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ARSCLIST  October 2012

ARSCLIST October 2012

Subject:

Re: Howard Scott Dies

From:

Jon Samuels <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sun, 7 Oct 2012 14:30:16 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (214 lines)

For whatever it's worth, RCA didn't use tape for their commercial recordings until 1949, either.  (Seth Winner once told me that he found a
 Toscanini concert recorded on tape by RCA in 1948, which is certainly possible given that the musician's strike that year meant there are almost no RCA commercial recordings from that year).  The Kapell/Dorati/DallasSO Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 3 session of January 7, 1949 was recorded only on wax and lacquer, not tape, but, as far as I was able to determine, it's the only 1949 session not recorded on tape.  The surviving 1949 RCA master tapes have relatively poor sound, and are quite hissy to boot.

Jon Samuels

--- On Sun, 10/7/12, David Lewis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: David Lewis <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Howard Scott Dies
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Sunday, October 7, 2012, 5:02 PM

I *don't* disagree with Dennis. I think the notion that a late 1940s tape,
just by being what it is -- or was --, is automatically better than disc is
a little revisionist. CBS believed that their 16" disc recording
system was state of the art, and they had only been using it for eight
years in 1948. I would
 concur that it may have been, although the fact that
the published discs were dubbed from these sources onto
records issued with the very unfortunate laminated core was definitely a
compromise, though some especially well preserved specimens can play back
well. So much effort went into the LP program between
1944 and 1948 that I'm sure for CBS that making the additional turn towards
tape was something that would have to wait. I am gratified to know now that
1949 was the year they adopted it; I had thought it
1950. And I can cite plenty of crummy sounding tapes from the late 40s that
don't hold a patch on the fidelity of a Columbia 16" master disc from that
time.

