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Old 13th February 2012, 04:03 AM   #1
Previously: Kuei Yang Wang
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Default Recording studios (split from Measurements)

Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by dvv View Post
John, could you please elaborate on: "... Then there is the BBC." What did you mean by that, good or bad? In what way?
The BBC USED TO HAVE a long standing commitment to very quality recording/broadcast of original material. As with so many good things, everything comes to an end eventually though. While still not as bad as commecrial broadcasters, the BBC's quality has deteriorated severely in the last decade or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dvv View Post
Also, could you comment on Decca Phase 4 stereo series of LPs, I am very curios, as I hold them to be the best stereo I have ever heard in standard LP fare (although their choice of recorded material leaves something to be desired - Mantovani?), i.e. not some special edition, or a product from a small, ultra purist company?
Decca was one of the recording companies with extremely high production values and retained an independent recording centre (classical music focus) in London using much of equipment designed and made in House even long after the string of acquisitions starting in 1980 with Polydor that eventually placed Decca as subsidary of Warner and now of Universal which shelved plans to close Decca completely in 2009 for now.

This Recording Centre was closed in 2002 ending decades of technical excellence and high production values in the name of the all pervasive god of predatory capitalism, short term profit.

The Decca classical recording catalog remains available:

Decca - home of classical music

Decca's recording was home to many innovations in recorded music (and also many absolute lemons and albatross's), most crucially to me perhaps the so-called Decca-Tree arrangement of microphones for recording purposes.

The Decca tree, to me, gives one of the most realistic and natural stereo imaging going, at the expense of some image specificity; which in turn I find mostly artificial, an artefact of the recording process, as in a concert hall the orchestras many sections also rather melt into "klangkörper" (literally "sound bodies") that appear whole, rather than different violins, woodwinds etc.

There are some articles I quickly turned up about Decca's recording centre and techniques, including Phase 4.

Endless Groove - London Phase 4 Stereo

Article | DECCA PHASE-4 STEREO | Page18 - February1962 - Gramophone Archive

Article | THE DECCA RECORDING CENTRE ,0?Borw,repo?s | Page12 - March1986 - Gramophone Archive

Personally I am not that greatly taken with the Phase 4 stuff

Again, "DE GVSTIBVS"...

On the other hand the more minimalist recordings also published by Decca and the Vox/Turnabout Releases under Decca as well as Decca's L'Oiseau-Lyre Sublable have probably a 50% share of my classica LP collection and contain material that is exceptional both musically, in terms of the artists recorded and the audio quality as well as production quality.

Shame this is now all "History", but "TEMPVS FVGIT"...


Ciao T
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Old 13th February 2012, 05:21 AM   #2
Previously: Kuei Yang Wang
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by CopperTop View Post
I'm sure there are people who use minimal recording techniques, but there's no way that the simplest recording doesn't rely on several op amps in the recording chain, and probably a few SMPSs.
There are ways.

Just because your horizon is so limited, you cannot conceive something does not mean it is not done and cannot be done.

There is a "high end" and a custom shop infrastructure for recording just as for playback.

Very few microphones use IC's.

Tube mike pre's (based on historical circuits) implemented with audiophile parts are many, even more if we include generic parts. Fully discrete Mike pre's are many and quite affordable. There are A2D converters with minimal passive frontends.

Many studio's use gear that is heavily modified, in fact during my 2nd degree in London I made money doing contract re-build jobs on anything from Studer tape machines to Soundcraft Desks (the latter are particularly bad, very incompetent grounding).

Quote:
Originally Posted by CopperTop View Post
I doubt many of them worry about what mains cable they use. Their (balanced) interconnects will not be cotton covered, and will be tens of metres long in total; they will not use a special type of weave.
A lot of studio's nowadays use Plenum Cat 5 wiring in walls/trunks (this stuff is basically made like a lot of high end interconnects) and I have seen quite elaborate mains filter arrangements as well.

As studio's always use true balanced connections, often still using transformers in the real top grade gear as well and not the HiFi style dual opposite polarity single ended circuitry (which incidentally solves non of the problems of single ended connection but creates more problems of it's own) they tend to have less of the problems that make HiFi systems so vulnerable to cable effects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CopperTop View Post
But I still think that worrying about the final 0.5m of interconnect cable into the amp seems, on the face of it, to be absurd.
It only seems absurd to anyone who has either never taken, failed or forgotten all about EE101 (in essence the most basic electronics that at least in my country where actually taught in sixth grade and on wards but enlarged upon in EE101, that is Coloumb, Lentz, Ohm, Kirchoff etc.).

To anyone who does understand basic electrical principles (understanding means the ability to apply them to a given situation) it SHOULD not come as a surprise that interconnects and mains cables CAN have dramatic sonic impact. The case is a little more difficult for speaker cables, as now we need to involve complex electronics, but still can be made.

The real problem is of course that people who KNOW these laws and principles very well simply do not apply them where for example cables are concerned (as if the laws of physics stopped being applicable just because it is now no longer an amplifier we deal with but a cable), an act of mental acrobatics that can only be compared to "Doublethink*" as defined by George Orwell in his Novel 1984.

I often show these two illustrations from a "review" of a cable by my old buddy Pete (haven't heard from him in ages) linked with the pictures...

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Ciao T

* Doublethink: "

"The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them....

To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies - all this is indispensably necessary.

Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth."
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Old 13th February 2012, 07:12 AM   #3
dvv is offline dvv  Serbia
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Quote:
Originally Posted by john dozier View Post
I always found the Phase 4 lps to be somewhat bright, but they certainly had extreme clarity. A matter of taste I suppose. Regards BTW I loved the liner notes on "Pass in Review" A dixieland band is followed by a Salvation Army Band "sternly admonishing the hosts of Satan that have gone before". Regards
Clarity as few others had. In my view, a somewhat dubious taste in music, but of course, that's as personal as it gets.

All you had to do was to play one on any system to make it very clear to everybody what was stereo about. On good systems, it was simply bliss.

Thanks for the comment, John.
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Old 13th February 2012, 07:27 AM   #4
dvv is offline dvv  Serbia
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Thorsten, I can only agree completely with you that modern recording practices have gone astray (in general) by trying to make a symphonic orchestra sound like a bunch of individual instruments all lumped together, rather than as one whole.

As a matter of fact, while my Marantz amps do have their share of faults, this is the one thing where they excell - they do the kaboodle as one whole, from top to bottom, no preferences, and they keep it together even at high volume levels.

Whereas I find that many modern products do their damndest to pick it all apart, which I find to be irrittating (to me, at least). Today's mantra is that they need to be "analytical", whatever the hell that means.

But, manufacturers will always try to make what will sell, irrespective of its absolute values or lack thereof.

Perhaps we need a measurement value for "analytical" ...

Also, the dynamics of music have been, in my view, compromised by the wild drive to make your latest CD sound as loud as you possibly can. To me, dynamics means the difference between the loudest and least loud sound you can hear, but where are they if you have cranked up the volume into clipping all of the time?

Last edited by dvv; 13th February 2012 at 07:30 AM.
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