The differences are 20 to 30 cents at A=440. That's more than somewhat.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Howard Sanner
Sent: Friday, April 12, 2019 10:48 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] LP playing speeds - corrected
Quoting ARSCLIST automatic digest system <[log in to unmask]>:
> On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 10:11:33 AM CDT, Steven Smolian
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I've found about 50% of the mono LPs I've been dubbing are off-pitch, mostly
> sharp, or so my Korg tuner informs me. Both the Menotti Sebastian with
> Stokowski and his Violin Concerto with Spivakovsky and Munch are sharp maybe
> 15-20 cents.
Despite what virtually all claim to the contrary, many (I'm tempted to
say most) orchestras tune higher than A = 440 Hz. (A professional
musician friend of my quips that there's a reason it's called tuning
*up*.) The Boston Symphony is famous for tuning to A = 444 (or is it
445?); the Vienna Philharmonic also tunes well above A = 440. I'm sure
there are plenty of other examples. In addition, pitch drifts over
time, usually higher, but a good professional group will still play in
tune with itself.
So what you say doesn't surprise me, and, frankly, if it were me, I
wouldn't sweat it.
> This is not tape drift- a problem encountered on old tape masters- the Ampex
> 350 was prone to this problem- when splicing together the end of one eel
> with a segment from the beginning of another or if done on two recorders
> should they have been running at slightly different speeds..
And setting the speed on the Ampex Model 300, which is done by
adjusting the "dig" of the capstan idler into a flywheel, is even
dicier, particularly since most people don't RTFM about how to do it
(hint: it isn't the intuitive way) and if adjusted intuitively they
don't hold speed adjustment particularly well. (The Model 300 does
hold the speed adjustment well if it's done using the procedure in the
manual.) The Ampex Model 300 was used for at least most of the RCA
Living Stereo recordings and I believe absolutely all of the Mercury
Living Presence stereo recordings that were issued and that were not
recorded on magnetic film.