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A comparison of two of Ed's most recent tapes. (Read 1306 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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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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Ed Pong
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Re: A comparison of two of Ed's most recent tapes.
Reply #3 - 06/10/22 at 01:10:55
 
Steve,

This pandemic's been pretty "long in the tooth!" I just returned from my 1st trip, to Europe, in 2+ yrs! Great food in Italy & really fast drivers!

I'm happy to say I have a live concert coming up on June 19 - finally!
Van Cliburn winner, Vadym Kholodenko will play a solo piano recital - I'm doubly excited because I found some 1956 NOS WE437a which are now in the microphone pre-amp, to keep the pair of 1956 NOS WE300b company!

I tested these on a new violinist recording, a few months ago, and the effects were breathtaking! More naturalness, more resolution but more relaxed... seems like a paradox, but one has to hear this to believe it!

Vadym has a sound production unlike any other pianist. So I'm very excited to be recording him again, now with these NOS 1956 GEMS!

I also have a dream piano trio concert booked for Nov 20, 2022.
Violinist Alena Baeva, cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan & pianist Vadym Kholodenko.
Program: Beethoven Archduke trio, Mendelssohn Piano Trio No.1 & Schubert Nocturno.... †I can't wait!

Ed

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Steve Deckert
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Re: A comparison of two of Ed's most recent tapes.
Reply #4 - 06/10/22 at 04:03:14
 

Ed, I think you need a live 4K web cam to stream your event live! Even low res video is OK, that way you can keep audio stream super high.

I'm excited for you! Something tried to stop the world and yet it still turns and here we all still are! I wish I lived next door... no wait a minute... I wish you lived next door... yea that's it! Really I wish they would just quit suppressing the transporter from Star Trek. Then we could beam each other over for a listen.

While you were having too much fun, I invented a new amplifier for WE300B. The new tubes use graphene which was not possible until recently. I don't have the originals to compare but they claim it's better. †I sure am enjoying it. †Now nearing 500 hours and they have melted my face off more than a few times. †I can only sit in the sweet spot for a few minutes and then I have to run when it starts to melt.

Here is the new amp... we named it 'Sarah'



click to see hi-res


I look forward to a full report on those tubes as well as the event's themselves!

Steve
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Ed Pong
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Re: A comparison of two of Ed's most recent tapes.
Reply #5 - 06/10/22 at 21:30:49
 
Steve,

WOW - while I've been asleep thru this pandemic, you've been busy!
That's a very cool looking amp! Love those retro meters!

That's great Western Electric is making their 300b again, the early 1990 ones were great, until I tried the 1956 version, but there's no turning back the clock!

I'm sure this will make your backlog even longer - congratulations!
Would love to hear them someday!

Ed

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Ed Pong
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Re: A comparison of two of Ed's most recent tapes.
Reply #6 - 06/10/22 at 22:01:31
 
Steve,

Something fascinating - pics of the last NOS stock of WE of WE437a that they sold from the factory. The "silver top" looks like this in all the WE437a's I had seen.

Then the 1956 tube had a D getter & very little silver covering the top...
Obviously, materials have changed with the extreme passage of time (1956-1980-90)

The same thing in the 1990 300b & the 1956 300b, looking inside, one can see the same shape of metal etc, but the colour & hence the actual materials will never be the "same" again...

You can't turn back the clock...!

I got an extra pair of these & in my WE300b amp, it's effect literally blew me off my chair! Now those early SXL Deccas became almost like tape! That's a crazy statement, but the effect was that great, it increased the dynamic range dramatically & the high frequencies of violins are completely resolved. Along with more naturalness, unbelievable

If you have time in Nov, around 20, Steve, maybe come for our piano trio concert & I would love to play you some of the real masters & LPs through my system with these 1956 WE437a in the Quad amps...
I think it will shock you, just how good (GREAT) those early SXL Deccas are... it shocked me & I've heard them for years, but never like this!

Years ago, I pushed Tony to dream up the most crazy phono stage using only WE437a & WE300b tubes... It has silver step-up, interstage & output transformers (8 in total) discrete silver RIAA modules using silver chokes, 4 WE437a & 2 WE300b tubes... it's sound is beyond words...

Ed

Steve, I have 2 more pics but have trouble attaching them... HOW??
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Ed Pong
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Re: A comparison of two of Ed's most recent tapes.
Reply #7 - Yesterday at 14:59:40
 
I'm sure this pandemic has left nothing untouched & in this concert, Vadym almost didn't get to our place! Canada required everyone flying into Canada to have something called an ETA...(basically a $7 tax grab!) It should be a quick registration of documents & one gets the approval, online.

Vadym did not hear from the gov't the day before his flight...! But we found one does not need this ETA if one drives into Canada! So we flew him to Buffalo, from Texas, & my friend picked him up & drove him to my place, arriving 2 hrs before the start of the concert...

Just in case, he couldn't get there, we had Alena fly from Luxembourg to Toronto... I picked her up at Toronto airport at 1pm & she arrived at my place also 2 hrs before the concert! † AH!!!

Vadym played most of his program & they played a Mozart Violin Sonata together & a heart wrenching Ukrainian melody for their encore.
Here's this encore from my small camcorder...of course the upcoming tape has much better sound! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQXROoz-I10

This was the 1st time recording using the 1956 WE437a tubes in the mic-pre amp. They created an ultra clean pure soundscape & the high frequencies of the violin are completely resolved, but unetched... really, it's a paradox as more detail, usually means more edge.. here it was all there, more natural & real sounding.

In the ending of the Prokofiev Piano Sonata No.7, I thought my piano was going to explode... the dynamics kept building to a level, I've never heard in my room. Interestingly, in the recording, the layers were all resolved, even as the dynamics increased to unprecedented levels...

My sense is these 1956 tubes are cleaner, a touch less warm but very very organic sounding. Violin sounds are very pure & even different strings can be resolved.

I'm very much looking forward to recording the Beethoven Archduke Piano Trio with Alena, Narek & Vadym in November... can't wait!

Ed
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