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Re: [ARSCLIST] Aren't recordings original sources?

Hi Clark:

Yeah, but the problem is a lot of mass-market 78's were poorly manufactured, on crappy material or off-center, and most you'd find today at a reasonable price haven't lived a gentle life. That said, where I've had the opportunity to play either well-preserved vinyl 78's or well-preserved laquers, I've been very surprised at the high degree of "transfer" through the medium -- ie the medium was maintaining a surprising degree of fidelity to the source. Laquer disks are particularly impressive. I have some that would best narrow-track tape recordings (but definitely not full-track tape on a proper professional deck). And, for content that doesn't require a very quiet background for enjoyment, such as spoken word content or even some jazz, even mass-media 78's could do a very good job with a good recording.

Also, many 78 transfers made for CD sets are awful. People do seem to lop off the bass -- these records had plenty of low end, it was the TOP end where they had no musical content. Yet people roll off the bass (maybe because they have rumble-plagued playback systems) and crank up the EQ on the upper midrange, which just accentuates the surface noise and unnatural resonances from the original recording devices. Then you apply an overly aggressive treatment with CEDAR or whatever else and you get ... crap.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- From: "Clark Johnsen" <clarkjohnsen@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 5:18 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Aren't recordings original sources?

On Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 2:07 PM, Steve Abrams <steve.abrams@xxxxxxxxx>wrote:

I spoke to Hardwick once on the telephone, c. 1987.  He told me that he had
to do some CD work from tape copies because of time pressure. With respect
to special pressings I note that many if not most of the originals  in the
original LP great performances series (in the late '50s and early '60s) are
supposed to have been destroyed in the mistaken belief that it would never
be possible to improve on the tape copies made at that time.

[Sigh] There's a word for that: hubris.

I once wrote up my own experiences with playing 78rpm originals over a
widerange system (read: bass-capable) and the effect on others. Would those
fellows (Hardwicke, Crimp, etc.) had heard this before venturing ahead with
diminished capability! (The process, not them.)

"Besides containing an historic musical treasure-trove, 78s can sound *more
like the real thing than any other source, *bar none except live feed—an
extravagant claim, perhaps, but consider what 78s have going for themselves,
besides those great old tubes. They have: high velocity, wide grooves, inert
material, ribbon microphones, direct-master pressings—in short, a medley of
superior engineer­ing attributes."



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