Don summed it up well. Also, there have been some smart remixes of multi-tracks from the 60's and
70's that have been mixed and EQ'd more to modern taste, so they sound less muddy and dark and
congested when there's a forte. A big bummer for me was that Sony decided against sticking with
Columbia's quirky and interesting ideas about quadrophony and classical music. Andy Kazdin mixed
Boulez/NYPO doing Bartok's "Concerto for Orchestra" in a way where the listener was sitting in the
middle of the orchestra, and it was arrayed in a circle around him. Trippy! Sony chose to remix it
to boring wide-angle non-surround for SACD. There are other examples.
I did a presentation at the 2011 AES Convention about classical recording techniques in America from
1 mic up to Columbia's 32-mic jobs in 70's. My example music was "Daphnis and Chloe" because it had
been done many times by many companies and RCA won an engineering Grammy for it in 1961 and Columbia
won an engineering Grammy for it in 1975. The audio examples were illuminating, according to
audience feedback. We also touched on the techniques used by Carson Taylor in the late 60's and
early 70's for EMI/Angel, because he had a unique method. If I do the presentation again, I'll
compare Taylor's method on the Dvorak cello concerto with Mercury's 3-mic method on the same work.
The results are very different -- like in the case of "Daphnis" I'm not saying one is better than
the other, just that very different sound qualities resulted from different mic and production
techniques. I'd do that presentation again for ARSC, the next time the Conference is in driving
distance (KC is a bit far, so not likely I can make that one).
There's a whole other interesting presentation to be done on Columbia alone, using Mike Gray's
article and research as the basis -- or perhaps Mike will do it one day! Also Mike's superb article
on RCA's methods to record Reiner, which also ran in TAS. BTW, I do not have the TAS issue numbers
for these articles, so those interested should contact the magazine directly. Pester them to put
some of those old chestnuts online. They long ago sold out of old issues, so what's the harm to
their bottom line? Note how Stereophile keeps adding old Gordon Holt-era content to their website.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Don Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2012 7:17 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] early stereophony
> On 27/09/2012, Stewart Gooderman wrote:
>> Mr Fine,
>> Could that "dullness" been the fault of the producer rather than the
>> technical staffs?
>> My experience is more with theatre recordings than anything else, and
>> overall, Columbia did *the* best job in creating show albums, both in
>> sound and concept. Most of them were produced by Goddard Lieberson and
>> his recordings are still treasured for both his recording technique,
>> as well as the quality of sound. And the early stereos were especially
> "West Side Story" (broadway cast) and "Anything Goes" are both good
> strong recordings. Any others in particular?
> I think the mastering and pressing were both poor. Columbia LPs in the
> 60s sounded sour and congested, yet when we get a good new CD transfer
> the sound is perfectly OK. I have a good heap of the Bernstein Century
> issues, for instance, and the sound is fine - which it was not on the
> LPs that I bought at the time.
> The most recent DSD transfer of Boulez' Debussy recordings has excellent
> sound. The LP was a pain to listen to.
> Don Cox
> [log in to unmask]