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I would suspect that the distortion on the Glee Club recordings was as a result of input stage overloading.  Choral sounds notoriously can saturate mike preamps and this has to be prevented with input pads or pads on the mikes themselves.  This distortion is obvious in the choral sections of D'Oyle Carte's "Yeomen of the Guard" on Victor.


db



>________________________________
> From: Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask] 
>Sent: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 1:13:15 AM
>Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Early electrical disk recording
> 
>There's a lot of things from different people, so I'll try to cover
>everything without cutting and pasting.  Both Victor and Columbia were
>doing their own separate and secret electrical recording experiments in
>the early 20s with no relationship to Western Electric's experiments. 
>Columbia was working with Guest and Merriman -- I have a tape of their
>test pressings and they are HORRIBLE.  
>
>But while I am mentioning them, here is the answer to the question which
>started all this: THE first electrically recorded record to be sold to
>the public is the Memorial Record that contains two excerpts from the
>funeral ceremony of the burial of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster
>Abbey, Nov 11, 1920.  The labels do state recorded "By Guest & Merriman
>Electrical Process" "Published for the Westminster Abbey Fund by
>Columbia Graphophone Co, Ltd."  Completely unnumbered 12-inch pressings.
>Haven't any of you read Ed Moogk's "Roll Back the Years"?
>
>Victor's tests were done by Albertis Hewitt who took over in 1922 from
>the late James W. Owens who had jointly filed for an electrical
>recording patent in 1916 which was not granted till 1924.  In late 1922
>Hewitt had a visit from Charles Hoxie who was doing sound-on-film
>recording for GE and WGY, and loaned Hewitt some of the equipment. 
>Parts of this system was later the basis of the Brunswick Light Ray
>Recording process which is not such a mystery as Dave Lewis seems to
>think!  And because GE was part of RCA, parts also became the RCA
>Photophone system, and some of this seems to be what was licensed to
>Gennett.
>
>There is no evidence that Western Electric ever showed their system to
>either Victor or Columbia before Nov or Dec 1924.  It certainly would
>have been mentioned in the Hewitt lab notebooks.  Columbia signed the
>contract with Western Electric on Feb 26, 1925 -- and this contract has
>just been published in facsimile by Geoffrey Wheeler in his new book
>about the legal (and illegal) history of Columbia Records.  It looks
>like four masters by Art Gillham beat the contract by a day, but he did
>record one more on the 27th!  I suppose the Victor contract was also
>signed around that date.  The Miniature Concert by the 8 Popular Victor
>Artists and the Cortot recordings were among the first issued but there
>were a few others recorded but not issued.  The ledgers show these with
>a prefix E for a few weeks before going over to VE. These have been
>posted already by the Victor Project, but I find the ledgers themselves
>more interesting.
>
>The Associated Glee Clubs recordings were line-checks of the WEAF
>broadcast of March 31, 1925 just like the NY Philharmonic-Symphony
>recordings of 1923-24 and the Defense Test Day broadcast of Sept 12,
>1924.  I have a feeling that the Western Electric team worked with
>Columbia engineers for this recording.  I disagree with Don Tait on his
>opinion of these recordings.  "The astonishing listening experience is
>John Peel. The dynamic range is incredible. The climax is extremely
>realistically loud."  It is not realistically loud -- it is OVERLOADED. 
>Many years ago I had the opportunity to listen to the entire set of
>recordings of this broadcast.  AFR Lawrence made vinyl tests of them and
>they are in the Library of Congress.  As you listen to these unworn
>vinyls it soon becomes evident that the condenser microphone capsule is
>blasting or the pre-amp in the mic is overloaded. Compton MacKenzie was
>correct when he panned them in The Gramophone. There is only one master
>in the set that is not distorted.  It is a short speech by Walter
>Damrosh from the stage where he makes the now politically incorrect joke
>about how nice it is to not hear any women's voices.  This recording is
>crystal clear with no distortion.  
>
>Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]  
>
>
>
>-------- Original Message --------
>Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Early electrical disk recording
>From: Donald Tait <[log in to unmask]>
>Date: Mon, October 08, 2012 4:42 pm
>To: [log in to unmask]
>
>I might be incorrect about this, and would welcome being corrected, but
>I have understood that the earliest commercially-released electrical
>recording was from March 1925, live:
>
>US Columbia 50013-D (Black Label) 
>Trad. arr. Mark Andrews: "John Peel"
>Associated Glee Clubs of America
>The label reads "850 Male Voices"
>"Recorded at their performance at Metropolitan Opera House, N.Y."
