[Table of Contents]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [ARSCLIST] Fwd: [ARSCLIST] Dynamic-frequency Range

The record cited was, as I recall, made as an experiment by Western Electric andstill bears its matrix numbers as well as those of Columbia.

I gave an ARSC talk a while ago that showed how the record companies dumbed down their dynamic range and frequencey response on its early electricals since they had to sound well on the acoustical players to keep selling records. The first mass-market electrical players came out about 6 months later.

The paper depended on the listener hearing audio examples. Since I couldn't publish those 1925 examples dut to the copyright laws, I never published the paper.

Steven Smolian

--- Original Message ----- From: "Don Tait" <Dontaitchicago@xxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2006 6:36 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Fwd: [ARSCLIST] Dynamic-frequency Range

 A very interesting and rewarding reponse. May I add something about the
dynamic response on the earliest electrical 78s?

It seems clear that from the beginning the electrical system was able to
record a huge dynamic range. The classic example that I've seen cited in many
places is USA Columbia's first electrical release, 50013-D (Black Label):

 Trad.-Andrews: "John Peel"
 Portugal: "Adeste Fidelis"

 Associated Glee Clubs of America (LIve, Metropolitan Opera House, March

The dynamic range on "John Peel" is astounding. Finding a copy that wasn't
chewed to pieces in the climaxes by heavy early pickups is difficult. And
that's why every company cut back on the dynamic range of electrical recordings:
the pickups of the time would quickly destory the loud passages on the records.
Roland Gelatt might have written about this in his publications; some did,
but I can't remember where for sure.

I regret that I do not have the equipment to provide scientific data about

Don Tait


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.


No virus found in this incoming message. Checked by AVG Free Edition. Version: 7.1.408 / Virus Database: 268.13.8/489 - Release Date: 10/20/2006

[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents]