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> John Ross wrote:
> > It ought to be pretty easy to tell the difference between 
> > "transcribed" programs that were made directly from the studio at KHJ 
> > (either live to the network or pre-recorded) and those that came back 
> > to KHJ through several thousand miles of AT&T network circuits 
> > equalized at 5 KC (this would have been before KHz were discovered). 

Not necessarily.  The main trunks of AT&T's broadcast line network were EQed out
to 10 K back in 1934 and to 15 K by the end of the 30s.  Once you got off the
main trunks you did soon hit 5 K lines, but the network line quality in the
mid-30s till the mid-50s was quite good.  Far better than the lines for TV
audio and post 1960 radio.  The AT&T Long Lines Division published a detailed
booklet on their new lines in 1934 called "Broadcasting Network Service."

> > The lack of a high end and the reduced dynamic range should be very 
> > obvious on the incoming network feeds.

On some good original discs the differences can be subtle.  Noise level and
dynamic range can sometimes be the main differences for recordings from cities
like Chicago and LA.

> Yes John,  it is quite easy to tell the difference.  The show has a 
> "thinner" sound than those that precede or follow it.  Still, most 
> listeners, I doubt, would notice the difference without the ability to 
> A/B it directly with another show.  However, if you listen to most of 
> the recordings of OTR by the various vendors of vintage radio, my 
> recording seems like HiFi in comparison.    Rod Stephens

That is partially because most OTR recordings in the trading circuit are
seventeeth generation.  There are some OTR fans that have openly discussed
their preference for lousy sounding recordings because this is how they
remember it on their cheap cathedral radio out in the hinterlands, not
realizing that the programs started off as hi-fi in the studios and over high
quality consoles in the major cities.  One of these OTR fans once defended
themselves by asking "wouldn't Jim Jordan be astonished at the hi-fi sounding
recordings of "Fibber McGee & Molly" rather than the low quality sound on the
radios as he would have remembered it.  I replied that Jordan would have
remembered the broadcasts as being in ultra high quality surround sound because
he was there in the studio surrounded by the rest of the cast.  The sound
effects (with his closet) was back over there, Molly was sitting at the table
at his right, the other cast members would have been in front of him across
from his right, the announcer was over on the other side of the stage, the band
was spread out behind him, and the audience spread out in front of him.  Most of
the high quality recordings of his show were recorded in Chicago and stored at
the Johnson's wax office in Wisc., so they prove the high quality of the
network lines because I've heard some of the discs directly.

Michael Biel   [log in to unmask]




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