Hi folks:

Here's the background. In an interview in Audio Magazine, Moses Asch pf 
Folkways records said that he had had some LPs of historical importance 
-- particularly in the Ethnic Folkways series -- cut flat, rather than 
using the usual pre-emphasis curves. He said he did that so that future 
generations could play them without messing around with de-emphasis. 
When I interviewed Peter Bartók, who cut a lot of records for Folkways, 
I asked him about this. He said he never heard of such a thing.

Well, I may have run across one of those records. I transferred it flat 
(no RIAA), declicked it in Izotope Rx, then started messing with the EQ. 
I tried LF de-emphasis at 500Hz (the RIAA standard) and 629Hz (suggested 
for pre-RIAA Folkways records by several sources, including an old ARSC 
journal. Both sounded horribly boomy. I tried doing a 1st-order HF 
rolloff at 1,580Hz, and with that compensation (no LF de-emphasis, 
1,580Hz HF rolloff) what I heard sounded believable, if not exactly hi-fi.

This album was P433, "Maori Songs of New Zealand", dated 1952; it's 
entirely field recordings.

My question: have any of you run across anything like this -- a Folkways 
LP which plays back more accurately without LF de-emphasis?

Mr. Bartók suggested to me in our interview that early LPs may not 
have used formal pre-emphasis, because the resonances of the cutter head 
would have produced a rising HF response.  So I'm wondering if this LP 
was cut that way -- no formal HF pre-emphasis (but a peaky cutter head), 
no LF pre-emphasis?

By the way, other Folkways LPs I've transferred (including "Songs and 
Dances of Norway", which had its own issues, mainly with recording 
speed) hewed to the RIAA curve -- at least, closely enough to sound okay 
when played back with it.

Paul Stamler

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