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ARSCLIST  April 2015

ARSCLIST April 2015

Subject:

Re: "Best of both worlds" disk preamplifier

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 10 Apr 2015 12:30:14 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (105 lines)

The KAB with the high-impedence line input option would do the job. The only other feature one might
like in a professional transfer setting is balanced line inputs and outputs, but I'd venture to say
you'd be just fine using Henry Matchboxes if this was needed. The only other thing is, the KAB
offers pre-set combinations of turnover and rolloff. I'd prefer an option for each, but you can see
where the cost runs through the roof when it gets too fancy.

I can't tell if the Mac Daddy of old grooved media preamps:
http://www.mil-media.com/LOC_r.html
has a flat output before the EQ options. I don't know their exact design, so have no idea if this
would be hard to add as a feature.

The more I think about this from an archival perspective, the more I agree with Paul that a flat
transfer should be made one way or another. The reason is that it may be very beneficial for an
archive. We've discussed all the problems with commercial copyright holders' vaults. What if an
archive is given the best surviving example of a record with commercial value? If they've made a
high-quality analog transfer, they can lease the digital file to a reissuer, keeping the rare record
safe in their own vault but allowing the audio to be used in its best form. The reissuer may prefer
to EQ the record to a particular curve, or to their own mastering aesthetic and taste. They can do
this with a flat transfer, either in the digital realm or the analog realm. Also, what if a student
of a particular instrument wants to use audio examples in a research project or thesis? They could
access a digital file, with no harm done to the rare/fragile media, and EQ to accentuate the musical
points they are making. This is especially useful for older 78 recordings, because the fidelity is
low and it may be useful to band-pass only the frequencies of the instrument in question. The key to
providing this kind of flexibility is to be able to do both a flat and equalized transfer at the
same time in an efficient workflow, in my opinion. Another example would be a very rare disk that a
collector may allow to be transferred, but only one playback is permitted. Do both and you're not
hamstrung by any inadequacies or controversies surrounding digital EQ.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message -----
From: "Pete Tinker" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2015 11:05 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] "Best of both worlds" disk preamplifier


> That sounds great, Tom! When will you have your prototype ready for review?
>
> On 4/10/2015 5:00 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> I don't disagree in theory with Paul's idea about a flat transfer. What I'd like to see built and
>> marketed is a disk preamplifier that does the initial impedence and capacitance match with the
>> cartridge and the first stage of amplification, then offers bridged output off that stage, goes
>> on to do a passive EQ with all the turnover and rolloff options, and then an output stage. So, a
>> person could play a disk once (efficient workflow), make a flat transfer to a separate digital
>> file, and do the EQ to the best of their expertise and taste -- so there is immediately a
>> usable/listenable copy for researchers, library clients, online, reissue or whatever. The idea of
>> making two passes doesn't fit budget-constrained workflows, and many of us are not at all sold on
>> digital EQ (which also takes extra time and extra steps after playback, again inefficient). The
>> device I describe offers the best of both worlds -- you get that flat transfer to archive and do
>> whatever in the digital domain at some later time, but you end up with a listenable/usable sound
>> file at the same time.
>>
>> It seems like such a preamp would not be a hard thing to design and build. If one hates passive
>> EQ, that's fine too, you could have an active EQ stage or stages with self-contained feedback
>> loops like an equalizer module on a 1970s recording console (they were gain-neutral and
>> self-contained).
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Paul Stamler" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2015 8:04 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Disasters at Commercial Archives
>>
>>
>>> On 4/9/2015 2:12 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>>>> TOTALLY AGREE WITH CLARK! And yes, I'm "shouting!" Find the best
>>>> possible source of the media you want to transfer. CLEAN IT with
>>>> knowledge and care. Play it with the right stylus, at the right speed
>>>> and with the right EQ curve (and often "right" is what sounds best
>>>> because there is very little concrete documentation of recording curves
>>>> especially in foreign markets and especially in non-studio recordings).
>>>> Transfer it at high resolution, then be conservative and tasteful with
>>>> your digital restoration tools. This all sounds logical and common sense
>>>> based. But listen to most of the CDs reissuing 78s and you hear that few
>>>> people follow these steps, few people have good taste with using
>>>> "restoration tools," and many people seem to think consumers either
>>>> can't hear garbage work or don't care because they expect terrible sound
>>>> from 78s.
>>>
>>> Or they think the public hates hiss and scratches so much that they're willing to put up with
>>> mangled music.
>>>
>>> A hearty amen to all the sentiments Clark & Tom expressed, except that I'd make a flat transfer
>>> and archive that.
>>>
>>> Peace,
>>> Paul
>>>
>>> ---
>>> This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
>>> http://www.avast.com
>>>
>>>
>>
>
> --
> *Pete Tinker*
> West Hills, CA 91307
> 818-three/four/six-5213
> 818-six/nine/four-5213 /(cell)/
>
>

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