Oscar Peterson – A Time For Love – Live In Helsinki, 1987 – Review (Vinyl, Streaming Qobuz)

Oscar Peterson leads the excellent quintet composed of Joe Pass, Dave Young and Martin Drew. This album features the recording at the Kulttuuritalo in Helsinki of the last date of their 14-concert European tour in 1987. A beautiful concert featuring classic and original compositions.

You can find the measurements of each edition in the different parts and listen to the samples of these albums here.

This album includes 12 tracks : 

  1. Cool Walk
  2. Sushi
  3. Love Ballade
  4. Cakewalk (Qobuz pos 5)*
  5. A Salute To Bach (Qobuz pos 4)*
  6. A Time For Love
  7. How High The Moon
  8. Soft Winds
  9. Duke Ellington Medley (Qobuz pos 11)*
  10. Waltz For Debby (Qobuz pos 9)*
  11. When You Wish Upon A Star (Qobuz pos 10)*
  12. Blues Etude

*Track order differs between Vinyl and Qobuz

We will review 2 editions (Vinyl, Streaming Qobuz) of this album.

First we will analyze each edition in detail (technical and qualitative analysis) then we will compare the successive editions with their dynamics and assign a final score and you will be able to listen some samples.

Review of the editions:

Part 1: Presentation of the editions

Part 2 : Waveform and dynamique comparaison

Parts 3 : Spectrum comparisons

Part 4 : Spectrogram comparaisons

Part 5 : Summary, scoring and Sample

Part 1: presentation of the editions

Ed1 : Vinyl ref MAC1151LP – 2021
Presentation

It is a vinyl release with 3 Translucent blue LP 33RPM and a nice packaging (see pictures below). The vinyl includes a digital download code for MP3 (not reviewed). The record is released for Record Store Day in November 2021.

LabelMack Avenue
ReferenceMAC1151LP – 673203115118
Format (speed)Vinyl 3LP 180 gram translucent blue
Type3 LP 33 .33 rpm
MasterDigital
Mastering/PressingMixing and Mastering by Blaise Favre
Manufactured by RTI
Original recordingAnalog (to be confirmed)
StateUSA
Year original1987
Year production2021
Ed2 : Streaming Qobuz Hi-Res – 2021
Presentation

This is the Streaming Qobuz proposed in Hi-Res (24 bits 96kHz).

LabelMack Avenue
ReferenceStreaming Qobuz Hi-Res
Format (speed)Streaming Digital
Type24 bits 96 kHz
MasterDigital
Mastering/PressingMixing and Mastering by Blaise Favre
Original recordingAnalog (to be confirmed)
StateUSA
Year original1987
Year production2021

Part 2 : Waveform and dynamic comparaisons

Waveform

The waveform represents all the tracks of the album.

The comparison between the dynamic vinyl version and the Qobuz streaming version shows visible compression on some peaks (see example of the yellow zone).
The compression is present, but does not concern all the tracks.

Waveform Ed1 : Vinyl *
Waveform Ed2 : Qobuz *

*Track order differs between Vinyl and Qobuz

Dynamic

Dynamic represents the ability to reproduce a wide range of sounds from the softest to the loudest.

For our 2 editions we have obtained the following Dynamic Range (DR):

 Ed1: Vinyl Ed2: Qobuz
GLOBALDR11DR9
MinDR9DR7
MaxDR13DR13
Cool WalkDR10DR9
SushiDR9DR8
Love BalladeDR13DR13
Cakewalk (5 Qobuz)DR9DR7
A Salute To Bach (4 Qobuz)DR11DR8
A Time For LoveDR12DR12
How High The MoonDR10DR9
Soft WindsDR8DR7
Duke Ellington Medley (11 Qobuz)DR10DR8
Waltz For Debby (9 Qobuz)DR12DR11
When You Wish Upon A Star (10 Qobuz)DR13DR10
Blues EtudeDR9DR7

The DR measurement confirms the waveform comparison. The average value of the Streaming is much lower than the vinyl (DR9 vs DR11), but we find an identical maximum for the two editions DR13. The minimal version remaining lower for the streaming (DR7 vd DR9) amounting well the action of the more important compression on certain tracks. Only the tracks with a low recording level are the least affected by compression.

As a reminder, the scale goes from 0 to more 20, but the dynamics are considered good from 12, quite good between 10 and 11, and deteriorate below 10.

