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A comparison of two of Ed's most recent tapes. (Read 71 times)
Steve Deckert
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A comparison of two of Ed's most recent tapes.
02/21/21 at 03:52:42
 

Alena Mendelsen Concerto -

Violin has sweet tone like the skin of a young women. †Dynamics of the recording are outstanding. †7 minutes in a playfulness in the music that got rather entertaining when I started picturing chase scenes in the cartoon Tom & Jerry. †I will say the production on this one is pretty much flawless. †Nothing quite like live-two-track when the musicians donít make mistakes. †Makes we wonder when the last time was that they did make a mistakeÖ the age of 7 perhaps? †The 27 minute mark on this tape is some of the most wicked violin playing Iíve heard. †The dynamic layering was mystifying. †Just incredible. †The last track on this tape that follows is no disappointment either. †Not sure if itís the intent of Tchaikovsky, but the music itself was secondary to the violinist amazing expression of it. †The fact that a human can create this kind of sound with a piece of wood, strings and a bow simply has to make other life forms in the universe somewhat envious. †


Angelo Tchaikovsky Concerto -

Wanted to listen to this latest tape from UltraAnalogue Recordings to really kind of compare the †sound character of the two violins and the resolution of the tape. †So a more technical focus rather than musical focus this time. †Also I experienced enough sessions as an amateur musician myself to understand if not marvel at how an instrument, any instrument, can go from sounding like crap, to sounding like the best thing youíve ever heard based solely on how it is being touched by the musician. †Being an amateur musician and surrounded by the same, there were certain instruments I had simply given up on. †I assumed they had issues and needed replaced with something that sounds a lot better. †Seriously. †On several occasions in fact. †Only to have a someone who could Ďreallyí play walk in pick the offensive device up and make it sound exactly the opposite of how you have always heard it. †So with that said, there is no way I can compare the sound character of the two violins, because I wonít have the ability to separate the instrument from the musician when Iím listening to this tape.

So right away, I like the piano a touch better. †Itís a little more open sounding. †Then the violin comes in and right away it too is more open sounding. †I would say this is a superior recording. †There is a touch more texture to the violin. †The piano is slightly less compressed.

The balance between the two is also better, because each are more open sounding there is less posturing between them to dominate the spotlight.

Yes the openness and transparency make it better, easier to listen to, Iím not thinking about Tom & Jerry, in fact Iím not thinking, just there.

The Piano is a delightfully impressive component of this duo. † The Violin has more dimensionality. †I am more connected to the music with the violin on this tape.

It really is amazing how smooth both tapes are, but this one I am marveling at the textures a little more.

I would say the subjective dynamics winner between the violins on these tapes goes to Alena on the first tape. †But the recording of the violin goes to the second tape, this one.

/// makes me think we should get all four in the room at the same time and have a jam! †That would be hot.

Half way point on the second tape. †So far Iím in a better groove. †No lullaby to make my mind wonder from boredom just to bring contrast to the titles of each paragraph. †Obviously Iím more into Tchaikovsky than Mendelsen

I like the way the piano and violin sound in the room better on this tape. †It also seems quieter with less background hum or air noise. †In this tape the breath of the violinist is several dB above the noise floor, which again I havenít noticed yet well past the half way point in the tape.

I just heard the violinist create a key stroke sound with each note like hammers were hitting the strings. †Pretty impressive.

Iíll tell you what, Noreen Polera has some explosive weight on the piano when she wants to. †

Itís fun when you see them play in your minds eye. †Itís literally like watching a video of it. †When Jeff visited Ed and listened to this stuff live, he never once drifted off into analyzing his gear because he was miles away from home and it was live. †I too am miles away and it is live, thatís why like when Jeff was there, I can see it happening in the greatest of detail.

So this last tracks of Tchaikovsky that were also played on the last tape bring my attention to the violin. †This one has more breadth in the body and texture. †The playing is more even keeled on this tape. †The violin in the last tape was more dominate and had more shine, but was squeezed in on the sides slightlyÖ I know a meaningless statement, but when you can see sound in your minds eye, this is what happens.

So from a balance perspective to serve the music this tape is better. †However from a musicianship perspective the first tape had more wow factor. †

The clapping on this tape is broader and less dense, thatís a big sign about the recording. I would love to hear the first two walk in the door right now after these and play again. †We need a double header Ed. †That way we can rule out differences in mic levels, placement, the number of people in the room, etc., etc., and then it would be easier to compare.

Still, both of these tapes are seriously great demos for anyone wanting to hear how good their playback system can actually sound.

Not that it is a good indication of sound quality but rather a decent way to compare one recording against the same recording from another source to see if one was limited, Rune has a dynamic range benchmark for each track in your library, and Alena sets on the top of that list with a dynamic range of ~22dB. †Of course thatís the PCM digital copy of these tapes. †With the natural compression of tape and soft clipping characteristics of tubes, actual playback of the tape on good tube gear is significantly more dynamic than that even.

Anyway, congrats to Ed Pong for his continuing contribution to extreme hi-end recordings of extreme hi-end musicians using extreme hi-end instruments and doing it all live two-track with no mixer and all connections between the microphone and the tape head soldered together, all connectors eliminated. †All wire silver. †All tubes the best money can buy, and you have no idea, the tubes in the preamp cost more than a small in-ground swimming pool.

For any audiophile who thinks he can hear which direction a fuse sounds best oriented in his audio components, this is the most insanely pure analogue recordings that are possible to make on this planet. †If youíre buying quantum fuses and you donít own some of these tapes, you better damn sure be downloading the DSDís because anything less would be wellÖ less.

Happy listening!

Steve † Smiley
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Steve Deckert
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If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

Posts: 4911
Re: A comparison of two of Ed's most recent tapes.
Reply #1 - 02/21/21 at 04:12:09
 
Perhaps Ed can link to the downloads of both of these tapes on his site so those who are so inclined can purchase the music and place it at the top of their collection!

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Ed Pong
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Re: A comparison of two of Ed's most recent tapes.
Reply #2 - 02/21/21 at 14:09:57
 
Steve,

Many thanks for your always entertaining thoughts on my recordings!
You are absolutely right about any instrument sounds different in different hands.... another way to put it - the player is everything.

Once I had violinist Ray Chen, playing a concert at my place, & he made one of my violins sound close to his Strad... that's talent!

Here are the links to the digital downloads of the Mendelssohn & Tchaikovsky Concerto tapes:
https://ultraanaloguerecordings.com/new/shop/digital-downloads/musician-digital-...
downloads/alena-baeva-musician-digital-downloads/digital-download-mendelssohn-vi
olin-concerto-tchaikovsky-melodie/
https://ultraanaloguerecordings.com/new/shop/digital-downloads/musician-digital-...
downloads/noreen-polera-musician-digital-downloads/digital-download-tchaikovsky-
violin-concerto-in-d-major-op-35/

Enjoy!

Ed
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