012
Old 21st December 2012
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Just don't buy the effin' things. That's what Ive been told.
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21st December 2012
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Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
Just don't buy the effin' things. That's what Ive been told.
I normally don't.

But considering this artist re-recorded everything including the vocals and then listening to the outcome...I'm amazed! The fact that the originals were tracked over 30 years ago and he can still make his songs sound so close! As I mentioned, most people won't detect a difference unless you are a ELO fan and really know their music.
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21st December 2012
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I always liked Jeff Lynne/ELO, even though it was definitely frowned upon growing up!

Have not heard this recording, will check it out...
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21st December 2012
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I like the new Album


and loved the old ones ;-)
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21st December 2012
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Originally Posted by lematrix View Post
I like the new Album
and loved the old ones ;-)
Did you do an A/B?
Wait..like vs. love. Okay.
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21st December 2012
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...while I too was amazed at how accurate these new versions are, Lynne's other recent release, "Long Wave" is stunning...great selection of classic cover tunes get the signature "Lynne treatment"...

...was that album also mastered by the same engineer?

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21st December 2012
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how can you state that it was ruined at the mastering stage without having access to the mixes?

love that album, i quite like it that it's not hyped in the highs. will have a listen to it in the studio, curious about that 'butchering'...
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21st December 2012
Old 21st December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greggybud View Post
I normally don't.

But considering this artist re-recorded everything including the vocals and then listening to the outcome...I'm amazed! The fact that the originals were tracked over 30 years ago and he can still make his songs sound so close! As I mentioned, most people won't detect a difference unless you are a ELO fan and really know their music.
If the original dynamics were touched - as in the case with most commercial remasters - I'm not buying. I'm sure Lynne did a fine job retracking his vocals though.
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21st December 2012
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Originally Posted by pmx View Post
how can you state that it was ruined at the mastering stage without having access to the mixes?

love that album, i quite like it that it's not hyped in the highs. will have a listen to it in the studio, curious about that 'butchering'...
Give it a listen. Look at the wave.

In this case I think the signs indicate mastering stage. Dull. Less dynamics. Narrow stereo field.

While Jeff says one of his goals was to make the drums more punchy I think he gave up too much for that.

I suppose you can say the 70s recording was hyped. Its all relative. However elo didn't seem to sonically stand out to me at that time.

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21st December 2012
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OK i dont get it. Whats the point of painstakingly re-recording if the intended outcome sounds exactly the same ? Probably useful for archeologists 1000 years from now but for the same artist to attepmt that its kind of like an old man trying to relive his glory days and makes it kind of sad.
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21st December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NothingTheory View Post
OK i dont get it. Whats the point of painstakingly re-recording if the intended outcome sounds exactly the same ? Probably useful for archeologists 1000 years from now but for the same artist to attepmt that its kind of like an old man trying to relive his glory days and makes it kind of sad.
My guess would be money... I'm sure Jeff owns these, probably doesn't control the originals. If you can't tell the difference he can license them to people which would be attractive to companies not having to deal with major labels/publishers
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21st December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NothingTheory View Post
OK i dont get it. Whats the point of painstakingly re-recording if the intended outcome sounds exactly the same ? Probably useful for archeologists 1000 years from now but for the same artist to attepmt that its kind of like an old man trying to relive his glory days and makes it kind of sad.
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My guess would be money... I'm sure Jeff owns these, probably doesn't control the originals. If you can't tell the difference he can license them to people which would be attractive to companies not having to deal with major labels/publishers
...If you have the opportunity to read any of his recent interviews in Mix or Tape Op, he explains that over the years, when he hears the originals on the radio, or licensed for film or TV soundtrack, that they sound much more muffled or muddy than he remembered when first producing the tracks...in the Tape Op interview, he states that he's had 30 years more experience as a producer/engineer and that experience combined with new technologies (Lynne loves computer-based DAW production) allowed him to create "cleaner, clearer, more punchy and tidier" versions of those hits...

...here's an excerpt from a similar interview (Jeff Lynne On Why He Re-Recorded His ELO Hits )

But why would someone with as much musical creativity as Jeff Lynne want to spend all this time rehashing old songs?

