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I agree with Dennis that 78s can sound excellent if they are in good condition and intelligently played.  I also agree, (he said it somewhere), that American Columbias from the Viva~Tonal era through the '30s are technically the finest 78s ever issued, at least until the '50s.  English HMVs were superior in their day but, for some reason, even if unplayed they have become noisy over the years - American and Canadian Victors are generally much quieter, (noise wise), than English pressings of the same recordings.
I listen to 78s all the time and constantly marvel on their fine sound, more than lamenting their limitations.  As I said, it's mathematically obvious that an LP can theoretically have a broader frequency response.  The 78 stylus and groove are three times the size of an LP stylus and groove, so the record would have to rotate at exactly 100 rpm to exhibit the same sound quality.
db 

    On Wednesday, February 3, 2016 3:34 PM, Dennis Rooney <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
 

 Tom Fine's comments re 78s suggest he perhaps hasn't listened to the best
quality examples of the format. No sane person would make any claims for
audio superiority, especially since all 78s are monophonic. However,
wide-range *per se* is not as crucial as low distortion, good cutting and
intelligent record EQ. Noise is both variable and relative: some discs are
noisy, others amazingly quiet given the material. What is not debatable is
their superior survival when stored in an environment that does not need to
be more scientifically controlled beyond ensuring reasonably stable
conditions.The best of them will remain a pleasure to hear for an
indefinite period, presuming both their physical survival and a method with
which to reproduce them.

