Thanks for the comparison! Was hoping you would check it out. You may be
right either about the seating or acoustics, but it also seems that you're
hearing a better record. Did you also note more hiss than normal? On my
copy, it's loud. Knowing how fastidious Mercury was, I was ready to assume
it was how it came to them from Pye, exceptional as that my be. Might just
be a funky pressing. According to a sticker on the cover, somebody paid
$2.99 for it at Sam Goody.

Today, I read the essay by Harold Lawrence about tape editing, where he
talks about cutting the tapes Miss Cozart brought back from England during
his first months with Mercury in 1956. This record was probably one of the
first he worked on in his long tenure.

If I seem to always remark about the exceptions, it's because you can learn
a lot (or guess a lot) from them about the conditions under which these
companies did business. If all the product was perfect, you wouldn't have
that chance. One thing I've learned from experience is that every project is

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2012 12:59 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New-ish EMI set

One followup on this. The liner notes specifically discuss a "Schubert"
orchestra -- greatly 
augmented with percussion and also including a harp. My bet is that the harp
had to be placed in 
front of the strings to carry through, and thus the basses sound like they
are further back on the 
right than normal and the violins and viola sound like they are front left
and front right, with the 
cellos perhaps in the middle. It's definitely not the same orchestral
seating as on the 
Butterworth/Bax side.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2012 12:39 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New-ish EMI set