“It’s a simple reason, really,” he says. “I used to hear my songs on the radio and they never sounded like I thought they sounded when I first did them. I thought, ‘I must try this.’ So I laid down the track of ‘Mr. Blue Sky,’ starting with a brand new track. I started with a click and went from there. It sounded so much better than the old one, so I thought, ‘I’m gonna do another one.’ I did ‘Evil Woman’ and ‘Strange Magic.’ Talking to my manager, he was saying, ‘Why don’t you just keep going and see how many you can do?’ And I’m really glad I did. I firmly believe these sound much cleaner and fresher, and more clarity.”


...here he explains how recording-to-tape techniques in the 70's were somewhat responsible for the lack of clarity:



...the fact that he also released an entirely new album of classic cover tunes at the same time ("Long Wave") makes me believe the revisiting of ELO hits was just a personal indulgence he needed to address...IMHO, anything Jeff Lynne does is worthy of a good listen...

...not to hijack the thread, but if you haven't heard his other new release, give it a listen:

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22nd December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NothingTheory View Post
Whats the point of painstakingly re-recording if the intended outcome sounds exactly the same ?
It's not exactly. But IMO it's very close. As I said, the casual radio listener who is familiar with ELO probably won't detect a difference.

But if you know these hits, you will immediately hear subtle differences. This is the best way I can think of describing his new CD.

IMO over 30 years was an amazing feat, and something not achieved by any other well known commercial artist?

As far as mastering, simply compare the old and new. There is a huge difference especially in the high end, and I was very disappointed.
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22nd December 2012
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Ok, just checked out Livin Thing. Definitely hear some differences, acoustic guitar seems more up-front, strings in the chorus have fewer parts (could only really hear one, but probably due to MP3 format), vox are definitely dif because of Lynne's voice now... etc

Still sounds good though!
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22nd December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...If you have the opportunity to read any of his recent interviews in Mix or Tape Op, he explains that over the years, when he hears the originals on the radio, or licensed for film or TV soundtrack, that they sound much more muffled or muddy than he remembered when first producing the tracks...in the Tape Op interview, he states that he's had 30 years more experience as a producer/engineer and that experience combined with new technologies (Lynne loves computer-based DAW production) allowed him to create "cleaner, clearer, more punchy and tidier" versions of those hits...

...here's an excerpt from a similar interview (Jeff Lynne On Why He Re-Recorded His ELO Hits )

But why would someone with as much musical creativity as Jeff Lynne want to spend all this time rehashing old songs?

“It’s a simple reason, really,” he says. “I used to hear my songs on the radio and they never sounded like I thought they sounded when I first did them. I thought, ‘I must try this.’ So I laid down the track of ‘Mr. Blue Sky,’ starting with a brand new track. I started with a click and went from there. It sounded so much better than the old one, so I thought, ‘I’m gonna do another one.’ I did ‘Evil Woman’ and ‘Strange Magic.’ Talking to my manager, he was saying, ‘Why don’t you just keep going and see how many you can do?’ And I’m really glad I did. I firmly believe these sound much cleaner and fresher, and more clarity.”


...here he explains how recording-to-tape techniques in the 70's were somewhat responsible for the lack of clarity:



...the fact that he also released an entirely new album of classic cover tunes at the same time ("Long Wave") makes me believe the revisiting of ELO hits was just a personal indulgence he needed to address...IMHO, anything Jeff Lynne does is worthy of a good listen...

...not to hijack the thread, but if you haven't heard his other new release, give it a listen:

Lynne's HEARING is not the same since the '70s - none of ours is! So basically, besides the money, he's probably remastering according to how it sounds to him now.

Doesn't effect me - I have two ELO greatest hits compilations done before all this remastering craze took ahold. Authentic sound, choppy organic waveforms, pure bliss!
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23rd December 2012
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I love those old albums. Still have three or four on vinyl. He says he'd redoing it the way he always wanted it to be but could not achieve with the existing technology of the day. He talks about it in the Mr. Blue Sky documentary.

BBC Four - Mr Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne and ELO
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23rd December 2012
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I have always wondered what an old record would sound like if it was recorded today. Very cool. Too bad it sounds like it was squeezed out of a tube of toothpaste. I hear a lot of clipping, especially in "Do Ya" and "Showdown".
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23rd December 2012
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Originally Posted by gruenburger View Post
I have always wondered what an old record would sound like if it was recorded today. Very cool. Too bad it sounds like it was squeezed out of a tube of toothpaste. I hear a lot of clipping, especially in "Do Ya" and "Showdown".
Listen to anything current - Ke$ha, Outa Sight, Bieber. That's how it would sound - engineering wise.

