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Re: [ARSCLIST] playback curves for some 78s

----- Original Message ----- From: "Tom Fine" <tflists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
I'm wondering about what's a good playback curve (turnover and rolloff settings) for:
1. the Columbia reissue Bix and Tram disks, albums were put out in the late 1940s. If these are just re-pressings from the original Okeh metal parts, then they need the original Okeh early-electric playback characteristics, right? But if they are disk-to-disk transfers, I'm thinking they'd be the 1940's Columbia curve, no?
2. what about Swan records? I couldn't find any reference online. These are "dixieland revival" records by Don Redman and others made I think in the mid or late 40's. I'm wondering if these use a Majestic-like curve or more a Capitol-like curve?

The simple answer here is "Set it by EAR!" (assuming you have a high-quality EQ
in/for your system!). Virtually all the EQ settings for the earlier days of electric
recordings were specific to the recording...set by the "recording experts" "on the
fly!" Ledgers usually note the settings...but this data is only useful IF you have
the schematics of the amplifiers as well as the info on which knob (and thus
which NUMBER) adjusted WHAT?!

Worse yet...the "playback" of a 78 can probably NEVER provide the actual
sound of the "musical event" recorded on the disc in question! Aside from
other issues, virtually ALL 78's (except a few of the final examples) were
NOT recorded in "high" fidelity...the whole point was to get an example
of the "hit-to-be" that could be heard and enjoyed(?) by the average record
purchaser! It probably wasn't until c.1950 and thereafter that "fidelity"
became "high"...?! In fact, even in my youth-hood...the :rock'n'roll" era
of the late fifties...we listened to our favourite "hit tunes" on table-top
45 players NOT noted for their "fidelity!" Since most of these hits were
used for dancing, all we cared about was whether we could hear the
beat; if the highest octave (8000-16000 Hz) wasn't reproduced (or
for that matter HEARD?!) we didn't really care!

The surprising thing is the degree of reproduction one can still hear on
electrical recordings of the twenties...like, for example, the bass notes
on Jesse Crawford's recordings...?!

It is also interesting to hear the way Duke Ellington used to set up his
band so that the bass (usually string) could ALWAYS be heard!!

Steven C. Barr

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