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ARSCLIST  August 2008

ARSCLIST August 2008

Subject:

Re: Mercury MG10000 series listing or discography

From:

David Lennick <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 20:51:57 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (56 lines)

Tom Fine wrote:
> Not sure what you mean by "needle drop sound" -- something not recorded 
> on tape will tend to sound like, well, a grooved disk. Stuff recorded in 
> Prague in 1946 was definitely not recorded on tape! The first tape 
> sessions at Reeves, at leave for Mercury, were circa 1948. Reeves was 
> one of the earliest users of Fairchild tape machines, which followed by 
> a few months the Ampex 200.

The sound of the needle slipping into the groove..it's just before the start of 
the Polka, on the LP. Not on the 78, which was dubbed straight from the Czech 
original..the sequencing was changed on the LP if I remember correctly.
> 
> If that Khachaturian was dubbed from gold metal parts, the Soviet 
> recording setup was a decade or two more primative than ours. Some 
> 1940's disk recording was excellent. That material is not. 

It sounds much better on the Mercury 78s, except for Side 10 which is very 
fuzzy and distorted. The original Soviet 78s lack the echo (which really wasn't 
needed) but clean copies have a more natural sound (there are also some very 
poor Soviet pressings of it). I've transferred this in all its incarnations, 
although I haven't played the LP in decades. According to WERM (but denied by 
others), the Khacturian Concerto was recorded on optical film and may actually 
have been issued by English Decca before the Soviets brought it out.
I've heard
> that Mitch Miller tale before. I doubt the bathroom thing is a factual 
> memory. Reeves had two live echo chambers plus an orchestra-sized studio 
> space, why would they need the bathroom? I think, in later years, Miller 
> might have done the perfectly natural thing of blending that memory of 
> using reverb with the oft-repeated tale of Bill Putnam's bathroom reverb 
> chamber used on Mercury Harmonicats records. The bathroom story sticks 
> in the mind and many false memories of bathroom echo chambers have 
> popped up over time, but the only one I know to be factual was Putnam's 
> old original studio in Chicago. Reeves, the major record company 
> studios, the big Hollywood studios, the major radio studios, and indeed 
> Putnam's later, bigger Universal Recording Studios in Chicago all had 
> very good live echo chambers plus huge studio spaces, some with 
> variable-reverb panels. Why would you ever use a bathroom when you have 
> those facilities? Also, the idea of live echo chambers -- rooms of 
> various sizes and designs specifically meant to be used as audio echo 
> chambers -- was more than a decade old by the 1940's. The original NBC 
> studios at 711 5th Avenue (later World Broadcasting, then WMGM, then 
> Fine Sound) had two echo chambers built into the eaves of the building. 
> That design dated from 1927. I'm sure one of the movie studios or a 
> record company used the idea even earlier, in the earliest days of 
> electronic signal-mixing.

Morty Palitz is also credited with the bathroom-echo chamber idea in 1939 or 
1940..certainly the Brunswick Salon Orchestra sides from that time have a nice 
reverb which other studios weren't getting, and I'm pretty sure they weren't 
recorded in Liederkranz Hall. Just my uninformed opinion. But for what it's 
worth, the washroom idea had legs..the CBC was known to have used it in the 
early 50s, and legend has it that there were unintended results on air during a 
live "Messiah" broadcast.

dl

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