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ARSCLIST  June 2012

ARSCLIST June 2012

Subject:

Re: RCA Living Stereo CDs

From:

Dennis Rooney <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Wed, 13 Jun 2012 15:32:17 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (163 lines)

The first few OJC releases were done utilizing the same persons involved in
MH; however, the technical work fell off in later issues.

DDR

On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 2:54 PM, Randy Lane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Do you know if the same level of care was taken with some the first
> Original Jacket editions? Some of those had dramatically improved sound
> that seems unattainable without observing the same original source
> principles. More recent releases in the series are clearly more
> mass-produced and the quality is highly uneven. A good example of the job
> done well would be the Szell Beethoven set - remasterings clearly head and
> shoulders better than all previous efforts, especially the Essential
> Classics version. The Horowitz complete collection, fabulous as it is, just
> repackaged previous material and is indicative of more recent Original
> Jacket/Album editions that clearly don't make an attempt to be the "best"
> audio version possible.
>
> On Wednesday, June 13, 2012, Dennis Rooney wrote:
>
> > I will add to this thread only slightly. Sony Classical's Masterworks
> > Heritage line was produced using transfer and mastering criteria
> developed
> > by the label since 1991 on various other reissue lines, viz. Gould,
> Walter,
> > Bernstein Stern, et al. MH may indeed have waved "a banner of quality",
> but
> > its genesis was borne not only of a desire to celebrate a century of
> > Columbia recordings but also to ring a different change on the DG
> Originals
> > line. However, each MH package (like Mercury Living Presence) was
> > individually designed, utilizing as much original art and photographic
> > support as could be fit into such a small area. Using original souce was
> a
> > prerequisite to production, but no attempt to employ any coeval playback
> > gear was ever considered.
> >
> > DDR
> >
> > On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 9:34 AM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >
> > > Jon, thanks to you and Mark for these insights. Let me reaffirm that
> > > despite
> > > the limitations you had, those masterings were a revelation to those of
> > us
> > > who grew up with Dynaflex Victrola LPs. I couldn't stop playing Reiner
> > > Sound
> > > - it was astonishing.
> > >
> > > I just got a SACD player - talk about being late for a party! - and my
> > only
> > > discs of that format are the Reiner Mahlers. The change to Song of the
> > > Earth, which was so distortion-ridden and clouded in previous issues,
> is
> > > extraordinary.
> > >
> > > Tom speaks of a marketing aspect to original equipment, and that appeal
> > is
> > > strong. Decca "Originals" - yeah. What I like to think is that the
> > Mercury,
> > > RCA, and Columbia Heritage programs came along at a critical moment,
> > waving
> > > a banner of quality, right when many of us were disenchanted with the
> > > promise of the new medium (digital, CD). We didn't know that a decade
> > > later,
> > > there would be a whole new compromise barreling down the road (mp3),
> > > threatening again to make sound quality a non-priority.
> > >
> > > How much more difficult might it be today to push back against that
> > > compromise if those reissues hadn't adjusted people's expectations?
> That
> > > they sold well was one win. But the inspiration they provided to
> younger
> > > people in the recording trade must also have had a lasting effect.
> > > Certainly
> > > did for me.
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> > > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jon Samuels
> > > Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:44 PM
> > > To: [log in to unmask]
> > > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] RCA Living Stereo CDs
> > >
> > > For what it's worth, I agree with you for the most part about
> > > Hi Mark,
> > >
> > > For what it's worth, I agree with you for the most part about using
> newer
> > > playback equipment in playing back open reel tapes.  From a
> > > historical perspective, there are a few facts I know about the earlier
> > > Living Stereo CDs issued by BMG that might be of interest.
> > >
> > > The first Living Stereo CD series started in 1992, not the 1980s.  I
> was
> > a
> > > remastering engineer at BMG at that time.  Although this was never
> > > acknowledged publicly, only one CD was ever remastered on an Ampex 351.
> > >  That was "The Reiner Sound", which was the very first one done. The
> 351
> > > was
> > > not in great condition, and contrary to the press reports, had not been
> > > refurbished.  It was mechanically very noisy, very difficult to use,
> and
> > > quite frankly didn't sound that good, so we decided to use an Ampex 440
> > (a
> > > transistor three-track) for all the other projects instead, which was
> the
> > > only alternative we had at the time.  Not surprisingly, we never told
> the
> > > marketing people.  In addition, the two-track Living Stereo masters
> were
> > > reproduced on an Ampex ATR-102, since we even never had access to a
> > > two-track 351 machine.  We also used EQ as needed, both analog and
> > digital,
> > > and occasionally a small touch of digital reverb.
> > >
> > > Not surprisingly, the later Living Stereo CDs we did at BMG in the
> middle
> > > to
> > > late 1990s were sonically much better, as we had better quality and
> later
> > > higher resolution A-Ds, better digital processing equipment, as well as
> > > higher quality (and significantly quieter) remastering rooms.
> > >
> > > Best,
> > >
> > > Jon Samuels
> > >
> > >
> > > ________________________________
> > >  From: Mark Donahue <[log in to unmask]>
> > > To: [log in to unmask]
> > > Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 9:44 PM
> > > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury Living Presence
> > >
> > > I just want to make one quick comment about this idea that playing back
> > 60
> > > year old tapes is best realized through playing them back on 60 year
> old
> > > machines.
> > > The reality here is that the ability to get the signal on to tape is a
> > much
> > > easier task than getting it back off and the recorders of the day were
> > much
> > > better at recording than playback. I--
> > Dennis D. Rooney
> > 303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
> > New York, NY 10023
> > 212.874.9626
> >
>



-- 
Dennis D. Rooney
303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
New York, NY 10023
212.874.9626

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