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ARSCLIST  June 2012

ARSCLIST June 2012

Subject:

Re: Alan Blumlein 1933 stereo recordings

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Thu, 28 Jun 2012 08:05:58 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (60 lines)

Hi Don:

This makes sense. I re-listened to the Beecham example on headphones and I agree there is some
stereophony to it, and the perspective you suggest matches the sound quality I hear. My bet is, two
relatively close-spaced mics, probably not omnidirectional in the modern sense, so you are getting a
somewhat "binaural" effect but not what we think of as modern stereophony of a symphony orchestra.

It actually sounds quite good on headphones because the groove noise on the sides is easier to
ignore. There are depth and height cues around the orchestra, which is a mark of stereophony. To my
ears, the Bell Labs experiments produced symphonic stereophony more in the modern sense, but
Blumlein definitely achieved something akin to what was called "binaural" in the early days of
2-track duped tapes.

I wonder, did Blumlein monitor with "earphones" and did the Bell Labs guys have two monitor
speakers? I've seen photos of the Bell Labs guys with "earphones" but I'm wondering if they also had
speakers as their final reference?

By the way, speaking of monitoring symphonic recordings, in all photos I've seen of Mercury, RCA,
Columbia and Capitol/EMI American recording sessions from the "golden era," monitoring was always
done with speakers, in a room isolated from the sounds of the recording venue. Mercury and I think
Everest monitored in 3-channel, right off the 3-track tape/film. Photos I've seen of RCA and
Columbia and Capitol show 2 speakers, so I assume their recording boards allowed for a 2-channel
monitor mix. I think Mercury was unique in using a truck as the "machine room" rather than just a
transport vehicle.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message -----
From: "Don Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2012 6:58 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Alan Blumlein 1933 stereo recordings


> On 27/06/2012, Tom Fine wrote:
>
>> Hi David:
>>
>> THANKS for that link! I wasn't even aware of that recording. 89 cents
>> for an MP3 was too good to pass up. However, the original transfer to
>> digital was not good. There are artifacts that generally come from an
>> over-processed digital transfer rather than a 256kbps MP3 file. That
>> said, it's definitely and clearly stereo in that there is spacial
>> perspective to the room and "depth" and "width" to the sides and
>> behind the center.
>>
> It occurs to me that the sound in the Beecham excerpts is what one hears
> from a good seat in the middle of the hall. I guess that is where
> Blumlein put his mics.
>
> We are so used to recordings made from the conductor's position, or
> several feet above it, that we have forgotten than you don't sit above
> the conductor in a concert.
>
> Regards
> --
> Don Cox
> [log in to unmask]
>

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