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Re: [ARSCLIST] Dynamic-frequency Range

If you consider that, for instance, an Edison Gem player has a horn with a bell about the size of a flugelhorn, one can see how the medium did not allow anywhere near fidelity to a piano. I've heard cylinders played on the more deluxe types with huge horns and they still sound awful to my ears. A musician who actually cared about how his instrument sounded, especially someone like a solo piano player who cares about dynamics and subtle shading of notes, would want to avoid the medium altogether. I guess cylinders were something different in their day, obviously greatly admired for the leap of being able to time-shift a performance and have repeated hearings of something, but sheesh, I can't see how anyone who has grown up in the high fidelity era can stand to listen to them. 10 grades worse than 78's, and I think you all know how I feel about most 78's so I won't belabor that one. I'm talking specifically about using the medium for music, not for spoken word or sung "skits" (usually racist and none too funny by today's standards) that cylinders were also used for. In those cases, no better or worse than most modern AM radio (ie not too good but the words are usually intelligable). I know, I know, they're historic artifacts, which is why I'm glad they're preserved and people still care about them. Just not ever my choice for quality listening time.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- From: "Karl Miller" <lyaa071@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2006 11:59 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Dynamic-frequency Range

On Wed, 18 Oct 2006, Mike Richter wrote:

I'm a bit confused: do you mean dynamic range, frequency range or both?


They are related in that wider frequency range means higher noise level
and therefore reduced dynamic range over the spectrum.

I understand.

Perhaps the 1-KHz
dynamic range is what you mean.

Yes, that would be fine.

Frequency range is also difficult to define unless either amplitude
tolerance or playback equipment is considered. Your numbers for 1925
seem about right for both the best acoustic and the new electric
recordings, but few reproducers came close to 100 Hz on the low end and
(not least because of the horn) most were far from flat above 1 KHz.

I am concerned with what was available to the "average" listener.

Perhaps I should explain the reasons for my questions. I am writing an
essay about pianists who refused to make disc recordings but were willing
to make reproducing piano roll recordings. There were problems with
available duration for each side, in addition to the obvious limitations
of frequency response. I find that rarely is the question of dynamic range
mentioned. There is a quote from one pianist who was told the number of
amplitude steps available from a particular reproducing piano...I can't
remember how many, perhaps just 24 and he replied, well I have 25 dynamic
steps in my playing. While shading is probably subject to one's
ability to measure it, it seems to me that ultimately that "arguement" was
not informed as their dynamic range on discs was signficantly limited,
especially in the acoustic era.

Further, some pianists pointed out that they did not like having to make
adjustments to their dynamics in particular parts of the frequency range,
adjustments that were needed to provide more balance on playback.

In short, I am trying to put into slightly more quantifiable terms, the
reasons for their objects.

I am reminded of one pianist who refused to make any disc
recordings...yet, if she had, she might have had the backing of Victor
and, at least from my perspective, been as well known as some of the
artists which had the benefit of the marketing of a record company.

Any thoughts would be welcome.


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