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Re: [ARSCLIST] LP pressing question
Huh? I thought the machines used were non-Ampex, forgot the brand, or was that just the "vintage
restored machine" used for the CD remaster? I forgot if it was a Magnecorder or that other non-Ampex
pro machine of the era (pre-Scully). The CD reissue that first got the speed thing right, if I
remember the press reports correctly, was done on one of these machines. But at the same time,
anyone I know who ever worked Columbia 30th St. or 52nd St. talked about Ampex machines. Then that
begs the question, why would Sony dig up one of these kind of oddball old machines when old Ampex
300-3's (complete machines or piles of machines easily made into the right configuration with a
Sony-sized budget and a couple of days at John French's place) were and are all over the place.
Mark Wilder of Sony, who I think discovered and fixed the problem, played a demo at an AES maybe 6
years ago in NY, centered around a panel discussion about Ashly Kahn's book about "Kind of Blue"
(one man's opinion here -- I find that album good listening but of highly inflated importance in the
general scheme of jazz, but it is fun to listen to once in a while and did sell a lot of copies so
props are due). The pitch shift is very subtle but I can definitely see why a generation of
musicians wanting to play along were scratching their heads, especially if they initially tuned to a
StroboTuner or tuning fork. I think the net time difference for a whole 20+ minute side is less than
a minute (ie less than 5%) but a trained musician with perfect pitch can detect 1% out of key.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob Olhsson" <olh@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 6:33 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] LP pressing question
From Tom Fine: "...In the studio session environment, it was important to
keep track of time for two reasons -- 1)
musician's union rules and 2) length of songs geared to singles..."
Not just singles. You needed an accurate time in order to cut an acetate for
the producer and artist to take home and make their decisions from.
I was very suspicious about the story that several songs on Miles Davis's
"kind of Blue" were accidently released at the wrong speed. I found out from
Walter Selstead, who was in charge of Ampex engineering, that Columbia had
contacted Ampex almost immediately about the speed problem with some of
their new machines. "Kind of Blue" indeed went out with some songs at the
wrong speed but it was clearly a conscious artistic choice and could not
have been an oversight.
Bob Olhsson Audio Mastery, Nashville TN
Mastering, Audio for Picture, Mix Evaluation and Quality Control
Over 40 years making people sound better than they ever imagined!