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For My Life

Mono mixes on ITTOD companion?

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Others have already commented on how the mixes of Fool In The Rain, All My Love and I'm Gonna Crawl on the ITTOD companion disc sound 'muddy'. To my ears it sounds like these are actually mono mixes? Could this have been a mastering/production error?

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Not a mastering or production error, at least not one related to the recent reissues. The source tapes sound like they have deteriorated over the years. It may have been a mastering decision to mix them more mono to eliminate excessive dropouts or single channel damage, but that's just my thought.

Half of Led Zeppelin II's companion tracks are nearly mono:

Whole Lotta Love

Thank You

Living Loving Maid

La La (parts of it)

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Not a mastering or production error, at least not one related to the recent reissues. The source tapes sound like they have deteriorated over the years. It may have been a mastering decision to mix them more mono to eliminate excessive dropouts or single channel damage, but that's just my thought.

Half of Led Zeppelin II's companion tracks are nearly mono:

Whole Lotta Love

Thank You

Living Loving Maid

La La (parts of it)

Thanks Glyn - it just seems a little odd given how much better the other four tracks on the ITTOD companion sound, which one would assume have come from the same or similar source tapes?

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Mono mixes may have been done for AM radio play, or to check for phase problems - in 1979 many cars only had mono playback (some cassette decks too), and if you have phase problems between the left and right channel of a stereo recording things can actually disappear or sound too quiet or loud in the mix if you play back in mono.

When you consider that the mixing desk at polar studios had a total recall system, which allows you to automatically recall everything that's going on in a mix, the need to have a few alternate mixes done is reduced. I reckon Page didn't have a great amount of alternate material available for ITTOD, and a mono mix will sound sufficiently different to the uninitiated for him to get away with calling it an alternate mix.

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Posted (edited)

The only songs to be issued in mono during Led Zeppelin's active recording career were the following 3 singles:  Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown, Whole Lotta Love/Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman), and some, but not all, copies of Rock And Roll/Four Sticks.  The latter 2 were just fold-downs, the simple combining of the 2 stereo channels.  Since a straight-up fold-down of the first single was impossible due to too much being mixed into the center, it was "force-folded-down" using a process which is explained here.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haeco-CSG  

Edited by Douglas Perkins

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Douglas Perkins said:

The only songs to be issued in mono during Led Zeppelin's active recording career were the following 3 singles:  Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown, Whole Lotta Love/Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman), and some, but not all, copies of Rock And Roll/Four Sticks.  The latter 2 were just fold-downs, the simple combining of the 2 stereo channels.  Since a straight-up fold-down of the first single was impossible due to too much being mixed into the center, it was "force-folded-down" using a process which is explained here.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haeco-CSG  

Thanks! Yes, Zep never released true mono mixes of anything. As for Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown, there's a very nice rip circulating of that one (I think from a French 45), and even with the Haeco-CSG process, the resulting center-of-the-mix energy is quite something: Communication Breakdown just punches you in the face from the first moment to the last. It's very cool.

Edited by tmtomh

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I bought the Deluxe two cd set. I find the version to be sub par at best, sounds horrible, and it was a big low point of the companion cds. Out of all of them I thought In Through The Out Door Companion disc sounded terrible. Considering their is a excellent extended version in the archives.  (All My Love).

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