October 29, 2019

TR Mahalingam: Carnatic Instrumental [HTC 8090] a cassette recorded in 1971 and manufactured in 1990 in India

TR "Mali" Mahalingam is no stranger to this blog. This will be the fourth album which I have shared so far by this fantastic carnatic flutist.




Transfer: Nakamichi ZX-9 cassette deck, refurbished to "better than new" state by Willi Hermann
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity and xAct.
Monitoring: Focal Spirit One headphones


downloads:


24bit, 96kHz FLAC files (903 MB)
highest resolution files I am capable of producing
after decoding to WAV files, these can be burned to CDR
highest quality mp3 files possible 



video of a concert by "mali" in Chennai in 1971 (audio only):


October 28, 2019

Lalgudi Jayaraman, N Raman, and R Venkatraman: Violin - Venu - Veena [HTCS 03B 8080] a cassette originally recorded in 1967 and manufactured in 1990 in India

Here is an interesting carnatic violin, flute (venu) and veena album which was very popular in its day. It has been reissued in multiple iterations and many people have very warm feelings about this album.

About 8 years ago it appeared as a vinyl transfer here.  It is mentioned in this article which is a brief introduction to carnatic music.




Violin: Lalgudi Jayaraman
Venu: N Ramani
Veena: R Venkatraman



Transfer: Nakamichi ZX-9 cassette deck, refurbished to "better than new" state by Willi Hermann
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity and xAct.
Monitoring: Focal Spirit One headphones


downloads:


highest resolution files I am capable of producing - large file!


after decoding to WAV files, these can be burned to CDR


highest quality mp3 files possible 



Here is a concert by N Ramani:


October 26, 2019

Lalith Rao: A Never Ending Journey [Rhythm House 240 366] a cassette recorded and released in India in 1987

Here we have another post featuring the delightful vocals of Lalith Rao, a prominent female exponent of the Agra gharana.

Click here to see past uploads of Rao.




The titles and performers can clearly be seen on the scans below, so I thought repeating this information would be unnecessary.

One interesting feature about those cassettes from Rhythm House which I have seen are that they have been manufactured using a process where the cassette tape master is played in real time (sometimes cassettes are sped up 8x or more to speed up the process -- adjustments in EQ have to be made for this and the quality is almost never as good as a "real time duplicated" cassette).







Transfer: Nakamichi ZX-9 cassette deck, refurbished to "better than new" state by Willi Hermann
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity and xAct.
Monitoring: Focal Spirit One headphones



downloads:

highest resolution files I am capable of producing - large file!

after decoding to WAV files, these can be burned to CDR

highest quality mp3 files possible 



Click here for a good explanation of what FLAC files are and why you should be listening to them if you can.







Chitti Babu: Carnatic Veena [HTC 8155] a cassette originally recorded in 1968 and manufactured in 1990 in India

Here is a very nice cassette of music by Chitti Babu, the well-known veena performer. I decided to transfer this cassette after the previous upload purely because they share the same Ghatam player.



Chitti Babu was the disciple of ES Shastry, whose work has appeared on this blog in the past.

I was at a veena festival in the US once and met Chitti Babu's eldest son, who was very kind to talk to me briefly. He was cheerful and friendly and I was a little sad that I couldn't spend more time chatting with him.




Tracklist
A1 Chalamela (Varnam)
Composed By – Kuppuswami Iyer
Raga: Natakuranji
Tala: Adi

A2 Sudhamayi
Composed By – Muthayya Bhagavathar
Raga: Amritavarshini
Tala: Rupakam

A3 Kshierasagara Sayana
Composed By – Thyagaraja
Raga: Devagandhari
Tala: Adi

B1 Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi 
Raga: Charukesi

B2 Apadooraku (Javali)
Composed By – Pattabhiramayya
Raga: Khamas
Tala: Madhyadi

B3 Nallanivada-Misra 

B4 Mangalam (A Hymn from Vedas)


Veena – Chitti Babu
Ghatam – Alangudi Ramachandran
Mridangam – Vellore Ramabadhran 

Notes
Original printed catalog number on the cover spine is STC038 56884. A small piece of paper has been pasted over it with catalog number HTC 8155.


