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ARSCLIST  August 2012

ARSCLIST August 2012

Subject:

Re: New SONY sets

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Thu, 9 Aug 2012 11:59:02 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (153 lines)

Hi Dennis:

The story I heard [WARNING - 2nd Hand, perhaps hearsay] was that someone in the family that controls
BMG (Mann? family) is both a classical music and RCA Living Stereo fan, so he or they saw Living
Stereo as a crown jewel in the RCA acquisition. Therefore, the horrid-sounding early CDs quickly
came out of print under BMG and the 1990s Living Stereo reissue program took place, which was often
an improvement over earlier reissues (definitely the ones supervised by John Pfeiffer were
improvements, I think the program got dilluted as time went on). Then when SACDs came along, no
expense was spared in producing the Living Stereo hybrid reissues. Again, heard second-hand, but I
was told that there was no mathematical way for BMG to profit from that series from the number of
hybrid discs they pressed at the very reasonable retail price point they set, so it was a
loss-leader labor of love. Now what I don't know is whether they did additional press runs, which
would have added to any profitability or perhaps attained profitability.

When Sony put out the box set of the CD layers a few years ago, I figured that meant the SACDs were
thus out of print and so I better snap up all that I wanted while there was still inventory out
there. I succeed but everything was bought "new and used" from Amazon-affiliated sellers, many of
them located outside the US. I don't like opera and that was a good thing because the opera titles
were sold out and quite pricey in the "new and used" world.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dennis Rooney" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2012 11:46 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New SONY sets


> Dear Tom,
>
> "Perhaps in today's crazy mixed-up world, someone would be ignorant of
> those digital files and would thus use an earlier inferior source, but it's
> pretty scary to think about that scenario." Be very scared, given the
> institutional amnesia I referred to earlier.. As to sourcing, RCA did it
> and I believe that when RCA and Sony merged, the practice was carried over
> to the latter but I don't have information on those threads.
>
> Ciao,
>
> DDR
>
>
>
> On Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 7:49 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>
>> So Dennis, is it possible that Sony sourced for these RCA reissues
>> mentioned at the start of this thread, something like the early 90's Living
>> Stereo CD masters? As I understand it, those were made from
>> second-generation stereo cutting masters, not original session tapes. As I
>> further understand it, the SACD/CD Living Stereo hybrid discs done at
>> Soundmirror were all made from first-generation session tapes, with new 3-2
>> mixes done where appropriate. Plus, the transfers were done with very
>> high-quality equipment at very high resolution. Perhaps in today's crazy
>> mixed-up world, someone would be ignorant of those digital files and would
>> thus use an earlier inferior source, but it's pretty scary to think about
>> that scenario.
>>
>> Just to be clear, John Pfeiffer did the best he could with the RCA
>> organization he worked in, but many of the Living Stereo CDs released in
>> the 1990s are vastly inferior sounding, to my ears, when compared to the CD
>> layer (not to mention the SACD layers) of the Soundmirror/BMG hybrid discs.
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Dennis Rooney" <
>> [log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 7:38 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New SONY sets
>>
>>
>> POLICY as to WHICH digital transfer to use? Not in my experience, unless
>>> it
>>> was the late Jack Pfeiffer's instructions to his reissue supervisors to
>>> use
>>> the most recently released source, a policy that survived at RCA after his
>>> demise. Under Tom Frost's aegis, Sony Classical was very concerned with
>>> countering the bad press they had received from so many early CBS CDs
>>> produced from Lp cutting masters. All the reisssue lines in production
>>> when
>>> I was there in the 90s used new a/d transfers from the SW master reels.
>>> (It
>>> was an embarrassment when we discovered that the initial group of
>>> classical
>>> SACDs, ordered up by the hardware division and not run through A&R, were
>>> all made from 2-track submasters.) However, by the early years of this
>>> century, everything was in a state of disorder. Recycling is now the norm,
>>> and as institutional amnesia affects the labels, there is often ignorance,
>>> confusion or both over what is the best digital source.
>>>
>>> DDR
>>>
>>> On Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 3:05 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>**
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>> Mike, do you know if there's a policy as to WHICH digital transfer to
>>>> use?
>>>> In the case of both Columbia (Sony) and RCA (BMG), there were many
>>>> not-so-good attempts before good remasters were obtained. For Sony, I'd
>>>> put
>>>> the ones that Dennis Rooney oversaw in the late 90's as their best. For
>>>> RCA, the CD layer of the SACDs done by Soundmirror are vastly superior to
>>>> earlier attempts.
>>>>
>>>> For their box set, Decca went back and re-did some material that had been
>>>> previously remastered, with good results. I think DGG did new transfers
>>>> for
>>>> some of the material in their budget-priced boxes, for instance the
>>>> Kubelik
>>>> Mahler cycle seemed to have all been remastered in the late 90s as
>>>> opposed
>>>> to some of the earlier remasters of some of the symphonies (I don't think
>>>> all were previously released prior to the box set). I believe everything
>>>> was brought up to the era and quality of the "DGG Originals" series, so
>>>> circa late 90's.
>>>>
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Gray, Mike" <[log in to unmask]
>>>> >
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 2:47 PM
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New SONY sets
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> As a rule, no new transfers are made from analog originals save where no
>>>>
>>>>> prior digital transfer has already been
>>>>> made.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Mike Gray
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>> 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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