I just read most of the information in your attachments, Tom; I would love to hear the Reginald Foort Organ record that is shown. I did not quite understand how Cook's twin groove records provide superior mono compatibility because if you play either groove you'll only get one channel, and if you use a Cook stereo arm to play both channels and mix them to mono, the best you'll get is as good as a single 45/45 groove but most likely a microscopic misallignment of the arms will cause a phase shift. The author does say, (I don't know if this is modern writing or historic), that binaural cannot be properly listened to using speakers because of both channels getting to both ears - exactly what we were discussing.
I'm not sure but I don't believe earphones were ever used to listen to music before the introduction of Stereo. Mono sounds very poor on headphones - the source of sound is in the middle of your head. So the message I get from this is that in the earliest days of "Stereo" recording the intent was that it should be listened to on earphones.
On Thursday, September 4, 2014 5:14:48 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>I am pretty sure (based on photos and somewhat sketchy descriptions in magazine articles) that
>Cook's early stereo recordings were made with 2 widely spaced mics onto a Magnecorder staggered-head
>2-track. He is always shown monitoring with headphones. To me, this is clearly "binaural" recording
>methodology, which will only sound good through headphones. On speakers, there will be a very weak
>center, unless the speakers are spaced at headphone distance (ie right next to each other).
>Now, I don't know whether Cook changed his setup or method when he came up with the dual-channel
>cutting and playback systems.
>Here is a bunch of material on Emory Cook that I gave to Chris Sanchez to write up in his
>Preservation Sound blog:
>-- Tom Fine
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Michael Biel" <[log in to unmask]>
>To: <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2014 4:19 PM
>Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Accidental stereo (again)
>> On 04/09/2014, Tom Fine wrote:
>>> I think, in the early stereo days, only Emory Cook consistently
>>> recorded true "binaural" tapes, in other words those designed to be
>>> listened to through headphones only.
>> Are you sure of that. My experience is exactly the opposite. Cook
>> produced exactly one CD. It was a demonstration of a re-processing
>> technique, and you had to sign an agreement not to copy it in order to
>> get it. the first track is a female blues singer. For about 30 seconds
>> the small combo is heard on the right track in mono with nothing on the
>> left channel until she starts to sing. It is like those Elvis and
>> Beatles tapes meant for mix-down, but this is what Cook chose to start
>> his demo CD.
>> Because his dual groove system used a radial playback arm, he knew there
>> would be phase shift problems. Plus the two bands were cut with
>> different EQ curves. Thus it was vital that there be as little "center"
>> channel as possible, that there be nothing that was strongly heard in
>> both channels. I've got about 20 discs but no arm for them. When he
>> did come out with single-groove stereo LPs the separation was extreme.
>> Remember, this is the guy who did the atmospherics albums with two radio
>> receivers hundreds of miles apart. When he recorded the folk groups he
>> stuck two mikes down in front of two different parts of the group. I
>> don't think he separated them into two rooms like RCA did that time when
>> they split a group into two studios a city block apart, but listening to
>> these with headphones leaves a hole in the middle where your head used
>> to be. Maybe some of his classical recordings used mikes close
>> together, but that was a minority of his catalog.
>> Mike Biel [log in to unmask]