Stereo vs. Mono

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Stereo vs. Mono

Postby BobLucas » Sun Jun 20, 2010 2:48 am

First off let me just say hi. I stumbled across this forum yesterday and i joined instantly. I have been a fan of The Mamas and The Papas for a few years now, since i brought the 'Ultimate Collection' C.D however, i didn't even know that Cass had a solo output until i started getting 'Lost' boxsets on DVD and thinking 'wow, that sounds like The Mamas and The Papas' for those who aren't familiar with 'Lost' the song in question was 'Make Your Own Kind Of Music' which has since become nearly an anthem for my life, anyway, after finding out that it was a Cass Elliot solo track i hunted down more of her solo output (along with filling in what i didn't have from The Mama And The Papas) and i discovered, in both cases, an amazing, yet tragically overlooked collection of music.

Back to my question/point/thing.
I don't know if this has been asked before but i thought i'd ask away, when it comes to the Mamas and The Papas' music which do you find the best (in tearms of mixing, sound quality etc) i have heard mono mixes of 'Words Of Love' and 'Creeque Alley' and i happen to think they are fantastic mixes (also i think the slightly different instrumentation is better too)

I also found when i started listening to them, the stereo mixes took some getting used too, i'd love to hear them remixed but everyone seems to have a different story regarding the masters, some say Dunhill trashed them (which seems the most likley :( ) some say Lou Adler has them, although it seems to be generally accepted that John took 4 tapes in the 70's to make quad mixes, does anyone know which these were ? (i assume that 'I Can't Wait' and 'Once Was A Time I Thought' were amongst them as there are excerpts from what appear to be session tapes on the Antholigy), also would the masters for 'People Like Us' have been trashed ? i mean it seems silly that they would have wiped, destroyed, thrown out or whatever a master for an album which was only 2 years old.
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Re: Stereo vs. Mono

Postby Ars_Nova_Chris » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:55 am

The master tapes were, unfortunately, trashed in the 70's by ABC (many blame Jay Lasker). I have a radio interview where John states this specifically. Early gen copies of the tapes may possibly exist in foreign territories (such as the recently unearthed mono master/copy of the 1st album found in Europe and currently being remastered by Sundazed for a new mono vinyl release).

John did have some of the tapes out to make quad mixes at the time, although I'm not sure how many. It's a safe bet that these include "Dedicated...", "Look Through My Window" and "My Girl", since alternate stereo mixes of these songs were given to Steve Hoffman by John himself in the mid-80's (these can be found on the 1986 MCA CD release, "16 of Their Greatest Hits").

Those outtakes from "Once Was a Time..." and "I Can't Wait" are originally from the January, 1970 release, "A Gathering of Flowers: The Anthology of The Mamas & The Papas" (Dunhill/ABC DSY 50073).

As for the People Like Us masters, I think theres a very good chance those still exist (as an example, take the alt version of "No Dough" on the "Jack of Diamonds" cd)
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Re: Stereo vs. Mono

Postby dunhill » Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:11 pm

Ars_Nova_Chris wrote:John did have some of the tapes out to make quad mixes at the time, although I'm not sure how many. It's a safe bet that these include "Dedicated...", "Look Through My Window" and "My Girl", since alternate stereo mixes of these songs were given to Steve Hoffman by John himself in the mid-80's (these can be found on the 1986 MCA CD release, "16 of Their Greatest Hits").


I believe Dream A Little Dream, too. The version on 16 of Their Greatest Hits is minus John's introduction of Cass.
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Re: Stereo vs. Mono

Postby Ars_Nova_Chris » Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:00 am

Right, but that was achieved by just muting one channel during the intro (done by Steve Hoffman at the request of, IIRC, Michelle), the rest of the the song is the regular mix. The others mentioned are entire dedicated mixes given to Steve Hoffman in that remixed form by John.
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Re: Stereo vs. Mono

Postby John Sands » Sun Aug 01, 2010 1:23 pm

I imagine that along with the tapes being trashed photos/negatives were too? I can't conceive that the usual 5 or so photos from that very early b & w Guy Webster session are all there are, especially since so many outtakes exist from the first album cover session. Thanks to Michael Ochs for making the second album outtakes available.
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Re: Stereo vs. Mono

Postby BobLucas » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:55 am

Some of the tracks wouldn't be imposable to remix to a degree (tracks such as 'California Dreamin' would be harder because they have little to nothing in the middle, although if the vocals for that particular track could be isolated, the rest of the work could be done on the Isolated backing track from Barry Mcguire's version)

Songs such as 'Trip, Stumble & Fall' which have the vocals panned L+R and a Mono backing track can have the vocals isolated with varying degrees of success by using a center channel remover, you can then obtain a backing track by inverting the newly isolated vocals and mixing them against the backing track. The isolation i get from this method isn't 100% clean but then again, i'm using a freeware plugin on Audacity, i think that with professional software the results may be a little better.

There are also programs out there which can remove sounds from a mixed source by removing harmonics, with time* it would be possible to make a stereo backing track (trust me, i've heard some fantastic stereo mixes of The Beatles' 'Love Me Do' which only exists in a mixed Mono source, and some even better mixes of the 'Please Please Me' album which has separated Vocal and Instrumental tracks on the stereo field)

*Time being the biggest factor, this method probably wouldn't be viable to record companies for a band who wouldn't sell a stupid amount of units in the first week.
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