> Hi Carl:
> I'm playing back an original SR90115 right now. It sounds to me like the
orchestra is arranged 
> differently than typical, especially the strings. However, the stable
placement of everything and 
> the clarity of locations convinces me that it was a 3-spaced-omni
recording. I do think the 3-2 
> mix isn't as center-strong as usual, but I wonder if this has to do with
the unusual-sounding 
> seating of the orchestra? Perhaps you get weird dynamics if you make the
center too strong, or the 
> center mic had to be further back due to strange dynamics or orchestra
arrangement? The 
> composition also has complex counter-rhythms in parts, so the composer may
have spread the strings 
> in order to articulate each separate part most clearly. Finally, the V-W
side is long for early 
> stereo days, so the overall level was probably reduced to accomodate the
dynamics and fit the 
> side. I ordered the EMI CD set so I'm interested to compare what they did.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2012 4:34 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New-ish EMI set
>> Ah, now I see the complication of this VW Sym 8 issue. While the symphony
>> the work of Mercury 6/19/56, the flip side is Auger's from 12/1957. But,
>> the LP, the symphony doesn't sound like a Mercury production. A few
>> speak from the center of the stage, but it's mostly got a L/R bias and
>> focus. The LP also has a strong high-frequency hiss that is louder and
>> higher-pitched than other SRs I have. Not on the lead-in, the noise
>> with the music, and is steady between movements. Not from the pressing
>> itself. Side 2 is similarly afflicted. The music is lower in level and
>> as dynamic as, say, Capricorn Concerto. There are no production credits
>> the sleeve.
>> Tom, maybe these sessions had to be edited in Manchester in order to get
>> mono version out quickly, given the premiere of the symphony a few days
>> before recording? Possibly a 2-track master like you heard about was
>> alongside the mono, and shared with NY later for the stereo Mercury
>> Depending on how they handled approvals, that might be true for the whole
>> history of the Pye collaboration. Maybe the 3-tracks were never touched.
>> Possible?
>> The Dutton/Barbirolli Society CD, a mastering from EMI 1992, is missing
>> top-end noise, but is rather generic in its sense of place and occasion.
>> imaging also sounds nothing like Mercury, but what I suspect to be some
>> reverb applied to hide the aggressive CEDAR filtering does fill in the
>> center a bit. The soundstage is different than the LP, but neither are
>> correct.
>> I know a lot of Auger's work, so let's blame somebody else for whatever
>> happened.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
>> Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 9:26 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New-ish EMI set
>> Hi Carl:
>> Bob Auger was a great engineer, a real giant in British audio production.
>> some googling on him,
>> he was a major force over there. He was a staff engineer for Pye Records
>> when Mercury and Pye worked
>> together, and he and my father became good friends. Auger engineered many
>> Kinks recordings for Pye,
>> among many other things. He also taught Eddie Kramer engineering, and
>> said in at least one
>> interview that his drum mic technique was a varient on the 3-spaced-omni
>> approach, taught to him by
>> Bob Auger who learned it working with the Mercury crew. If I'm recalling
>> Auger's obit correctly,
>> he also went on to be a major force in sound-for-TV engineering in the
>> I would say, if a Barbirolli recording was made for Pye Records after
>> it was an
>> Auger-originated recording. If it was made for EMI originally, it was
>> probably not engineered by
>> Auger. EMI's approach to classical recording in the stereo era varied
>> relatively few mics to
>> many mics, at least that's how I interpret what I've read and seen in
>> photos. And there was a whole
>> different approach taken by Carson Taylor for U.S. sessions, but that's
>> another discussion for
>> another time. I've seen photos are Abbey Road where you can count 40+
>> but I've also seen
>> photos from Kingsway where there seem to be a dozen or fewer mics.
>> If/when UMG acquires EMI, it's possible that the combined vaults will
>> straighten out the Barbirolli
>> master tapes and we may one day get a complete box set, using both Pye
>> first-generation tapes and
>> Mercury 3-track masters, plus later EMI masters. I suspect one issue with
>> the Mercury/Pye stuff is
>> that all the documentation may not be together in one place, which would
>> solved by a consolidated
>> UMG/EMI vault.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> PS -- I agree abouit the V-W 8th, which was dedicated to Barbirolli and
>> premiered just before the
>> recording took place. There was all kinds of excitement surrounding that
>> session and the performance
>> was electric.
>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 8:38 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New-ish EMI set
>>> Tom, I've been curious about that situation, too, as another of my
>> treasured
>>> discs is the Pye/Mercury V-W Sym #8. I have both the Mercury LP and the
>>> Testament/Barbirolli Society CD reissue. The neighborhood is too quiet
>>> to put either on (at the right volume!) to refresh my memory, but I'll
>>> that tomorrow.
>>> Did Auger work for Pye? He engineered the Halle 'A London Symphony"
>> session
>>> the next year, 12/1957. It appears on the same CD.
>>> I was actually referring to the V-W sym 5, made in Kingsway in 1962.
>>> only heard the Angel LP and the ca. 1994 CD versions. Sonically, they're
>>> quite a disappointment, sounding rather muted and cloudy. Surprising for
>>> both the team and location, and the fact that the session was the return
>> to
>>> EMI for Sir John, after a long absence from the label. You'd think
>>> have pulled all the stops. Is there a Barbirolli maven out there who has
>> an
>>> EMI LP pressing of this session? Does it sound woolly to you?
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
>>> Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 7:45 PM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New-ish EMI set
>>> Regarding the Barbirolli material that was recorded by Mercury and Pye,
>> am
>>> pretty sure that EMI
>>> used the Pye 2-track masters for their early-era CD reissues. I think
>> those
>>> digital masters were
>>> later leased to the Barbirolli Society, which put out some of the same
>>> material. According to the
>>> Mercury tape logs I've seen, all of the Halle/Barbirolli 3-track and
>>> masters were sent to EMI,
>>> many of them in the early 60's and the rest by 1971. I am not clear
>> exactly
>>> what the Pye 2-track
>>> master were.  I was told by one first-person participant that they were
>> made
>>> by Pye from the feeds
>>> of the left and right mics, which would explain what I perceive as a
>>> non-Mercury-like weak center in
>>> the EMI CD reissues. Another first-person participant told me that Bob
>> Auger
>>> did his own on-location
>>> 3-2 mix and recorded to a 2-track master. A more logical explaination,
>> based
>>> on other Mercury
>>> operating procedures, is that Pye would have gotten a 2-track made
>>> the first American LP
>>> cutting, so it is a "first generation 3-2 mix" tape. However, as I said,
>> the
>>> EMI CD reissues do not
>>> sound the same as the original Mercury LPs or mass-duped 2-track tapes.
>>> -- Tom Fine
>>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>>> From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 7:23 PM
>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] New-ish EMI set
>>>>I was happy to find that the 'Sir John Barbirolli: The Great EMI
>>> Recordings'
>>>> box set contained a mix of transfers from across the digital era, the
>>> newer
>>>> ones excellent. A few tunes that had been the subject of earlier issues
>>> are
>>>> updated. One example is the famous Tallis Fantasia session, which
>>>> Herrmann had a hand in. The 2000 remastering in the box is dramatically
>>>> different than the 1980s reissue and just clobbers the Angel LP.
>>>> Unfortunately, the V-W 5 is not updated, but the glory shines through
>>>> anyway.
>>>> As someone here recently said, much of the EMI catalog has lagged
>> somewhat
>>>> behind the state of the art. With such a huge catalog, that might be
>>>> understandable, even without all the corporate drama.
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 3:06 PM
>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New SONY sets
>>>> Mike, do you know if there's a policy as to WHICH digital transfer to
>> use?
>>>> In the case of both
>>>> Columbia (Sony) and RCA (BMG), there were many not-so-good attempts
>> before
>>>> good remasters were
>>>> obtained. For Sony, I'd put the ones that Dennis Rooney oversaw in the
>>> late
>>>> 90's as their best. For
>>>> RCA, the CD layer of the SACDs done by Soundmirror are vastly superior
>>>> earlier attempts.
>>>> For their box set, Decca went back and re-did some material that had
>>>> previously remastered,
>>>> with good results. I think DGG did new transfers for some of the
>>> in
>>>> their budget-priced
>>>> boxes, for instance the Kubelik Mahler cycle seemed to have all been
>>>> remastered in the late 90s as
>>>> opposed to some of the earlier remasters of some of the symphonies (I
>>> don't
>>>> think all were
>>>> previously released prior to the box set). I believe everything was
>>> brought
>>>> up to the era and
>>>> quality of the "DGG Originals" series, so circa late 90's.
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>>>> From: "Gray, Mike" <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 2:47 PM
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New SONY sets
>>>>> As a rule, no new transfers are made from analog originals save where
>>>> prior digital transfer
>>>>> has already been
>>>>> made.
>>>>> Mike Gray