I'd like to send sincere thanks for to Dennis Rooney for his talk and
demonstration of the Reiner Columbia recordings at ARSC NY,
&feature=youtu.be, and to Kim Peach for sharing it. The work Dennis and Seth
did twenty years ago is astonishing. It completely passed me by at the time.
Even via MP4, the results are incredible, so I can imagine what the
transfers must sound like. They certainly break down my stereo-centrism.
Fascinating too is Dennis' comment about the virtue of lacquer discs vs.
tape. I recall a late interview with Kenneth Wilkinson, who said the best
reproduction he'd ever heard was from disc, not from tape.
How much do we know about the microphone technique Columbia used at that
time? There is a photo of Stravinsky recording with Cleveland ca. 1952-55.
The only mic visible is a RCA 44, well back of the podium. I have to go back
and listen to those for evidence of other pickups, but the Reiners have
evidence of wind spotlighting. Is it likely that in the 1940s ribbon mics
would be the primary tools? My experience with ribbons for such use suggests
that their falling high frequency response must have been compensated, given
the strong and very clear high-end on those lacquers. Quite a feat to do
that and maintain low enough noise floor. I guess that would have been a
limiting factor for how many mics could be used, although at a time when
noise was referenced to shellac, a little hiss may not have bothered anyone.
TIA to anyone who can replace my speculations with facts.