DDR

On Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 1:54 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> 78s are quite brittle and breakable, so long-lasting only if carefully
> stored and used. And, no offense to any of the fans on list here, but they
> are hardly high fidelity to their source. Everything from the recording
> system (frequency-limited, essentially no top end, very high noise floor,
> most of this caused by the cutting elements and methods because Nick Bergh
> has demonstrated that what hit the cutterhead was actually pretty high
> fidelity although treble-lacking, as early as the early 1930s) to the
> release medium (commercial shellac was almost always very noisy, variable
> from unbearably noisy to too noisy for comfortable listening) were stacked
> against high fidelity. LPs got closer, especially as the technology evolved
> (less distortion in the cutting chains, quieter vinyl compounds).
>
> As one who has had a hand in selecting content for modern LP reissue
> projects, and approved test pressings, I can say that the quality level of
> both the cutting and pressing is very impressive. It's still a craft, but
> I'm happy to say there are craftsmen out there, here and now.
>
> Because it's a luxury-priced niche, much more attention CAN be paid at the
> factory (but not always is) to matters like plating and pressing quality,
> vinyl compounds and sleeve printing. It's not a mass medium like days of
> yore, so it doesn't need to be manufactured to the most cost-cut point to
> be competitive. I maintain that many buyers of modern vinyl are buying a
> physical artifact, something consider beautiful and collectable, and that
> is why they niche will remain healthy. The mass market either wants to pay
> nothing for music, or wants to pay very little for something that is very
> convenient and instantaneous, which is why vinyl will always be a niche.
> What has made me happy in the past decade or so is that the niche has
> emerged as big enough to be viable and have some economies of scale. The
> fact that new and refurb presses are still coming on-line, and the fact
> that I know there is a 3-month wait to get something pressed in any
> quantity right now, tells me the niche is very healthy and the economy has
> room to scale up a little bit (but not overbuild). I also know that the
> really good cutting engineers are booked months ahead too.
>
> As for the usual disdain about the low-tech nature of LP records vs a
> modern digital chain, my ears tell me all I need to know. If more CDs and
> other digital products sounded better, I'd be standing in the back row,
> hook-horns raised, in agreement. But, alas, too many CDs, especially
> remasters of content originally put out on LP, sound awful. That's not the
> fault of the technology, but it is the state of the art for at least those
> albums, since one can't buy a better-sounding product except the LP. When
> there is a better-sounding CD or high-rez digital alternative, I favor that
> as my listening source.
>
> -- Tom Fine
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Chris Bishop" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, February 03, 2016 12:55 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The new normal - "hits" are hard to come by, the
> vinyl niche continues to thrive
>
>
> 78s weren't ever pure shellac, which is too brittle, there were all kinds
>> of fillers in them, like later vinyl records. Many post-war 78s were made
>> with vinyl compounds. But I'm sure the best shellac discs hold up very
>> well.
>>
>> Properly-produced vinyl is a very stable medium and a cheap material too.
>> I
>> don't know how long a record could remain an accurate document sitting on
>> a
>> library shelf - a few hundred years, a thousand? Maybe archives should
>> purchase some lathes and start training people to master and cut vinyl. It
>> may be a better option than digital for long-term preservation - or at
>> least the best physical backup available.
>>
>> Artists who record digitally and upload to bandcamp or soundcloud will
>> more
>> likely than not have their music be inaccessible in a hundred years, while
>> those who produce vinyl albums or singles, whatever the aural
>> shortcomings,
>> will see theirs survive.
>>
>>
>>
>> On Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 12:32 PM, Frank Strauss <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>> Diamond Disks!
>>>
>>> On Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 11:41 AM, Chris Bishop <[log in to unmask]>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>> > Most people don't even want downloads let alone CDs. So in that sense
>>> vinyl
>>> > is as doomed as every other physical medium.
>>> >
>>> > But I disagree that vinyl is a dead medium at this time. The DJ scene
>>> is
>>> > stronger than ever in every genre.
>>> >
>>> > Records produced 50 or 60 years ago can be pulled off the shelf,
>>> cleaned
>>> > and played with almost no deterioration from age. What medium is more
>>> > stable in average storage conditions?
>>> >
>>> > Chris
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > On Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 11:28 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]>
>>> wrote:
>>> >
>>> > > It's the old question--do you want fame or money?  Many "artists" of
>>> > today
>>> > > apparently keep their day jobs and go for fame by giving it away,
>>> > thinking
>>> > > fortune will follow.  Seems like it seldom does, and this has very
>>> little
>>> > > to do with basic talent.  It's a recipe for a lousy pop music world,
>>> > which
>>> > > to my ancient ears is just what is happening.  Meanwhile any
>>> third-rate
>>> > pop
>>> > > artist from the past can sell out a hall today.  Thank goodness they
>>> are
>>> > > there.
>>> > >
>>> > > As for vinyl, it's a blip and a fad.  If it gets people listening who
>>> > > otherwise wouldn't be, then fine, I like it, but we who ought to know
>>> > > better mustn't kid ourselves.  As a format, vinyl is a dead one, and
>>> it
>>> > > deserves to be.  Of course I'm not tossing out my record collection,
>>> but
>>> > as
>>> > > a person who restores old records in modern formats, I have no
>>> nostalgic,
>>> > > romantic illusions about vinyl's supposed virtues.  If people are
>>> happy
>>> > > listening to it, then be happy and go for it. But as "audio people"
>>> let's
>>> > > not go fooling ourselves.
>>> > >
>>> > > Best,
>>> > > John Haley
>>> > >
>>> > >
>>> > >
>>> > >
>>> > >
>>> > > On Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 9:09 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>>> > > wrote:
>>> > >
>>> > > > Interesting stats from Nielsen:
>>> > > >
>>> > > >
>>> > >
>>> >
>>>
>>> http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/22/10816404/2015-album-sales-trends-vinyl-catalog-streaming
>>> > > >
>>> > > > Soundscan does not pick up the whole market, but the trends seem
>>> > > credible.
>>> > > > Interesting that Adele fans are also vinyl fans in such a
>>> pronounced
>>> > > way. I
>>> > > > wonder if the back-catalog trend was just a blip because so much of
>>> it
>>> > is
>>> > > > now in print either as downloads or physical media, just about
>>> every
>>> > > > "golden age" audiophile favorite is not out in new-remaster vinyl,
>>> and
>>> > > what
>>> > > > CDs are left in the pipeline are heavily discounted. But, that
>>> said,
>>> > the
>>> > > > market to create great new music is not really there -- artists
>>> make
>>> > more
>>> > > > just touring and releasing a song here and there via download or
>>> video
>>> > > > streams. So why get in a studio and create great art? There was
>>> also
>>> an
>>> > > > interesting interview in the latest issue of TapeOp magazine with
>>> the
>>> > > > Minneapolis hip-hop collective Doomtree. One thing they said that
>>> stuck
>>> > > in
>>> > > > my mind is that there is a penalty today for taking the time to
>>> write
>>> > > > great, meaningful lyrics. The music-buying public wants catchy
>>> phrases
>>> > > and
>>> > > > well-worn stereotype statements set to music, they want simple
>>> ditties,
>>> > > and
>>> > > > simple sells.
>>> > > >
>>> > > > This report looks at unit sales for the first half of 2015:
>>> > > >
>>> > > >
>>> > >
>>> >
>>>
>>> http://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/us-album-sales-fall-4-in-first-half-of-2015-as-cd-rules-market-just/
>>> > > > The problem that isn't documented in unit sales is that copyright
>>> > owners,
>>> > > > artists and everyone else with a stake in making quality music get
>>> > > pennies
>>> > > > on the dollar from these streaming services, and that's the main
>>> growth
>>> > > > area as far as consumer uptake (yes, the vinyl niche is thriving,
>>> but
>>> > > it's
>>> > > > a tiny niche compared to overall music sales, and does not produce
>>> > enough
>>> > > > revenue to float any artist or major copyright owner). I think it
>>> was
>>> > > very
>>> > > > foolish for the record companies to surrender to streamers on the
>>> > cheap.
>>> > > > They should be charging royalties like radio, plus a download fee,
>>> and
>>> > > the
>>> > > > streamers should be forced into a model where everyone who streams
>>> > pays a
>>> > > > monthly fee. Most of the streaming is freebie streaming, and that
>>> just
>>> > > > doesn't produce enough revenue. If I were an artists, I'd say you
>>> get
>>> > > > nothing for free streaming, and if I'm a hit-making artist I'd say
>>> you
>>> > > get
>>> > > > nothing without paying me regular download fees.
>>> > > >
>>> > > > -- Tom Fine
>>> > > >
>>> > >
>>> >
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>> Frank B Strauss, DMD
>>>
>>>
>>
>>


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