Dave Lewis
Lebanon, OH

On Sun, Oct 7, 2012 at 3:18 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> Hi Dennis:
>
> I
 respectfully disagree with your assertion about s/n performance. Mono
> full-track tape, even early formulations, ran very quietly, with a lower
> noise floor than any early LP masters. Also, the inherent noise floor of
> the old disk masters being remastered was much higher. Net-net, I doubt any
> effects of using tape was audible in 1948, especially on home playback
> systems or over-air broadcasts. Plus, using tape would have produced
> archival masters much easier to access for future pressings or future
> albums of different contents. This was a case where hidebound conservatism
> netted no better results with more work and no "future-proofing".
>
> -- Tom Fine
>
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Dennis Rooney" <
> [log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Sunday, October 07, 2012 2:43 PM
>
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Howard Scott Dies
>
>
>  Dear Tom,
>>
>> Of course Columbia and CBS engineers knew of developments in magnetic
>> tape;
>> however, in keeping with their general conservative attitude about
>> innovations, they were not convinced that tape offered comparable audio
>> quality to disc, as well as mechanical reliability. Dub-editing was well
>> understood in broadcasting and the Columbia engineers were experienced in
>> it. Tape waited until 1949 to begin to be used as a mastering medium at
>> Columbia. That decision may seem perplexing to you but there it is. In
>> 1947-48 when Howard's team made the first 100 Lp masters
 disc-to-disc,
>> their technique produced superior results, particularly respecting s/n, to
>> what would have been achieved disc-to-tape.
>>
>> DDR
>>
>>
>>
>> On Sun, Oct 7, 2012 at 1:18 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>**
>> wrote:
>>
>>  I don't understand something about the obit and the story of the LP dawn
>>> that it told.
>>>
>>> Jack Mullin was out west in 1947 holding demonstrations and using his
>>> Magnetophones with the Bing Crosby radio program. The concept of magnetic
>>> tape was well known in the broadcast world. In fact, the Edward R. Murrow
>>> album "I Can Hear It Now" was produced using tape editing and the 78RPM
>>> album includes
 a lengthy production note describing this newfangled (at
>>> CBS
>>> News) editing technique.
>>>
>>> So none of this trickled over to Bridgeport CT? They really were doing
>>> disk-to-disk dubs in 1948? Why??? The Ampex 200 came out that year, the
>>> 200A soon afterward. Surely Bill Paley's empire could afford a few tape
>>> machines. Closer to Bridgeport, Fairchild was making tape machines by
>>> 1948
>>> and perhaps earlier (I don't have a clear timeframe as to when Fairchild
>>> first produced magnetic recorders, but a 1948 article about Reeves
>>> Studios
>>> in NYC shows Fairchild's "new" tape machines in service and one is
>>> pictured
>>> on the magazine cover).
>>>
>>> So again, why the complex machinations of disk-to-disk dubbing? BTW,
 RIP
>>> Howard Scott and he did indeed come up with an ingenius if hardest way
>>> possible to solve the problem of matching up the 78RPM sides.
>>>
>>> Ironically, the man who INVENTED the magnetic tape splicing block, at
>>> least the US iteration of the concept, was CBS News producer/editor Joel
>>> Tall (EdiTall).
>>>
>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>
>>> PS -- Mullin wasn't the only guy to bring a working Magnetophone home.
>>> The
>>> BBC captured some of them and did detailed dissections, and Col. Ranger
>>> brought home at least one. My bet is Fairchild's engineers got their
>>> hands
>>> on one very soon after the war or else how could their development keep a
>>> similar pace to Mullin/Ampex? There were at least dozens of Magetophones
>>> made during WWII,
 if not hundreds, perhaps more. The whole story of
>>> disk-dubbing for the new LP medium would make more sense if Columbia had
>>> been a little company not connected to a broadcast network and not
>>> located
>>> in what was then the East Coast industrial corridor. I'm not doubting the
>>> disk-dubbing happened, I just have trouble believing no one at Columbia
>>> knew about tape or had access to tape machines before the dawn of the LP.
>>> And if they knew and had access, why would they do a complex disk-to-disk
>>> dubbing method?
>>>
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Dennis Rooney" <
>>> [log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Sunday, October 07, 2012 11:43 AM
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Howard Scott Dies
>>>
>>>
>>>  Howard's death is no surprise. He was failing for some time.
>>> Nevertheless,
>>>
>>>> his contribution to the birth of the Lp makes him one of the important
>>>> players in the success of Columbia Masterworks and worthy of
>>>> remembrance.
>>>> He liked to tell the story of moving a cot into a studio where he could
>>>> nap
>>>> in between supervising dub editing lacquer cuts into Lp masters, and it
>>>> was
>>>> all true, including having to re-make a majority of what had been
>>>> produced
>>>> after technical problems in
 manufacturing caused them all to be
>>>> scrapped.
>>>> Despite that setback, he and his engineering team began again and met
>>>> their
>>>> deadline in time for the spring 1948 launch of the new format.
>>>>
>>>> In the decade before 1961 he supervised many of the Masterworks
>>>> recordings
>>>> that allowed Columbia to lead the U.S. market. I have a photo of Howard
>>>> auditioning a test pressing sometime in the early fifties. He is young,
>>>> balding and clean shaven, attired in a dress shirt and tie. Like his
>>>> mentor, Goddard Lieberson, he set great store by dressing well. I worked
>>>> on
>>>> many recordings that he supervised when they were reissued on CD, and
>>>> admired his preparation and disciplined
 approach.
>>>>
>>>> What isn't mentioned in that NY TIMES obit is that he was born Shapiro
>>>> but,
>>>> according to the assimilationist impulse of his day, changed it to Scott
>>>> in
>>>> the late forties. It was a privilege to have known him. *Requiescat in
>>>> pace*
>>>> .
>>>>
>>>> DDR
>>>>
>>>> On Sun, Oct 7, 2012 at 11:03 AM, David Lewis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/****10/07/arts/music/howard-h-**<http://www.nytimes.com/2012/**10/07/arts/music/howard-h-**>
>>>>> scott-a-developer-of-the-lp-****dies-at-92.html?_r=1<http://**
>>>>> www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/**arts/music/howard-h-scott-a-**
>>>>> developer-of-the-lp-dies-at-**92.html?_r=1<http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/arts/music/howard-h-scott-a-developer-of-the-lp-dies-at-92.html?_r=1>
>>>>> >
>>>>>
>>>>> Funny, he was mentioned here not long ago.
>>>>>
>>>>> Uncle Dave Lewis
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> 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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