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[ARSCLIST] Peter Copeland on RCA Victor recordings (1941)

The following from Copeland's manual has always puzzled me, and I wonder
if anyone can shed light on the reference to "Victor’s then-unique use of multiple
limiters (essentially one on each mike)", since I've never heard of this from any other
source. This may originate in Ref. 60, Wireless World (1941), which I have not
seen. RCA Victor may have experimented with limiters in 1941, but Copeland's
statement can leave the impression that this was common practice.

6.71 Various RCA characteristics
Ref. 60 (July 1941) is the earliest contemporary reference I have found which describes RCA Victor using pre-emphasis on its 78s, although the time constant was not given. Straight listening suggests the idea was tried somewhat earlier, and we saw in section 6.23 that Moyer wrote about RCA’s Western Electric systems with pre- emphasis at 2500Hz (corresponding to 63.6 microseconds); but I am deeply sceptical. It seems to me far more likely that, if something which had been mastered direct-to-disc was reissued on microgroove, the remastering engineer would simply have treated everything the same. And I consider it likely that judging by “pure sound” clues, Victor’s then-unique use of multiple limiters (essentially one on each mike), would itself have resulted in a “brighter” sound.

Doug Pomeroy

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