[78-L] Old Geezers

Philip Carli Philip_Carli at pittsford.monroe.edu
Fri Mar 23 23:19:19 PDT 2012

Depends on your machine.  On a Victrola, Grafonola, or other console/cabinet instrument, the Stokowski sound is compressed and you don't hear the contrabasses.  (I will say that a combination of tuba _and_ string bass in acoustical orchestrals was fairly common both before and after the 1917 Stokowski sessions.)  On the big open horn Victors that continued to be sold to audiophiles into the 20s (and open horn machines were still present in many thousands of American homes in the late teens, and in Europe were still in pretty heavy production after the war), the sound is much more present.  On a Ginn the results can be astoundingly vivid, and the sound is still all mechanically produced.  Ironically, my Edison Diamond Disc machines (a B-80 and an S-19) give superb sound on acoustical laterals using a carefully-angled and placed KenTone adapter, because the DD machines had large elliptical horns that permitted more sound expansion than the short boxy horns in lateral cabinet instruments.

As to another pont about what musicians heard in the recording studio - the way orchestral and band musicians, at least, were positioned for acoustical recording was so the end result sounded coherent, which might be very different from their experience in their seats. The most successful studio musicians had to adapt their expectations from what they heard as they were recording and what the pressings sounded like, and the results depended upon good engineering and good conducting; J. Louis von der Mehden was both surprised and pleased at how good his own orchestra cylinders sounded, and actively purchased them (the company evidently didn't give away artists' copies).  PC
From: 78-l-bounces at klickitat.78online.com [78-l-bounces at klickitat.78online.com] on behalf of David Lennick [dlennick at sympatico.ca]
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2012 5:39 PM
To: 78-L Mail List
Subject: Re: [78-L] Old Geezers

On 3/23/2012 5:25 PM, neechevoneeznayou at gmail.com wrote:

> But Philip brings up a good point to consider, that most records had
> more sound recorded in them than could be reproduced on contemporary
> playback machines.
> joe salerno

Indeed, Stokowski's first acousticals actually DO have audible bass fiddles,
but they couldn't be heard at the time, so subsequent orchestral recordings
omitted them, even into the first electricals. And think of all the chopped
endings on early electrics where the decay or a final "plunk" was still in
effect but the engineer had whipped the cutter into runout mode.


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