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ARSCLIST  September 2008

ARSCLIST September 2008

Subject:

Re: Peter Copeland on RCA Victor recordings (1941)

From:

Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 11:47:08 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (144 lines)

Prentice, Will wrote:
> I don't think Peter's reference to Victor's multiple limiters and the
> Wireless World article are related. The article actually does cover
> de-emphasis, stating "A system of pre-emphasis and compensation with
> what has been termed the "orthacoustic characteristic" has recently been
> developed..."
>
> Regards
>
> Will 
>   

Then this has nothing to do with recording phonograph records.  This 
system was used only for 16-inch 33 1/3 RPM broadcast transcriptions.  
Part of the specifications include the minimum inner grove diameter of 
8-inches.  It was originally announced on Sept 15, 1939, and revisions 
were made to the spec sheet on March 30, 1942 and May 25, 1943 which is 
the version I have.  These two revisions cover the mentioning of the NAB 
curve introduced in 1942 and the RCA Universal Lateral/Vertical pick-up 
and compensation filter introduced around those dates. 

RCA did manufacture a Limiting Amplifier at that time, the 86-A, 
MI-11216, but it is designed to work at line level for the composite 
feed to a transmitter or recorder.  It is rack mounted and takes an 
8-inch high space.  It would take a whole rack full of them to use 
independently on each mic.  Additionally, each mic would have to be 
pre-amped and amped up into the limiter, and the output padded down to 
go to the mixer.  They didn't do things internally in the board back in 
those days!  The catalog also mentions a 96-AX Deluxe Limiting Amplifier 
but it is not included in the 1941 broadcast equipment catalog I have. 

Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Michael Biel
> Sent: 29 September 2008 20:14
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Peter Copeland on RCA Victor recordings (1941)
>
> Prentice, Will wrote:
>   
>> Doug and all
>>
>> I've looked up this edition of Wireless World, but there's no mention
>>     
> of
>   
>> Victor's use of limiters I'm afraid. It's a short, 3 paragraph article
>> entitled "New Recording Characteristic: Reducing Noise Level"
>>     
> describing
>   
>> in general terms the idea behind pre-emphasis. 
>>   
>>     
>
> I think the key word here is the use of the word "level" in the 
> headline.  Since limiters adjust level, could he have misinterpreted it 
> to mean that this EQ was adjusting levels?  As we know now, a 
> pre-emphasis properly works only if there is a calibrated reciprocal 
> de-emphasis on the playback end.  Consumer phonographs did not have 
> actual de-emphasis circuits at that time, only professional turntables 
> in broadcasting had them for the newly emerging Orthocoustic and NAB 
> curves.  Unlike Dolby and DBX, these units were completely passive.  Was
>
> Peter possibly claiming that RCA was using limiters as an active EQ, 
> several decades in advance of Dolby?   And what was the 1941 Wireless 
> World article detailing?  Orthocoustic had been announced back in 1938 
> for ETs.  Was this a curve being used on commercial phonograph records 
> or a belated article on Orthocoustic?  
>   
>> I don't recall discussing this with Peter, but others he worked with
>>     
> on
>   
>> a wider level may know his sources. George Brock-Nannestad, possibly?
>>
>> Will
>>
>>   
>>     
> I agree.  George, have you seen anything in the EMI papers that discuss 
> this?
>
> Mike Biel   [log in to unmask] 
>   
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Doug Pomeroy
>>
>> The following from Copeland's manual has always puzzled me, and I
>>     
> wonder
>   
>> if anyone can shed light on the reference to "Victor's then-unique  
>> use of multiple
>> limiters (essentially one on each mike)", since I've never heard of  
>> this from any other
>> source.  This may originate in Ref. 60, Wireless World (1941), which  
>> I have not
>> seen.  RCA Victor may have experimented with limiters in 1941, but  
>> Copeland's
>> statement can leave the impression that this was common practice.
>>
>>   
>>     
>>> 6.71 Various RCA characteristics
>>> Ref. 60 (July 1941) is the earliest contemporary reference I have  
>>> found which describes RCA Victor using pre-emphasis on its 78s,  
>>> although the time constant was not given. Straight listening  
>>> suggests the idea was tried somewhat earlier, and we saw in section  
>>> 6.23 that Moyer wrote about RCA's Western Electric systems with pre- 
>>> emphasis at 2500Hz (corresponding to 63.6 microseconds); but I am  
>>> deeply sceptical. It seems to me far more likely that, if something  
>>> which had been mastered direct-to-disc was reissued on microgroove,  
>>> the remastering engineer would simply have treated everything the  
>>> same. And I consider it likely that judging by "pure sound" clues,  
>>> Victor's then-unique use of multiple limiters (essentially one on  
>>> each mike), would itself have resulted in a "brighter" sound.
>>>     
>>>       
>> Doug Pomeroy
>>     
>
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