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Re: [ARSCLIST] Can 78s sound better than LPs?
From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
Marcos Sueiro Bal wrote:
> I have noticed that when recommending sound cards for podcasting 78s, some on
> the list have not chosen top-of-the-line models with the assumption that the
> sound quality of 78s is inherently inferior to that, of, say, LPs. That seems
> generally to be the case, but I do remember once hearing a pristine 78 RPM
> acetate of a live jazz recording that blew me away --the sound was big and
> detailed, clean, and also quite louder than the average LP.
> My question is: is the 78 "system" inherently an inferior product? I do not
> know enough about it, but it seems to me that it is moving faster and the
> grooves are wider, so, potentially at least, it could sound better than 33s
> (stereo notwithstanding). Or could it?
----- I need to step in here and declare that the best quality sound card is
definitely essential for 78s. The large linear speed of the surface below the
cutterhead and the huge amplitudes available really do provide a very dynamic
recording. But it will all be destroyed if there are limitations in the
equipment used to extract the sound.
1) Marcos' experience is typical of the result you get from 78 rpm recordings
when they are represented as 1) acetates, 2) galvanotypic mothers (i.e. a
positive metal derived from the original negative metal), and 3) vinyl
pressings from 78rpm masters. All provided you have a linear pickup (Ortofon
A or C - mono) and a preamp with a large headroom. This is the raw material
you want for any further processing. I should say that the ELP LT will give
the same from a vinyl pressing of a 78.
2) when this good signal is degraded by the grit in the surface of the
shellac material, the requirement for good pulse response of the whole chain
becomes even more necessary, because you need to represent noise well in
order to be able to remove it with minimum generation of artefacts. Here the
ELP LT may in many instances provide the simplest input, because there are no
mechanical compromises to be made between compliance, linearity,
trackability, etc. But it all comes to nothing, if the headroom and
distortion of the pre-amp are not up to par.
3) the result after podcast treatment will be worse if these conditions are
4) however, I must be true to my dictum "low quality sound is worse than no
sound at all", so if you want to provide low-quality podcast, and nobody
produces any better, you are still the best in the field.