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ARSCLIST  June 2007

ARSCLIST June 2007

Subject:

Re: OK - Does Anyone Know More About This?

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Fri, 15 Jun 2007 09:28:02 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (250 lines)

Sheesh, you old-school fellas must have fingers of steel. I'd never think of grabbing hold of a 
spinning reel on my Ampex 300's. One method I've seen with the VPI NAB hubs (the ones that 
click-lock) is to put pressure with the palm on the top of the VPI to retard winding speed. I was 
taught the shuttle method, which takes some practice on a 300 (my fater had several reels of junk 
tape on hand the day he taught us kids how to do this, and I'm not sure any of them survived the day 
unscathed), although a 300 has a better fail-safe mechanism than a 350 or AG-440/440B (the 440C 
includes a fail-safe motion sensor system). If one is shuttling between FF and REW on a 300 and 
accidently trips the lever switch into PLAY, the machine breaks circuit and stops, brakes engaged. 
If one is shuttling with the pushbuttons on a 350 or AG-440/440B, and one hits the PLAY button by 
accident, the machine goes into death-tape-spill mode. If one then reacts by hitting FF or REW, the 
machine goes into death-tape-shred mode. This was not a problem until you got into the studio drug 
haze of the late 60's and early 70's when less-than-professional types were operating the machines 
and couldn't coordinate shuttling correctly while high or tripping. The same less-than-professionals 
started populating radio production rooms, and thus Ampex got demand to come up with a fail-safe 
when they were updating the 440B to the 440C. They used a light-pulse system to prevent the machine 
from going into play until tape motion stopped. AutoTec had a similar system using feedback from a 
magnetic head and a spinning circular magnet mounted to the bottom of the brake drum. The tape 
machine would not go into play until pulsing stopped from the magnetic head. I'm sure Scully and 3M 
also had motion-sensing systems but I don't know any details. I believe that once logic controls 
came along, this problem went away.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steven Smolian" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 8:54 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] OK - Does Anyone Know More About This?


