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Thread: Evolution of Sound Reproduction

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    Senior Member rojo's Avatar
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    Default Evolution of Sound Reproduction

    Quote Originally Posted by Mongoose
    Its a very fascinating saga,and one which I would like to discuss. Since school days I've taken a deep interest in recorded sound,from 78's through open reel tape to lp and sacd. So what learned person would care to start things off then?
    Its a sad thing that very few of the general public have access to high quality sound reproduction these days,and the I-Pod,despite its portability,has done nothing to help the situation. A recent item in the Telegraph,according to one Hi-Fi magazine even accused hi-fi enthusiasts of thinking theirselves elitist,and suggested that no one really needs hi-fi,or so I am led to believe. Hi-Fi World,one of the few down to earth magazines,has tried to contradict this statement. Its easy for like minded people to agree,but what can be done to educate the average person in the street when there are so many other things to take their interest and money?
    I recently purchased a cd from Pristine containing recording made onto cylinders from 1899 up to about 1918,and the sound quality is amazing. One can hear sibilants,and the bass instruments are clearly recorded. In comparison with discs made later,the reproduction is wonderfully clear. Pristine have just said that they intend to issue electrical tests made during 1924 of Mengelberg conducting. These recordings should prove to be likewise fascinating to those who study the history of sound recording.
    Best wishes,Mongoose.
    I wonder how many households today actually have hi-fi...

    I have heard that cylinders sounded better than discs. My Dad explained to me that it has to do with the fact that on discs, the rotations become smaller as the stylus moves along the groove towards the center of the disc, which affects the consistency. The stylus has to pass through the grooves at a faster rate in the center than at the outer edge. On a cylinder, the rotations stay the same size and speed. Or something like that. Cylinders were phased out anyway though; they were difficult to store, as compared to discs.

    When I was little, I used to go into my Dad's workshop, and look at all the devices he worked on; tube amps and turntables (and heaps of other stuff,) with interiors visible. They looked like miniature cities inside.

    On the topic of tubes, don't electric guitar players still enjoy using a tube amp?

    I wonder, how complicated is it to get an old tube amp working? Are parts still available for old equipment?
    omnia vincit amor - Virgil

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    Member Kuntster's Avatar
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    Of course Tube amps are still available. Just check out ebay.

    I worked with a guy some years back that loved using tube amps. His studio was incredible.

    I think digital recording has came a long, long way. Of course analog will always sound true.
    Think of it this way, sampling rates have improved all the way to 96K Hz. That means the highest frequency we can record would be +/-10 48K Hz. Most of us can't hear past 15k Hz.

    With these high sampling rates I don't think we are missing much of the sound. Theoretically digital can never be 100% but comes close.

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    Tube,or as we Brits call them,valve amplifiers are all the thing these days,and many companies design and sell them. Some are quite costly whilst others are very reasonably priced. The likes of Leak and Quad are true collectors items. This only applies to the power amps. The preamps,which were a separate unit and accepted the various inputs,are'nt up to modern standards as regards noise,distortion,and actual sound quality. The later can be rebuilt as purely passive devices,that is with no amplifying parts to them. Mnay companies specialise in this,and these can be found in magazines such as Hi-Fi World.
    I have a valve amp boxed upstairs,and changed back to transistors after hearing a Roksan Kandy L111. I then changed this for the newer model K3 with matching cd player. They sound absolutely fabulous,and are British,which is quite a good thing these days.
    I play most formats including 78's and sacd discs,and have a large collection of music from pop to opera. Those who 'specialise' in one type of music really don't know what they are missing when they fail to explore the other areas of the musical world,which is why I find 'Rap' and so much other 'pop' music really rather dreary.
    Regards, Mongoose.

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    Senior Member rojo's Avatar
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    Thanks Mongoose.

    So you aren't presently using your valve amp then? You prefer the Roksan? Hmm.

    Can you play 16's, and have you got any? I ask because my Dad had turntables that played 16, but I don't think he had any 16 rpm records. When I was a kid, I used to goof around with one of my Dad's turntables (a Garrard with 4 speeds,) and play records at incorrect speeds. Ha, those were the days.

    Anyone still using 8-track? I don't think that lasted all that long; maybe longer in cars than in home hi-fi...
    omnia vincit amor - Virgil

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    Rojo.
    Yes,I can play 16RPM discs because I have a Goldring with variable speeds which on I play 78 RPM discs. I only ever had one 16 RPM disc,and thar was when I was at school. (Too many years ago!) It was 'Treasure Island' and played for about two hours and a bit.
    The valve amp which is currently in storage,is one of the Affordable Valve Amplifier range and has a restricted input selection. I tried it against the Roksan Kandy L111 and prefered the later,so the K3 is much better altogether,and has a versitile input range.
    I too used to mess around and play records at the wrong speeds when a kid. Perhaps this is why I am such a avid 'Goons' fan?
    Looking forward to reading your future postings.
    Best wishes,Mongoose.

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    Senior Member rojo's Avatar
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    I had to look up 'Goons', but I get the idea. I'm intrigued, because I assume you're referring to the Goon Show, from the radio in the UK. I'm going to investigate that; I love comedy.

