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Re: [ARSCLIST] Plus Deck
Thanks, Tom. The big advantage of PlusDeck is its simple convenience. Just
pop in a cassette, a sound file is created, and the files stops when the
tape does. (It will even automatically reverse and pick up the other side.
I wouldn't do that, though, since there would be a certain amount of blank
space at the end of each track. This is okay, I guess, for a single side.)
I am much to hard of hearing to tell the difference between a cheapo
in-dash mechanism and a studio-quality deck, or a Walkman, for that
matter, except if the transport wobbles. I can't hear Dolby either, for
I'm not inclined to do all this monitoring of the recordings. I'd be glad
to just put in the tapes, rename the files, and type up an index of the
M-sets. Later on, someone can do up something more like a discography. The
point is that I'm willing to do a certain amount of work to jump start the
process of converting every 78 to MP3. I'd have to take it on faith that
the sound is satisfactory for this purpose of jump starting. I can hear
wobbles but not loss of frequencies over 500 Hz.
I can mail the cassettes to anyone willing to do a better job and will
actually do them all and not effectively give up after 50 or so.
What we need is a scale from 0-100, with 0 being unlistenable, 1 being the
worst cylinder, and 100 being present in concert. I hear too often that
such and such is a fabulous transfer--of a 78 rpm recording, but so and so
is a mediocre digital recording. I should think that virtually every
digital recording is superior to every 78 rpm recording. Can't I go to a
concert and sneak in a portable MP3 device I can buy for $100 than were
ever made on 78s, *unless* the best microphones in the 78 rpm days are so
much better than those that come with portable MP3 devices that the
overall quality of the old recording would be better.
How much have microphones improved?
I'll let everyone take a stab at the 0-100 scale. Here are the points:
acoustics of 1920. Cortot's American Victors were made 1919-20 and 1922-3.
There was a significant improvement in the sound of the second batch.
first electrics (I mean those of 1925, not the few ones made before that)
electrics after 1926 (when Stoky remade the 1925 New World)
electrics after 1940. The bass on organ recordings suddenly become better.
last stereo LPs
CDs a few years later
live concert at a bad seat
live concert at the best seat
(I think recordings are superior to live events, since microphones can be
placed where humans can't be. My most treasured stereo LPs are the early
stereo Vox of the Middle and Late Quartets, done by the Loewenguth
Quartet. It sounds like being seated in the middle of the players, and I
can hear the various instruments bouncing off one another, and so hear
*Beethoven* better than anyone possibly could sitting in the audience. It
is too bad that, once the ping-pong enthusiasm of early stereo recordings
faded away, the misguided notion that recordings should try to capture
what is heard in concert again took over. Recorded music exists as its own
aesthetic. I wonder what Brahms would have thought if he knew that once I
year I put on Fritz Lehmann's incomparable recording of the German Requiem
and head for the hills in my running shoes! The agnostic Brahms would be
shocked at first, but when he understood that this is an annual ritual and
that I invariably burst into tears, not long after I get "runner's high,"
at the moment the chorus bursts into counterpoint, "Herr, Du bist würdig
zu nehmen Preis und Ehre und Kraft," he would understand that my way of
feeling the unique power of his composition was not so sacreligious after
Splice in wire, acetate tape, Myler tape, cassettes, 8-track, cheapo
in-dash cassette players, Walkmen, AM and FM broadcasts, digital
Rate various amplifiers and speakers.
There will be lots of subjectivity here, but more of a consensus than you
might expect. Judges in wrestling matches, dog grooming constests, wine
tasting affairs, and so on typically agree with each other on a scale of
0-100. This may imply objectivity. It may also imply that those who are
too far away from the consensus are simply not invited back. (There may be
international differences. In human beauty, symmetry is universal, and so
is a hip-waist ratio of 0.7 for women.)
As far a greatness in classical music goes, you can take a look at Charles
Murray's _Human Accomplishment_. The book consists mostly of Murray's
going through various histories in many areas and counting the number of
pages devoted in each to various achievers. There's are generally high
correlations among the sources. (Only a curmudgeon like Normal Lehrbrecht
disdains Mozart. While I think his best piano concerti are masterpieces,
he did crank out a lot of flack, and I'd have to say he and Wagner are the
most overrated composers.)
But with sound quality, I'd expect the consensus to be much higher,
certainly in the rank ordering and probably in the number on a 0-100
scale. I can't think of a group better qualified to give these rankings a
try, since we know all types of recordings.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Fine" <tflists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: December 26, 2005 8:29 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Plus Deck
Judging from the market-targeting and price point, I'd say this is many
leagues below a
studio-quality cassette deck. It looks like a cheapo in-dash mechanism
grafted onto a disk drive
tray. Made in Korea to a low price point.
What's the problem with taking a good cassette deck and plugging it into
the line inputs on a
soundcard? What am I missing here?
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Lou Judson" <loujudson@xxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, December 26, 2005 8:15 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Plus Deck
I'd like to know if this deck has adjustable azimuth for various
cassettes that may have been recorded on poor decks... And when it will
work on Macs! I see they are looking for Mac programmers.
There are so many old cassette decks in the world, and some good ones,
such that unless this has a really good playback mechanism it might be
useless. Anyone know?
My experience with old cassettes is that they saound as good as they
ever did, if they haven;t been mistreated physically or played on
unmaintained decks (like people who never degauss the heads, etc.)
Lou Judson • Intuitive Audio
On Dec 26, 2005, at 3:37 PM, Frank Forman wrote:
> What I'd like to get from this list is an appraisal of the PlusDeck and
> volunteer to place the result on a server or help in finding one. My
> difficulty is that I am extremely hard of hearing and don't want to
> hundreds of hours producing something of poor quality, nor to do a lot
> work and being unable to find anyone willing to host the results. I
> also like to know about how cheap and medium grade C-90s deteriorate