Too Fast Transfers

2011 June 15
by Simba

I sort of promised to post a few samples of my results from slowing down some tracks that I believe are transferred at too high speed in the DyM Tango Classics collection.

Although I have suspected that several other transfers, most notably on the El Bandoneon label were transferred at too high speed, I never tried slowing them down myself because I knew it to be hard to find the correct speed. Maybe impossible. To know you got the right signal (as in as similar or undistorted relative to how it sounded before it entered the recording chain), you would have to know the tone played at some time during the recording, and how the instrument that played that tone was tuned. Even though there are scores for many tangos, the exact arrangements are rarely available, and even then you would have to know that the musicians did not deviate from what was written there (e.g. transposing up or down a (semi)tone). And how the instrument was tuned. Most commonly the concert pitch A is supposed to be 440 Hz, but it has varied from time to time and from orchestra to orchestra.

Not trivial in other words as I basically had access to exactly none of the required information. I usually tried to get another and hopefully more correct transfer, leaving the problem to be sorted out by someone else.

Now with some of these De Caro recordings, it was just too annoying, and I didn’t know of any other transfers available (which was why I got them in the first place). So I gave it a try. As I don’t have perfect pitch and didn’t have the above mentioned information, I did it by trial and error, and I paid particular attention to the timbre of the piano, attack, decay etc and generally tried to assess whether it sounded ‘right’.

I would be interested to hear your opinion, here are two examples, both by Julio De Caro, El taita/Raza criolla and Maipo. First original as transferred by DyM, then my 7 percent slowed down versions (about one semitone). EDIT: I added some samples for tracks that I believe are not so readily available: Berretín and Lorenzo.

Tracks also available on RCA 100 Años

-09 El taita — Raza criolla30s

-09 El taita — Raza criolla-7pct-slower30s

-08 Maipo30s


Tracks “Unique” for DyM

-07 Berretin30s

-07 Berretin-7pct-slower30s

-04 Lorenzo (Felix Gutierrez)30s

-04 Lorenzo (Felix Gutierrez)-7pct-slower30s

8 Responses leave one →
  1. 2011 June 15

    Nice! Interestingly, I have versions of both of these songs that sound almost exactly like your slowed-down versions.

  2. 2011 June 16

    Dear Simba,

    Nice post! I listened to your sample tracks, and like you, I found the DyM version too fast. I think to have a better idea of how it “originally” might sound, is to find a 78rpm and listen to it (if possible). I noticed that both El Taita and Maipo are available on RCA Victor 100 Años – Julio De Caro. I got a feeling (I didn’t seriously compared) on this Cd version El Taita is even slower than yours, while Maipo is more or less the same as your slow-down adjustment. If you’re interested, you can check them out yourself.


  3. 2011 June 16

    Thanks for your comments!

    I realize I must have been tired last night when I posted, my intention was to post one track easily available elsewhere, and one “unique” for DyM. It is more tricky when there is nothing to compare with. I updated the post with two more samples.

    Most of the tracks I adjusted were slowed down 7%, and on second listening (this was a while ago), I wonder if the ones I slowed down 10% and 12% are maybe too slow. Maybe I’ll give them another go, we’ll see.

    I agree that having the 78rpm would give you better chances of getting it right, but there is still the issue of playback speed (not always exactly 78rpm). Personally I am not into collecting 78s, I prefer nice and well done transfers on CD or for download 🙂

  4. 2011 June 16

    Interesting – thanks.

  5. 2011 June 17

    Many thanks for that. I also found the slower versions more satisfactory, less rushed, although the slower version of Berretin (but not of Lorenzo) has a bit of the ‘heavy bass’ you associate with records at slow speed. I guess I’m used to a certain ‘sound’ for de Caro, and that sound is relaxed and singing, and that’s the sound you’ve gone for.

    Perhaps the TangoVia versions will be the truest we can expect. But I wonder if copyright law will allow them to be released… Big corporations own the music these days.

    & thanks for drawing attention to those ‘new’ de Caro tracks. He’s not played for milongas a lot, and therefore relatively unknown. But he was a remarkably creative musician by any standards, and highly regarded and respected in his day. It’s great to find tracks I’ve not listened to before.

  6. 2011 June 30

    Thanks guys! Yes, De Caro is the one everybody knows was important, but nobody listens to. It’s amazing to compare his 20s output with recordings of other orchestras like Canaro at the same time. Or later for that matter. Amazing and brilliant.

    It’s possible that the bass gets a bit too heavy because the RIAA-curve was applied at the sped up version, I’m not sure how much it would be, if you’d really notice. Could also be it’s a bit too slow. Difficult to know for sure unfortunately. Thanks for your input.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Time stretching too fast El Bandoneón recordings | Jens-Ingo's Tango DJ
  2. More Fast Transfers | Simba tango

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