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ARSCLIST  November 2012

ARSCLIST November 2012

Subject:

Re: Interesting late-era Soundstream tidbit

From:

Jon Samuels <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 26 Nov 2012 09:31:39 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (25 lines)

Tom,
Don't you mean SDIF, not SPDIF?
Jon Samuels

--- On Mon, 11/26/12, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Interesting late-era Soundstream tidbit
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Monday, November 26, 2012, 11:21 AM

I found a 2/2286 Billboard article that mentions RCA Studios in NYC having an "adapter" made so that Sony and other digital tapes could be fed into the Soundstream editing computer.

Article here:
http://tinyurl.com/czjpn2q

I knew about RCA and Telarc making a SPDIF output adapter from the Soundstream electronics, so they could feed Soundstream tapes into 1990's-standard DAWs and backup-tape systems, but I did not know of any technology allowing Soundstreams advanced DAW to work with other digital tape formats. Until Sonic Solutions came along, using a Mac II, the Soundstream computer was the only or one of the only pro-grade waveform editors, non-linear editing systems and otherwise semi-modern digital production system. I'm assuming that the Sony multi-track format mentioned in the article couldn't be easily edited with a razor blade. Producers and mastering folks from this era have told me that almost anything was preferable to video-insert-style editing with a Sony or JVC U-Matic based system.

The other interesting tidbit in this article is that the Soundstream editing system that ended up at RCA was capable of 8 tracks. I read another Billboard article that told about how RCA's first multi-track Soundstream recording (Levine/Chicago - Mahler 7th) involved sync'ing two Soundstream electronics, for a total of 8 audio tracks. So Soundstream must have upgraded their editing computer for RCA to 8 tracks also. The original non-prototype Soundstream system was 4-track and most early users would send the same 2-track mix to two tracks for each channel, to assure proper recording and playback (remember that these kinds of digital systems didn't work well with tape dropouts or other imperfections). The Billboard article about the first RCA digital session, using Soundstream (Ormandy/Philly - Bartok Concerto for Orchestra), had engineer Paul Goodman feeding two "different" stereo mixes to each pair of Soundstream tracks, with a decision made later on
 which were used on the final LP. Also interesting in that article about the first RCA Soundstream session that resulted in released product was mention of how temperature-sensitive the Soundstream electronics proved to be. Session had to stop and better venting (an old electric fan) was added to get the Soundstream electronics to behave.

My late friend and mentor Bob Eberenz, who did one Soundstream session (Ormandy/Philly for Delos), said that for his session, the Soundstream machine and crew were in another room. Bob did his standard 3-mic pickup, using B&K mics, then a live 3-2 mix, feeding the 2-channel mix to the Soundstream folks in the other room.

-- Tom Fine

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