----- Original Message -----
From: "david diehl" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
> >>> [log in to unmask] 7/18/2004 10:51:26 AM >>>
> From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
> > On 18/07/04, Steven C. Barr wrote:
> > > Keep in mind that prior to some point in the 1930's, equalization
> > > "made up on the spot" by the recording engineer, and there was no
> > > standardization of any type, even within labels.
> ----- I am not sure I agree with this way of looking at things.
> I would side with George on this one. The WE curve was published and
> the Photophone probably was available, too. The "Christmas Tree" effect
> was a widely used method of checking response curves.
> The differences we hear are the result of what is now called
> "sweetening," the process of deliberately altering the recorded sound to
> achieve a particular end. This was sometimes achieved by adjusting the
> dampening characteristic of the studio or by re-positioning the
> performers relative to the microphones.
> We tend to use words like "primitive" when describing early recording
> but the techniques were often perceptive and sophisticated. Even
> acoustical recordings demonstrate that the engineers had a great deal of
> control over the end result. Brunswick, for example, had a very
> distinctive "sound" that was different from contemporary Victor or
> Vocalion recordings. While there were major departures, e.g. Victor
> field recordings presenting much more location ambience than NY
> recordings, these were exceptions.
Agreed...but how many of these operational decisions were based on
actual knowledge of the acoustic or electric characteristics
involved...and how many on a good guess? Edison's massive recording
horn, and Victor's Orthophonic system, were apparently based on an
understanding of the sonic principles involved...but did the high-
quality acoustic sound heard on Brunswick and Okeh result from
sophisticated calculation of resonances, or lucky guesses? In
fact, one of the best acoustic sounds I've heard is on SOME (not
all) Arto records!
Likewise with electrical recoring in its earliest days...while the
technical knowledge of the effect of reactive components in
circuits might well have existed, at least on paper, I wonder
how many quality sounds were created with a bit of "Well, I'll
just tweak THIS knob half-a-turn and see if it sounds better..."
Steven C. Barr