Saturday, December 14, 2019

Steppenwolf - Steppenwolf (1968) [2019 Sundazed Mono]

Steppenwolf - Steppenwolf  (1968)
2019 Sundazed LP 5558 Mono LP (Discogs)
Newly surfaced true dedicated mono mix!
~ThePoodleBites rip in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + full high-res scans~

The origins of hard rock / heavy metal music, along with Black Sabbath and the Vanilla Fudge, is deeply linked to the legendary music of Steppenwolf. While probably best remembered today for their Easy Rider hits "Born To Be Wild" and "The Pusher," I'd argue the best moment on their debut is actually "The Ostrich," which boasts more poignant lyrics than most bands accomplish in their entire careers. Some tracks are perhaps disposable but the album is certainly more often great than mediocre. After being surprised with massive success the band would prolifically produce albums for ABC/Dunhill surmounting in what would many consider their best record, Steppenwolf 7, only 2 years later!

For this debut I've ripped 3 original US mono copies of this album (two of which were only mono on one side), and I can confirm with some certainty that these copies sound very much like a re-equalized stereo fold-down. However, this recent Sundazed release shows that the album was mixed in mono at some point in time, but whether or not it was released in 1968 remains definitively unproven. Whatever the history, this mix is 100% worth hearing. I've included a 44.1kHz / 16bit downsample of this one as it appears to have been cut from CD-quality source material.

Thanks to my buddy Aaron R. for making me aware of this reissue so that I
could purchase, rip, & share it for all!

I've found it impossible to scan the foil cover, so I've robbed this photograph from the Sundazed website.

For the record, Sundazed's engineer boldly makes some claims about this mix on their website, some of which are untrue, so be forewarned that there still are all the guitars in "The Ostrich" and you'll also find double-tracked vocals on your stereo mix of "A Girl I Knew." How a professional engineer in a high-end studio could make these blunders is beyond me... but there's one other mastering mistake here, and that's that it appears whoever transferred the tape did so with a stereo tape head and then folded to mono, not realizing that the channels were slightly out of phase when doing so, thus leading to some spectral cancellations in the high frequencies. Whooops! But, we're stuck with this as it's the only confirmed source for this mix, and damn does it still sound good. I'd venture as far as to say that "The Pusher" must be heard in mono to hear in its definitive form!

It's also worth mentioning that these mixes are quite different than the single versions, which have all been conveniently compiled in great sound quality on the Real Gone retrospective set. So, for some of these tracks, at least 3 period mixes are known to exist! Boy are we lucky... :)

Track Listing:
  1. "Sookie Sookie" – 3:15
  2. "Everybody's Next One" – 3:01
  3. "Berry Rides Again" – 2:51
  4. "Hootchie Kootchie Man" – 5:14
  5. "Born To Be Wild" – 3:30
  6. "Your Wall's Too High" – 5:47
  7. "Desperation" – 5:47
  8. "The Pusher" – 5:52
  9. "A Girl I Knew" – 2:42
  10. "Take What You Need" – 3:33
  11. "The Ostrich" – 5:48
Vinyl Condition: Mint (brand new)
Dynamic Range: DR12

Lineage:
– Audio-Technica AT150MLx Dual Moving-Magnet Cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Direct Drive Professional Turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA Phono Preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2019 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 Audio Editor (manual declicking, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.0 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.5.0 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)


Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1tHQGCS8AQWNWOfe8F8nkRw3wRo9eav_Z
Enjoy, and please leave comments below. Merry Christmas to all! 

15 comments:

  1. Many thanks & a great silly season to you too!

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  2. Hey, thanks! This was one of the 1st albums I ever owned, having been given to me as a present when I was 12 yrs. old. Long since lost, of course. Cheers

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  3. Fantastic, thank you very much : Steppenwolf was great!

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  4. Superior! Thank You!

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  5. Why is this extracting to only 2 side long-sides?

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    Replies
    1. All files are there, I recommend you try again and download only the ones you want.

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  6. Muchas gracias my friend excelente trabajo, lo voy a escuchar hoy y te digo.

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  7. Thanks for doing this! I love getting a chance to hear my favorite records again in mono. You are doing a great service as the format of these records are hardly ever available.

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  8. Another superb job, Poodle .... Once again you can tell that the "love" went into mono mix. The mixing balances in mono are so superior that I doubt that I'll ever listen to the many stereo version (Hoffman remaster / MFSL remaster / Analogue Prod remaster / Geffehn Japan Manabu Matsumura remaster) I already have.

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  9. I'm not surprised that the guy who runs Sundazed made false claims and screwed up the mastering. That seems to be his MO, along with blocking people on Facebook who complain about it.

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  10. I used to have a tape machine for PLAYTAPE's (they were a thing) and I'm 100 percent certain MOST of those Steppenwolf tapes were mixed to mono for them. And in 68 there were still mono 4 track (not 8-track) tape machines and again would explain the mono mix

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  11. brilliant, thanx 4 sharing :)

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  12. Was considering buying the album, but so very few were pressed which has facilitated it's cost to be way out of line. I've never known of Sundazed to do that sort of thing, but whatever. Thanks for the posting.

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