I've heard the Ellington "accidental stereo" recordings that are available for download online
(lossy formats, which may effect some of my conclusions). They sound like unimpressive "stereo",
accidental indeed. They do reveal some sonics of the room not available in the mono audio, but don't
clarify or otherwise serve the music. Assuming Michael's story below is true, they sound exactly
like that -- two recordings with two intents, not two purposeful recordings intended to provide more
musical detail or clarify than either alone. I suppose there's a "neato" factor, but that's about
it. No big deal.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Shoshani" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, August 30, 2014 10:02 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Accidental stereo (again)
> The two Ellington records are something completely different, or rather the intent was different.
> They were long-playing 33 1/3 RPM "Electrical Transcriptions" for home consumption, and the reason
> there were two microphones, amplifiers, cutters, and waxes on this two-disc session was because
> RCA was running tests on an electrical recording system they were developing, to compare results
> with an identical setup using Western Electric equipment, on which they were still paying hefty
> The tests evidently showed there was work to be done, because the RCA system wasn't phased in for
> three more years. Discs made with the Western Electric equipment have the letters "VE" in an
> ellipse, whereas from about 1934 onward they appear in a diamond, signifying RCA equipment.
> Michael Shoshani
> On 8/30/2014 12:06, Clark Johnsen wrote:
>> Best I recall, "accidental stereo" was discovered, quite accidentally, by
>> Brad Kay of Venice, California. Soon after the announcement was made I
>> visited him there and heard for myself some *pretty good* stereo from 1927
>> and yes it was Duke Ellington, inter alia.
>> But that was from the electrical era, when just as in the acoustical a
>> second master was made for backup, albeit with another microphone. It's my
>> understanding that often enough actual discs were issued from the "backup"
>> and thus are locatable even today. You just have to know what to look for.