Transfer: Nakamichi ZX-9 cassette deck, refurbished to "better than new" state by Willi Hermann
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity and xAct.
Monitoring: Focal Spirit One headphones


downloads:


24bit, 96kHz FLAC files (935 MB)
highest resolution files I am capable of producing
after decoding to WAV files, these can be burned to CDR
highest quality mp3 files possible 



October 25, 2019

Lalgudi Jayaraman & G Srimathi: Carnatic Violin [HTC 8086] a cassette recorded in 1970 and manufactured in 1990 in India

Fast on the heels of the recent upload of a bansuri LP is a transfer of one of many cassettes I have purchased from the good people at Shrimati's in Berkeley, California. There were requests for bansuri and violin releases, so I thought I would do these first. Plenty of plucked strings and vocals on the way.

This one features Lalgudi Jayaraman and the slightly mysterious G Srimathi, who I believe was Lalgudi's sister. I could not find terribly much information about Srimathi -- no doubt I was looking in the wrong places. Anyone with interesting information, especially of recordings -- please supply in the comments. I thank you in advance.


This cassette was recorded in 1970 and manufactured in 1990. I don't have a lot of information about all of the various iterations of HMV/EMi recordings in the Cassette Years, but this appears to be a reissue of this LP (photo courtesy of an Indian website selling LPs):





I certainly think the original LP is much more attractive than the reissue cassette. 

Transfer: Nakamichi ZX-9 cassette deck, refurbished to "better than new" state by Willi Hermann
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity and xAct.

Monitoring: Focal Spirit One headphones


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PLEASE NOTE: I am having an issue with these files (this post only)which I have never encountered before. When these files are downloaded they MAY have a  ".html" file extension at the end of the file name. Changing this to a ".zip" ending and then unzipping will reveal the true folder with music and scans inside. I hope this problem is only temporary!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


downloads:

24bit, 96kHz FLAC files (972 MB)
highest resolution files I am capable of producing


16bit, 44.kHz FLAC files (270 MB)
after decoding to WAV files, these can be burned to CDR


320 kbps mp3 files (103 MB)
highest quality mp3 files possible 







(the above is an audio recording -- the sound quality dramatically improves pretty quickly into the performance. Check it out and give it a chance, for two hours or so)

October 24, 2019

Is the GS Sachdev LP which I just posted mono or stereo? An investigation with pictures

I apologize in advance for making this reply to "ljf" as a post rather than a reply inside the comments section. There are two reasons: first, I have been having trouble getting my comment replies to "publish" on the page and I haven't found a solution to that yet. Secondly, I would like to reply with pictures and as far I know Blogger won't allow me to include photos and screen shots in the comment section.

As a recap, this is the original comment:


Thank you Richard for this download. I am intrigued by one thing and that is the rip is in mono. I have a copy of the CD and that is definitely in stereo, although the two tracks are very similar and both flute and tabla are close to centre stage. I'm sure that a US label of that period would not be putting out mono LP's, but you never know?



To destroy the suspense, I believe this record is a Stereo record with predominantly mono characteristics (in other words, the two channels share an awful lot of information).

First a couple of technical observations:

1) There is a difference between "true" stereo and "true" mono records and this will be seen upon visual inspection of the grooves. For stereo recordings, the stylus will move both "back and forth" across the groove as well as "up and down" in space. For mono recordings from before 1968-70, only information in the horizontal plane ("back and forth") is embedded in the groove. Using a "true" mono cartridge which is not compliant in the vertical plane will result in much less surface noise being heard. I like the Audio-technica AT33MONO cartridge for this job. It balances performance with cost (some mono cartridges can be priced over 2,000 USD).

2) Any "mono" LP cut and pressed after 1970 outside of India will have been cut with a stereo cutting head and can be playable with a stereo cartridge. So let's say I buy a recent LP of Benny Goodman's 1938 Carnegie Hall performance. The signal will be mono, but the lathe will have had a stereo cutting head and there will be duplicate information in both channels. Some people call this a "2-channel mono" record. I don't know enough about LP production in India in the late 1960s and the 1970s to say when true mono records were last made there, but usually because of import taxes the ability of Indian manufacturers to use the most up to date technology was limited. In any event this is a US recording and pressing.

3) Most of the time when you go to a concert and there is a PA system, the live mix will be mono. Sometimes it is stereo but generally most of the time it will be the same signal coming out of the speakers on both sides of the stage. This allows people sitting somewhere other than dead center to hear the same mix as someone else in the auditorium. It is also a lot easier to accomplish a mono mix. I am not a professional sound engineer but I have been called on to produce live sound for concerts several dozen times in my life (every time against my better judgement) and I have generally done a mono mix, even for small concert spaces. The very last time I did a live mix, I had the tabla "panned" 10% to the left and the sitar panned to the right 10% and several people noticed and commented about it to me afterward.

