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Customer Review

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great mastering...a tad shrill, but necessary, November 18, 2007
This review is from: Never No Lament the Blanton-Webster Band (Audio CD)
I find some of the negative reviews a bit unfair. If you don't like the mastering job, that's one thing. You are absolutely entitled to not enjoying the way it sounds. But many reviewers are writing things they have no knowledge about. I've read several reviews where they insist that the mastering engineers "screwed up" or "could have done a better job." How do you know? Unless you're an audio engineer, sitting with the original masters in your high-tech studio (good luck on getting those originals), then you really have no way to know if they could have done better.

Also, i'm so sick of this balderdash about "greedy music companies" putting out so-called "shoddy" products. Remember, it's not one guy with an office full of cash that's making these things. It's a team. People that make the horrible box designs are more designs. And yes, most box designs on old jazz music is atrocious. There are dozens of different designs, and most are very poorly done (Billie Holiday's Complete Columbia box might be the worst.) The people that set the price are the numbers crunchers. But the people who actually select and master the music are people who love the music themselves. These engineers genuinely put out what they feel is quality material, because they love the music, and want it to sound as good as they feel they can make it. They have no say in box design or price. They don't get paid by how many they sell. They get paid for the job they performed. So, blast the art designers if you think the boxes suck (and they do), and the execs if you think the price is too high. But remember, the music itself is mastered with much care.

Ok, that all having been said, i can totally understand how someone might find some of the music on here a bit too shrill for their ears. It does take some getting used to. But as one reviewer indicated, you do get used to it, and then you start to hear more of the music. With all other releases, including newer imports, they do sound less shrill, and more pleasing and warm, but so much of the bang, zap, and energy of the music is also removed, and consequently sounds lifeless and dull. To some people, that might be better. It's really all a judgment call. What's important to you? If you're willing to sacrifice the life and power of the music, because you don't like the distortion at the high end, then don't get this set. BUT, if you want to hear as much of the music as possible, as close to it sounded in the studio when it was recorded (and yes, with some unfortunate distortion, too), then this is the set you need.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 7, 2012, 7:18:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012, 7:21:36 AM PDT
Knight Hawk says:
Sound engineers are paid by the record company to produce records that will sell. The bean counters tell the record company execs what sells and what doesn't. The execs tell the engineers what the bean counters tell them. Indirectly then, the bean counters control the engineers. Even when the engineer is dedicated to producing the best sounding master, he may be overridden by the execs and bean counters, and told to amputate the treble, lest some listeners might hear some hiss or surface noise. They may also be told to produce more work than they have time to do properly, and the sound quality suffers.

Monetary constraints that result from perceived public reaction, along with simple greed, are the most common reasons for poor sound quality. The current record company paradigm is on the way out and the execs are tightening the belt even more than in the old days. "To hell with respect for the artist. To hell with sound integrity. Do it cheaper and faster and make it sell!" That's what the engineers are being told. It's hard for the engineer to do his best work under such conditions. Fortunately, RCA is one of the better labels, as this reissue demonstrates. Compared with Sony/Columbia, RCA is downright benevolent.
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