>Matrix #98163
>
>The other side:
>"Adeste Fidelis"
>Associated Glee Clubs, Met.Op. Hse.1925 (as above)
>850 Male Voices
>"Augmented by the audience of 4000 voices at the Metropolitan Opera
>House, N.Y." Matrix 98166
>
>Nowhere do the labels indicate that a new or different recording method
>was used.
>
>The astonishing listening experience is John Peel. The dynamic range is
>incredible. The climax is extremely realistically loud. I've had at
>least three copies over the years and have never found one without a
>degree of wear in the climax, probably due to the heavy old pickups
>plowing through the heavily modulated grooves and creating grooves of
>their own. 
>
>I have read that after wear tests on a few early electrical recordings,
>the companies compressed their dynamic ranges to "cope." Is that
>correct? John Peel would rather seem to demand it for 1925/6 pickups.
>And did Victor beat Columbia with their Cortot and Stokowski
>electricals?
>
>Don Tait
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>To: ARSCLIST <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent: Mon, Oct 8, 2012 3:00 pm
>Subject: [ARSCLIST] Early electrical disk recording
>
>
>This brings up a question -- what is the earliest commercially-released 
>electrically-recorded 
>record?
>
>Also, what is the oldest surviving test recording of an electrical
>system? 
>Something from WECO? From 
>GE (the optical-film system)?
>
>Is any of the pre-commercial electrically-recorded material online?
>
>-- Tom Fine
>
>----- Original Message ----- 
>From: "Paul Stamler" <[log in to unmask]>
>To: <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent: Monday, October 08, 2012 3:25 PM
>Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Howard Scott Dies
>
>
>> On 10/8/2012 11:36 AM, Mickey Clark wrote:
>>> I have electrical issues on Columbia as early as January 1925- by Art
>>> Gillham and The Associated Glee Clubs of America waxed electrically by
>>> March. I've issued discs by both these artists - Mickey
>>
>> And I transcribed a couple of Irish records, both by the same artist, recorded 
>a few weeks apart, 
>> onw acoustic, one electric. Again, early 1925.
>>
>> But according to the information I've read, Western Electric first approached 
>Victor in late 1923 
>> or early 1924, and Columbia shortly after. It took the two companies a year 
>(and a disastrous 
>> Christmas sales season) to decide they would adopt the new system.
>>
>> Peace,
>> Paul
>>
>>> Follow me on Twitter
>>> https://twitter.com/MickeyRClark
>>> M.C.Productions Vintage Recordings
>>> 710 Westminster Ave. West
>>> Penticton BC
>>> V2A 1K8
>>>
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "David Lewis" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Monday, October 08, 2012 8:45 AM
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Howard Scott Dies
>>>
>>>
>>>> In all due respect, while Victor and Columbia readily embraced electric
>>>> recording, the smaller labels did resist, mainly as they didn't have the
>>>> capital resources to make the switch.
>>>> Brunswick had it's "light ray" process which, though a mystery, seems to
>>>> have been used by others as well as a way to dodge the equipment upgrade
>>>> and hefty licensing fees.
>>>> Gennett's electrical system, such as it was, was terrible sounding at
>>>> first. You would think that Marsh Labs, with its earlier, inferior
>>>> electrical system, would have prospered as a
>>>> result. But it didn't. Homer Rodeheaver closed his own acoustic studio in
>>>> Chicago in the fall of 1925 rather than to upgrade. I think BD&M went
>>>> that
>>>> route also.
>>>>
>>>> There was a little economic slump in 1925-26 that also wreaked havoc
>>>> among
>>>> the smaller labels, so it wasn't just that. But the changeover to
>>>> electric
>>>> was a major contributing factor
>>>> to the disappearance of certain labels in those years.
>>>>
>>>> Dave Lewis
>>>> Lebanon, OH
>>>>
>>>> On Sun, Oct 7, 2012 at 8:13 PM, Dennis Rooney
>>>> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Dear Tom,
>>>>>
>>>>> No. Western Electric demonstrated their system to both Victor and
>>>>> Columbia.
>>>>> Each signed and began releasing electrical recordings by spring 1925.
>>>>>
>>>>> DDR
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>
>
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