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Regarding Khachaturian Violin Concerto -- never heard the echo story. Might
be a flawed 50-year-old memory, might be true. In any case, that record sold
MANY copies and helped launch Mercury into the classical business.

Just FYI regarding reverb in general in those days -- using stairwells and
bathrooms as live chambers was a common practice up through the 60's and
beyond, although bigger/better-funded studios would usually build dedicated
echo chambers (see the now-oft-cited article about the Capitol Tower's
chambers). There are numerous studio stories about this (I think it was Bill
Putnam's first studio in Chicago that used a bathroom and they once forgot
to put a keep-out sign on the door and someone flushed during a live take).
Not to say the Khachaturian story is true or false -- I do not know the
answer.

Single-mic recording of an orchestra was tried by various people going back
to the dawn of electronic recording. At least a few NBC Symphony broadcasts
were done with a single RCA 44 mic above the orchestra (there are pictures
and this was confirmed to me by former NBC violinist David Sarser). Given
the limited budgets in Europe between the world wars and immediately after
WWII, I would not be surprised if clever engineers were making the most of
what little equipment they had.

-- Tom Fine


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Lennick" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2005 10:47 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] History help needed


> Majestic had Louis Prima, Eddy Howard, Rose Murphy, Ray McKinley's
Orchestra,
> Alfred Newman (presume his recordings were all made in
Hollywood..incidentally,
> I recently acquired the "Captain from Castile" set on Majestic DJ vinyls
and I
> can finally hear why this was considered usable for demonstrating sound
> systems). Most Majestic 78s sound horrible until the final period,
although the
> 33RPM lacquers must have been good because reissues managed to bring out
the
> real sound, even on those masters that went to Eli Oberstein and
reappeared on
> Varsity.
>
> One of the first examples of what we came to know as "Living Presence" has
to
> be Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks Concerto on Keynote/Mercury..there's even a
> description of the mike setup in the 78 album, bearing a remarkable
similarity
> to that used on Mercury LPs a couple of years later. Incidentally, Mitch
Miller
> told me in an interview that when Mercury acquired the rights to David
> Oistrakh's recording of the Khachaturian Violin Concerto, they had gold
metals
> to work from, and "the engineers" added reverb by running a speaker and
mike
> into the washroom. Bob Fine involved in that one?
>
> dl
>
> Tom Fine wrote:
>
> > Thanks David.
> >
> > Hammond's book is mostly true. My father left Reeves' employ as chief
> > engineer in 1951 to start Fine Sound but continued to do some sessions
at
> > Reeves because Fine Sound was first located in an out-building on his
> > property in Stony Point NY and was basically a mastering and
> > remote-recording facility. He would do sessions in NYC (at Reeves,
Fulton
> > and others) and then edit tapes and master discs at Stony Point for both
78
> > and LP (33.3 and 45RPM versions).
> >
> > By the way, speaking of Majestic, who were their main artists? I know
very
> > little about them.
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "david diehl" <[log in to unmask]>
> > To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2005 11:54 AM
> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] History help needed
> >
> > > >>> [log in to unmask] 10/26/2005 7:11:45 AM >>>
> > > Hi All:
> > >
> > > I'm hoping there are some experts here on ye olde days of radio. I'm
> > > trying
> > > to definitively gather the history of the studio spaces at 711 5th
> > > Avenue,
> > > NY, which were eventually home to my father's first studio, Fine
> > > Sound.
> > > Here's what I know, but as you'll see, there are blanks in the
> > > timeline.
> > >
> > > 1. the studios were probably (likely) constructed by National
> > > Broadcasting
> > > Co. as their first network studios, circa late 20's. I'm not sure
> > > exactly
> > > when they opened for business, but it appears NBC was launched in
> > > 1926.
> > >
> > > 2. NBC occupied the studios until 30 Rockefeller Center opened -- in
> > > 1934?
> > > Not sure of exact date NBC radio studios moved to Rock Center because
> > > there
> > > is conflicting info (surprise). Perhaps someone has an authoratative
> > > history
> > > of NBC?
> > >
> > > 3. World Broadcasting Co. occupied the studios before, during and
> > > after
> > > WWII. I'm not sure if they were directly after NBC or if there was an
> > > interim occupant. Retired Columbia engineer Frank Laico told me he
> > > worked
> > > for World Broadcasting both before and after his WWII service, in that
> > > space.
> > >
> > > Hello Tom,
> > > See: NBC studios move into new quarters. Newsweek 2:32 Nov. 18,  1933.
> > > World was certainly recording by the end of November- but where?
> > >
> > > John Hammond on Record (pbk. p. 281):
> > > "By this time Majestic was in receivership, but its new  studios on
> > > East 40th St., under the supervision of an  excellent new engineer,
Bob
> > > Fine, were available to outsiders. Mercury became Majestic's principal
> > > customer,  bringing about a vast improvement in the quality of its
> > > records. In 1948 Majestic finally went out of business, and  Bob Fine
> > > moved to the Reeves Sound Studios, on East 44th  Street, the most
modern
> > > ones in the city. Mercury continued  with him at Reeves until 1952..."
> > >
> > > Hope this helps
> > >
> > >
> > > David J. Diehl
> > > Library Director
> > > Texas State Technical College