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ARSCLIST  September 2015

ARSCLIST September 2015

Subject:

Re: a piece of Minneapolis Symphony and Mercury Records history

From:

John Haley <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 29 Sep 2015 12:31:41 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (218 lines)

This discussion about prior AM sound quality explains why a number of
preserved live recordings from the 1940's sound as good as they do, way
better than we would expect from an AM broadcast today.   But at least in
the NY area, FM goes way back there too.

Best,
John Haley

On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 11:41 AM, Dave Burnham <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Yes but the comment was about Symphonic broadcasts "back in the day",
> before FM was popular and there were no automatic dynamic controls of the
> quality there are today.
>
> db
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> > On Sep 29, 2015, at 12:05 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >
> > That was all a long time ago, Dennis!
> >
> > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Dennis Rooney" <
> [log in to unmask]>
> > To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 11:57 AM
> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] a piece of Minneapolis Symphony and Mercury
> Records history
> >
> >
> >> Yes, Tom, AM was quite different than it is today. WCCO is a
> clear-channel
> >> station licensed as such by the FCC.WNYC [AM] was its secondary and had
> to
> >> conclude broadcast at local sunset through the fifties.  WCCO did not
> have
> >> a directional array. Frequency response was wide in the thirties and
> >> forties, and the ground wave from its Anoka, MN transmitter ensured
> >> coverage throughout MN, NDAK, SDAK and WI. Classical music was a daily
> >> feature after 10:15PM until the late fifties until an "easy listening"
> >> format replaced it.
> >>
> >> DDR
> >>
> >>> On Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 9:37 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> AM must have been something very different back then. I can't imagine
> ANY
> >>> music, much less symphonic music over the typical AM radio station
> today.
> >>> My cellphone has better fidelity than the nearly non-understandable
> palaver
> >>> broadcast by the talk-radio stations in NYC these days. WCBS,
> Newsradio 88
> >>> is often so crunched and distorted, and confined to about 1000 hz of
> >>> frequency bandwidth, that I can't understand it in my car unless I am
> >>> parked on a quiet street and listen very carefully. I've transferred
> oral
> >>> history tapes made by a recorder placed across an echo-y kitchen that
> sound
> >>> clearer. Their webcast signal is actually slightly more audible than
> what
> >>> goes over-air, but notice how everything is distorted and
> super-compressed,
> >>> and full of digital artifacts, yuk!.
> >>> http://player.radio.com/listen/station/wcbs-newsradio-880
> >>>
> >>> -- Tom Fine
> >>>
> >>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Mark Durenberger" <
> >>> [log in to unmask]>
> >>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> >>> Sent: Monday, September 28, 2015 9:28 PM
> >>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] a piece of Minneapolis Symphony and Mercury
> >>> Records history
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> WCCO was an AM station, so, single-mike mono.  I recall a pretty nice
> >>>> fight when I asked Master Control to disable the CBS (tube-type)
> Audimax
> >>>> during the concert.  WCCO's 50 kilowatt big stick allowed for a good
> deal
> >>>> of quieting so we got away with it <g>.
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> Regards,
> >>>>
> >>>> Mark Durenberger
> >>>>
> >>>> -----Original Message----- From: Tom Fine
> >>>> Sent: Monday, September 28, 2015 4:47 PM
> >>>> To: [log in to unmask]
> >>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] a piece of Minneapolis Symphony and Mercury
> >>>> Records history
> >>>>
> >>>> Hi Mark:
> >>>>
> >>>> First of, kewl story about the broadcast audio. So you set up 1-mic
> mono
> >>>> pickup, or 3-mic stereo?
> >>>>
> >>>> Also, you are spot-on about Collins. I found a photo of the one
> Mercury
> >>>> recording session in
> >>>> Louisville in 1950. That mixer and those early Ampex 300 machines were
> >>>> used there, too. And there's
> >>>> a front view of the mixer, showing the Collins insignia. I think that
> >>>> mixer was used in the first
> >>>> iteration of the recording van, feeding the two Fairchild machines.
> The
> >>>> Fairchilds, by the way,
> >>>> theoretically would print less audible scrape-flutter because the tape
> >>>> path was a loop around the
> >>>> heads with rolling guides on each side of the loop (thus less length
> of
> >>>> "string" to vibrate between
> >>>> the roller and heads).
> >>>>
> >>>> -- Tom Fine
> >>>>
> >>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Mark Durenberger" <
> >>>> [log in to unmask]>
> >>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> >>>> Sent: Monday, September 28, 2015 3:53 PM
> >>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] a piece of Minneapolis Symphony and Mercury
> >>>> Records history
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> ...And now that I blow up that photo it seems those are the original
> >>>>> fader knobs; sorry...
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Regards,
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Mark Durenberger
> >>>>>
> >>>>> -----Original Message----- From: Mark Durenberger
> >>>>> Sent: Monday, September 28, 2015 2:50 PM
> >>>>> To: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> >>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] a piece of Minneapolis Symphony and Mercury
> >>>>> Records history
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Mixer is almost certainly a Collins.  But it has RCA fader knobs
> (known
> >>>>> for
> >>>>> better tactile feedback).
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Shortly after Tom's Dad established the miking for that room I was
> >>>>> fortunate
> >>>>> to do one of the first live MSO remote broadcasts for WCCO Radio,
> using
> >>>>> CRF's mike technique...and a mixer by RCA (OP-6/OP-7 series).
> >>>>>
> >>>>> It was a "thrill" getting up into the catwalk to hang that broadcast
> mike
> >>>>> (an Altec IIRC).
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Regards,
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Mark Durenberger
> >>>>>
> >>>>> -----Original Message----- From: Tom Fine
> >>>>> Sent: Monday, September 28, 2015 1:14 PM
> >>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
> >>>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] a piece of Minneapolis Symphony and Mercury
> Records
> >>>>> history
> >>>>>
> >>>>> A long-time MLP fan tipped me off to this photo being for sale on
> eBay. I
> >>>>> jumped right on it!
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/55748706/Minneapolis%20Tribute%20520120%20First%20MLP%20session.jpg
> >>>>>
> >>>>> 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
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >> 1006 Langer Way
> >> Delray Beach, FL 33483
> >> 212.874.9626
> >>
>

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