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Master Recordings — From Abbey Road to Born to Run — Could Be Lost Forever

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  • Master Recordings — From Abbey Road to Born to Run — Could Be Lost Forever

    http://www.laweekly.com/music/master...s-help-7575450

  • #2
    Great article. Universal has so much stuff that is untapped. They were able to confirm the existence of a number of stereo mix downs for obscure UK albums that were part of the Polygram acquisition in a matter of a few days.
    The cost to maintain and preserve this stuff is not inconsequential. I know that it gets digitized so that the tapes aren't normally handled.
    At the Library of Congress, their facilities --to extracting information from wax cylinders, wire recordings and all sorts of odd-ball obsolete media --are amazing.
    The archivists are often great keepers of the stories behind the recordings. I sat for part of a day with one specialist who was sorting through old Les Paul acetates, cut direct to disc (these were made before tape machines were available). The stuff was stunning despite the obvious limitations of the technology of the time.

    How does one preserve analog tape in purely analog form, other than transferring it to another tape copy, with consequent generation loss?

    I also suspect that, despite the vast catalogs of materials in the vaults of places like Universal, it is probably better organized than it was back in the day when these records were originally made. A record that wasn't a big seller and didn't require repeated access to "the master" was probably a tape collecting dust in some box on a shelf, not well cataloged, mislabeled, or, for all practical purposes "lost" until renewed interest in the old material and its value caused it to be re-cataloged and archived. I once went into a client's office for a meeting about his film footage and he mentioned in passing that Miles Davis had done music for one of his films. I expressed one of those "Wow, really! looks. He said, "Hey, I got the tape right here," he walked into an adjacent closet in his office and pulled out an old reel. Scary.

    Comment


    • #3
      It really is a shame that there were ever sticky shed syndrome tapes. There would be a lot less concern about aging master tapes if Ampex 406, 456 and Scotch 226 especially hadn't had SSS are were as rock solid as BASF 468?
      TAPE: Studer A807, A810; Revox B77 MkII; Technics RS-1700; Pioneer RT-707, RT-909
      VINYL: Denon DP59-L/Hana ML/ModWright PH 9.0; Pioneer PL-50LII/Dynavector 20xH
      DIGITAL: Bryston SP-3, Marantz NA6006/Pioneer N-50, Schiit Bifrost
      SPEAKERS: B&W Nautilus 800, Pioneer DSS-9, Velodyne FSR-15
      AMPS: Cary SLP-05/Sunfire Signature 600, Pioneer SX-1980

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for posting Earl!

        The article at least tries to define "master tape" eg. a copy of the original tape. So the question is: take The White Album. EMI made say eight copies of the original tape to go around. Now were these copies made from the "original" tapes or from the "master" tape? And what happens over the years as these eight copies wear out? Didn't I see somewhere that they had only take the "original" DSOTM out from the vault four or five times? Do they go back to the "original" or what I call the "mixdown" and what they call the "master" tape to make more copies? What I would call a third generation copy.

        But at least in the case of a two or three track tape, the "original" tape can be both "original" and "master." Gets a little confusing.

        One thing the author also left out were the masters lost in a couple of bad fires or to theft.

        This article also pertains to the Abraxas thread and emphasizes the fact that very few LP releases deal with the "original" tape.
        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
        -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
        -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Mk. 2, 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. 6, 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Skylab View Post
          It really is a shame that there were ever sticky shed syndrome tapes. There would be a lot less concern about aging master tapes if Ampex 406, 456 and Scotch 226 especially hadn't had SSS are were as rock solid as BASF 468?
          There was a lot of weird stuff that went on over the years. Take for instance RCA. There was a period of two or three years that RCA's music division was forced to use RCA tape because the powers to be decided why should they use someone else's tape. The RCA tape sucked according to the engineers I talked with compared to what they were using. (Just like RCA went to AME EQ for a period too.)

          http://richardhess.com/notes/formats...grading-tapes/

          Reference Recordings used Scotch but hasn't been affected by SSS to my knowledge.
          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
          ________________________________________

          -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
          -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
          -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Mk. 2, 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. 6, 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