4) This is a live recording and was almost certainly recorded as a "soundboard" mix with or without additional channels from microphones on stage or in the audience.

5) Often on a stereo LP, the audio information below a certain frequency will be "summed to mono." I have read various articles suggesting this frequency could be anywhere between under 60-150Hz. The theoretical justification for this (I believe questionable) practice is essentially because humans have a hard time mentally locating the direction of lower frequency sounds compared to higher frequencies. Also some people claim that this summing to mono makes it easier for inexpensive cartridges to track the groove. Some cutting engineers will agree to not "sum the bass to mono" but usually will specify that they won't guarantee that the LP will play correctly. 

6) This label only released recordings by GS Sachdev so I think we can realistically refer to these Chandi Productions LPs and cassettes as self-released, probably with a very small production budget. It certainly could have been a mono master recording but there is no specific reason to think it was.


So when I read the comment by "ljf" I thought that I could investigate the files using the Audacity software which I love.

First I opened up the 24bit 96kHz file and looked at the wave forms. There were very similar but not identical waveforms in both channels (look at the first few minutes which are being shaded here -- definitely some different waveforms there:



Then I split the files into two separate channels and "inverted" one channel:


So now the left channel is the mirror image of its former self. If you do this with a two-channel recording, first changing the "left" and "right" channels to be both "mono" channels, and then sum back to one channel of sound by "exporting" the data to a mono output...


...you will obtain a one-channel file of just the difference between the two channels (because the common audio material of each channel will cancel itself out... when the wave in one channel is going up, the other channel will have a wave going down). With a completely mono two-channel recording, the result would be silence.

I eventually wound up with this awful-sounding file:


As should be apparent, there is indeed some material not common to both channels, and this amount is very small (note the small amplitude of the waveform). Interestingly, the amount of "stereo" content varies -- sometimes it is very minimal and occasionally it is quite a bit.

So in summary, I believe this is a relatively-inexpensively-produced recording derived from concert material, which probably was originally a mostly mono mix with stereo features.

Lastly, any blog readers who use the software "ClickRepair" should be on the lookout for the "Convert stereo to mono" setting... look at this screenshot and find the box in the very right lower corner -- this should not be checked unless you know you are dealing with a mono recording. When I first read the comment I thought that perhaps this is what had happened, but i no longer believe that.




Thanks to everyone for reading my blog and carefully listening to the LPs and cassettes posted here. More coming later this week. Think "violin" and "veena" and "cassette."


October 21, 2019

GS Sachdev: Two Moods [CP 102] an LP recorded and released in the United States in 1981

Here we have a lovely bansuri recital by the great GS Sachdev. I am always enchanted with his playing as I feel that he conveys a sincerity that is both touching and refreshing.

This is a live recording with some various very low frequency artifacts which may have been a result of movement on the stage or near the microphones. You have to listen closely on side two with good speakers to hear most of this. If I were you, I would not let this stop from you from downloading. It's a great performance.






Equipment used in transfer:

Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in pure clean water
Turntable: Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Audio-technica Shure M97xE
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity, ClickRepair, and xAct.


 
downloads:



24bit, 96kHz FLAC files (959 MB)
highest resolution files I am capable of producing


after decoding to WAV files, these can be burned to CDR

320 kbps mp3 files (123 MB)
highest quality mp3 files possible 



October 13, 2019

The Shape of Things to Come

Here is about one-fifth the LPs I have in line to digitize for this blog.

I certainly hope that in a few days more transfers will appear. I appreciate your patience with me.

I have been fortunate to see quite a few live performances of Hindustani Music in the last month. If I told you what city I lived in, it would not sound like a Capital of Indian music — but there are plenty of chances to see the music live if you know how and where to look.

I encourage everyone in North America to seek out live music of all kinds, even if you really have to search for the concerts — these recordings are amazing but live music will always be where it’s easiest to have a transcendent experience listening to the vibrations in the air.

As always I thank you, my readers. I read every single comment submitted. I have been having trouble getting my replies to upload to the blog, but let me assure everyone — if your comment has been published, I have seen it, read it, decided it was not spam, and hit the “publish” link.

PS plenty of bansuri and violin music on the way