Re Don Cox's observation in reply to Tom Fine on "transparency":
The more experience one has with correctly reproduced, unworn copies of
shellac originals, the more one discovers that some of the earliest
electricals have extraordinary immediacy and "presence". The Western
Electric apparatus was not wide band but had extrememely low distortion. A
few (or one) omnidirectional microphones often produced remarkable coherant
imaging. Some of German Odeon's work in both Berlin and Dresden has that
quality, albeit inconsistently, Victor and Columbia achieved it regularly
during that time, e.g. Grainger's Chopin Sonata, Op 58, Stokowski's Rienzi
Overture, Armstrong's Union Square Odeons, and a black label Victor I
picked up of Howard Lanin's Orchestra playing "Melancholy Lou". Despite the
stripped grooves on that copy, the recorded quality was stuperfying good.
Such recordings, whose audio quality reaches across the decades, are one of
the most exciting things about record collecting.
On Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 7:02 AM, Don Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On 10/02/2013, Tom Fine wrote:
> > BTW, anyone who thinks ANY analog recording chain was "transparent" or
> > output equalled input has tin ears or is in denial. All sorts of
> > things happen with disk recording and even with the best tape
> > recorders, and both media are far from "silent" or "transparent."
> > Eye-opening at ARSC Rochester was Nick Bergh's demonstration of how
> > good the audio was going to a Victor cutterhead in the 1930s. Find me
> > a pressed 78 or even most laquers or metal parts from that era that
> > have that kind of fidelity.
> Lots of distortion in the cutter, and more in the pickup cartridge.
> But even so, a well made transfer from a clean copy of a 1930-ish Victor
> can be remarkably good. There is a real impression of live musicians
> playing together in a well-defined space.
> For example, the first recording session of McKinney's Cotton Pickers in
> July 1928. These have the same punch and immediacy as Mercury recordings
> from 30 years later.
> Don Cox
> [log in to unmask]
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