          Comment


          • #6
            I had a very recent experience with sticky shed. A good friend had been given some master tape copies done by one of his good friends who was the engineer on the album. It was Journey's biggest album. Unfortunately, the copy was made on Ampex 456 around 1980, when the album was released, right during the SS era. I checked it out and sure enough it had SS. So I baked it in my food dehydrator that I bought to handle the rare SS tapes that I run into. I let it run overnight at 135 degrees (essentially it works like a convection oven at low temperatures ). The baking worked and I dubbed the tape from the 1/4" 15ips 2 track original to a 1/2" 15ips 2 track copy. Worked great, but a real pain if you have to do a bunch of them. My friend, who is a real Journey enthusiast (I'm not and didn't make a copy for myself), was very greatful. He gave me two other tapes by Journey's front man Gregg Rolie, but fortunately they had been dubbed using a BASF tape with no SS.

            The European labels were fortunate in not having Ampex tape. However, there have been issues that I ran across working with Winston Ma at FIM. He had released a bunch of the great Decca classical recordings a decade or so ago, mastered by Paul Stubblebine. They had gotten the original masters from Decca (Universal) and Paul digitized them using a Pacific Microsonics Model Two at high resolution - 192/24. He then converted them to CD using a second Model Two, inputting the high resolution file in analogue, after he did his mastering magic on them. However, there was at least one recording, the famous Argo album of Benjamin Britten's "Noyes Fludde" which was a long time resident on the Absolute Sound's Super Disc list. They got the master tape, but it had deteriorated so much (I'm not sure of the reason) that it was not usable. I know that is the case with quite a few of the master tapes from that era - the late '50's to late '60's which were not well taken care of or over played.

            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


            • MylesBAstor
              MylesBAstor commented
              Editing a comment
              Terrible. Noyes Fludde is an unbelievable recording.

              One thing that I've wondered about. It's usually recommended that you play a tape at least once a year. Clearly many of these tapes haven't been played in years, much less decades. What does that mean?

          • #7
            JGH was very much into recording, reel-to-reel tape machines and reel-to-reel tape.

            This was a very interesting interview with Keith Johnson done about 30 years ago about recording and tape among other topics.

            Keith Johnson is the man responsible for the records issued by Reference Recordings, from Professor Johnson's Astounding Sound Show through Tafelmusik—not to mention upcoming releases of Your Friendly Neighborhood Big Band and Respighi's Church Windows.
            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
            -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Mk. 2, 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. 6, 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

            Comment


            • #8
              A couple years ago there was an auction for a huge lot of tapes from the long defunct Capricorn Records. I was fortunate enough to win a bunch of Charlie Daniels Band master tapes for extremely reasonable prices (about $100 per title!). Amazingly these were on BASF 468. While it was clear the tapes had NOT been stored in a clean, climate controlled facility, they played perfectly and sounded great. Sadly there was also a master of Dickey Betts and Great Southern that I got that was on Ampex 406. I have baked a dozen or more tapes with SSS in my food dehydrator before that all played perfectly after baking. But this one, after baking, was just too far gone. It wasn't sticky anymore after baking but the oxide came off the tape while playing it nonetheless.

              So I guess I am especially grateful about how robust BASF 468 has been.
              TAPE: Studer A807, A810; Revox B77 MkII; Technics RS-1700; Pioneer RT-707, RT-909
              VINYL: Denon DP59-L/Hana ML/ModWright PH 9.0; Pioneer PL-50LII/Dynavector 20xH
              DIGITAL: Bryston SP-3, Marantz NA6006/Pioneer N-50, Schiit Bifrost
              SPEAKERS: B&W Nautilus 800, Pioneer DSS-9, Velodyne FSR-15
              AMPS: Cary SLP-05/Sunfire Signature 600, Pioneer SX-1980

              Comment


              • MylesBAstor
                MylesBAstor commented
                Editing a comment
                That must have been heartbreaking.

            • #9
              Ignorant question but I'll ask anyway. When we buy new from master tapes to dsd are they remixed ? From original master multitrack tapes. Where are these multitracked tapes kept. And why would these tapes also be dubbed or transfered
              to dsd in that from.
              Over the weekend I played many anolog productions I own. One is cat Stevens there is no doubt there's is like Myles vinyl and unlike every other digital I own.
              analog stuff.
              otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
              otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
              sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
              new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
              thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
              thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
              kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
              phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
              speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
              mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
              digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
              Dacs lampi various

              Comment


              • MylesBAstor
                MylesBAstor commented
                Editing a comment
                Sometimes the reissues are remixed from the original tapes. I think the article goes into some of the storage facilities for the different labels. I'm sure European labels have the same arrangements.

