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  • Insight to how the Decca Sound was created

    I have to share this link, as a longtime Decca/London collector and especially the sound from those records :-)
    <p>“Of course, in those days the technique was a closely guarded secret and, in fact, there was a ‘no poaching’ agreement between EMI and Decca. It was an informal agreement which said that when a Decca or EMI technician was let go the other company would not hire them, because they had their own little secrets. That continued well into the ’70s and ’80s even though their studios were located within a mile of each other!”</p> ...

  • #2
    I posted a comment on AS, concerning the great work that Mike Gray did and the use I made of it while writing my Decca book in 2013 and 2014. While interviewing some of the remaining Decca engineers and other staff from that era, they shared with me some insights into the differences between EMI and Decca in their recording philosophies and also some of the conflicts and both friendly and not so friendly rivalries. Both EMI and Decca had separate recording studios built in at Kingsway Hall. So both could see the differences in set up, not only of microphones, but also where producers and engineers sat. In the Decca Studio producer and engineer sat side by side, sharing decisions about the sound quality, while in the EMI studio, the producer sat in the sweet spot directing the engineer about the sound issues.

    Famed EMI producer Walter Legge blocked the release of the first stereo Ring that Decca did at the 1955 Bayreuth Festival (Keilberth conducting) which finally saw the light of day a few years ago when Testament released it in vinyl and CD. Interestingly, Legge near the end of his career in 1979, shortly before his death, produced his last album for Decca, not EMI, with his wife Elizabeth Schwarzkopf. John Dunkerley, famed Decca engineer, told me there was a rumor that some quid pro quo was provided between Legge and Decca.

    Larry
    Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0,Merrill Trident Master Tape Pre,Herron VTPH-2A
    Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,Mykerinos,PacMicroModel2
    Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiPac, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
    Electronics-Doshi Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
    Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
    Other-2x512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, AudioDiskVinylCleaner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects,
    Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.3KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

    Comment


    • #3
      Larry's not one to toot his own horn so I will! Excellent, in depth research and well written book on the history of one of the most illustrious record labels in history. We had Mercury and RCA on this side of the Atlantic and the U.K. had Decca and EMI at the beginning of the stereo era. A must-have.

      http://www.elusivedisc.com/Decca-Sup...nfo/FIMUHD088/
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks, Myles. Larry
        Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0,Merrill Trident Master Tape Pre,Herron VTPH-2A
        Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,Mykerinos,PacMicroModel2
        Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiPac, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
        Electronics-Doshi Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
        Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
        Other-2x512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, AudioDiskVinylCleaner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects,
        Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.3KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

        Comment


        • #5
          As die hard LP collectors know, the earlier the pressing, in general, the better the sound. As far as Decca goes, the first line of identification is the type of record label.

          http://www.pinkfishmedia.net/forum/s...ead.php?t=8266
          Then one needs to look at the matrix numbers and also info in the dead wax area.

          With the Deccas, you will see a ZAL number with the pressing number followed by a letter eg. 1W. The lower the letter here, the better. That letter corresponds to the mastering engineer as follows. This W would be Harry Fisher.


          ​A = Guy Fletcher
          B = Ron Mason
          C = Trevor Fletcher

          D = Jack Law
          E = Stan Goodall
          F = Cyril Windebank
          G = Ted Burkett

          K = Tony Hawkins
          L = George Bettyes
          W = Harry Fisher


          But perhaps most important is the Buckingham code that follows that indicates the mother number as follows. The best pressing will of course be a single letter.


          Decca Stamper # info (at 3 o’clock)


          1-10 B U C K I N G H A M

          11-20BB BU BC BK BI BN BG BH BA BM

          21-30 UB UU UC UK UI UN UG UH UA UM

          31-40 CB CU CC CK CI CN CG CH CA CM

          41-50 KB KU KC KK KI KN KG KH KA KM

          51-60 IB IU ICIK II IN IG IH IA IM.
          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
          ________________________________________

          -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
          -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
          -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
          -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
            Larry's not one to toot his own horn so I will! Excellent, in depth research and well written book on the history of one of the most illustrious record labels in history. We had Mercury and RCA on this side of the Atlantic and the U.K. had Decca and EMI at the beginning of the stereo era. A must-have.

            http://www.elusivedisc.com/Decca-Sup...nfo/FIMUHD088/

            +1! Great book, great read!
            Kronos Sparta -> Trinity Phono -> Trinity Pre -> CH Precision A1 -> Magico S7s

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
              As die hard LP collectors know, the earlier the pressing, in general, the better the sound. As far as Decca goes, the first line of identification is the type of record label.

              http://www.pinkfishmedia.net/forum/s...ead.php?t=8266
              Then one needs to look at the matrix numbers and also info in the dead wax area.

              With the Deccas, you will see a ZAL number with the pressing number followed by a letter eg. 1W. The lower the letter here, the better. That letter corresponds to the mastering engineer as follows. This W would be Harry Fisher.


              ​A = Guy Fletcher
              B = Ron Mason
              C = Trevor Fletcher

              D = Jack Law
              E = Stan Goodall
              F = Cyril Windebank
              G = Ted Burkett

              K = Tony Hawkins
              L = George Bettyes
              W = Harry Fisher

              Cutting engineers Jack Law and Stan Goodall moved on to become recordings engineers (as did Cyril Windebank IIRC) and had long careers in their latter roles. I had a nice correspondence with Elaine Law, Jack's widow and she dug up some of Jack's old notes from his cutting engineer years. There were several other letters that were used for various other people, including some letters that were shared by more than one engineer. Stan Goodall is still alive, but I didn't get a chance to interview him. Tony Hawkins is the only other remaining cutting engineer around from the old days. Decca closed their famous New Malden plant near Wimbledon shortly after being bought by Polygram in 1980 shortly after Chairman Edward Lewis's death. John Dunkerley told me that when Polygram started doing the pressing of Decca records in 1980 at their Baarn plant in the Netherlands (where they pressed the Philips records), the Decca engineers were very unpleasantly shocked at the loss of both highs and lows from their recordings. They complained to Polygram and improvements were made, but never to sonic level of the New Malden pressings.

              Larry
              Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0,Merrill Trident Master Tape Pre,Herron VTPH-2A
              Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,Mykerinos,PacMicroModel2
              Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiPac, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
              Electronics-Doshi Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
              Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
              Other-2x512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, AudioDiskVinylCleaner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects,
              Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.3KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

              Comment


              • #8
                I think the one of the most interesting things that I learned from Larry was that the best engineers were assigned to the mono recordings while those still wet behind the ears recorded the stereo releases.
                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                Comment

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