Polishing of early records has been explored, either here or on 78-L. I
believe Ward MArston commented on it once that the best vocal recordings
he had heard were from the period pre-1906 when the practice either
began or became common. The intent was to make records last longer by
not wearing so much as they were played. And yes it made the sound
duller, but the records lasted longer.
On 11/16/2010 2:45 PM, Martin Fisher wrote:
> Just wanted to share part of a recent email that I sent off to Roger
> Beardsley of Historic Masters with my list serve buddies. Anyone have
> their own opinions?
> I think I might have mentioned this before. I may be coming at Historic
> Masters from a slightly deviant point of view. Although I love the
> subject matter (singers and music, both popular and classical in nature,
> of the "golden" era) I'm really just becoming familiar with many of the
> artists, repertoire and background. Needless to say I've found the HM
> accompanying notes to be invaluable at leading to an appreciation of
> what's actually recorded on the discs and thank you all so much for
> them. What really draws me to HM pressings is the fact that they ARE
> derived from the ORIGINAL MATRICES or as true to accurate copies as
> possible. This is a treasure for the technically minded individual who
> is interested in early recording techniques and practices. Each side is
> a case study in itself. It would be fascinating to get more information
> on the various processes of preparing the "shells" from the discovery
> stage to pressing of the vinyl. These have been alluded to in the past
> but not delved into with a great deal of detail.
> F'r instance....I've noticed that several of the sides in the Tamagno
> ten inch set are from parts that seem to have been ?polished to death?
> The surfaces are smoother (shiny) but the stylus never seems to really
> seat itself and this results in dullness, fuzziness and distortion that
> doesn't seem to be present on the rougher looking sides. I'd imagine
> this is the result of earlier attempts at "sprucing up" the metals by
> the parent companies for more recent reissue. This same characteristic
> is true of many (I hesitate to say "ALL" but it might be a more accurate
> statement) of the RCA Heritage series of 1940 or 50 era repressings in
> red vinyl. There is also one of the ten inch Tamagno sides that shows
> evidence of filling in of the runout. These and other anomalies really
> do spark some interesting questions.
> Several weeks ago on either the ARSC or 78-L list serve there was
> speculation on the processes of cutting the eccentric lead out grooves
> on post 1922/1923 Victors and the like.
> All this to say that, with me, it's not only what's in the
> groove........it's the GROOVE ITSELF. Therefore, I find that Historic
> Masters is not only providing a service to the music listening
> population but also an affordable window into the past for the historian
> of the recording industry and the practices employed in preserving all
> of the great music and voices of the past. For that we should also be