audio-intl

Mono? Mono!

Classic Records has made a reputation in the audiophile market by reissuing Stereo recordings almost exclusively. The vast majority of the hundreds of titles we have reissued in the past eight years have been transferred from two and three track original stereo master tapes. In 2000, as part of our venture into Classic Rock, Classic Records reissued the infamous and insanely rare Jimi Hendrix: “Axis Bold As Love” LP in Mono for the first time since its original pressing.

The success of the reissue provided an opportunity to explore the mono world for reissue material. After securing a sizeable catalog of famous and highly sought after Mono titles from the BLUE NOTE catalog we set out to deliver a new standard of reissue for the new initiative. Market research revealed that Blue Note collectors were obsessed with originality and authenticity posing special problems that needed to be solved. First, original Blue Note pressings are distinguished by a deep groove that appears to be cut into the record label area of the disk. We learned that this “deep groove” was the result of the die that was used on the old presses in the 50’s. Further, original pressings have no “groove guard” – the raised outer diameter that prevents records from becoming scuffed when used on an automatic changer. Even though most record collectors no longer use changers, the vast majority of presses adhere to the groove guard standard.

We are confident that we can deliver the most authentic Blue Note Mono LP reissues ever and to prove it we have started with a reissue of BLP 5013 – “Young Man with a Horn” – Miles Davis’ first Blue Note release in 1952.

Check out the authentic 10” ,“Deep Groove” LP sans groove guard packaged in a tip on jacket (paper adhered to board) – It will fool you into thinking it is an original!

For Classic Records, an authentic record, label and jacket are not enough. Like our tag line says – “remember the sound…..” – and so we must. Instead of using a stereo tape head to playback the original 1/4” – 15 ips analog master tapes we had a full track MONO head made and fitted to Bernie Grundman’s Studer A80 tape machine. We could have stopped there and cut the mono signal using the stereo cutting system. But what would it be like to cut the original Mono masters using a vintage Mono cutting system similar to the system that cut the originals? In order to find out we had to invest in a cutting system that could be fitted to Bernie Grundman’s Scully lathe and changed easily to accommodate stereo and mono cutting. The project took six months and considerable expense to complete before we could even test it against the stereo cutting system to determine if it would be better, worse or just different.! The day finally came and Len Horowitz of HRS (History of Recorded Sound) and Beno May (Master Tech at Bernie Grundman Mastering) gave us the “good to cut” sign and we were back in 1952 – at least from a lacquer cutting point of view. We cut a reference disc using the Mono cutting system and then switched over to the Stereo cutting system and repeated the cut holding everything else the same. We could finally compare the cutting systems and were surprised at what we heard. First, they were definitely different. The stereo cut seemed a little more “stereo like” in a spatial sense. The mono cut was more focused by comparison and the bass definition was superior. The real test was to play each against the tape that they were cut from to see which was more authentic. The mono cut was definitely more like the tape than the stereo cut. While neither system was a perfect replication it was equally clear that both have an additive effect that is, in many ways, quite pleasant. Like the old saying goes – “Everything has an effect” and cutting systems are no exception.

In the end, it was a unanimous decision to use the Mono cutting system exclusively for mono titles because the sound is more authentic than using a stereo cutting system. It would appear that collectors who go to the ends of the earth to find original mono pressings cut on mono systems do so with good reason. If you want to hear some of the most valuable and collectible Jazz records in the universe then we invite you to join us on our journey “Back To Mono”.

Happy Listening,

Michael Hobson

President – Classic Records Inc.

THE CLAS­SICBLUE NOTE SIG­NA­TURE LPSE­RIES MONO
BLP 1530Jutta HippJutta Hipp
BLP 1533Johnny Grif­finIn­tro­duc­ing Johnny Grif­fin
BLP 1535Kenny DorhamAfro-Cuban
BLP 1536J.R. Mon­teroseJ.R. Mon­terose
BLP 1538Lee Mor­gan In­deed
BLP 1560Hank Mob­leyHank
BLP 1568Hank Mob­leyHank Mob­ley
BLP 1573John Jenk­insJohn Jenk­ins with Kenny Bur­rell
BLP 1577John ColtraneBlue Train
BLP 1580Johnny Grif­finThe Con­gre­ga­tion
BLP 1588Sonny ClarkCool Strut­tin’
BLP 1590Lee Mor­ganCandy
BLP 1595Can­non­ball AdderlySome­thin’ Else
BLP 4003Art BlakeyMoanin
BLP 4023Dizzy ReeseStar Bright
BLP 4024Jackie McLeanSwing, Swang, Swing in
BLP 4031Hank Mob­leySoul Sta­tion
BLP 4032Sonny RedOut of the Blue
BLP 4037Ho­race Par­lanUs Three
BLP 4041Tina BrooksTrue Blue
BLP 4043Ho­race Par­lanSpeakin’ My Piece
BLP 4045Fred­die ReddShades of Redd
BLP 4058Hank Mob­leyRoll Call
BLP 4074Ho­race Par­lanOn The Spur of the Mo­ment
BLP 4105Ike Que­becIt Might As Well Be Spring

 

Mono? Mono!

