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Re: [ARSCLIST] Dynamic-frequency Range

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Aaron Z Snyder" <azs@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
> I've done a considerable amount of restoration on acoustic recordings, and,
> as one might imagine, the frequency response can vary widely from label to
> label and session to session. However, I can make a few generalities:
> Victor and Columbia seemed to have the best low-end response -- fairly
> strong down to about 120 Hz. The upper end was about 4 kHz.
> Edison Diamond Disc recordings in general had very little, if anything at
> all, below 200 Hz. The upper end in general petered out at about 4 kHz.
> However, I've seen one acoustical Diamond Disk made in 1927 (Edison held off
> until mid-to-late 1927 before going electrical) which has an upper end at an
> astonishing 6 kHz!
> As for most of the other labels, there doesn't seem to be an awful lot below
> 200 Hz or above 3 kHz. Here again, this is just a generality. Recording in
> those days was more of an art than a science.
> The most surprising thing that I have found is that many acoustical
> recordings have recoverable bass down to as low as 40 Hz! You certainly
> won't hear that if played on an acoustical reproducer, and it's doubtful
> that it can be heard even on an electrical reproducer. Nonetheless, the bass
> information is clearly (and sometimes not so clearly) visible in a frequency
> spectrum vs. time display.
> As for dynamic range, this too can vary all over the place. These recordings
> are probably more influenced by the performers themselves than by the
> limitations of the recording equipment. Obviously, one doesn't want a signal
> so loud that it would produce blasting on the recording; yet, one doesn't
> want s signal so low that it gets swamped by surface noise. Theoretically,
> acoustical recordings can have a considerably wide dynamic range (the only
> limiter is that mechanical extremes which the cutter can achieve), but that
> wasn't necessarily a desired effect.
I found that by using a 10-band EQ I could actually hear some bass
sound on acoustic Harmony (et al) records. Apparently, Columbia had
just made major improvements to their acoustic recording process 
when electric recording became available...and they elected to try
and squeeze what repayment they could by using the system to record
their "cheap" labels...on the assumption that the buyers probably
owned old acoustic players and couldn't hear the difference! In 
fact, this process continued until April or May of 1930...

Steven C. Barr 

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