Sunday, May 30, 2010

June 2009 Revisited: Kenny's Picks, pt. 1 of 3

(these are not remasters, but most shows have been level-corrected when volume was low originally.)

Clicking on the date will take you to the page, and the numbers at the end of the taper info will take you to the Etree db page for that source.

5/31 - Telefunken USA Ela m262 (hyper) by Jesse Hurlburt (99250)
                FLAC pt 1        FLAC pt 2        mp3          AAC

6/2 -  Microtech Gefell M210 by M.Watson (99537)
                            FLAC          mp3         AAC

6/4 -  Telefunken USA Ela m260 (tubes) by Jesse Hurlburt  (99376)
                            FLAC          mp3         AAC

6/5 -  Telefunken USA Ela m260 (tubes) by Jesse Hurlburt (99377)
                            FLAC          mp3         AAC

6/6 -  AKG 483s by Chris King  (103431)
                            FLAC          mp3           AAC

To honor the 1-year anniversary of Phish's full comeback tour, I am rolling out my picks for best AUD available for each show.  I will do this in three 5-show increments, hopefully getting the next two installments up in time for the anniversary date of the first show in each group.

While many phans may not have the urge to listen back to June '09 after witnessing the undeniable progression of the band's playing and confidence level throughout the year, I thought this project was an important one for a couple reasons.

The LivePhish SBDs of this first leg were notoriously lambasted by the community as sounding woefully flat and sterile, with very little bass presence.  While a big reason for this was the way new sound engineer Garry Brown was mixing the band back then, I can say from being at a couple of the shows that there was a lot more bass and a much better overall sound at the shows than the SBDs would lead you to believe.  Because of all the negativity I heard about the first few SBDs, I resolved myself to the AUDs on bt.etree and did not even bother with the boards.  I was happy to find that the AUDs sounded fantastic overall, with a good enough bass presence (almost too much bass presence on some sources) and a much more natural, warmer sound than the SBDs LivePhish was serving up.  After eventually sampling some of those 1st leg boards, I can confirm that they are light years behind the boards of '03.  The boards improved dramatically for the second leg, so I feel the colossal difference between the AUDs and SBDs from leg 1 warrant celebration of the AUDs.

On a more personal note, it was this June 2009 tour that created the passion in me for gathering and analyzing all available AUD sources for every show and choosing my favorite, or favorite two or three if it was a tough call.  I would pick a certain song from each show (usually a longer track with multiple sections and volume fluctuations), and create a playlist of that song from every available source for that show.  I would then listen through my headphones and jot down on pen and scrap paper my gut impressions of each source, noting pros and cons, eventually narrowing it down to fewer and fewer sources until I had my pick(s).  Once I had made my decisions for each show, I would transcribe my notes onto a Word/Google document for future reference.  Here are the notes I've compiled thus far for 2009.  For the shows with a single source with an asterisk preceding it and no technical notes, that means it was my definite favorite source for that show.  I'm sure this is more information than most of you want to know, but I felt it might help to see where I'm coming from.

Similar to my TAB Feb 2010 Tour post, these June 2009 picks are not remasters.  While a couple shows could have used a little EQ love, I purposely have refrained from altering the dynamic structure at all to emphasize the point that these are some really great AUDs, and thanks to the tapers we are not stuck with those LP boards.  The only thing I have changed about the files for most of the shows is level adjustments if the volume of the original track was several db's lower than the peak level.  A few of these were recorded reeeeeally quiet, so I thought it would be better to have them all at a more equal level for your listening pleasure.  I have added ID tags where they did not exist and attached album art, which is usually a photo from the official "Phish From The Road" Flickr page, which can also be accessed here.  I have also included a separate folder within each show that has all of the photos from each show.

Just a couple quick technical notes:  if you're wondering why I went with the MG m210's for 6/2 instead of the Telefunken source (which would have been more consistent with the other two nights), I just thought the m210's had a nice amount of low end which was lacking in the other sources, yet had good clarity as well.  The Telefunken and, even more so, the AKG 460 source are much clearer for 6/2 but sound too bright to me...And finally, you may notice that 6/5 sounds significantly rougher due than 6/4, and that is due to the weather.  It was pouring and windy, which is a bad combo for AUDs.  Still sounds the best to these ears of all the sources.



Charlie said...

This is a pretty cool idea, the boards are terrible just like you said. Is there anything that is absolutely mandatory to have here? Not in my opinion. But these are the best sources around for all of us completists. Thanks again.

sage234 said...

Wow, I thought I was the only one obsessive about collecting the best of last year's auds. I am running into the same problem where I've been unable to get rid of a lot of sources if I am on the fence with respect to sound, so I typically am keeping 2-3 sources for each of the 2009 shows (and making sure one is at least one source per show is 24-bit to enjoy when I finally get a decent system to hear the difference!).

My big question on the 1st leg sbd issue is why did the Hampton boards sound decent, then the June boards really sound terrible? I get it they fixed the problem with the 2nd leg starting at Red Rocks, but why go from Good -> Bad -> Great. It would be ideal to rerelease some some of the 1st leg sbd's.

I am really looking forward to your next recommendations. I have to disagree on the 5/31 and 6/2 sources (I like the Campbell schoeps mk22 and the AKG/460 respectively). I did change my pick for 6/6 and now prefer the AKG460 to the Telefunken m262.

Looking forward to your next reviews and getting psyched for the summer tour.

Kenny Powers said...


i may be wrong but i think Paul was at the controls for one last hurrah at Hampton and then Fenway was Garry's first show...or is that wrong? it would sure explain things.

i chose the Telefunken for Fenway because not only did i just like the sound of it but i felt it had the least bit of wind-related noise and phasing. It was either mk22's you mention or another Schoeps source (mk41 perhaps) that I actually liked a lot but the wind in late set I and early set II ruined it for me.

As for those AKG460s on 6/2 - don't they strike you as way too bright, almost overprocessed? At first I was like "daaamn this sounds sick!". It has that immediate wow factor. But after a short while it kind of hurt my ears and was lacking a good low end. -IRONIC- that's probably how some feel about my remasters. Anyway I just liked the way the mg210's caught the low end and still had enough clarity in the highs.

For 6/6 did you mean the newest 483's (don't think there's a 460)? Initially i liked Andy Murray's mk4's because it had a fat, thumping low end that remind me so much of the way it sounded for the few songs i spent in the 6th row, front and center. But that source is a bit boomy, and i find the newest AKG source to be better overall.

This all just goes to show how much tastes interesting! I like Phish.

Free Hit Counter