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

David Lennick wrote:

Dumb question again..were a lot of late 40s Victors compressed and EQd beyond all belief because of something opposite in the players they were manufacturing at the time? I once heard Freddy Martin's Managua, Nicaragua played on a 1947 Victor machine and it sounded fabulous. Most Victors made from December 1944, including Toscanini and Henri Rene and Spike and Tommy Dorsey, are impossible to EQ (and they get even worse in Canada because they sent up production masters which were re-dubbed in Montreal, complete with wow, clipped first notes, chopped last notes, and more wow). This seems to end around 1950-51.


Michael Biel wrote:

Tom Fine wrote:

You can hear that Victor was doing compression/limiting for sure by the 40s. Listen to Spike Jones "Popcorn Sack" for instance, or other material if you prefer less corny.

Spike Jones might not be a good example to use because a lot of his masters were dubbed. The ledger sheets note some specific examples where it was done because a gunshot or something overloaded the recording, but I have a feeling that a lot of the release masters were routinely dubs.
Actually I think the question is not whether Victor was doing it, but if it was done simultaneously on each mic individually. It could be that they were doing it selectively on a particular mic, or, of course, on the composite mix. And considering your father's technique of simplicity and single-mic recording, I would love to have found out what his opinion would be of having all these electronics compressing a half dozen mics separately!
Mike Biel mbiel@xxxxxxxxx

The evidence of records made by RCA from 1944 onwards into the early 50s, including those made on tape, make it clear, at least to me, that a limiter was being inserted into the recording chain, most likely after the mixer output and before the recorder. There isn't any direct evidence for this from RCA's recording sheets, but since these were made up after the session, and we seem to have lost any session-day documents, including any purely engineering documents, we've lost the key paperwork that some light on this very disappointing practice.

Mike Gray

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