July-27th-2007, 01:44 PM
Great audio advances that didn't really work
I'm sure we've all seen trends in audio come and go. Quadraphonic sound was one that didn't catch on -- in part because of the battle between matrix and CD-4 (discrete) formats -- but it worked as promised.
How about those that don't work? I'm thinking of most "linear-tracking" turntables, for instance. They were supposed to revolutionize playback, eliminating distortion by playing the records in the manner they had been cut.
But so many of them tracked for crap. Think of the Rabco line of expensive tables for Harman-Kardon. If you ever see them on eBay for sale, 90-95 percent say "this isn't tracking right now, probably an easy fix" or some such. Right!
So, who here has gotten burned with one of these? I had a Garrard "Zero" turntable that I couldn't set up correctly for the life of me. You?
Last edited by Chris D; July-27th-2007 at 02:02 PM.
July-28th-2007, 06:19 PM
Never had a zero tracking turntable. I was somewhat interested in a turntable that used a laser instead of a needle a few years ago (can't remember who made it). The $10,000 price tag was about $9,500 too much for me though.
As for the advances that didn't work I'd say anything after using analogue tape and a few mics for recording has been a step backwards.
To my ears the best sounding and most realistic "you are there" sound has been acheived with a couple of mics and analogue tape.
It all went down hill after that.
Funny thing is, one of the newer formats, SACD, involves a digital format that they try to make sound more like analogue.
Last edited by Jeffrey Wozniak; July-28th-2007 at 06:39 PM.
July-29th-2007, 10:16 AM
IIRC, many linear tracking arms were not very reliable, as far as the movement of the arm was concerned. I also don't remember it being meant to really revolutionize LP playback, as the tracking angle is not the most important problem in vinyl playback.
Another analogue innovation that didn't catch on was the DMM - direct metal mastering - pressing method for LPs, which was launched in the early 80's, at a time when the future of LPs was uncertain because of the CD. Today, many vinyl collectors think DMM LPs sound bad, but this seems to be due to the poor sounding digitally remastered DMM reissues that EMI released in the mid 80's (including Blue Note stuff). The DMM LPs I have (mostly Enja albums from the mid-80's) sound great.
July-29th-2007, 06:51 PM
At the risk of sounding more sarcastic than I internd, I'm inclined to aswer "digital". Ah yes, CDs as perfect sound, forever. Me, I'm still living in (and loving) the analog age, whenever I can.
July-30th-2007, 12:52 AM
Enjoy it - You only get 1
I still use my Technics SL-3 linear tracking TT. Works as good now as it did when I bought it. It even does what it was designed to do: no pops and clicks appear during playback on this machine. I have always felt that it was due mostly to the linear tracking. If they're already there, they're there. But this deck rarely creates them.
July-30th-2007, 09:30 AM
Good for you, Kevin! You're probably in the minority there.
A guy I buy LPs from on eBay sent a freebie with my last purchase. It's a collection of "hi-fi Mono-tastic!" jazz tracks on Charlie Parker Records. My experience with most CPR releases was that the recording quality wasn't generally as good as on, say, the Verves, Blue Notes or RCAs of the era, but this was intended as a hi-fi demo record.
Great, mostly West Coast one-off lineups: Giuffre, Plas Johnson, Marty Paich in a trio setting. Liner notes talk all about the Telefunken and Shure mikes used, their placement, etc. It was a little clicky, then I washed it, and it opened right up.
Back to mono, baby.
July-30th-2007, 10:07 AM
JC's Top Member 2011®
This was a big deal at one time, but then Metal tapes came along and rendered them obsolete a short while later.
"I'm just glad it wasn't machete night."
—Bob Froese, goaltender, after Rangers fans threw mugs on the ice during mug night
July-30th-2007, 12:49 PM
I still have an unopened Maxell XL1-S 90 minute cassette, probably from the 80's or early 90's, before this premium item was discontinued. These were for Type 1 "normal" settings, and had the best bass-handling of any of the various types of cassettes regardless of who made them or what they were made of, IMO. They also had lower noise than other Type 1 cassettes.
There was an audio company called BIC that manufactured two-speed cassette decks. For better sound, they had the option of using double the amount of tape run twice as fast as normal. Apparently, there wasn't enough of an audible improvement for most listeners to settle for getting only get 45 minutes from tapes that would normally run 90, 30 min. from 60, etc., so the line was discontinued. If they had stayed in production, I probably would have eventually bought one for taping vinyl records.
Last edited by Hudson Boy; July-30th-2007 at 12:55 PM.
July-30th-2007, 02:02 PM
Enjoy it - You only get 1
I have about 4 or 5 DBX encoded LPs. I seriously think that if this technology had come out about 3 years earlier, we might not have had such a rapid conversion to CDs in the mid-80s. These LPs are that quiet. Too bad that the technology died before it even hit the shelf.
July-30th-2007, 02:24 PM
The riff-filled land
July-30th-2007, 02:34 PM
Thing is, laserdiscs work great. Same technology as CDs. I've got a combo CD-laserdisc player that is awesome; that big platter spinning the CDs is sweet. And "A Hard Day's Night" got a great transfer to laserdisc. (I've got about 25 of them. That's the hard thing about being an early adopter.)
Originally Posted by Gerardo A.
Last edited by Chris D; July-30th-2007 at 03:16 PM.
