On 03/25/2014 10:40 AM, Jon Samuels wrote:
> 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.)
This makes a heck of a lot of sense if you look at RCA reissues of big
band era material on CD. Most issues from the 1980s are from album
masters, probably dubs of them; in at least one instance (a Glenn Miller
compilation called "Chattanooga Choo-Choo: The Number One Hits") the
matrix number of the album master from which the track derives is cited.
More often than not, these 80s reissues also contain added reverb, and
in a few instances stereo reprocessing.
It wasn't until about 1993 or so that BMG started issuing CDs of
material from this era transferred from metal parts. when people like
Orrin Keepnews and Bill Lacey started getting involved. The difference
in quality is phenomenal.