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Re: [ARSCLIST] New online publication: Manual of analogue audio restoration techniques, by Peter Copeland

At 05:49 AM 2008-09-15, Michael Biel wrote:
I agree that it is a good thing to have this published, but it is even more unfortunate that Peter is no longer with us because there are many, many factual and historical errors and omissions.
He has completely misunderstood how Les Paul created his overdubbing on page 287 when he talks about a mono tape recorder with the heads in the PER arrangement instead of the usual ERP. That machine was used for a time delay that was of the length of the tape loop.

Hello, Mike,

There seems to be a real bit of confusion on this one, as I have heard the same story that is in Copeland's Manual.

I asked my friend Don Ososke (ex Ampex) to look into this as I did not have time. Don agreed to and discussed it with our mutual friend Peter Hammar, the founder/curator of the Ampex Museum (portions of which are now at Stanford). Pete was actually the one who introduced me to Don. Anyway, Don reports:

Peter Hammar interviewed Les Paul at Les's house many long years ago. Paul showed Hammar the full-track Ampex 300 with an additional "preview head" mounted about 1.5 inches to the left of the head assembly that Paul used for "sound over sound" recordings. Paul said that he first recorded a "click track" so that he and Mary Ford could stay in precise synchronization. He then recorded the various parts, saving the most important parts for last due to the quality losses caused by re-recording the old parts each time he added a new part. Sometimes, for very complex and fast moving guitar parts, he would record at half speed while playing the guitar parts one octave lower. Paul said that by the time he recorded the last part, the click track had faded away due to the re-recording losses. THEREFORE, the head configuration was...PERP (although the "normal" play head was not needed while recording multiple parts).

Hammar did not mention Paul discussing the time delay "echo effect" that was the length of the tape loop, although some of the Les Paul / Mary Ford recordings exhibit this effect. Could Paul have made a final re-recording to add the time delay?

Hammar confirmed that the erase head was used.



Richard L. Hess email: richard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

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