My friend and mentor Art Shifrin has demonstrated very convincingly how awful retail 78's sound 
compared to metal parts and even "maker's mark choice compound" reference copies/test pressings. The 
shellac compounds were usually terrible, and most used ones you buy today were played to death with 
a rusty nail several decades ago. Definitely true that some companies' retail products had worse 
compounds than others and the compounds improved and devolved over time and based on economics/raw 
materials shortages.

With LPs, Bob O. pointed out that DJ pressings were usually good. Bob, do you think the same "for 
demonstration only" pressings sent to DJ's were also what was sold at a discount to NARAS members?

Here's a great film that RCA made showing their dearly departed Camden plant making shellac 78's, 
circa 1942:

And speaking of RCA, here's their take on Living Stereo:

This one is a more extended movie about stereo, just before stereo LP's came out, showing briefly an 
RCA recording session in Boston:

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Shoshani" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2007 5:33 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] LP pressing question

> Bob Olhsson wrote:
>> My experience has been that the very best pressings were the major label DJ
>> copies. These were often better than test pressings due to an even higher
>> grade of vinyl. The first manufacturing run was generally comparable to the
>> test pressing however reorder runs were frequently done as quickly and
>> cheaply as possible.
> From the 78 RPM era, I've had record store demonstration copies from Victor, Columbia, and Decca, 
> that were pressed on really nice vinyl as opposed to ordinary shellac (or, in Decca's case, 
> asphalt with sand). I have no idea what sort of equipment dealers used to play these, but it would 
> seem to me that the thinking was that dealers needed really good copies to "show off" the record 
> being sold.
> Michael Shoshani
> Chicago