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ARSCLIST  January 2008

ARSCLIST January 2008

Subject:

Re: Distance between staggered heads (+Magnecord and Emory Cook)

From:

Jim Long <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 1 Jan 2008 15:31:51 EST

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (72 lines)

In a message dated 12/31/2007 12:05:17 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
[log in to unmask] writes:


> I think they varied, but according to
> http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/bsnpubs/vpost?id=2313089 it was 1.25
> inches for the Magnecord.


Thanks, Parker, for this link.  And thanks to all the others for additional 
and related info, including "Staggering between distant heads."

Magnecord:

Those interested in such things might like to know that I also sent an e-mail 
to one John S. Boyers, now 92 years of age, who was a key person at Magnecord 
(at least chief engineer if not president) in the 1940's and beyond.  I know 
John because at the normal end of one's career (1970's for John) he came to 
Electro-Voice as OEM sales manager.  I recall him telling me that this seeming 
"downgrade" was something of a relief from the excitement and stress of being a 
principal in a company.  John was a great mentor to me (26 years younger).

All that said, I did get a response to my inquiry which said that he was 
quite certain the distance was 1.25 inches, though perhaps 1.125 or 1.5 inches.  
Among other things, he told the story of how, in April 1949, the big guys at 
Magnecord were discussing what to do at the upcoming October show in NYC and 
John suggested the two-track idea.  He said he had no idea it would become such a 
big thing and that the 12 machines they made between April and October were 
all sold by show time.

Emory Cook at Smithsonian Folkways Records:

My interest in the staggered-head distance was prompted by the recent 
acquisition of seven "new format" Cook CD-R's from the Smithsonian 
(www.folkways.si.edu/search/SearchResults.aspx?BrowseBy=label&Param=Cook%20Records).  Instead of 
the previous CD jewell case in a generic Cook outer sleeve and a photocopy of 
the record jacket front and back, the new format sports an attractive (if 
rather hard to handle) fold-over cardboard holder that could hold up to two CD's 
and sports a nice, full-color reproduction of the original record cover and a 
track listing.  The jacket notes are not reproduced but both cover and notes 
are contained in a PDF file on the CD-R or downloadable from the Smithsonian.  
I think this is quite an improvement over the old format.

That said, although the sound quality of the broad range I sampled (from 
Japanese koto to Willis Page and the New Orchestral Society of Boston) is quite 
good to my ears, the presence of stereo when expected and transfer from vinyl 
instead of tape are quite inconsistent from CD to CD.  The most jarring 
listening experience came from Cook 1184, Lizzie Miles: Torchy Lullabies My Mother 
Sang Me.  This to me is obviously from tape (slight hiss audible, no vinyl noise) 
and in the strongly left-right stereo common at the time.  Lizzie on the left 
and Red Camp's piano on the right.  But there is audible leakage on the 
opposite channels and one channel lags the other big time.  Very difficult to 
listen to.  I thought it was likely that Cook used a Magnecord PT-6BN to record his 
early stereo and recalled its staggered heads.  Hence my question about the 
spacing.

I am a strictly amateur audio-processing guy but I managed to get my Adobe 
Audition 1.5 to delay the right channel to my wishes.  I guessed that Cook used 
the 15-IPS speed and calculated a delay of 83.3 ms based on the 1.25-inch head 
spacing.  With this delay inserted and listening on headphones, everything 
came into focus.  The shorter and longer delays associated with the other 
spacings that John suggested were not as "together" to my ears, though much better 
than no delay at all.

Happy New Year to All!

Jim Long
Senior Sales Support Engineer
Bosch Communications Systems
Electro-Voice
Michigan remote   </HTML>

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