I don't know how many times and in how many ways to say this but -- THE KARAJAN BEETHOVEN 9TH STORY
IS A MYTH!!!!!
Please see the first-hand account of Kees Immink, one of the Philips engineers who developed the
I suspect the Karajan story came about because Sony's chairman was enamored by Karajan and may have
passed this story around to PR hacks and/or press toadies, likely in the presence of Karajan,
stroking the maestro's massive ego.
The fact is that the CD's time capacity was not the first consideration in the design, rather the
form-factor came first and time happened to fit the data density possible under the system invented
by Sony and Philips.
Please see also Goran Finnberg's latest .fact-driven post, specifically:
"At that time, 1983/-85, the recommendation from the pressing plants was
to avoid going over around 60 minutes of music.
Thatīs the reason why CDR blanks was 63 minutes in the beginning.
The DA60 U-matic tape was easy to get but the DA72 was in short supply.
U-matic tape was what was used to carry the edited CD master to the
replicator, nothing else existed then.
Furthermore the first two minutes on the U-matic, was to contain
timecode only, but music to start at around 2:00 to avoid tape defects
in the beginning of the U-matic.
Also the PQ burst containing the track info was recorded on the U-matic
analog tape track during the inital 2 minute time code only silence.
It was also the recommendation to have at least 2-3 minutes clear of
music, timecode only, at the end of the U-matic.
So we are down to at most 67-68 minutes if you dared it back then.
Why we see the maximum playing time today being at 79:57 is when all
the laser cutting variables are pushed to maximize the playing time
while strictly adhering to the RedBook standard."
In the early days, 60 minutes or less was recommended and common. Reliable U-Matic stock running
longer than 60 minutes was rare. As far as I know NO OTHER MEDIA COULD BE USED TO MASTER CDs until
DATs came along. Magneto-optical media came after DATs and CDs were not being mastered from hard
drives or CD-ROM media until the late 1990s (it may have been a few years earlier but it certainly
wasn't in the early 1990s).
The Karajan Beethoven 9 myth should be nailed into a coffin after a stake is driven through its
heart and then it should be cremated and its ashes blown into space! I'm only half exaggerating!
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "DAVID BURNHAM" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 6:15 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] CD time limit - Beethoven
>I don't know to what myth Tom is referring but from day one of the CD's existance commercially it
>should have been able to contain a performance of the B9. I have heard since the beginning of the
>CD era, (and perhaps this is the "myth"), that the CD's design criteria was that it should be able
>to contain the B9 on a single disc - specifically the Karajan performance. Unless it is an
>incredibly slow performance, the B9 lasts around 65 minutes with all the repeats. I don't know if
>CD's CAN hold more now than they could in the beginning but they certainly DO. Now you can easily
>fit an overture along with the 9th.
> On Wednesday, September 10, 2014 4:55 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>And a myth that won't die on this list of people allegedly concerned with historical accuracy!
>>Thanks, Goran, for repeated links to the true story.
>>-- Tom Fine
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
>>To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 3:41 PM
>>Subject: [ARSCLIST] CD time limit - Beethoven
>>> [log in to unmask]:
>>>> Nevertheless, the B9 just fits onto a 4 3/4 disc at 44/16?, does it
>>> Maybe so.
>>> But that was not possible when the CD was launched in 1983:
>>> It is clearly a marketing myth.
>>> Best regards,
>>> Goran Finnberg
>>> The Mastering Room AB
>>> E-mail: [log in to unmask]
>>> Learn from the mistakes of others, you can never live long enough to
>>> make them all yourself. - John Luther
>>> (")_(") Smurfen:RIP