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.
Using microphones to record what is played back on a phonograph,
graphophone, etc., introduces a further group of variables.
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.
----- 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
> Steven Smolian wrote:
>> This approach is the shearest nonsense! Horns introduced distortion at
>> recording end and also at the playback end. This distortion varied from
>> horn desingn to another.
> ----- I am sorry, Steven, but I do think that there is room and even a
> 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
> can at least be conscious of our ears and try to go back to the times when
> 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 company
> that sold a complete system, i.e. controlled everything. He may have been
> idiosyncratic, and obviously we also learn about his preconceived views
> 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 interpretative
> transfer that optimises the access to the sound as it was in the recording
> studio. A preservation transfer sounds horrible, but it is extremely
> 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 these
> 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
> honed to the criteria they set.
> Bill Storm, formerly of the Belfer Laboratory, which was essentially
> 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
> downloading ARSCJv20n2p156-161 from the ARSC website.
> Kind regards,
>> ----- 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 CD
>> > 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
>> > 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
> repeated my message with some variations more than 20 times over a couple
> days, but no luck at all. And the loss is definitely with that particular
> reader who may suddenly read a piece of information he or she did not know
> about. George