Dismiss Notice
We are rebuilding the search index and other forum caches this morning. Search results may not appear correct until indexing has completed, and the forum may respond a little slower than normal until this has finished.

Transferring 78RPMs...

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Sckott, Mar 21, 2002.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only. Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sagamore Beach, Ma
  2. Clark Johnsen

    Clark Johnsen New Member

    Location:
    Boston MA
    What this person omits *from every step* is attention to Sound Quality. Typical of the breed.

    For twenty years my specialty in audio has been the application of high-end audio technology to playing 78s. The results are stupendous! Laugh as you may, and you probably will, for voices and piano and cello and several other instruments in small combinations, 78s are the medium of choice for realistic sound. Forget those tinkly LPs and edgy CDs -- the earlier entrant has them both beat!

    I speak of discs from the Golden Era, roughly 1927-1939, back when American pressings were the world standard. Get a M or M- copy, and best of all a Victor Z-scroll, and for noise you have nothing more objectionable that tape hiss, while for sound you have a sonic body and an instrumental naturalness that surpass most of today's best efforts.

    But I rest my case on the auditions I provide.

    clark
     
  3. Richard Feirstein

    Richard Feirstein New Member

    Location:
    Albany, NY
    The person who wrote that article failed to go into some significant issues like the size and shape of the stylus. There was not just one standard in use and it is the first decision that can make a big difference in what you get off that disk.
     
  4. Clark Johnsen

    Clark Johnsen New Member

    Location:
    Boston MA
    "The person who wrote that article failed to go into some significant issues like the size and shape of the stylus."

    Quite right! But it is my experience that people who pay attention only to stylus, EQ and noise get far inferior results to my own. That's why I let *them* worry about that stuff! I'll pick it up later.

    clark
     
  5. Paul L.

    Paul L. New Member

    Location:
    Earth
    Hi Clark,

    I'm curious about why you like 78s. Is it the high rpm speed and only a few minutes a side, so the grooves aren't squished? Or is it the simple old-style recording used in making them?

    What do you think of modern pressings on 78rpm?

    Thanks,
    Paul
     
  6. Clark Johnsen

    Clark Johnsen New Member

    Location:
    Boston MA
    "I'm curious about why you like 78s."

    I like 'em because they sound great!

    Why do they sound great? Ah! Wide, deep grooves; inert medium; all-tube cutting; high speed; single-mic recording; ribbon mics; direct-to-disc; no editing; I could continue...

    A musical aspect also manifests: Since the recording process was laborious and expensive, multiple takes were fairly rare. Therefore every recording was more like *a real performance*, where every note you play, matters. Funny, how back then the results were better than all our modern technology usually gives us.

    But let me make it clear, the sonic illusion fails with large ensembles, however fine the performance may be, although frequently enough you don't even want the illusion.

    clark
     
  7. Grant

    Grant Senior Member

    Location:
    United States
    I usually ignore web pages like these but it pains me to see how many novices are gonna follow that guy's advice, never mind that he is using outdated software and the page is old.

    I notice he talks about digital artifacts when using NR but he never talks about how to avoid them. Looking further, it seems he never finished this web page!
     
  8. jligon

    jligon Forum Resident

    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    I think, more annoying than "simplistic" Web pages are those that assume that everyone already has a basic understanding of what that page covers and could not possibly benefit from the ideas on that Web page.

    I am very interested in ideas on transferring 78s to CD, as well as other mediums (I plan on doing it for a living some day), and am interested in whatever anyone has to say.
     
  9. Richard Feirstein

    Richard Feirstein New Member

    Location:
    Albany, NY
    I believe the first efforts to commercially exploit digital audio involved an effort to treat acoustic 78's so as to eliminate acoustic artifacts created by the recording technology. RCA put those early recordings out and they did sound vastly superior to the acoustic masters. A search for interviews and press releases related to that effort should offer some advice applicable to electric 78's as well. The starting point is getting the speed correct since 78 was not always the standard. Then getting a stylus that accomodates the pitch, depth and general grove shape. Shure and others should have lots of historic data available for the asking (an assumption). Then, the eq curves used were not standardized from year to year and label to label. If a 78 is worn out (typical because of the stylus pressure and the use of worn stylus tips) use of a different shape and size stylus can put you into a better preserved location in the grove. These are the starting points to a good transfer.:cool:
     
  10. Clark Johnsen

    Clark Johnsen New Member

    Location:
    Boston MA
    "I believe the first efforts to commercially exploit digital audio involved an effort to treat acoustic 78's so as to eliminate acoustic artifacts created by the recording technology."

    That is true. Thomas Stockham was the perp.

    "RCA put those early recordings out and they did sound vastly superior to the acoustic masters."

    Whoa Nelly! I have a file folder of testimony *from experts in the 78s field* that totally lambastes that opinion. Stockham was a tyro with 78s and didn't know how to play them, he just applied his digital algorithms willy-nilly. He should have hung his head in shame! Further, has the writer ever heard the "acoustic masters" (whatever that phrase may mean), whether over a good player or otherwise, to which he so favorably compares the digital reconstructions? If not, what is he saying?

    "A search for interviews and press releases related to that effort should offer some advice applicable to electric 78's as well. The starting point is getting the speed correct since 78 was not always the standard."

    78 was *never* the standard; not to put too fine a point on it, but the standard was 78.25. Details, details. But, details known to actual practitioners.

    "Then getting a stylus that accomodates the pitch, depth and general groove shape. Shure and others should have lots of historic data available for the asking (an assumption)."

