Gail Zappa daughter of a rocket scientist, wife of composer Frank Zappa, mother of Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva Zappa. Writer, Art Director, Provocateur. Has changed a million diapers and a few minds — including her own. [Grammy winner: Gail and Frank Zappa, Art Directors, Best Recording Package - Boxed - 1995, CIVILIZATION, Phase III]

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Re: Joe’s Garage half-speed mastering?

Added: September 27th, 2012 in Questions

On Sep 25, 2012, at 10:32 PM, Paul wrote:

Hi Gail, were the new 2012 Joe’s Garage CD’s done at normal speed mastering? I read an old interview where Frank wasn’t happy with the sound of the half-speed mastering done for Joe’s Garage and it could be assumed that the previous CD releases were the half-speed versions.

I’m off to buy some more 2012 releases tomorrow, and just wanted to know the technical info about Joe’s Garage!



The answer is a resounding no. And none of our remasters (so far no vinyl except Hot Rats) are being considered for half-speed. The Vaultmeister did a little research for you: Half-Speed Mastering is a technique used when cutting a lacquer for vinyl releases only. Definition: Half-speed mastering slows the master tape and record lathe to 1/2 of their original speed to capture detail that might be missed if run at full speed. FZ’s quote from the internet:

ZAPPA: On the Joe’s Garage album, we used half-speed mastering on all three of those discs, and I’m not totally delighted with the results.
TOM MULHERN: Do you have any examples?

ZAPPA: Let me give you a very graphic one. We cut it at half-speed, and the stylus can carve very careful, perfect, little high-frequency wiggles on the record. That doesn’t mean when it’s turned into a stamper and goes onto that vinyl that those wiggles are necessarily going to be there. You may just be fooling yourself. You may hear it great coming off of a reference disc, but not off of a pressing. And that’s what I think happened with Joe’s Garage. It just didn’t carry through all the manufacturing process. Recently, I’ve cut some normal-speed refs on the Joe’s Garage album, and since the time of the original mastering there have been some advancements in normal-speed lathe technology. You can get more level on the record, and so forth. So the new refs sound fantastic. They have plenty of top end and plenty of bottom; they sound much more like the master tape than the half-speed version did.

So, according to this, the first L.P. release of Joe’s Garage in 1979 (Phonogram/Zappa Records) might have been mastered at half speed. But we think the later releases were the recut versions FZ is referring to above. On the other hand, half-speed mastering does not apply to mastering CDs, as in our current release which we advise on the package itself that the source used was the original master tapes, not half-speed mastered copies or any other copy or format for that matter.



“Music is the Best!”~fz