Part 3 : spectrum comparisons

Spectrum

The Spectrum allows to check the tonal balance of the music (balance between treble, medium and bass sounds) and to detect process that may have been carried out during the recording, the mixing, mastering or manufacturing phases. It is also possible to detect frequency interference issues.

The curve represents the average frequency distribution over the sample “Cool Walk”.

Please note that the scale of the graph below goes up to 88 Khz.
The curves of the Ed1 Vinyl and the Ed2 Streaming are almost identical up to 20 kHz. The audio signal (the music) is present beyond 20 kHz on both media.
There is a difference in level in the area between 20 kHz and 30 kHz, the vinyl is 5 dB below the streaming version (yellow arrow), with a parasite peak of 8 dB at 28 kHz for the vinyl (found again on the vinyl spectrogram).
The green arrow shows the drop at 48 kHz, which is normal for a master with a sampling rate of 96 kHz
The purple arrow shows that only the noise and distortion of the vinyl above 48 kHz remains.

Spectrum Ed1 Vinyl (white) vs Ed2 Streaming Qobuz (blue)

Part 4 : Spectrogram comparaisons

Spectrogram

Spectrogram is another representation of frequency versus time of a track. For each channel (right and left), horizontal axis represents time, and the vertical axis represents frequency. The amplitude is represented by the intensity (brightness) of the color of each point in the image.

The spectrograms are very similar between the Vinyl version and the streaming version. The yellow arrow is the marker at 22 kHz allowing to see that the signal rises above this frequency to the white arrow.
The black arrow shows a parasite frequency below 20 kHz present on some tracks.
The blue arrow shows the parasite frequency at 30 kHz which is found on the spectrum graph for vinyl only.

Spectrogram Ed1 : Vinyl*
Spectrogram Ed2 Qobuz*

*Track order differs between Vinyl and Qobuz

Part 5 : Summary, scoring and Samples

Ed1 : Vinyl ref MAC1151LP – 2021

Nice pressing for this vinyl with reduced surface noise, it is better to wash the disc to remove small particles présent. We find all the atmosphere of the recording with a great precision, an opening and a good dynamic.
The vinyl brings all its heat and its naturalness.

About the dowload code, MP3 should no longer be offered for download and replaced by the lossless version.

  • Rating:
    • Dynamic: ●●●oo (3.5/5)
    • Surface Noise: ●●●oo (3.5/5)
    • Bandwidth: ●●●●● (5/5)
    • Restitution: ●●●●o (4.5/5)
  • Sample : “Cool Walk” Vinyl 24 bits 176.4 kHz :
Sample “Cool Walk” Vinyl
Ed2 : Streaming Qobuz Hi-Res – 2021

The streaming version is very good on the uncompressed parts, very precise and detailed, the compression is fortunately limited compared to other music styles, but remains present on the peaks. It’s a pity for a Jazz album that would have deserved a better mastering.

  • Rating:
    • Dynamic: ●●ooo (2/5)
    • Bandwidth: ●●●●● (5/5)
    • Restitution: ●●●oo (3.5/5)
  • Sample : “Cool Walk” Streaming Qobuz 24 bits 96 kHz :
Sample “Cool Walk” Streaming Qobuz

Very nice live recording which is very well rendered in vinyl version with a nice spatialization and a very analog sound. The digital version has a nice precision, but remains less natural and suffers from compression on many passages of the album.

Detail of the ratings :

  • Dynamic :
    1. Significant dynamic compression, DR less than 7
    2. Compression of the present dynamics, DR between 7 and 9.
    3. Correct piece DR >=10
    4. No dynamic compression (DR >12), dynamic rendering
    5. No dynamic compression, high DR and very dynamic sound rendering
  • Spectrum :
    1. Spectrum cut and less than 15 khz
    2. Spectrum cut at 15 khz
    3. Spectrum not conforming to the original and cut (not HD) or original but limited bandwidth (but less than 20 kHz)
    4. Spectrum conforming to the original (but not HD)
    5. Spectrum conforming to the original with HD resolution (higher than 24kHz)
  • Surface noise (only for vinyl):
    1. Continuous audible noise
    2. Audible surface noise except on passages with a high level of noise
    3. Reduced surface noise, barely audible on low level crossings
    4. Low surface noise, very good quality
    5. Very low surface noise, no defects, almost inaudible on the quiet passages (exceptional disc)
  • Restitution :
    1. Low quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments.
    2. Average quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments.
    3. Quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments. Good record.
    4. High quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments. Very high level disc.
    5. Maximum quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments. Exceptional disc.

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