    An incorrect assumption, as it turns out. Shure et al. came into existence during the LP era.

    "Then, the eq curves used were not standardized from year to year and label to label."

    Alas, all too true.

    "If a 78 is worn out (typical because of the stylus pressure and the use of worn stylus tips) use of a different shape and size stylus can put you into a better preserved location in the grove. These are the starting points to a good transfer."

    Right again! But I would doubly emphasize the word "starting"!

    IMHO very few people have put out -- whether on cassette, LP or CD -- anything approaching the sonic results I get on my finely-tuned high-end playback rig. 'Tis a pity, all that time and money wasted, but it means there is still a future for guys like me! ...Maybe...


    clark
     
  11. Paul L.

    Paul L. New Member

    Location:
    Earth
    Clark,

    Are you trying to belittle Feinstein with this 78 rpm vs. 78.25?

    When someone talks about a 33, do you tell them, I believe you are in error, sir, you mean 33 1/3.

    Feinstein's point was well taken. Our old 78 player, which unfortunately we don't have anymore, had adjustable speed from 60 to 90 or something along those lines.
     
  12. Clark Johnsen

    Clark Johnsen New Member

    Location:
    Boston MA
    "Are you trying to belittle Feinstein with this 78 rpm vs. 78.25? When someone talks about a 33, do you tell them, I believe you are in error, sir, you mean 33 1/3. "

    1) No.

    2) Look at the context: The writer made a statement about getting the speed exactly correct, then somewhat sloppily said "78". He wasn't talking about generic 78s, so your example of generic 33s is inappropriate. Besides, I *said* I was putting a "rather fine point" on it. Jeez Louise!

    clark
     
  13. Richard Feirstein

    Richard Feirstein New Member

    Location:
    Albany, NY
    As someone who helped preserve and transfer a collection of over 10,000 classical 78's and 45's I thought I had something to contribute to this string. Guess I was wrong.

    As for Mr. Soundstream's efforts, my uncle who owned that collection saw many of those early acoustic 78 performances duplicated at the Met and he reported to me that Mr. Soundstream's treatment brought back the quality of the voices he rememberd from long long ago. And yes, we had the 78's used in that effort. The collection has been donated to the NY library and other artistic library collections. Shure helped me greatly and supplied over 12 different stylus assemblies and I recall that many of those disks varied from just over 60 rpm to over 80 rpm, but again, what do I know. At its end, the 78 had evolved into a decent technology. Just give a listed to those Sun Elvis recordings.:rolleyes:
     
  14. Clark Johnsen

    Clark Johnsen New Member

    Location:
    Boston MA
    "As someone who helped preserve and transfer a collection of over 10,000 classical 78's and 45's I thought I had something to contribute to this string. Guess I was wrong."

    Now don't go getting all miffed just because someone disagrees with you on certain points. I've been a member of ARSC (Association of Recorded Sound Collections) since 1977 -- and the AES since 1967 -- and care greatly about the preservation of older recordings, as well as extracting the best sound from them, which is my specialty. The last thing I want to see, however, is the blithe assumption take hold, that digitizing them will provide a permanent record (as it were) so that the originals can be tossed. Several "libraries" are operating on that assumption, just as they have in the recently-documented, unhappy cases of historic newspapers on microfilm.

    Your uncle wasn't Lionel Mapleson by any chance? Or his son?

    clark
     
  15. Richard Feirstein

    Richard Feirstein New Member

    Location:
    Albany, NY
    Well you are a bit after my time. I hung at the NY Audio Society (good Chinese Food at the meetings). But by 1977 I was out of audio and into Law School. I don't have a position on the adequacy of PCM preservation of vintage pre vinyl audio disks, but merely note that Mr. Soundstream did successfully find a way to remove some of the artifacts associated with pure acoustic 78 recordings such that the vocal quality of the performer was a bit more accurately reproduced. My deceased uncle who owned that collection refussed to turn it over to RCA since he felt that the few disks they were after did not best represent the work of those artists. I don't remember the specifics and don't suggest that my uncle was rational on this point. He wanted his donations kept confidential. He was not into audio at all, just loved his music and record collection so much that he remained single since he did not want anyone to tell him what to listen to. He listened hours a day well until his 80's and then he lost it. Yes, he listened to LP's too but those new CD's were of no interest to him since there was no room to glue on a picture of the composer or artist. PS, ever try to remove glue from the grove of a record?:D
     
  16. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    It's frustrating to do a good 78 rpm transfer, and everyone seems to have their secrets as well as different views on how to do it.

    One way to get around the wear on a 78 is to use a truncated needle, which some people really like to use, but some will tell you that you're better off finding the same 78 in better condition.

    Noise reduction? I get the feeling that a lot of collectors who can afford it like to use CEDAR for declicking, and but there are others won't use it. One way of getting around noise is dousing the 78 with some sort of fluid or liquid; not sure what kind, though.

    Even after all that, there's the issue of pitch correction. I once wrote to John R T Davies about pitch correction, and he told me about his work on Cornet Chop Suey. When he first did it, he didn't have an original pressing to work with, so he had to go by research: finding the original published material, even trying it on a vintage horn. He finally went with E flat because he thought it was the most likely key, but since then, he's found that it's really in F.

    I toyed with the idea of doing it once, but have since given it up. I figured it was best leave it to guys like Davies and Robert Parker. They're better at it, and I could never get sources as good as theirs.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page