Conjunto Rosa de Ouro 1 & 2 (2010 Remaster)

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Clementina de Jesus & Aracy Cortes
with Conjunto Rosa de Ouro
“Rosa de Ouro” and “Rosa de Ouro No.2” (1965 & 1967)
REMASTER 2010, EMI (BR-EMI-67-00271)

As you can hopefully tell, this is the exact same album(s) as my last post, only a brand-spanking-new reissue, whose pressing includes a beguiling “Clementina Jesus 100 aos” printed on it, even though (as one of our readers observed) she is listed as having been born in 1901. But whatever the confusion about the occasion, it is good to see Clementina’s work coming back into print and hopefully more reissues will follow. UNFORTUNATELY, the label opted to issue this as a budget slipcase release that contains NO information WHATSOEVER (yes, I am using many capital letters). I mean, literally, no notes, no photos, no backstory, no musician credits unless you squint really hard at the reproduction of the LP cover (and even then, only the singers are listed, the other musicians having been credited elsewhere on previous releases). In my opinion, this is a rather lame way to honor the legacy of Clementina.

So what about the other reason people by reissued albums: new/improved/or at least different sound quality? Well let us have a look and a listen…

The song “Jura” from the 1993 CD pressing

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Left Right
Min Sample Value: -25959 -30224
Max Sample Value: 26572 32021
Peak Amplitude: -1.85 dB -.22 dB
Possibly Clipped: 0 0
DC Offset: .319 .243
Minimum RMS Power: -52.4 dB -56.87 dB
Maximum RMS Power: -8.06 dB -7.28 dB
Average RMS Power: -17.95 dB -14.85 dB
Total RMS Power: -17.16 dB -14.36 dB
Actual Bit Depth: 16 Bits 16 Bits

Using RMS Window of 50 ms

The same song, “Jura”, from the new 2010 remaster
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Left Right
Min Sample Value: -31332 -31968
Max Sample Value: 30974 31926
Peak Amplitude: -.39 dB -.22 dB
Possibly Clipped: 0 0
DC Offset: .006 .006
Minimum RMS Power: -88.58 dB -88.21 dB
Maximum RMS Power: -5.75 dB -5.6 dB
Average RMS Power: -15.25 dB -13.07 dB
Total RMS Power: -14.49 dB -12.59 dB
Actual Bit Depth: 16 Bits 16 Bits

Using RMS Window of 50 ms

This is not a tremendous difference – it is mostly just louder. There is some flattening of the dynamics but not nearly as bad as others I have heard and SEEN, where the resulting waveform ends up like a ruler-straight solid line instead of, well, a wave. The new mastering does seem to have fixed a rather huge problem with DC offset in the first pressing, but so far I haven’t figured out what cumulative effect (if any) this has on the final mix, although the stats are a pretty stunning difference.

On some tracks off the new remaster, the stringed instruments cut through a little better in the mix, a quality that I consider a positive change. And A/B comparison of some tracks where the ample, layered percussion nearly drowns out the guitars and cavaquinhos on the first 1993 CD pressing are now suddenly opened up to the listener to appreciate the detail of those instruments. Here I’ve taken one track as an example, the medley that numbers 18 on the CD (Degraus da vida /Mulher fingida /O que será de mim? /Que samba bom/Só pra chatear). On the original CD pressing the guitars and cavaquinho sound dull and buried in the mix, overpowered in particular by the sibilance in the percussion. Here’s what they look like displayed visually

Track 18, “Degraus da vida”, 1993 pressing
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Track 18, “Degraus da vida”, 2010 pressing
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What this shows is a pretty significant boost in the upper frequencies most prominently from 6khz to 15khz, which would explain why the harmonics from those instruments are suddenly foregrounded. I haven’t the time or the inclination to examine whether this new EQ curve was used across all of both Rosa de Ouro albums, but my guess is that an identical or very similar equalization curve was probably applied for most of the material. At this point I don’t have a particularly strong opinion about whether one is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than the other. To make matters more complicated, I recently got hold of a vinyl copy of the 2nd volume and am pursuing a vinyl copy of the *first*, after which I can drive myself insane trying to decide if either of these CD pressings actually improved a bit on the original vinyl. I know, perish the scandalous thought — but as my friend Justin Thyme has repeatedly observed, recording studios didn’t really *nail it* in terms of recording these larger samba conjuntos until the 1970s, when advances in multitrack recording allowed for better definition and separation between the instruments. So far, I am not completely in love with the sound of the original vinyl either, which makes me wonder why I have just spent all this time writing about the production values of these different releases.

Flabbergast needs a hug. Or a lady-friend. Or both.

In the end, make up your own minds.

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Standing, left to right: Elton Medeiros, Turíbio Santos (non-member), Nelson Sargento, Paulinho da Viola, Jair do Cavaquinho, Anescarzinho do Salgueiro. Sitting from left to right are: Clementina de Jesus, Aracy de Almeida (non-member) e Aracy Cortes.


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