As far as I know, the frequency response of an analog tape machine depends in large part upon the head design; ideally, it seems, an analog system has a range of 10 octaves, a situation where the high frequency limit is 1,000 times the low frequency limit so those old English machines may have had a range of 18 - 18,000 Hz while more modern machines have a range from 35 - 35,000 Hz. I have never seen a machine spec that exceeds 10 octaves. I have many recordings done in England in the late '50s and earlier and on the original LP issues there was substantial information in the 32 foot range, (16 - 32 Hz), but on the CD reissues those frequencies are completely lacking. This is obviously most apparent on recordings involving organ, examples: Sargent's first stereo "Messiah", Boult's recording of Holst's "Choral Symphony", as well as his recording of Elgar's "Dream of Gerontius", Fruebeck de Bourgous' "Elijah", and Mozart's "Requiem". Those are all EMI recordings; on Decca you have many recordings from St. John's and King's College which suffer the same loss. It's frustrating because the digital formats suffer no low frequency restrictions whatsoever.
Disclaimer: I have never seen the machines that were used in England in the late '50s so I'm only speculating on what may have caused Bass loss on the CD reissues.
On Tuesday, February 9, 2016 4:12 PM, JAMES HOWARTH <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
The same model is inessential. Accurate is accurate, and that has improved. Thanks, Richard for the kind words on the MLP/Dupré- those are the Plangent electronics and they make no attempt to be vintage or classic. Nothing rad about the design, other than doing a lot of things right the way we can today.
The reason the old CD issues of the EMI and Decca recordings sound odd is the choices of the producers, not the Studer. Donahue gets sick results out of an A80/Aria combo, because he’s good. Wish we could upsell him to a more contemporary package, but it’s still gonna sound like Mark, faithful to the original.
> On Feb 9, 2016, at 3:33 PM, Dave Burnham <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi Richard
> Be aware of what I said - that I don't understand the virtue of playing back the tape on the same MACHINE, not the same model. I agree that any tape should be played back on a machine with the a head and electronics with the same characteristics as the original recorder, though not necessarily the same transport; modern transports are smoother than those used 50 or 60 years ago. I believe the reason CD issues of EMI and Decca recordings from the 50s and 60s are so bad is that they're using modern Studer machines to play back the old tapes instead of the models on which they were recorded. Those old machines likely ideally had a frequency response of 18 to 18,000 Hz, while the Studers are flat ideally from 30 to 30,000 Hz. You're losing almost an octave of very audible material in the bass to gain an octave of largely inaudible material in the highs if there's anything there at all.
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Feb 9, 2016, at 2:30 PM, "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I recall this topic being discussed with gusto at the end of the last century, and I think the idea should remain there.
>> The reissue of the Mercury Living Presence Marcel Dupré recordings in a new box set is an example, when compared with the early 1990s CD releases, of how modern equipment (both analog and digital) can capture more from the same tapes. The 1990s CDs were very good, overall good or better than the original LPs. The current hi-def files are superb.
>> The same could be said for the RCA Living Stereo CDs and SACDs (I have not experienced the latter) done by Soundmirror/Mark Donahue.
>> I was able to demonstrate that with the Stan Rogers album masters that I made high-res copies of.
>>> On 2/9/2016 1:25 PM, Dave Burnham wrote:
>>> I don't understand the virtue of playing the tape back on the same machine it was recorded on; any professional machine has separate record and pb electronics and heads so essentially they are two different machines anyway, except for the transports.
>>> Sent from my iPhone
>> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.