Every square inch of the sound space filled in with something. No pause, no breaks.
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23rd December 2012
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I bet he did this because the man probably wanted a challenge honestly, and you know this was extremely hard to pull off....or it was a $1 bet between him and Tom Petty (like Trading Places) to see if he could pull it off. I bet Tom Petty spit on the dollar and said "I hope you choke on it Lynne" but in that voice of his you can hardly understand...that's at least what I like to think.
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23rd December 2012
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I bet he did this because the man probably wanted a challenge honestly, and you know this was extremely hard to pull off....or it was a $1 bet between him and Tom Petty (like Trading Places) to see if he could pull it off. I bet Tom Petty spit on the dollar and said "I hope you choke on it Lynne" but in that voice of his you can hardly understand...that's at least what I like to think.
A little Wilbury rivalry I suppose?

Miss those collaboration days.
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23rd December 2012
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Hmm... I'm a ELO fan since a very long time and I understand Jeff, that he was not so happy with the old recordings compared to other stuff played today in the radio. I think many of us often having the same idea if listen to older own tracks: "today it would sound a lot better..."

I listened to some of the tracks, I must say that I don't like them more than the old versions. Yes, it's louder, has more punch, some having a small clipping, Jeff's vocals are a bit different. I agree that the master/mix is also not very good. Sounds all a bit thin, over-compressed.
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23rd December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greggybud View Post
Did you do an A/B?
Wait..like vs. love. Okay.
sure i did....
Born 69, i did grow up with ELO and Jeff lynne, i would describe myself as a fan. He transported the songs for me to 2012. Good work
I never heard his Masters before it went to mastering, but in the end it sounds ok for me, and i have more fun in my car listening to the new version than the old.
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23rd December 2012
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Listen to anything current - Ke$ha, Outa Sight, Bieber. That's how it would sound - engineering wise.

Every square inch of the sound space filled in with something. No pause, no breaks.
Unless you are working in the same room as Dr. Luke, and listened a hundred times over, the listener has no relative benchmark with those artists.

But with ELO, growing up and listening to the same singles hundreds of times over the past 30 years, it's very different.

And now my personal confession: I thought the remasters sounded good the first time I played them. I thought they sounded really good in my car stereo. But because of my amazement with this 30 year re-record, I had to go in the studio and start comparing. This is when I heard the huge differences especially in the top end and the loss of dynamics. I haven't compared most...just Mr Blue Sky and Turn to Stone. I think both of these are excellent examples of modern day mastering.
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23rd December 2012
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Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
Listen to anything current - Ke$ha, Outa Sight, Bieber. That's how it would sound - engineering wise.

Every square inch of the sound space filled in with something. No pause, no breaks.

I am not an older guy. I am into "loud" music, but this album is clipping like a mother. It is more much more noticeable than similar types of music of today.
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23rd December 2012
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I am not an older guy. I am into "loud" music, but this album is clipping like a mother. It is more much more noticeable than similar types of music of today.
No one said you were older. In fact, in another thread I suggested that I'M probably one of the older "Slutz". Which is probably why I so dislike this "new sound". I'm trying to preserve and promote a way of doing things which is largely disappearing.
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23rd December 2012
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No one said you were older. In fact, in another thread I suggested that I'M probably one of the older "Slutz". Which is probably why I so dislike this "new sound". I'm trying to preserve and promote a way of doing things which is largely disappearing.
I know I just wanted to make the distinction because there are a lot of older guys on here. Anyways, loudness in pop music doesnt really bother me so I still like the album.
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23rd December 2012
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I know I just wanted to make the distinction because there are a lot of older guys on here. Anyways, loudness in pop music doesnt really bother me so I still like the album.

And I'm here to make sure that both the "smashed" and "proper" forms of mastering(by that I mean the original ELOs) can coexist, and that fans of both can still purchase each to their hearts content.
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23rd December 2012
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If anybody is curious...here is a comparison of Mr. Blue Sky.

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