Considering all of the 1958-59 Mercury stereo records I've seen,popular and classical,there were a lot of those well-heeled audiophiles out there.I've often why the records,and tapes,turn up so much,but rarely,if ever do you see any of that early stereo audiophile equipment turning up withit.


From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, August 5, 2011 5:23 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] David Carroll "Let's Dance"

Following up on a previous thread here ...

This album was definitely an early stereophonic pop-album recording, but it was not made in the early 50's. Ruppli lists one song, "A Gliss To Remember" (unless I'm remembering incorrectly) as recorded in 1956. The studio setup described would match a 1956-era stereo session with mono-compatibility built in via the mic techniques. Basically, the instruments were close-mic'd and somewhat isolated and then stereo "bridge" mics were hung above the ensemble to use room-tone and leakage to make a stereo field. There's still a somewhat weak center, but this worked well when done in a nice room like Universal Studios in Chicago and engineered by an expert like Bill Putnam.

Ruppli also lists other songs recorded in 1957.  The original 2-track reel has a different song sequence but the same songs as listed on the LP:

The later quarter-track reel has the same sequence as the LP.

On LP, this was first released in mono, MG20281, may have had the same sequence as the early 2-track reel (I don't have a copy of MG20281 but the website refers to a slightly different sequence on the mono LP.

As noted on the page linked above, the original stereo LP was mastered at Fine Recording (the FR- tag in the deadwax) and pressed by RCA Indianapolis (the I in the deadwax). Mercury did this with most or all of their earliest pop and jazz titles, probably through 1959. These records were premium-priced and only an elite band of audiophiles had the newfangled stereo cartridges and two-channel playback systems, so Mercury wanted to offer an excellent-quality product, including premium pressings on RCA's quiet vinyl. Mercury Living Presence had used RCA for years, and continued to do so until Philips eliminated the practice in 1963.

Sorry to post this late. I didn't have time to look into it deeply when the original thread was active. Today I dug out Ruppli and my stereo LP, 2-track reel and quarter-track reel to gather facts. I played the 2-track and it still sounded very good. Bill Putnam was a master engineer for these sorts of albums.

-- Tom Fine