"360 Sound" vs. "360 Sound"

Hey Mikey- I have a question you might post and answer since it's general interest, I think.

In your recent Freewheelin' Bob Dylan review you mentioned the white and black label Stereo 360 records from Columbia, and you mention that the black label indicates Columbia's all-tube cutting chain.

Are all the white labels then on a solid-sate chain? What's your general impression of sound quality between the two, and how long did Columbia issue black label pressings cut on tubes?


-- Shane

From what I've been told, the switch from black "360 Sound" at the bottom of the "2 eye" label, coincided with the switch from tubes to solid state in Columbia's mastering chains. Whether or not the label switch was actually intended to denote the switch or that it is just coincidental, I can't say. And sometimes old labels have a funny habit of ending up on newer pressings and vice-versa so it's not a guaranty.

However, it sure sounds that way! The white 360s sound drier and more clinical IMO, when there's either a black 360 or a "6-Eye" with which to compare it. Of course all "6-Eye"s were cut using a tubed chain. Compare a "6 Eye" Miles album with a black 360 and tonally, it's not that different. Compare to a white 360 and its invariably, drier and more clinical sounding.

thomoz's picture

I have the early AND later 360 sound pressings of 'Time Out' and 'Time Further Out' and the 6-eyes easily trounce the 2-eyes for fidelity.  How much of this is the 2-eye using a equed cutting dub I can't say.  The character of the frequency extremes is truer and much more realistic on the 6-eye cuts.


You switch to the post-1970 recuts of these albums and they sound like they were recorded in a box.  It's actually painful when you make this realization because it's difficult and expensive to buy only 6-eyes of every noteworthy Columbia release.

Seadog709's picture

Would someone post a photo of both labels in order that I can compare and better understand what you are all writing about? Is the one at the top of this column the white or black? I have several 6-Eye "Promotion - Not for Sale" copies and the whole label is white except for the printing. Is that what you are discussing?

Thank you.

Ajcrock's picture

As a listener who spends most his time in this era this is my favorite Columbia label.  I have all the different colors and combinations of 6 eyes.  My first experience with thiwas I Left My Heart In SF by Tony Bennet.  It looked like it had been rolled across the floor and the cat played with it but the dynamics put my MOFI version to shame.  After much searching and many other version I found a clean copy.  I buy all of these I see which is rare and far between.

philbrown's picture

I was a mastering engineer at Columbia Records during the time referred to here and none of this is true.

Michael Fremer's picture

Dear Phil Brown: your comment is of little value and reeks of hostility. "None of this is true".... None of what is not true?

What people claim to hear? That the switch from black to white "360 Sound" coincided with the mastering chain's change from tubes to solid state?


What is not true? Are you interested fomented a discussion or just being dismissive?

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