Classic Records has made a reputation in the audiophile market by reissuing Stereo recordings almost exclusively. The vast majority of the hundreds of titles we have reissued in the past eight years have been transferred from two and three track original stereo master tapes. In 2000, as part of our venture into Classic Rock, Classic Records reissued the infamous and insanely rare Jimi Hendrix: “Axis Bold As Love” LP in Mono for the first time since its original pressing.

The success of the reissue provided an opportunity to explore the mono world for reissue material. After securing a sizeable catalog of famous and highly sought after Mono titles from the BLUE NOTE catalog we set out to deliver a new standard of reissue for the new initiative. Market research revealed that Blue Note collectors were obsessed with originality and authenticity posing special problems that needed to be solved. First, original Blue Note pressings are distinguished by a deep groove that appears to be cut into the record label area of the disk. We learned that this “deep groove” was the result of the die that was used on the old presses in the 50’s. Further, original pressings have no “groove guard” – the raised outer diameter that prevents records from becoming scuffed when used on an automatic changer. Even though most record collectors no longer use changers, the vast majority of presses adhere to the groove guard standard.

We are confident that we can deliver the most authentic Blue Note Mono LP reissues ever and to prove it we have started with a reissue of BLP 5013 – “Young Man with a Horn” – Miles Davis’ first Blue Note release in 1952.

Check out the authentic 10” ,“Deep Groove” LP sans groove guard packaged in a tip on jacket (paper adhered to board) – It will fool you into thinking it is an original!

For Classic Records, an authentic record, label and jacket are not enough. Like our tag line says – “remember the sound…..” – and so we must. Instead of using a stereo tape head to playback the original 1/4” – 15 ips analog master tapes we had a full track MONO head made and fitted to Bernie Grundman’s Studer A80 tape machine. We could have stopped there and cut the mono signal using the stereo cutting system. But what would it be like to cut the original Mono masters using a vintage Mono cutting system similar to the system that cut the originals? In order to find out we had to invest in a cutting system that could be fitted to Bernie Grundman’s Scully lathe and changed easily to accommodate stereo and mono cutting. The project took six months and considerable expense to complete before we could even test it against the stereo cutting system to determine if it would be better, worse or just different.! The day finally came and Len Horowitz of HRS (History of Recorded Sound) and Beno May (Master Tech at Bernie Grundman Mastering) gave us the “good to cut” sign and we were back in 1952 – at least from a lacquer cutting point of view. We cut a reference disc using the Mono cutting system and then switched over to the Stereo cutting system and repeated the cut holding everything else the same. We could finally compare the cutting systems and were surprised at what we heard. First, they were definitely different. The stereo cut seemed a little more “stereo like” in a spatial sense. The mono cut was more focused by comparison and the bass definition was superior. The real test was to play each against the tape that they were cut from to see which was more authentic. The mono cut was definitely more like the tape than the stereo cut. While neither system was a perfect replication it was equally clear that both have an additive effect that is, in many ways, quite pleasant. Like the old saying goes – “Everything has an effect” and cutting systems are no exception.

In the end, it was a unanimous decision to use the Mono cutting system exclusively for mono titles because the sound is more authentic than using a stereo cutting system. It would appear that collectors who go to the ends of the earth to find original mono pressings cut on mono systems do so with good reason. If you want to hear some of the most valuable and collectible Jazz records in the universe then we invite you to join us on our journey “Back To Mono”.

Happy Listening,

Michael Hobson

President – Classic Records Inc.

THE CLAS­SICBLUE NOTE SIG­NA­TURE LPSE­RIES MONO
BLP 1530Jutta HippJutta Hipp
BLP 1533Johnny Grif­finIn­tro­duc­ing Johnny Grif­fin
BLP 1535Kenny DorhamAfro-Cuban
BLP 1536J.R. Mon­teroseJ.R. Mon­terose
BLP 1538Lee Mor­gan In­deed
BLP 1560Hank Mob­leyHank
BLP 1568Hank Mob­leyHank Mob­ley
BLP 1573John Jenk­insJohn Jenk­ins with Kenny Bur­rell
BLP 1577John ColtraneBlue Train
BLP 1580Johnny Grif­finThe Con­gre­ga­tion
BLP 1588Sonny ClarkCool Strut­tin’
BLP 1590Lee Mor­ganCandy
BLP 1595Can­non­ball AdderlySome­thin’ Else
BLP 4003Art BlakeyMoanin
BLP 4023Dizzy ReeseStar Bright
BLP 4024Jackie McLeanSwing, Swang, Swing in
BLP 4031Hank Mob­leySoul Sta­tion
BLP 4032Sonny RedOut of the Blue
BLP 4037Ho­race Par­lanUs Three
BLP 4041Tina BrooksTrue Blue
BLP 4043Ho­race Par­lanSpeakin’ My Piece
BLP 4045Fred­die ReddShades of Redd
BLP 4058Hank Mob­leyRoll Call
BLP 4074Ho­race Par­lanOn The Spur of the Mo­ment
BLP 4105Ike Que­becIt Might As Well Be Spring

 

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