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ARSCLIST  October 2012

ARSCLIST October 2012

Subject:

Re: early digital

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Wed, 10 Oct 2012 15:28:21 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (118 lines)

Hi Jon:

This shows that there is good undocumented terrain for a followup to my ARSCJ article "The Dawn of 
Commercial Digital Recording":
http://www.aes.org/aeshc/pdf/fine_dawn-of-digital.pdf

I'd like to find out more about what happened next, what machines and methods were used between the 
Dawn of Digital and the adoption of PC/Mac-based recording and editing. It's interesting to me how 
so many non-compatible systems were in use just in the classical end of the business. The only way 
any semblence of "universal compatibility" was achieved was when everything was archived to 
computers (ie "bits is bits"), and even now you have DSD/bitstream format which only runs on 
compatible computers and recorders.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jon Samuels" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 2:07 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] early digital


The Kazdin story is true. I spoke to a former Columbia/CBS executive
who was there at the time, and he told me that the classical producers
were informed that henceforth all their recordings were to be made
digitally. The reason was that Columbia  executives believed that to
compete in the marketplace, they had to be able to put "DIGITAL" on the
LP jacket. Andy felt that the sound was better in analog, and as Tom
has pointed out, he preferred multi-miking and multi-track recording
(usually 16-track) for ultimate flexibility in mixing to two-track (as
opposed to recording in two-track), so he ignored this. I believe he
was recording Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic at the time.
When his bosses found out, they fired him. This was probably about 1981
 or so.

As Tom points out, the Soundstream system could record
 either four or two-track digitally at at a sample rate of 50Khz. (I
have a vague recollection of a later eight-track version, but I'm not
sure.) If they recorded four track, they would sometimes mix it down to
 a two-track Soundstream and then dub it to analog, and sometimes to a
two-track analog directly. (There was also a Soundtream "DAW" that took
 up an entire floor filled with computers. The air-conditioning bill
alone must have been staggering.)   The first "DIGITAL" releases, of
course, were on LP, so they needed an analog two-track master. A late
Soundstream invention was the "cookoo clock", which could convert
 sample rates digitally, and which had both digital and analog outputs, so this was used for some CD 
releases.
  The Sony 1610 and 1630 came later. RCA (and later BMG) used many
digital systems after Soundstream, including two-track JVC and two-track
 Mitsubishi (X-80, and X86), sometimes at 44.1K, and sometimes at 48K.
RCA did record multi-track digital on a 3M machine; on March 28, 1982,
they recorded Marilyn Horne, Leontyne Price and James Levine "In Concert
 at the Met", though for the LP and CD releases, I believe that they mixed it in
analog. In later year, they used a Sony DASH PCM-3324 and PCM-3348 for
multi-track recording. (Other digital systems that RCA and BMG used
included a 14 bit experimental 2-track 3M system (1979, I think), Sony
F1, Sony 2-track DASH, DAT, etc.)

Jon Samuels


--- On Wed, 10/10/12, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [ARSCLIST]
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 12:25 PM

The thread of truth in this may be that Kazdin liked to record to 8+ tracks and then mix later in a 
studio environment. I do think Columbia used the 3M system, which would have enabled this, but if 
they went through a phase of mixing to 2-track and recording right to the Sony 1600/1630 system, it 
would not have been possible. I'm not sure if Columbia went from 3M to Sony or Mitsubishi multitrack 
digital. I have never heard that Kazdin story so do not know its veracity.

RCA appears to have been comfortable mixing to 2-channel at the sessions. They used the Soundstream 
system and then I think a Sony 1600 varient. They may have used multitrack digital, too, at some 
points. It's possible they used all 4 tracks on the Soundstream and thus mixed to
 "stems" and mixed the final 2-channel product in the studio. Hopefully Jon Samuels will chime in on 
this topic.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- From: "DAVID BURNHAM" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 11:12 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST]


I remember hearing a story in the early '80s about Andrew Kazdin getting in trouble at Columbia 
because he recorded some significant classical projects in analog when the company had already 
switched to digital. He apparently felt that the analog recordings were still superior and that 
digital wasn't up to speed yet. His bosses felt that he had wasted the whole sessions. Since we can 
now enjoy the benefits of analog master tapes on SACDs
 compared to regular CDs, perhaps he wasn't too far wrong, however I don't understand why he 
wouldn't have recorded in both formats. This was done with Glenn Gould's 1981 Goldberg Variations 
and when a new mastering was done in, (I think), the '90s, they used the analog master rather than 
the digital.

db



> ________________________________
> From: Steven Smolian <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 11:51:26 AM
> Subject: [ARSCLIST]
>
> Does anyone know in what year RCA and Columbia were recording mostly in
> digital? I'm not interested in when their firsts were but when it became
> common practice.
>
> Steve Smolian.
>
>

>

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