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In the 1990's when the CD's were being done, some tapes had some problems
but it was not with oxide flaking, it was with old splices. Some intense
cleaning and repair was needed in a couple of cases. But most of the old
tapes played fine. Unlike almost any other reissues, full details were given
in the booklets as to what source material was used for the CD's. You can
clearly tell from that info which tapes were missing and which were present.
If I recall, 95+% were made from original session 3-track tapes; in a couple
of cases the B reels (only called "B" because they were on the second tape
machine, which was equally good-sounding and properly-adjusted; these reels
were meant to be stored, unedited, in case the edited master was lost or
damaged) were edited together into a new master (all of the editing notes
survived). In several cases, the 35mm audiofilm was lost but the 3-track
tape also recorded at the session was intact and used for the CD. I'm not
sure that article gave proper info because AudioTape brown-oxide tape does
not historically shed oxide. Perhaps if someone did something like bake it
or expose it to high temps it would become brittle enough, but it does not
have that tendancy. The 35mm audiofilms are a different story. They tend to
shrink and warp over time. The Hollywood studios have a way to fix this, but
I'm not sure Universal has had the budget or willingness to have it done. In
the 1990's reissues, none of the films that were still around were in such
bad shape that they could not play back on the Westrex film machine. The
Westrex has small sprocket pins and small-diameter sprocket drive wheels, so
it is very gentle on somewhat shrunken film. As long as the sprockets can
drive the film, then the isoloop around the heads works fine and the speed
is perfect. As I said, the biggest complaint I heard about the 1990's
reissues was the condition of some splices, particularly in master reels
with more splices than others. Freon was used to clean the ooze around the
splices and I know of only one case where a digi-fix was required because of
lost oxide (at the end of a reel). The 1990's CD's sound great (in my humble
opinion) because they were remastered in the same direct manner they were
recorded -- a simple 3-2 mixing console (a converted Westrex portable
mixer), playback on the original equipment (Ampex 300-3 reel deck, Westrex
film deck), right into a good A-D converter and right to the master tape
(the Sony 1630 system). As little digi-fiddling as possible.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "phillip holmes" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2005 11:17 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] sorry--Emil Berliner Haus


> Again, sorry to make a fool of myself--just woke up and still had cobwebs.
> But I had a similar outburst when I ran into Stan Ricker on the internet,
> who credits George Piros with much of what he knows about mastering.  But
> getting back on a real topic (and to not get kicked off the list), in the
> last issue of HiFi+, Richard S Foster went to visit Emil Berliner Haus
where
> the Mercury Living Presence tapes are being transferred to SACD.  They're
> using the first generation 3 tracks (and a few 2 tracks) and time hasn't
> been kind.  The guy's having all kinds of problems tracking down all the
> tapes (how many times have they been moved?) and the oxide is flaking off
at
> an alarming rate (and stretch too).  I can say that the SACDs sound really
> good and that I can't hear too many drop outs.
> Phillip
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Tom Fine" <tflists@BEVERAGE-
>
> > Guys, really, please. I'm just an editor of an industry newsletter with
a
> > studio on the side (gotta pay the mortgage, hence the day job!). My
> > parents
> > were the real deal with this. I just hope I don't ask dumb enough
> > questions
> > or post wrong enough opinions to taint the name! BTW, this list is chock
> > full of great knowledge. I've learned something every day I've lurked or
> > posted here. Thanks!
> >