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ARSCLIST  January 2010

ARSCLIST January 2010

Subject:

Re: Sony and Binaural

From:

Mike Gray <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 6 Jan 2010 15:02:32 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (227 lines)

Another reason for the demise of Masterworks Heritage was the packaging 
- it cost almost a buck each for each gatefold pack + the packs had no 
Japanese notes, ergo were an impossible sell in the Japanese market. 
Unfortunately, MH came just as the CD reissue boom was cresting + it was 
largely a mono catalogue that duplicated the LYS's of the world, who had 
gotten there first.

My 2 cents,

Mike Gray

Dave Lewis wrote:
> In all respects to both Mikes, allow me to add a concluding unscientific
> postscript to this discussion. Mr. Gray and Dr. B take an objective
> approach to the relative reality of accidental stereo and have discussed
> it in the realm of technological possibility. I believe, however, that
> there is a subjective aspect to it, that to some extent stereo can be in
> the ear of the beholder. 
>
> While I was amazed at the results of the "Ride of the Valkyries"
> performance on Cala Records CACD0549 I wasn't necessarily wholly on
> board with the stereo aspect of it, as the recording did seem out of
> phase to me and did not achieve a true sense of "cancel." Although the
> perspective of the Mendelssohn performance on Cala Records CACD0551 is
> narrow compared to a typical true stereo recording, I felt it was far
> more successful than the other one. While I may not have been convinced
> at first by the "Ride of the Valkyries," when I played it on my radio
> show the phones lit up, with all sorts of people asking about it; I had
> questions about it in email as well from listeners. They found the
> stereo fully convincing even with that performance, and I guess it
> doesn't hurt that the reading itself is a loud barn-burner of the
> highest order.
>
> One object of recording in stereo is to widen the sonic picture from
> left to right; really excellent acoustical recordings capture some sense
> of back to front, whereas most monophonic recordings made with a
> microphone present a front and center perspective only, or a single mix
> of several microphones. While not wanting to put words into Mr. Gray's
> mouth, he seems to imply that the discontinuation of research into the
> paired Columbia masters is no great loss, as the technology itself is
> merely a "fantasy." I think it was a terrible decision for Sony/BMG to
> walk away from studying the possibilities that their vault has offered
> them; I know that 1940 recording of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" well
> and would love to have heard it with an expanded sense of the room, even
> if it is not "stereo" in the sense that we mean with Blumlein on down --
> perhaps a new term is in order, rather than a wholesale rejection of the
> idea? I felt that the Stokowski AAYO Mendelssohn Scherzo had a shade
> more of a stereo picture than I've heard on old Period LPs which were
> stereo recordings, imported from France, but badly overmodulated and
> with a very flat, shrill base sound.
>
> On another topic within this thread, Masterworks Heritage made its bow
> in 1995, and I'm curious as to how much earlier it would have needed to
> emerge to enjoy success. Seems to me that much before 1995 the transfer
> technology and even the ability of engineers was not quite to the level
> that would have made it a more going concern than it was in '95. I never
> had any trouble selling the Bidu Sayao discs or the Mahler First with
> Mitropoulos and Minneapolis, but there were other, far more conservative
> choices that did stiff and I think that Masterworks Heritage launched so
> many titles at first that the market simply wasn't to bear all of them.
> Certainly the digital transfers of 1989 had a long way to go before they
> reached the standard that is familiar to us now.
>
> Respectfully,            
>
> David "Uncle Dave" Lewis
>
> Assistant Editor, Classical 
>
> Rovi Corporation
>
> Ann Arbor, Michigan 
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Andrew Hamilton
> Sent: Tuesday, January 05, 2010 5:19 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Sony and Binaural
>
> Quite right.  And, as the Wacky-Package on the topic continues:
>
> "...these labelling differences led to a couple of experiments whereby
> the
> "Left" and "Right" lacquers of two recordings were painstakingly
> synchronised.  These experiments proved that for these sessions two
> separate
> microphones had been used, placed near each other and each leading to
> its
> own turntable, with binaural sound being the result when synchronised.
> The
> two binaural recordings were made available to the Leopold Stokowski
> Society
> and both have now been released on CD: Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries on
> Cala Records CACD0549 and the 'Scherzo' from Mendelssohn's Midsummer
> Night's
> Dream on Cala Records CACD0551."
>
>
> Andrew
>
>
>
> P. S., Hi there, Mr. Lewis!   Got any Elvis (wine)?
>
>
> On 1/5/10 11:42 AM, "Mike Gray" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>   
>> For "left" / "right" to produce 'binaural' would require two entirely
>> independent microphone mixers feeding two separate disc-cutters.
>> Anything else is a fantasy.
>>
>> Mike Gray
>>
>> Dave Lewis wrote:
>>     
>>> Edward Johnson, in his notes for Cala 551, "Stokowski Beethoven
>>>       
> Symphony
>   
>>> No. 7 and Other First Stereo Releases on CD" states:
>>>
>>>  
>>>
>>> "In 2004, Anthony Fountain, Classical Archivist at Sony Music Studios
>>>       
> in
>   
>>> New York, found many lacquer masters that Stokowski and the All
>>>       
> American
>   
>>> Youth Orchestra had recorded in Hollywood after their 1941 summer
>>>       
> tour.
>   
>>> The most significant part of the discovery was that all the
>>>       
> recordings
>   
>>> were made in duplicate, with each pair of discs labeled "Left" and
>>> "Right" respectively. [...] It was an exciting discovery and the
>>>       
> Leopold
>   
>>> Stokowski Society wished to license a complete CD of these AAYO
>>> 'binaural' recordings. However, the Sony powers-that-be decided that
>>> such a discovery should appear on their own label instead, along with
>>> any other records of the period that had been recorded binaurally.
>>>       
> These
>   
>>> included the Stravinsky/New York Philharmonic sets of the early 1940s
>>>       
> in
>   
>>> which the composer conducted his own 'Rite of Spring' and other works
>>> [...] However, it all came to nought in 2006 when the senior
>>>       
> executives
>   
>>> in charge were dismissed due to the poor sales of both their new and
>>> historic releases. The Stokowski/AAYO lacquers were sent off for
>>>       
> storage
>   
>>> and the transferring equipment dismantled, so it seems that the
>>> opportunity for hearing more of these historic recordings binaurally
>>> has, tragically, now gone."
>>>
>>>  
>>>
>>> Okay - I'm assuming that these notes, published with the final
>>>       
> Stokowski
>   
>>> Society release that appeared in November, speak the truth. But just
>>> last week I heard a Sony producer protesting on NPR that "people
>>>       
> should
>   
>>> not take it on themselves and reissue classic recordings. First we
>>>       
> have
>   
>>> to locate the original master recording, then we have to find the
>>>       
> legal
>   
>>> holder of the performance rights, etc." The NPR commentator added
>>>       
> that
>   
>>> Sony has transferred about 10,000 classic recordings since 1994 or
>>>       
> so,
>   
>>> but is doing so in the face of the realization that only minimal
>>> financial gain is likely to be made in such endeavor.
>>>
>>>  
>>>
>>> However, if they have "dismantled" [...] "the transferring equipment"
>>> then all that the Sony producer said is mere bluster; one has to
>>>       
> assume
>   
>>> that they aren't doing any of that kind of work now, based on what is
>>> said in the Stokowski notes. Who is telling the truth?
>>>
>>>  
>>>
>>> David "Uncle Dave" Lewis
>>>
>>> Assistant Editor, Classical
>>>
>>> Rovi Corporation
>>>
>>>  
>>>   
>>>       
>
>   

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