> This modification was famous to those of us who grew up on Ampex 350s and 300 who were used to 
> breaking the speeding reels with our fingers.  The Maggies would slice into a finger pretty 
> quickly.
>
> Steve Smolian
>
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Robert Hodge" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 8:40 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] OK - Does Anyone Know More About This?
>
>
>> FWIW,
>>
>> Magnecorder had a modification kit which allowed 10.5 inch reels to
>> run
>> on the Pt 6. I have one of these machines with the kit..
>>
>> Bob H.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Robert Hodge,
>> Senior Engineer
>> Belfer Audio Archive
>> Syracuse University
>> 222 Waverly Ave .
>> Syracuse N.Y. 13244-2010
>>
>> 315-443- 7971
>> FAX-315-443-4866
>>
>>>>> [log in to unmask] 6/14/2007 8:40 PM >>>
>> Hi David:
>>
>> Of course I can't put my hand on any of Bert's articles about those
>> days right now (I believe he
>> wrote about it some for Radio & TV News in the 50's and then later at
>> greater length in Audio
>> magazine in the 70's), but I think he was running snippets of the
>> sessions onto tapes, experimenting
>> with mic placement and maybe levels or the like. The Magnecorder, I
>> think, used 7" reels, so if he
>> was going at 15IPS he'd have to be changing tapes frequently. He may
>> have been told to only record X
>> minutes of any session but I'm not sure about that because I was under
>> the impression that he was
>> pretty much given carte blanche. I imagine it was a trip working with
>> Stokowski in what was by far
>> the highest-fidelity stereo medium yet at that point. Stokowski was
>> veteran of Bell Labs stereo disk
>> recordings in the 30's and Fantasound optical recordings, so I imagine
>> he was tough customer about
>> what sounded right from tape. And he and Bert worked together again
>> when Stokowski recorded for
>> Everest.
>>
>> Speaking of Bert Whyte, he wrote a really nice column after he was
>> introduced to Mercury 3-channel
>> stereo:
>> http://www.wendycarlos.com/surround/surround6.html#column2
>> Fact correction: the listening venue was actually Fine Sound Studio C
>> at 711 5th Ave. (today it's
>> the Coke building, owned by Coca-Cola Co.). I agree with Bert -- there
>> should have been a 3-channel
>> consumer medium but it was thought just too complex and expensive at
>> the time (and, based on how
>> well quad and later SACD did in the marketplace, perhaps the thinking
>> was right -- plus no one had
>> any ideas about a 3-channel disk medium). One other interesting thing
>> -- Ampex was able to build
>> 3-channel tape machines as early as 9/53 (Ross Snyder of Ampex wrote an
>> article for International
>> Sound Technician magazine that showed pictures of a 3-track headstack
>> and described 3-track magnetic
>> recording on 1/2" tape), but no one started recording music in 3-tracks
>> until 1955.
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> From: "David Lewis" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 7:08 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] OK - Does Anyone Know More About This?
>>
>>
>> Tom,
>>
>> Thanks for this very helpful answer. That basically answers my
>> question,
>> although in this case:
>>
>> I'm not sure how much tape Bert ran that day but one would think that
>> if a
>> tape of the piece you cite existed it would have been issued on that
>> CD.
>>
>> There may be hope. "Tabor" is tagged on to the end of a disc that
>> otherwise
>> consists of a Stokowski concert in stereo from Detroit, 11/20/1952,
>> consisting of Jacob Avshalomov's The Taking of T'ung Kuan with the
>> Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5. It was included, in part, as the recording
>> was
>> at one time mis-marked as being by Stokowski, but was matched to the
>> Kubelik
>> performance through comparison. Certainly if there are other bits and
>> pieces
>> of Ma vlast in stereo, they would not have fit on the 65 minute CD.
>>
>> Not that I would throw away my Mercury of "From Bohemia's Woods and
>> Fields;"
>> it's still great. But it would be interesting to hear Whyte's recording
>> if
>> anything survives of it.
>>
>> David N. Lewis
>> Assistant Classical Editor, All Music Guide
>>
>> "To collect [folksongs] without a phonograph - until there's something
>> better - is mad and criminal." - Percy Grainger, 1907
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
>> Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 6:07 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] OK - Does Anyone Know More About This?
>>
>> Hi David:
>>
>> As widely written about through the years by Bert Whyte, my father took
>> him
>> along on some of the
>> early Mercury single-mic sessions and Bert was allowed and indeed
>> encouraged
>> by those present to
>> make experimental binaural (what 2-mic recordings were called back
>> then
>> although the definition of
>> binaural has been refined to mean something else now) recordings on
>> his
>> Magnacorder staggered-head
>> machine. I think Bert used a pair of U-47's but I might be wrong.
>> Apparently
>> the copyright owner of
>> these sessions, Universal and/or the CSO, is OK with the CD release of
>> some
>> of Bert's tapes (at
>> least I haven't read about any copyright-infringement actions). The
>> Stokowski recordings are the
>> Bell Labs disk recordings from the 1930's, which I believe are PD but
>> might
>> not be because an
>> elaborate agreement was made between Bell Labs and the Stokowski family
>> and
>> the Philadephia
>> Orchestra when Bell Labs issued their LPs in the late 70's (this
>> according
>> to the original mastering
>> engineer; I did some investigating about reissuing a CD from those
>> master
>> tapes under AES auspices
>> but too many rights issues involved). Again, I would assume the issuer
>> of
>> the current CD cleared all
>> these rights or they would have been sued.
>>
>> I'm not sure how much tape Bert ran that day but one would think that
>> if a
>> tape of the piece you
>> cite existed it would have been issued on that CD.
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> From: "David Lewis" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 5:00 PM
>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] OK - Does Anyone Know More About This?
>>
>>
>>> According to Music & Arts' "Stokowski and Kubelik conduct
>> Experimental
>>> Stereo Recordings from 1952" (MUA 1190) contains an experimental
>> stereo
>>> recording, made by Bert Whyte, during the sessions for Rafael
>> Kubelik's
>>> Mercury recording of Ma vlast. The piece is "Tabor," and annotator
>> Edward
>>> Johnson writes "Other such experiments from THAT and later
>> Kubelik/CSO
>>> sessions are known to exist but this is the first to be released..."
>>>
>>> What "other such experiments" from this session "[is] known to
>> exist?" I'm
>>> particularly - strongly, in fact - interested in any stereo takes of
>> the
>>> movement "From Bohemia's Woods and Fields" from this December 1952
>> session.
>>> Even in mono, this performance is positively electrifying.
>>>
>>> David N. Lewis
>>> Assistant Classical Editor, All Music Guide
>>>
>>> "To collect [folksongs] without a phonograph - until there's
>> something
>>> better - is mad and criminal." - Percy Grainger, 1907
>>>
>>
>>
>> -- 
>> No virus found in this incoming message.
>> Checked by AVG Free Edition.
>> Version: 7.5.472 / Virus Database: 269.8.16/849 - Release Date: 6/14/2007 12:44 PM
>>
> 

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