From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
Steven Smolian wrote:
> In recent years I have been privately advocating that each sound archive and
> other learning venues present a program called "How Our Ancestors Heard
> It would sequentially play back the same piece of music, "Stars and Stripes"
> or an earlier piece for which recordings exist in all commercial media.
> These would be reproduced through the actual machines for which they were
> intended rather than microphone recordings from them and would cover the
> time spectrum then to now.
----- I have gone one further: I have proposed that a linear re-recording of
the groove waveform could be sent to a suitable driver or vibrator to drive
directly the reproducing stylus when sitting in the soundbox in the machine.
You would get all the acoustic of the original machine. That way there would
be no wear of the recording, nor of the needle. The only thing you would not
get would be the rumble of the machine, nor the sometimes crunchy noises from
the spring unwinding inside its can. On the other hand, you would not even
need to restore the drive train of the machine, certainly halving the cost of
I actually proposed this in 1989 in my "Comment on "International Re-
Recording Standards" that I mentioned in my first post.
------ A different but very flawed approach was taken by a group of Finnish
researchers and published by the AES in JAES_Vol56_No3_pp115-139 (March
2008). I and a few others got so incensed with the unseriousness of the
approach (the aim was admirable, though, and we said so) that we wrote a
comment that is available on the AES website, linked to the electronic
version of this paper. I would recommend anybody seriously engaged in these
matters to obtain a copy. The original paper is not free, but our comment may
be read on:
> Using microphones to record what is played back on a phonograph,
> graphophone, etc., introduces a further group of variables.
----- I do not see how microphones would perform any worse than when
capturing live sound.
> Part of the presentation would include playing electrical recordings on
> acoustical machines, mono through stereo speakers, etc. to give an inverse
> This is a different process than that to which I was objecting in my earlier
> message. It brings into play the sound of each instrument in a real
> acoustical setting which is far truer to the ear of the listener in the room
> than what a microphone can presently create and mimic.
----- I could accept the viewpoint if it were performed in a reconstructed
drawing room or parlor with an acoustic similar to the acoustic of the time
when the record and machine first met. And taking into account the number of
people present. I do not see how this would work in an open-space museum
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "George Brock-Nannestad" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Saturday, November 14, 2009 1:47 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Polk Miller
> > From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
> > Hello,
> > Steven Smolian wrote:
> >> This approach is the shearest nonsense! Horns introduced distortion at
> >> the
> >> recording end and also at the playback end. This distortion varied from
> >> one
> >> horn desingn to another.
> > ----- I am sorry, Steven, but I do think that there is room and even a
> > need
> > for this kind of re-recording. It is a part of sound recording and
> > reproduction history. I do not think we can teach our ears to forget, but
> > we
> > can at least be conscious of our ears and try to go back to the times
> > this type of sound was amazing. Edison is not a good example for the
> > variability of the playback end, because he was the only recording
> > that sold a complete system, i.e. controlled everything. He may have
> > idiosyncratic, and obviously we also learn about his preconceived views
> > when
> > listening to his products.
> >> It may sound 'beetter" to the rerecording engineer but is a purely
> >> subjective opinion.
> > ----- I do not think it sounds "better" to anybody, but certainly more
> > representative of the sound heard in the parlor than a good
> > transfer that optimises the access to the sound as it was in the
> > studio. A preservation transfer sounds horrible, but it is extremely
> > useful,
> > because it may be used for any purpose.
> >> It amazes me that so much is made of presumed audio purity based on the
> >> dictatorial opinions of a deaf listener.
> > ----- I do not hope that it is the purity in an absolute sense that
> > transfers aim for. But it is rather amazing how good these "primitive"
> > machines were. And the secret is, they were not primitive at all, but
> > finely
> > honed to the criteria they set.
> > Bill Storm, formerly of the Belfer Laboratory, which was essentially
> > founded
> > by Walter Welch, was also a proponent of the audio history approach. I
> > violently opposed it as a preservation format, you may see my discussion
> > by
> > downloading ARSCJv20n2p156-161 from the ARSC website.
> > Kind regards,
> > George
> >> ----- Original Message -----
> >> From: "John Eberle" <[log in to unmask]>
> >> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> >> Sent: Saturday, November 14, 2009 11:20 AM
> >> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Polk Miller
> >> > We are collectors of Edison Phonograph antiquities here at Americana
> >> > Mastering . In our collection ,
> >> > we have Blue Amberol cylinder records of two Polk Miller songs
> >> > recorded
> >> > in November 1909 for Edison's clientele:
> >> >
> >> > Blue Amberol #2176 "The Laughing Song " and
> >> > #2175 " The Bonnie Blue Flag "
> >> >
> >> > We currently have an mp3 of the Bonnie Blue Flag as played on our
> >> Edison
> >> > Concert Amberola Model A1 and recorded to Ampex GrandMaster 456 then
> >> > transferred to aif file on a Masterlink at 48khz/24 bit resolution .
> >> > This
> >> > way you
> >> > get to hear the true sound quality of the cylinder as the Edison
> >> > recording
> >> > staff intended it to be ; and as it was heard and enjoyed by the
> >> > thousands
> >> > of Edison customers who purchased it 90 years ago !
> >> >
> > ...........
> > P.S. from time to time my mails to the list are not "taken". I wonder if
> > there is some online filtering going on. Just to test the system I
> > recently
> > repeated my message with some variations more than 20 times over a couple
> > of
> > days, but no luck at all. And the loss is definitely with that
> > reader who may suddenly read a piece of information he or she did not
> > about. George