OMG. The horror is finally revealed. Did this also apply to the .5
"audiophile" LP series? They sounded lousy to me.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jon Samuels
Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 11:41 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Fwd: [ARSCLIST] "Why Vinyl Is the Only Worthwhile
Way to Own Music"
Early CD transfers had another problem. At RCA (and, from what I
understand, to differeing degrees at other record companies), edited reels
from the recording sessions were never used in the early CD days. The main
reason had to do with bookkeeping (and Jack Pfeiffer's belief that no one
could hear the difference, and therefore was not worth the trouble to track
down, find and physically restore the edited masters). From it's earliest
LP days, RCA maintained a system where every LP side (and later every CD)
had to have its' own tape. That meant that if an LP was re-issued with a
different number, the later LP master would at best be a first-generation
dub of the previous LP. Unfortunately, they took this a couple of steps
further. Three-track (and higher) masters were always mixed down to 2-track
for the LP. (One of the reasons this was done was to deliberately reduce
the dynamic range in the LP master before the cutting stage.) Each new
re-issue's tape master was a dub of the most recently released LP tape
master, not the original one. They continued this practice with early CDs.
Also, in later LP years, they often dubbed early 30 ips tape masters to 15
ips, and used those for later LPs with the same issue numbers. The
consequences of these factors was that early CD masters were sometimes as
much as seven or eight generations down from the original session tapes.
(It also explains why collectors often prefer earlier LP issues.)
The first RCA CDs that used the edited session tapes (called workparts in
RCA parlance) rather than dubs as their source material were the Artur (now
Arthur) Rubinstein CD series released in 1984, which was produced on CD by
Max Wilcox. That didn't become pretty much standard practice around RCA/BMG
until around 1988/9 (and even then, not in every instance).
This doesn't even allow for the improvement in the quality of digital gear
over the past thirty years (a subject written about here many times).