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Re: [ARSCLIST] NY Times: Researchers Play Tune Recorded before Edison
Were retail-sales disks always pressed from manufacturing parts of some sort or was that a Berliner
or later innovation? Didn't cylinders have to be made in batches, mechanically copied from a
"master" and weren't the batches relatively small? Or was that just Concert cylinders?
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Richter" <mrichter@xxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2008 4:45 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] NY Times: Researchers Play Tune Recorded before Edison
Tom Fine wrote:
Are you saying that cylinders are technically superior to disks? Or are you saying that Edison's
version of a disk was superior to Berliner's? Or are you simply saying that Berliner won out
because he could mass-produce disks that sold at a viable price point?
The final sentence is the only one with which I disagree. The disc won out for the same reason
that VHS won out over the technically superior Betamax: practicality. The disc is far more
practical to produce and to handle. Technical issues are significant (and the professional
version of Betamax still survives), but for the producer and the user operational and cost
issues take over.
Oddly, I am saying what I said: The disc won out for ... practicality.
It was cheaper to produce, easier to stock, sell, buy, store and play. If you infer from what I
said that it had higher fidelity, I would not argue with the conclusion, but point out that I did
not assert it.
Note that one is hard pressed to be specific about cost of production, though it would seem to be
higher given the nature of the process by, say, 1902. However, price to the consumer is dictated
by many factors other than cost of production. IMHO, RCA probably would have charged no more for a
Caruso or Sembrich cylinder (if it had made such) than for the disc. The premium for such an
artist's record was surely far greater than needed to cover the production cost.