Thanks to both Tom and Mike. My last question is were the magnetic film
recording electronics as sophisticated as those used in dedicated music
recorders? I see that of course the width and thickness were obvious
advantages but did the film audio chain have as much "High Fidelity"
characteristics as those machines dedicated to audio only? I imagine
they did but as I only did a limited amount of film sync work in college
my familiarity with the record/reproduce machines is very rudimentary at
Was Magna-Cord the company that made most of that stuff?
Tom Fine wrote:
> Hi Aaron:
> Standard speed for 35mm is approximately 18IPS. Mercury (and most
> others but not all others) typically recorded taped sessions at 15IPS.
> I know some early RCA mono was definitely 30IPS but I'm not sure they
> did any 3-tracks other than 15IPS. Vanguard recorded directly to
> 2-track and I have some LPs that specifically state they ran their
> tape at 30IPS. I'm not sure of others, except that I own an old
> Columbia Ampex 300 transport and it ran at 15IPS top speed.
> The big advantage to 35mm was not the (slightly) faster speed. That
> might have been the least advantageous difference. The main advantages
> were little to no print-thru due to very thick magnetic stock (as
> compared to 1.5 mil non-backcoat tape of the time), wider tracks, much
> wider separation bands (not that crosstalk should be a big problem
> with a properly-aligned 1/2" 3-track), and very good speed stability
> with the better transports of the day. The wider tracks and thicker
> oxide, along with the slightly faster speed, resulted in a very low
> noise floor compared to any tape formulation of the day. The main
> disadvantages were cost, cost, cost and a few other details.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Aaron Levinson"
> <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Saturday, June 27, 2009 12:02 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] 35mm music-album masters made at Spectra-Sound
> in L.A.???
>> I have a copy of The Nut Cracker with Dorati and The London Symphony,
>> it is a Mercury Living Presence 35mm Mag recording. They mention
>> wider, thicker and faster in the notes but what were the specifics?
>> Did it run faster than 30 ips?
>> Tom Fine wrote:
>>> Hi All:
>>> Another listmember kindly pointed me to a Billboard article from
>>> June 3, 1967 - "Spectra-Sound Films' Records" - indicates L.A.-based
>>> Spectra-Sound studio was offering 10- and 12-track 35mm capability
>>> (not clear if it was on single custom-format machines or via machine
>>> rooms of 3- and 6-track standard-format machines) for music-album
>>> Does anyone know of any albums recorded at this studio with the
>>> "tracking" medium being 35mm? I couldn't find any among my Project 3
>>> albums from that time period. As far as I know, by 1967, only
>>> Project 3 was regularly using 35mm mag-film for record-album
>>> production. Command Classics made 35mm recordings in Pittsburgh in
>>> the spring of 1967 and the spring of 1968, but Command's regular
>>> flow of pop albums at this time were exclusively or almost
>>> exclusively done on tape.
>>> Anyway, any info on Spectra-Sound's use of 35mm to record
>>> music-albums would be appreciated. As far as I knew until this
>>> article, the only west coast studios to make 35mm albums were United
>>> and Radio Recorders, both for Mercury's short-lived f35d series.
>>> -- Tom Fine