Weird, fascinating phenomenon on Yes Fragile LP

I'm totally intrigued. Maybe you can help me figure this out.

On a good used copy of Yes Fragile I just purchased, I heard something really strange:

I had on my AKG 702s, fed by my Raptor headphone amp, VAC preamp and a killer analog front end and was listening to one of my favorite tracks, Mood For A Day, which I've heard 100's of times. It sounded beautiful and was completely involving... then, about a minute into the song, I heard a faint click and suddenly it sounded like someone turned on another mic, or inverted the phase, or something, but it was instant and dramatic! It was as if I was A/B-ing two different systems! Different soundstage, presence, one more enveloping, the first more laid back... weird! It lasted until just a second or two before the end of the song.

Of course my first thought, as is probably yours, was that something changed in my system at that moment: tube failure, some circuit that suddenly came on or switched off, etc. But no, I played the track again and it happened again at the same exact spot!

So I pulled out another copy of the album, also from 1972, and listened to the same cut without making any adjustments... it played flawlessly. No phase changes or any anomalies whatsoever.

Have you experienced this? Have any ideas as to what this is? It would be great to hear from any recoding engineers.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalonski
That is very common - often different takes are spliced together or a mistake is over dubbed.

See this link

I would say you can hear what could be categorized as errors on at least one third of what you buy. The most common is for distortion due to aggressive mastering (limiters) to get things to sound uniformly loud. You can hear when these devices are kicking in and when they don't. Of course, some will argue that it is meant to sound that way...
Dweller, I don't have the CD, but on another copy of the same LP it DOESN'T happen.

Shadorne, could it be that they used different takes for different pressings? Why would they do that?
Shadorne, could it be that they used different takes for different pressings? Why would they do that?

That happens a lot too. Say for example the album sells really well but a record exec in the US wants a different sound for the US market...they may go back to the studio tapes and remix and remaster.

This ha happened with several British bands - their UK stuff is reworked for US markets. Duran Duran Rio UK and Japan release was different from the US release made a year later. They used more of the "club" sound for the US album.

I have two versions of U2's All that you can't leave Behind - a UK single and a US version. I prefer the UK version.

The Police Murder by Numbers was only ever released on the CD. (Sting argued with the group about such things as Miss Gradenko and Mother and insisted these tracks go on the Synchronicity album which came out as Vinyl) The reality is that Murder by Numbers is an excellent track and it was just Sting's way of annoying Copeland.)

It is often like this - if you want everything that an artist puts out then you have to get buying and digging.
Thanks for your insights, as well as the anecdote about Sting annoying Copeland... I can see him doing that.

My analog rig is very revealing. Maybe on a "regular" record player the effect is not so dramatic and the producers thought no one would notice. Ah, the glorious burden of a trained ear...

That link you posted is great. If you, or anyone else reading has more examples of this recording phenomenon, please share them. Feels like audio detective work!
Try this thread for a few more "quirks". In fact you could add yours to the list. Although different reverb and sound effects changing from verse to chorus to fill etc. is actually pretty common. Sometimes you can hear headphones of an overdubbed portion bleeding through (on vocals). Try Rick James "Superfreak" extended version. Many squeaky kick drum foot pedals have also been noticed over history - you can probably google that. Also for a really wacky mix of Yes "Owner of a broken Heart" try the Ben Liebrand extended version. And "Friends of Mr Cairo" has some nice sound effects.
How about the dead fret sound on Radiohead's "Creep" an intentional effort by the lead guitarist to mess up a dull four chord song but their producer kept the one take, it became memorable and the rest is history.
Shadorne, that A'gon thread is great. I'm going to get Shirley Horn's album just to hear her call Miles Davis an A**hole!

Your posts seem very well informed, how is it you have the inside scoop on these recordings and the stories behind them?
I just picked up a used LP copy of Fragile with "SRC" in the dead wax. It does as you say on Mood For A Day. And yes, it's definitely not subtle. I thought it was my equipment on the fritz. I'm guessing it's only on certain pressings.