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Thread: Early Stereo Records

  1. #21
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    There are several anomalies between the early stereophonic issues of Sinatra LP's and their original monophonic counterparts.

    In the case of his first released stereo LP, Where Are You?, one track ("I Cover The Waterfront") was dropped due to space limitations. (Stereo grooves being wider than those on mono records, there was less space for the music.) Also, a different take of "Autumn Leaves" was used. (It may be that the stereo masters of the mono take were inferior. In any event, the mono version is exceedingly rare on compact disc, having been issued only on a long out-of-print French compilation.)

    On the High Society soundtrack LP, the (studio) version of "You're Sensational" was only recorded in mono to begin with, so fake "stereo" processing had to be utiltized. Also, there is the well-known omission of the film dialog insert by Bing Crosby ("You must be one of the newer fellows") on "Well, Did You Evah?", as discussed at the link in the lead post of this thread.

  2. #22
    Ronald Sarbo's Avatar
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    MGM had been recording film soundtracks in stereo since the early 1950's.

    The soundtrack to "The Student Prince" was recorded in stereo in 1952 but to date RCA has only issued Mario Lanza's greatest recording achievement in mono.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMM View Post
    If you're familiar with reels, you'll know that most commerically issued tapes were 4 track - 2 tracks (left/right) in each direction. 2 track tapes had all the music in 1 direction, and used twice as much tape. They also allowed for better sound, due to the wider "tracks".
    I can confirm this from personal experience. The 4-track tapes tended to "bleed through" to the other "side" because of the narrower tracks. The advantage was twice as much music on a tape. Also, no need to rewind at the end of a tape: The two pairs of tracks ran in opposite directions, like later day cassette tapes, so you flipped over and swapped reels to play the other "side" (i.e. in the early days, before auto-switching and reversing tape heads and drive mechanisms).

    Blank magnetic tape was relatively expensive for consumers at first. I bought many of my blank tapes in "cheapo" grades and off-brand labels, for which I was very sorry years later, when I discovered that some of those had turned to light brown iron oxide dust. Premium grades from better manufacturers (e.g. 3M and Ampex) tended to fare better over time.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Sarbo View Post
    MGM had been recording film soundtracks in stereo since the early 1950's.
    I don't think it was so much that they were consciously recording for stereo, as that they utilized multiple simultaneous microphone setups and tracks so that they could mix the music according to the actors' and singers' positions on screen ("angles" in film parlance). This leant itself to easy conversion when consumer stereo became a reality.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMM View Post
    Around 1968, when mono LP's began to be phased out, record companies told people the above [stereo records could be damaged by mono players]
    Conversely, in the early '60s, before stereo became established, the record companies went out of their way to assure people their investment in mono records would remain viable when they decided to take the stereo plunge. The following legend appeared in a prominent box on the backs of Capitol's mono LP sleeves:

    This monophonic microgroove recording is playable on monophonic and stereo phonographs. It cannot become obsolete. It will continue to be a source of outstanding sound reproduction, providing the finest monophonic performance from any phonograph.

  6. #26
    MMM's Avatar
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  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    I don't think it was so much that they were consciously recording for stereo, as that they utilized multiple simultaneous microphone setups and tracks so that they could mix the music according to the actors' and singers' positions on screen ("angles" in film parlance). This leant itself to easy conversion when consumer stereo became a reality.
    That largely changed after September 30, 1952, the premiere date for "This is Cinerama." The film was the first ever to be reviewed on page 1 of the New York Times, and it sent the major studios into a tizzy that resulted in Cinemascope, 70mm, 3-D, etc. At a time when films were square and monophonic, "This is Cinerama" offered a wide-screen image and 7-track (!) magnetic stereo sound. Cinemascope (with 4-track stereo) premiered less than a year later, followed in quick order by VistaVistion, Superscope, and Todd-AO/Camera 65/SuperPanavision/70mm. "Kiss Me Kate" opened in 3-D and 3-track stereo in November of 1953. Most of the 3-D and wide-screen formats offered stereophonic sound in one form or other, requiring that studios alter their sound recording practices to facilitate multi-track reproduction, either via mag-striped filmed or an interlock system.

    For more info, please see my good friend Marty Hart's excellent website, www.widescreenmuseum.com.

    The earliest-recorded Capitol stereo LP? I think it must be the soundtrack to "Oklahoma!" -- recorded at the Goldwyn Soundstage (IIRC) in May of 1955. I'm guessing the first stereo release of that LP wasn't until around 1960.

    Matt

  8. #28
    johnofphilly's Avatar
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    Sort of puts faith in disclaimers into perspective. (flip-flop advice for equipment sales in an alternating market)
    ......pick yourself up...... ......dust yourself off...... ......start all over again...... (my e-mail)

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMM View Post
    There were stereo reel to reel tapes issued before LP's. LP's began to be released by commercial labels in 1958.
    Correct, with one notable exception from Atlantic Records in 1953 (predating even the RCA Stereo-Orthophonic tapes), using the dual-tonearm system developed by Emory Cook, not the later Westrex 45/45 system. See more info here.

    This recording has been reissued on CD in stereo as part of this set. (I do not own it, but would be curious to hear it. I've read conflicting reports that it was engineered either by Tom Dowd or Emory Cook.)

    Matt

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMM View Post
    I love that.
    I also love that

  11. #31
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    I just wanted to add a link to an earlier thread with much great info about early stereo at Capitol (among other topics). The actual thread title is somewhat misleading, but see beginning with this post:


  12. #32
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    Another earlier thread, with some great input from Martin:


  13. #33
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    $14.95 in 1959! That's about the price of a CD at Tower Records in the 90's, but according to an online inflation calculator, it's the equivalent of spending $117.88 in 2013 (the final range of the calculator).

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