Is the 2010 LP Just the Norberg CD on Vinyl?


Let me explain what you are looking at above.  You are seeing two programs running on my laptop.  At left is a “plug in” called Phasescope.  Phasescope allows the user to check phase relationships within a stereo recording.  If the recording is presented in a 100% mono fashion, the user will see nothing but a straight, vertical line.  The “more stereo” a recording is, the more that line gets spread out horizontally.  A Jolly Christmas is a mono recording, so if the recording is presented in a “clean” fashion, we would expect to see (more or less, since vinyl is not “perfect”) a straight vertical line.  The area where one would “see” this stuff going on is the area that I have highlighted in red, an area that essentially recreates an oscilloscope, which is kind of like watching sound waves on a tv screen. 

Over on the right side is my ProTools window. The top two tracks (near the yellow star) are the tracks coming off my stereo turntable when I play the 2010 vinyl of A Jolly Christmas, while the bottom two tracks (near the green star) are the 1998 Norberg CD.  The song involved is “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and my thanks to SH.TV member “Bob F” for sending along that clip. 

Here’s what I did.  I transferred the tracks off the new LP, then I transferred over the Norberg CD of the same song.  I then found a sync point and attempted to synchronize the two cuts.  Since one is off a CD and one is from my turntable, they are never going to synchronize absolutely perfectly, but they come pretty darned close.  (The are REALLY close.)  I then let the audio from BOTH versions play “in sync.”  There is a VIDEO of this below.  In the video, you will see me constantly moving the cursor back and forth from the yellow star to the green star.  When I do so, the oscilloscope changes from showing the phase characteristics of the LP to showing the phase characteristics of the Norberg CD.  Keeping in mind that one stems from vinyl and one stems from a CD, they are incredibly close, so much so that I think we are getting a vinyl cut of the Norberg CD, but I cannot say with 100% certainty.

I don’t know, but...

IMO, the similarity between the patterns of the two recordings indicates that they certainly could share the same source.  The Norberg has a particular set of effects that add a quasi-stereo characteristic, and it’s a very specific alteration to the program.  Odd that the vinyl -- supposedly mastered from the original tapes -- would mirror those stereo characteristics virtually identically.  As far as I can tell, either the vinyl was cut from the Norberg version, or (and I don’t think this really happened) Ron McMaster processed the mono master tape in a very similar way with similar equipment and similar settings. 

The EQs are certainly different.  To match the Norberg CD tonally to the 2010 LP, and curve along these lines must be applied:

Audio Clips - The First Noel

iTunes offers a 90-second sample of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” at no charge. The clip posted on this page falls within that 90-second window, available via the iTunes link below.  (To access the 90-second free iTunes clips, click VIEW, then “View in iTunes” when prompted.)