July-30th-2007, 02:54 PM
The riff-filled land
Hahaha that's cool. I mentioned them because no one seemed to buy them here back when they came out.
July-30th-2007, 03:17 PM
No one bought them here either, Gerardo, and it was a nice addition to the thread.
July-30th-2007, 03:23 PM
Enjoy it - You only get 1
That's it, I'm an audio geek.
I have two laser disc players, one for each system. Most of the movies I have on laser disc are Disney cartoon movies. I bought into laser discs after wearing out a couple of VHS tapes.
BTW, the audio of laser discs is the same as CD, but the video is encoded very differently. The reflected surface modulates the laser and this modulation is decoded to video. Laser disc's video is technically analog.
July-30th-2007, 04:09 PM
Right. Didn't mean to mislead.
Originally Posted by Kevin Bresnahan
July-30th-2007, 04:15 PM
It is possible to get a lot of laser discs cheaply on ebay, if anyone wanted to add to their collections. I have noticed that one of the ebay sellers who specializes in avant garde jazz also has a selection of great films on laser disc at all times.
July-31st-2007, 12:17 AM
DAT = the 8-track of the 1990s
July-31st-2007, 05:47 AM
That is true for consumer use only. But DAT has been an extremely popular professional and semi-professional recording and archival/transport format. It made digital recording technology affordable for everyone. It has also been used a lot for data storage.
Last edited by Nefertiti; July-31st-2007 at 05:50 AM.
July-31st-2007, 08:58 AM
I want to own one someday. I've always had a desire to make field recordings.
Away from the delusionary forces that turn music into a step to fame and fortune it becomes a reason to live." (David Morris)
July-31st-2007, 11:01 AM
It's been many moons since I've used cassette, but wasn't the XL II -S a step up from the XL I -S?
If memory serves it was a high bias tape and sounded much better.
July-31st-2007, 11:41 AM
DATs are just now being phased out in my end of the movie business (post production).
July-31st-2007, 11:59 AM
I'm seriously considering getting an old-school vacuum-tube amp. Not one of the new models -- many of which are hybrid solid state-tubes -- but a rehabbed Scott or Harman-Kardon. If such a piece has been thoroughly revamped and tested, is it good to go? Would one need a Variac to bring it up to speed slowly?
July-31st-2007, 11:59 AM
Can't believe no-one's mentioned Dynaflex records yet, not to mention Dynagroove. I have Michael Nesmith LPs made under both processes (not the same ones, obviously, although...maybe).
July-31st-2007, 12:10 PM
Good ones, Alastair. Dynaflex records from RCA were so thin you could wear through the grooves if you tracked heavy enough. I've got Bowie, Kinks, Lou Reed Dynaflexes, trying to think of others....
July-31st-2007, 12:23 PM
De harder dey come...
"Muswell Hillbillies" was on the wretched Dynaflex. Never heard it right until the CD era, and even then...
In fact, it appears it was re-issued recently by JVC Japan on high-definition CD. Finally!
Last edited by groover; July-31st-2007 at 12:35 PM.
July-31st-2007, 02:27 PM
My experience with DAT was in the broadcasting world. When I was Music Director at Mountain-Lake Public Radio at the turn of the 1990s we transitioned from reel-to-reels to DAT machines. They were great for recording satellite feeds of PRI and NPR programs such as Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz. We also used them for recording music performances, both in-studio and on-location. This was before the surge of innovations in digital editing technology, so it was a real bear editing those live music recordings! And the machines (I don't recall the models) were a bit flaky at times.
Originally Posted by Nefertiti
They're pretty much obsolete in radio these days and that was my point. Everything is computer-based now. Your point is well-taken however, as scores of fine live recordings were made on DAT machines (one of my favorites is the Live at Claudio's set by Don Menza and Pete Magadini on Sackville; I was in the audience for that one and know firsthand that it was done direct to DAT.)
Last edited by Bill Barton; July-31st-2007 at 02:29 PM.
August-6th-2007, 10:32 AM
Peace and Light!
I have a DAT machine and scores of DAT recordings. When I play them now, or try to record on them, they are so full of errors and digital noise that they are basically useless.
How about those 120-minute cassettes? The tape itself was so thin it would snap or stretch, ruining whatever was on them!
Acordaros que aquí os queremos infinito!
August-6th-2007, 07:06 PM
The Maxell Ferric Oxide XL 1 - S cassette tape was very dynamic and went for about the same price as Maxell's Chrome X II-2. Both of these tapes were very well constructed. Generally speaking, the Chromium Dioxide ones were quieter and empahsized the high spectrum of audio, better for classical music, and the normal Ferric Oxide XL 1-S cassettes were more dynamic and better suited for pop, rock, jazz, etc. There have also been rumors for decades that CrO2 tapes do not last as long as the other types. I once read that it's all just rust, no matter what you call them.
Originally Posted by Jeffrey Wozniak
Last edited by Hudson Boy; August-7th-2007 at 11:07 PM.
August-11th-2007, 03:42 PM
To my ears the XLII-S was the superior sounding tape regardless of the music, due to it's extended dynamic range over it's normal bias cousin. With the XLI-S there was just too much missing to satisfy the ear.
August-12th-2007, 03:53 AM
Any body remember old Dixie Record Press in Nashville TN? I used to press my stuff there in the mid 1970's.
Last edited by Cybergius; August-12th-2007 at 03:54 AM.