    Just for fun, I looked up 16 rpm's on ebay; there were a whopping three listings.
    omnia vincit amor - Virgil

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    Hi Rojo.
    Yes,indeed.the Goon Show. I have all of the BBC sets of them,and a few on lp. I also enjoy Count Arthur Strong. Have You heard of this gentlemen? He is a retired actor who has a very high opinion of hiself but always gets into some sort of trouble. His shows are very funny to say the least.
    I did once know someone who had a few 'V-Discs'. These were plastic records made for the troops stationed overseas during WW2,by the Americans,and revolved at 33rpm, You needed a long arm to play them because they were,if I recall correctly,16 inches in diameter. The sound quality was'nt bad,but existing discs,all dependant on what they were played on and the care they were shown,can be variable,like any other vynyl disc.
    Nice to hear from You again. Take care. Mongoose.

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rojo View Post
    . . . Anyone still using 8-track? I don't think that lasted all that long; maybe longer in cars than in home hi-fi...
    Some around my part of the country are. I volunteer a thrift store several days a week doing electronic intake, and several times each year we receive stereo systems with an 8 track tape player. I keep a couple 8 track tape cartridges on my shelf at the store just for this purpose. Amazingly, they all work like champs ... we clean them up and put them out for sale and they sell like hotcakes. They seem to be more durable than some run-of-the-mill cassette players.

    Same is true for sets with a LP turntable ... they aren't on our shelves for very long.

    My home audio system contains an Aiwa LP turntable ... I have a good number of LP's in my collection, all in excellent playing condition.

    Although my setup is solid state, I remember the tube amp days, and the superior reliability factor. Car radios, in my youth years, had tube type radios too.
    Kh
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    Senior Member rojo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mongoose View Post
    Hi Rojo.
    Yes,indeed.the Goon Show. I have all of the BBC sets of them,and a few on lp. I also enjoy Count Arthur Strong. Have You heard of this gentlemen? He is a retired actor who has a very high opinion of hiself but always gets into some sort of trouble. His shows are very funny to say the least.
    I did once know someone who had a few 'V-Discs'. These were plastic records made for the troops stationed overseas during WW2,by the Americans,and revolved at 33rpm, You needed a long arm to play them because they were,if I recall correctly,16 inches in diameter. The sound quality was'nt bad,but existing discs,all dependant on what they were played on and the care they were shown,can be variable,like any other vynyl disc.
    Nice to hear from You again. Take care. Mongoose.
    Hi Mongoose,

    Nope; I've never heard of Strong. I'll have to look him up. I have enjoyed some Monty Python stuff, which was apparently inspired by the Goon Show. Enjoyed some Fawlty Towers episodes too.

    Those V-Discs sound interesting; they must be hard to find these days. Especially ones that are still in good condition.

    Nice talking with you too, Mongoose.

    Quote Originally Posted by Krummhorn View Post
    Some around my part of the country are. I volunteer a thrift store several days a week doing electronic intake, and several times each year we receive stereo systems with an 8 track tape player. I keep a couple 8 track tape cartridges on my shelf at the store just for this purpose. Amazingly, they all work like champs ... we clean them up and put them out for sale and they sell like hotcakes. They seem to be more durable than some run-of-the-mill cassette players.

    Same is true for sets with a LP turntable ... they aren't on our shelves for very long.

    My home audio system contains an Aiwa LP turntable ... I have a good number of LP's in my collection, all in excellent playing condition.

    Although my setup is solid state, I remember the tube amp days, and the superior reliability factor. Car radios, in my youth years, had tube type radios too.
    Hi Krummhorn.

    Hmm, I wonder why the 8-track machines would be more durable than regular cassette players?

    Speaking of cylinders, has anyone ever seen this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44YP9AtGj_o

    Ouch! Makes one want to cry.
    Last edited by rojo; Jun-20-2009 at 07:50.
    omnia vincit amor - Virgil

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    I once knew someone who owned a collection of cylinders,and n Edison phonograph. Staying at his place on one occasion I decided to play a cylinder. I slipped it out of its cardboard tube,and pushed it on to the mechanism. Unfortunately,what I did'nt know was that cylinders are slightly tapered,and putting the thing on I cracked it!
    When my friend found out he was the epitome of unleased anger,and did'nt speak to me for nearly two days.
    Pristine Audio recently released a cd of recordings taken from cylinders and remastered digitally. They sound excellent,and one can hear bass and sibilants,which were lacking from disc records of the same period,approx 1899-1917. Its well worth a listen for anyone interested in audio history.
    Mongoose.
    PS. Same about the Tower of Pisa model also on YouTube. One could really sense the anger and anguish!

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    Senior Member rojo's Avatar
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    Bump!

    Really? Are all cylinders slightly tapered?

    Wow, I guess "oopsies" wouldn't really cover this. Did he finally forgive you; are you still friends with this person?
    omnia vincit amor - Virgil

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    I still have a Christmas from him every year. Oooops,could be replaced by a four letter word,or rather,several of them when the 'accident' happened. Go forth and multiply is a polite subsitute!
    Regards,Mongoose.

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