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
> 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 production.
>> 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