There are two track stereo Westminster reels.I sold one on eBay a while back.It was Scherchen,of course.I can't recall what it was,it may have been "Messiah". It went for about $140.00.I was pretty surprised.


Rod Stephens <[log in to unmask]> wrote: Tom Fine wrote:

> Hi Jack:
> Just to clarify the history here, when you say "2-track (non-stereo)" 
> do you mean half-track (2-sided mono) or do you mean one-direction 
> mono? And, if you mean one-direction mono, are you sure they are not 
> full-track? It should clarify this on the tape boxes, although the 
> nomenclature used early on varied between companies.

I have three Sonotape recordings on 7" reels which are from the 
Westminster catalog.   They are each labeled on the back of the box,
Recording:   Half Track--(Upper)
Speed:         7 1/2 inches per second
Track 1:       Forward
Track 2:       Reverse

> I forgot to mention one thing in my post before -- some of these old 
> tapes can be real gems and the best available source. Here's a 
> for-instance. Apparently, the master tapes for most or all of the 
> Everest Woody Herman albums are lost. The CD reissues are all 
> obviously (and poorly) made from LPs (clearly audible groove 
> distortion, sloppy and overbearing tick and pop removal, digital 
> artifacts galore from over-agressive noise-reduction). I was able to 
> borrow the quarter-track, not even the 2-track but the early 
> quarter-track duped reels and it was like night and day. Especially in 
> the case of the Woody Herman and Tito Puente session, the reels were 
> dynamic and rarely distorted while the CD reissue made from LPs was 
> awful. There was an earlier European or Asian CD of this same material 
> that sounds like it was made from a cleaner LP and is not aggressively 
> digi-tooled to where there are annoying artifacts but it's still not 
> as good as the reel. From what I've been able to gather, most of the 
> Everest pop and jazz master tapes are either lost or badly damaged, so 
> one hopes there are a few more of these quarter-track, or better 
> 2-track, reels floating around. Especially in the case of the earlier 
> dupers (half-tracks, 2-tracks and very early quarter-tracks), the 
> quality is usually very good aside from hissy tape. By the early 60's, 
> duping speeds were faster and quality is not as good. By the time you 
> got to the release product being 3.75IPS and duping speeds were up to 
> 16x, the quality was awful. Aside from saving tape, duping to 3.75IPS 
> allowed standard duping speeds in factories that by then were mainly 
> doing 8-tracks, although a place with a decent on-going quarter-track 
> business would have a separate duping line for that.
> There are several good articles covering the evolution of tape duping 
> in the archives of the AES Journal. Anyone interested can search and 
> buy articles at the AES website. Ampex published articles about the 
> first 3200 system in the mid-50's, their higher-speed system for 
> multiple formats in teh early 60's and their solid-state bin-loop 
> system in the late 60's. I believe at least one of the makers of 
> cassette duping equipment published at least one article, too.
> Tape duping must have been at least marginally profitable because 
> people stayed in it all through reels, 8-tracks and cassettes. There 
> was one brief moment, at the end of the LP era as CD's were just 
> catching on, maybe 2 years in the early 80's, when cassettes outsold 
> LPs. This was after the Walkman caught on big-time and before CD's 
> were mainstream (when players still cost a grand and didn't sound so 
> great). CD's then caught on and the cassette began submerging. I'm not 
> sure there are any large-scale cassette duping for commercial music 
> operations left. There are some operations taylored to smaller jobs 
> who will do, for instance, 100 copies of a set of medical conference 
> recordings or 1000 cassette box sets for Radio Spirits. I believe 
> cassette duping for music is still a viable business in Asia but I 
> might be wrong about that.
> -- Tom Fine
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jack Palmer" 
> To: 
> Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2007 8:16 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] commerical reels history (was Boston Pops 
> question)
>>    I checked about a hundred of my tapes and I am not sure any of the 
>> 2 track (non stereo) were from 1952.  I have several 2 track 
>> non-stereo tapes, 7 1/2 speed that were issued by Ampex for London.  
>> No date on the box or tape reel, so I can't be certain of the date.  
>> None of the early 2 tracks I bought were stereo though.  I thought 
>> the high-fidelity was great and worth the money. Thanks for making me 
>> look.  I found three Gilbert and Sullivan operettas on reels that I 
>> didn't even remember owning.  Jack
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Tom Fine" 
>> To: 
>> Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2007 7:10 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] commerical reels history (was Boston Pops 
>> question)
>>> I'd be interested to know what's on them and who released them. I do 
>>> not believe you'll find that they are in fact 2T stereo. They are 
>>> likely half-track (2-sided) mono. If they are stereo, it would be 
>>> very interesting to know who put them out as in 1952 only a few 
>>> people were experimenting with 2-channel stereo recording of music. 
>>> No major labels yet, although I believe RCA started making 2T 
>>> masters in 1954 or even 1953 -- I think Zarathustra with Reiner was 
>>> the first 2T session.
>>> -- Tom Fine
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jack Palmer" 
>>> To: 
>>> Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2007 12:29 AM
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] commerical reels history (was Boston Pops 
>>> question)
>>>>    I bought my first 2 track tapes for my reel recorder/player in 
>>>> the Base Exchange in Sidi-Slimane, Morocco in 1952.  I still have a 
>>>> couple of them in fact.   Jack
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Tom Fine" 
>>>> To: 
>>>> Sent: Saturday, April 07, 2007 9:40 AM
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] commerical reels history (was Boston Pops 
>>>> question)
>>>>> Ampex developed their own, was developed by Leon Wortman in NY and 
>>>>> detailed in a 1951 Radio & TV News article. Wortman's line made 
>>>>> full-track or half-track tapes. Commercial half-track tapes were 
>>>>> available as early as 1951 or 1952, but there was only a very 
>>>>> small consumer market for reel to reel machines at that point. > 
>>>>> Because this was a new format sold at a premium price, a lot of QC 
>>>>> attention was paid by the reputable companies in this era, so the 
>>>>> net quality is very high. Akin to what happened when stereo LPs 
>>>>> came along.
>>>> .

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