A Couple Wonderland Music notes


Well, not music notes per se, I mean notes about the music notes and, oh, you know what I mean.

I bought two more titles this Saturday morning. The burner was up and running. They're still using the Mitsui blanks, thank goodness. I'd heard rumors that they'd switched to cheapys.

I was very disappointed by one of the discs, though. The Mellomen's originally mono "Meet Me Down on Main Street" has had a big dollop of boomy, bass-heavy digital reverb applied to it in mastering. I don't have the original vinyl to compare it to, but since the reverb is stereo, it couldn't possibly have been there to start with. I find it quite distracting, especially on Thurl's solos, which have that wall-shaking exaggerated bass sound that they usually apply to doo-wop records to shore up a weak bassman. Thurl sure don't need it, and it kind of messes with the whole Barber Shop balance thing.

Perhaps it was mastered from dry session tapes and then doctored in an attempt to match the sound of the original. Is there an owner of the original vinyl who can do a play-check? The sound is not entirely out of line with some of the more exasperating engineering techniques of the late 50s (thanks a heap, Mitch Miller) except that it sounds like it's being digitally recreated rather than using a real echo chamber. And I don't recall Disney's engineers going for that sound much, at least in the 50s.

Just a guess here, but I'd say that these old masters were in less-than-perfect shape to begin with, and we're really lucky to have anything at all. I doubt they invested too much money in remastering them. Remember who we're talking about here!

Also, and this is another stab in the dark, I have many digital recordings of older material that have audible problems. When they made the records originally, they only had to master them to sound good on old record players, with crappy needles and tiny speakers. Don't forget either that "Compact Discs may reveal limitations of the source tape."

I don't have "Meet Me" on vinyl, but I do have the title track on the 1992 Legacy box set...maybe you can compare it to that.
I was curious about Hawaiiannette - - Many of the Hawaiiannette tracks were issued in true Stereo on Annette's Beach Party and the Reunion box-set, so the session masters exist for a clean stereo version of this entire LP (which was never originally issued in Stereo). Why not put out the cleaner stereo tracks that were done for these other sets in the Wonderland LP version....???
Parent Trap sounds great. I have had several mint copies in stereo on vinyl, but some have had popping and crackling despite pristine surfaces (I assume it was a bad pressing). So it's great to get a clean stereo copy of Maureen O'Hara et al...
Darn it, narkspud, I was really looking forward to the Mellomen CD, one of my favorite Disney recordings....

I haven't ordered the CD yet, but plan on ordering it over the next few days, as the dust settles from us returning from WDW.....

I do have the LP--probably a VG+--a tad crackley--how can I help you out with a play-check, not being a hardened audiophile?

Anyone have the Maurice Chevalier CD yet? It's a gem, I have it on vinyl--a sealed ebay copy, which was full of pops and crackles(I don't think I was taken.....)!

Glad about the Mitsui's--I just received my third box of them!



I do have the LP--probably a VG+--a tad crackley--how can I help you out with a play-check, not being a hardened audiophile?

Oh no! Am I already hardened?

A play test is no longer necessary. I got my mitts on the Legacy CD set and gave "Main Street" a listen. I'm sure what's on there is what was on the original LP master: A nicely mixed mono recording, a bit of reverb to liven it up a little, a little bass boost (but not much--probably done for the CD, since at the time most LPs were mastered with the bass attenuated), some tape hiss, an occasional minor harshness here and there caused by some sort of phasing issue--maybe sheet music held too close to the mikes or something--in short, exactly what I'd expect from a 1957 Disneyland album. I wish the Wonderland CD had sounded the same.

Again, I don't think the average person will be clawing their ears off, it's just that the Wonderland version has some additional 21st century audio processing that I don't care for and don't think was necessary. They altered the sound to simulate modern recording techniques rather than preserving the original 1957 "vibe." Had I been in charge, I'd've applied a bit of light noise removal to tame the tape hiss (which was a tad excessive on Legacy), fixed any splice/dropout issues that could be repaired without resorting to violence, and then left it at that.

But as it is, I can just turn the bass down, hit the mono button, and I'm in reasonaby good shape. It doesn't sound exactly like the original, but it's pretty close.

Believe me, there are much worse things to be found on reissue CDs. I just bought a Bobby Lewis's Greatest Hits disc that was absolutely butchered by an effects-crazed engineer, and a 4-disc Ink Spots set from England that was CEDAR'd into noise-free watery-sounding mush. Don't get me started.

BTW, pops and crackles are just an unfortunate fact of life on Disneyland LPs, especially from the 60s. If it's a just-opened copy from one of the higher priced lines, it might be worth finding someone with a professional cleaning machine (VPI or Nitty Gritty) to give it a good scrubbing, figuratively speaking--they work miracles on high-quality pressings, and might eliminate your surface noise completely if you're lucky. Some used record shops and audiophile stores have them, and will clean your record for a small fee.

If it's an ST or DQ, it's usually (though not always) low-grade or recycled vinyl and it's going to crackle at you no matter what. You're often better off with a later "rainbow label" pressing on those, for listening if not for collecting purposes.
No, you're not hardened yet, narkspud--I suppose "well-trained" is a more appropriate word! I always enjoy your comments--"mini-audio tutorials" for me--thank you so much!!! I never thought I'd be dealing with records again, once the CD revolution was firmly in place, but I have to admit, I kind of missed the cursed format, all that gentle handling and care of those black discs--I used to go into a panic whenever I accidentally dropped one, which invariably would leave a permenent scar! It's been a fun exercise, reviving and transferring musical history into digital format, being able to then share some treasured sounds with our son.

And thank you, The Mouse Info--the Chevalier CD will certainly be part of my next order!



New Member
Thanks for the feedback -

I ordered THE PARENT TRAP tonight, since I won't be able to get to WDW anytime soon, thanks to Hurricane Frances.

For those of you in Florida, be safe!