If you compare the various CD issues of the Original Cast Recording of South Pacific, all but one used the lacquers. That alternative one was the first CD issue which used a magnetic tape recording made concurrently with the lacquers.
That first CD is clearly superior sonically to all the other subsequent lacquer based reissues. Of course, I have no idea what condition those lacquers where in when they were transferred, and what sonic restoration attempts (if any) were used to revitalize them.
> On Sep 20, 2015, at 8:04 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 1. in the very early days of commercial tape recording in the US, the electronic distortion going into a tape head and going into a disk cutterhead were about the same. We don't have any brand-new-like tapes from that era to playback now and really test about the magnetic media being a lower-distortion carrier than the etched groove. In the case of working with used/vault-stored music masters from the late 1940's and early 1950's, it's entirely possible that an unscratched and well-preserved laquer disk, direct-cut from the same source as a tape from that era, will today sound better than the tape. The paper-backed and acetate-backed tapes have well-known physical life-span issues, and many were not stored optimally over the years. Furthermore, magnetic tape is susceptible to damage from magnetic fields, and lacquer disks are not. Net-net, 60-70 years down the line, it's possible and in fact likely that a disk source made from the same recording buss as a tape source in that time era might sound better with proper playback. But, at the time, when the tape was fresh, I submit that the playback equipment of the day would greatly favor the tape.
> 2. no matter how you cut it, disk recording and playback is compromised by the fact that it's a mechanical system very much observant f the laws of physics. Lacquer disks are known to have "memory," where the groove closes back slightly within the first short time period after cutting. A disk played back for listening in 1945 sustained damaged right then and there, irreparable damage, due to the heavy and non-compliant playback systems of the time, they essentially re-etched parts of the groove. There are ways to somewhat mitigate this, tracking in other parts of the groove with a compliant modern stylus for instance.