LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for ARSCLIST Archives


ARSCLIST Archives

ARSCLIST Archives


ARSCLIST@LISTSERV.LOC.GOV


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

ARSCLIST Home

ARSCLIST Home

ARSCLIST  January 2010

ARSCLIST January 2010

Subject:

Re: Sony and Binaural

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Wed, 6 Jan 2010 12:55:15 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (198 lines)

Hi David:

Regarding your comment about transfer technology ...

The ability to do an excellent playback of old tapes was there all along. The discipline and 
dedication to hunt down the masters and to play them back in a superb analog chain was what was 
lacking. So that was there in any time period since the tapes were originally recorded.

As for digital transfer technology, there were some breakthroughs in the late 1980's that raised the 
bar. I recently did a presentation at the AES convention in NYC about the technical history of 
Mercury Living Presence, and part of the discussion was about the CD reissues. We had present in the 
room the original transfer engineer, Dennis Drake, and I had the opportunity as I was preparing the 
presentation to talk at length with Dennis about the year-long process, in 1988-89, of selecting and 
building the transfer chain. Just in that timeframe, dcs came out with the converter selected, which 
allowed 24-bit words at up to 48kHz sampling rate. Right up near the time the CD remastering was to 
start, Harmonia Mundi came out with their digital buss that included a dither card and a 
downsampling card. This allowed a desireable-sounding down-conversion to the 1630 (44.1/16) 
mastering standard. So as of 1990, it was possible to do a transfer that could come much closer to 
the master tapes than any previous mass-media technology. I think Sony came out with their Super Bit 
Mapping (20-bit) technology in the early 90's, and JVC had a similar system that was more a 
system-wide approach, from digital master recorder to glass-master cutter.

Technology did advance rapidly in the 1990's, as we all know. By the end of the decade, you could 
master directly to a computer hard drive and very good converter units had come way down in price. 
And of course the rise of multiple DAW software and plug-ins has vastly expanded the options 
available -- although recent discussion on this list highlights how bad so many modern efforts 
sound.

But, by 1990, when there was still a robust market for classical reissue CD's, a producer had the 
ability to select an excellent transfer chain and execute results nearer to the master tape than 
ever possible before in a release medium.

One factor with Sony is that they had already invested a lot in lousy-sounding reissues in the 
1980's, and sold plenty of copies. Sony and BMG/RCA took an approach of "get it all out there on CD" 
and minded quantity goals over quality goals. To be fair, when they started putting product on the 
market in 1982, the digital mastering equipment was not as good as it was at the end of the 80's. 
But we've all heard the stories of using 3rd and 4th generation tapes, of interns in hallways 
"dubbing" on misaligned tape machines to banks of 1600 systems on portable carts. That may be 
exaggerated, but the early-issue CD's stand on their own wobbly legs, sounding terrible in most 
cases. And yet, everyone sold a lot of units of these bad-sounding CD's, so there wasn't a lot of 
corporate pressure to put quality first. The success of the Mercury reissues, followed by much 
better reissues from RCA that also succeeded in the marketplace, prompted others to go back and do 
their own "original look and feel and made from the real master tapes" reissues. The problem for 
Sony and others was that they did their programs too late, the shark had already been jumped and 
classical CD sales were beginning to crater.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dave Lewis" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, January 06, 2010 12:19 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Sony and Binaural


<snip>

On another topic within this thread, Masterworks Heritage made its bow
in 1995, and I'm curious as to how much earlier it would have needed to
emerge to enjoy success. Seems to me that much before 1995 the transfer
technology and even the ability of engineers was not quite to the level
that would have made it a more going concern than it was in '95. I never
had any trouble selling the Bidu Sayao discs or the Mahler First with
Mitropoulos and Minneapolis, but there were other, far more conservative
choices that did stiff and I think that Masterworks Heritage launched so
many titles at first that the market simply wasn't to bear all of them.
Certainly the digital transfers of 1989 had a long way to go before they
reached the standard that is familiar to us now.

Respectfully,

David "Uncle Dave" Lewis

Assistant Editor, Classical

Rovi Corporation

Ann Arbor, Michigan



-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Andrew Hamilton
Sent: Tuesday, January 05, 2010 5:19 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Sony and Binaural

Quite right.  And, as the Wacky-Package on the topic continues:

"...these labelling differences led to a couple of experiments whereby
the
"Left" and "Right" lacquers of two recordings were painstakingly
synchronised.  These experiments proved that for these sessions two
separate
microphones had been used, placed near each other and each leading to
its
own turntable, with binaural sound being the result when synchronised.
The
two binaural recordings were made available to the Leopold Stokowski
Society
and both have now been released on CD: Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries on
Cala Records CACD0549 and the 'Scherzo' from Mendelssohn's Midsummer
Night's
Dream on Cala Records CACD0551."


Andrew



P. S., Hi there, Mr. Lewis!   Got any Elvis (wine)?


On 1/5/10 11:42 AM, "Mike Gray" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> For "left" / "right" to produce 'binaural' would require two entirely
> independent microphone mixers feeding two separate disc-cutters.
> Anything else is a fantasy.
>
> Mike Gray
>
> Dave Lewis wrote:
>> Edward Johnson, in his notes for Cala 551, "Stokowski Beethoven
Symphony
>> No. 7 and Other First Stereo Releases on CD" states:
>>
>>
>>
>> "In 2004, Anthony Fountain, Classical Archivist at Sony Music Studios
in
>> New York, found many lacquer masters that Stokowski and the All
American
>> Youth Orchestra had recorded in Hollywood after their 1941 summer
tour.
>> The most significant part of the discovery was that all the
recordings
>> were made in duplicate, with each pair of discs labeled "Left" and
>> "Right" respectively. [...] It was an exciting discovery and the
Leopold
>> Stokowski Society wished to license a complete CD of these AAYO
>> 'binaural' recordings. However, the Sony powers-that-be decided that
>> such a discovery should appear on their own label instead, along with
>> any other records of the period that had been recorded binaurally.
These
>> included the Stravinsky/New York Philharmonic sets of the early 1940s
in
>> which the composer conducted his own 'Rite of Spring' and other works
>> [...] However, it all came to nought in 2006 when the senior
executives
>> in charge were dismissed due to the poor sales of both their new and
>> historic releases. The Stokowski/AAYO lacquers were sent off for
storage
>> and the transferring equipment dismantled, so it seems that the
>> opportunity for hearing more of these historic recordings binaurally
>> has, tragically, now gone."
>>
>>
>>
>> Okay - I'm assuming that these notes, published with the final
Stokowski
>> Society release that appeared in November, speak the truth. But just
>> last week I heard a Sony producer protesting on NPR that "people
should
>> not take it on themselves and reissue classic recordings. First we
have
>> to locate the original master recording, then we have to find the
legal
>> holder of the performance rights, etc." The NPR commentator added
that
>> Sony has transferred about 10,000 classic recordings since 1994 or
so,
>> but is doing so in the face of the realization that only minimal
>> financial gain is likely to be made in such endeavor.
>>
>>
>>
>> However, if they have "dismantled" [...] "the transferring equipment"
>> then all that the Sony producer said is mere bluster; one has to
assume
>> that they aren't doing any of that kind of work now, based on what is
>> said in the Stokowski notes. Who is telling the truth?
>>
>>
>>
>> David "Uncle Dave" Lewis
>>
>> Assistant Editor, Classical
>>
>> Rovi Corporation
>>
>>
>>

-- 
[log in to unmask]
www.serifsound.com

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTSERV.LOC.GOV

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager