Not sure what you mean by "needle drop sound" -- something not recorded on tape will tend to sound
like, well, a grooved disk. Stuff recorded in Prague in 1946 was definitely not recorded on tape!
The first tape sessions at Reeves, at leave for Mercury, were circa 1948. Reeves was one of the
earliest users of Fairchild tape machines, which followed by a few months the Ampex 200.
If that Khachaturian was dubbed from gold metal parts, the Soviet recording setup was a decade or
two more primative than ours. Some 1940's disk recording was excellent. That material is not. I've
heard that Mitch Miller tale before. I doubt the bathroom thing is a factual memory. Reeves had two
live echo chambers plus an orchestra-sized studio space, why would they need the bathroom? I think,
in later years, Miller might have done the perfectly natural thing of blending that memory of using
reverb with the oft-repeated tale of Bill Putnam's bathroom reverb chamber used on Mercury
Harmonicats records. The bathroom story sticks in the mind and many false memories of bathroom echo
chambers have popped up over time, but the only one I know to be factual was Putnam's old original
studio in Chicago. Reeves, the major record company studios, the big Hollywood studios, the major
radio studios, and indeed Putnam's later, bigger Universal Recording Studios in Chicago all had very
good live echo chambers plus huge studio spaces, some with variable-reverb panels. Why would you
ever use a bathroom when you have those facilities? Also, the idea of live echo chambers -- rooms of
various sizes and designs specifically meant to be used as audio echo chambers -- was more than a
decade old by the 1940's. The original NBC studios at 711 5th Avenue (later World Broadcasting, then
WMGM, then Fine Sound) had two echo chambers built into the eaves of the building. That design dated
from 1927. I'm sure one of the movie studios or a record company used the idea even earlier, in the
earliest days of electronic signal-mixing.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Lennick" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, August 30, 2008 7:36 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury MG10000 series listing or discography
> Tom Fine wrote:
>> To my ears, disk-to-disk cuts were done at both times for the pre-tape-master material; I say
>> this because I cannot hear the tell-tale signs of a tape-dub master (a little bit of hiss, a
>> little bit of fuzzy dynamics).
> That probably explains the needle-drop sound on the Shostakovich Piano Pieces LP! I forget what
> track it's on, possibly the Polka from the Age of Gold. (Too bad centering wasn't a priority on
> those transfers.) It might also explain the duplicated notes on some 78 transfers..midway in the
> 1812 Overture and in one movement of the Khachaturian Violin Concerto (which Mitch Miller told me
> was dubbed from gold metal parts, and reverb was added via a speaker and mike in the washroom).