Thanks for the RCA clarification. It was the same set of sessions I thought but different works.
Yes, Bert Whyte was permitted by Mercury to bring his 2-track Magnecorder and place a pair of U-47
mics at the Kubelik session. Some of the tapes were issued on a small label CD in recent years and
sound terrible to my ears. Could be the tape is deteriorated, could be the playback or transfer
equipment wasn't good. Could be the engineer didn't properly line up the staggered tracks, etc. They
definitely over-used digital noise-zapping tools so there are digi-artifacts galore. I imagine the
tapes sounded better when they were new and played back on that Magnecorder.
Bert's tapes were a personal experiment. Never intended for release. Not particularly praised or
lauded by the professionals involved in the session. In fairness to Bert, this was pioneering in
many respects, as was his pioneering use of magnetic film recording for Everest. Bert wrote a
really nice column for Radio & TV News in 1956 about the day he was invited to the studio to hear
the first Mercury 3-track tapes that were ready for release. He was treated to a full-monty
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Abrams" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2007 8:18 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] commerical reels history (was Boston Pops question)
> Not quite. The Munch Damnation of Faust in February 1954 was recorded in stereo but only issued
> in mono. Something happened to the stereo tapes. The Reiner recordings of Heldenleben and
> Salome's dance were recorded on March 6th. Zarathustra came two days later on the 8th. However -
> and you should be able to shed some light on this - some stereo recordings were made by Bert Whyte
> at the December 1952 sessions of the Chicago Symphony recording Ma Vlast under Kubelik. 'Tabor'
> recorded on December 6th has recently been issued on Music and Arts in a transfer by Obert-Thorne.
> The very unpleasant overload distortion on the Mercury Living Presence mono set, very evident on
> the CD issue, is not evident in the stereo version.
> Steve Abrams
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2007 12:10 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] commerical reels history (was Boston Pops question)
>> I'd be interested to know what's on them and who released them. I do not believe you'll find that
>> they are in fact 2T stereo. They are likely half-track (2-sided) mono. If they are stereo, it
>> would be very interesting to know who put them out as in 1952 only a few people were
>> experimenting with 2-channel stereo recording of music. No major labels yet, although I believe
>> RCA started making 2T masters in 1954 or even 1953 -- I think Zarathustra with Reiner was the
>> first 2T session.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Jack Palmer" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2007 12:29 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] commerical reels history (was Boston Pops question)
>>> I bought my first 2 track tapes for my reel recorder/player in the Base Exchange in
>>> Sidi-Slimane, Morocco in 1952. I still have a couple of them in fact. Jack
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Saturday, April 07, 2007 9:40 AM
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] commerical reels history (was Boston Pops question)
>>>> Ampex developed their own, was developed by Leon Wortman in NY and detailed in a 1951 Radio &
>>>> TV News article. Wortman's line made full-track or half-track tapes. Commercial half-track
>>>> tapes were available as early as 1951 or 1952, but there was only a very small consumer market
>>>> for reel to reel machines at that point. > Because this was a new format sold at a premium
>>>> price, a lot of QC attention was paid by the reputable companies in this era, so the net
>>>> quality is very high. Akin to what happened when stereo LPs came along.
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