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In the Forum: Playback Listening
In the Thread: The “Implied Sound” in Audio.
Post Subject: The recording ART?Posted by rowuk on: 7/29/2012
I think that there is an additional "musical" factor in older recordings. The recording engineers were often not technical people, rather had strong musical background themselves. I believe that they did have a different goal based on the tools that they had at their disposal.

The purchase of recordings was a special thing before we were flooded with media. Conductors offered readings that had the spontaneity of live concerts. There was no editing possibility, the musicians had their shot and it was the job of the engineer to preserve it. 

Harvey Fletcher (of Fletcher-Munson fame) wrote his "Symposium on Wire Transmission of Symphonic Music and its Reproduction in Auditory Perspective" in 1934. The limits of human hearing, dynamic range and geometric perspective (imaging) were quantified. Hardware decisions were made to "transport" an original event somewhere else. This was pioneering at its best.  One phrase sticks with me in conjunction with the coupling of the Academy of Music in Philadelphia and Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. (27. April 1933) for this experiment:

"Judging from the expression of those who heard this concert, the development of this system has opened many new possibilities for the reproduction and transmission of music that will create even a greater emotional appeal than that obtained when listening to the music coming directly from the orchestra through the air".

Yes, the engineers had a message for us. They had a bigger goal than reaching markets. They were focussed on capturing/preserving the moment and the musical intentions of the conductor. I am not sure that from their perspective it was "implied". We just do not know what the conductor wrote into the engineers copy of the score!

I have spent much time with the older microphones. They are like musical instuments with very special character. The engineer had to know how to "play" these instruments, and many fell in love with the special ones that fit their concept.

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