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Re: [ARSCLIST] playback curves for some 78s

Help (Plaintively). Can someone please tell me how to get a digest version of this list which I find very interesting.
Terence in South Africa.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Michael Biel" <mbiel@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, May 17, 2009 7:44 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] playback curves for some 78s

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?

Usually you can tell if they are original master pressings by looking at the lead-out grooving and the matrix numbers. Columbia often grafted a new style lead out on top of the original lead out, creating a very complicated looking mess. Some of these Columbia reissue sets were original masters in their earlier pressings and then got dubbed masters when the original metals wore out.

But if they are disk-to-disk transfers, I'm
thinking they'd be the 1940's Columbia curve, no?

No, because it would also be affected by the curve Columbia would have used to play the original discs. Of course you could just ask George Avakian and see if he remembers what the engineers did. Anybody got his email address? He used to come to the NJ Jazz Bash that is coming up next month.

By the way, the current ARSC Journal has Gary Gallo's definitive article
on the Columbia LP curve and its relationship to the NAB curve for ETs.

Mike Biel mbiel@xxxxxxxxx

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?

From: "Steven C. Barr" <stevenc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 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
other issues, virtually ALL 78's (except a few of the final examples)
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
purchaser! It probably wasn't until c.1950 and thereafter that
became "high"...?! In fact, even in my youth-hood...the :rock'n'roll"
of the late fifties...we listened to our favourite "hit tunes" on
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
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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