A long-time MLP fan tipped me off to this photo being for sale on eBay. I jumped right on it!
this is from the very first Mercury recording session in Minneapolis, January 19-20, 1952. Dorati
made his first recordings of Borodin's 2nd, Stravinsky's compete "Firebird", Berlioz "Roman
Carnival" and pieces by Ravel and Debussy. The tape machines shown are "portable" Ampex 300's (they
still weighed about 100lbs each, whether or not in portable cases). David Hall is using what I think
is a Gates portable mixer/mic preamp (it might be RCA or Collins). The recordings were made with a
single Neumann U-47, and the
Gates unit probably was used to provide a gain stage after the mic and to distribute the signal to
both tape recorders. David Hall is probably working with Dorati and the assistant conductor to
gather approved takes he can edit together. The next time Mercury visited Minneapolis, fall 1952, my
father had built his recording truck.
-- Tom Fine