                I think that many of the labels wanted to copy to DSD (remember it was intended to be a archival medium) because they knew many of the original tapes were deteriorated and wanted to preserve the music. Problem was they wanted to throw the original tapes out after the digital transfer because they didn't see any reason to pay for storage any more.

            • #10
              Originally posted by Alrainbow View Post
              Ignorant question but I'll ask anyway. When we buy new from master tapes to dsd are they remixed ? From original master multitrack tapes. Where are these multitracked tapes kept. And why would these tapes also be dubbed or transfered
              to dsd in that from.
              Over the weekend I played many anolog productions I own. One is cat Stevens there is no doubt there's is like Myles vinyl and unlike every other digital I own.
              Just for clarification, the term "master" in the industry used to refer to the final mix down at least for stereo releases, not to the multi tracks. Who knows what happened to those after 40 or 50 years? If, for popular reissues, the stereo mix down is in good shape, and accessible for reissuing (which involves remastering at least for vinyl, rather than a 'flat transfer') you are lucky - doubtless Chad or MoFi try to get access to the 'true' vault copy rather than a copy of that tape. None of these are remixed- maybe the EQ is played with in the mastering process, but what's to remix? Don't they have to go back to the multitracks assuming they still exist? In some cases, there may be different mixes of the album that were made at the time. In other cases, like Steve Wilson's work, he does go back to the multitracks, dumps them down to digital and remixes --his work has been very good for the most part- his remixes of Aqualung (and Benefit in particular) improve a murky recording, and to me, the trade-off is worth the price of digitizing in the process.
              I can't imagine in the course of label consolidation and the indifference shown to the analog format in the '80s and most of the '90s, that much care was taken with a lot of the old multitracks except perhaps for big selling albums or for artists who had enough leverage to control the tapes. Storage alone would be a bear, and why worry about them, right? They were the like the raw work-product, really for archival purposes, once the recording was mixed into its final commercial form and approved. I'd be surprised if the multitracks exist for a lot of old recordings....

              Comment


              • #11
                Exactly my post. Now in way am I bashing anyone in the industry period. Chad being one on my short list to love. What I can say from listening on many mediums . The analog rips or analog masters I a own are not the same as digital ones. For years I have been upset at you analog people . Not be use your die hards of the medium but because of the sound type . Not use what's better but to put in prospective of the difference . Gary someone I hold in very high regard as I do with Myles knows what sounds right to there brains. I do too but living in digital blurs things a bit .
                What digital has that vinyl does not is a layer removed making too close to the recording . I hVe stuff that allows me to hear the slides moving as things move about or in and out . I can hear mixing of the tracks down to,the two. While at one time this made me feel I was getting what analog does not have , it soon became laborimg to hear . If use headphones in some ways I am too close to the music if that make sense . Being a few feet back is where we all should be in the presentation . Analog has some of this but less fatiguing to my brain. Over all I feel bad for the young in this as we are set but there future seems grey between the ever increasing prices and lack of new great music in quality the old is almost all we have. I am looking up Steve Wilson now thanks
                analog stuff.
                otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                Dacs lampi various

                Comment


                • #12
                  Originally posted by Bill Hart View Post

                  Just for clarification, the term "master" in the industry used to refer to the final mix down at least for stereo releases, not to the multi tracks. Who knows what happened to those after 40 or 50 years? If, for popular reissues, the stereo mix down is in good shape, and accessible for reissuing (which involves remastering at least for vinyl, rather than a 'flat transfer') you are lucky - doubtless Chad or MoFi try to get access to the 'true' vault copy rather than a copy of that tape. None of these are remixed- maybe the EQ is played with in the mastering process, but what's to remix? Don't they have to go back to the multitracks assuming they still exist? In some cases, there may be different mixes of the album that were made at the time. In other cases, like Steve Wilson's work, he does go back to the multitracks, dumps them down to digital and remixes --his work has been very good for the most part- his remixes of Aqualung (and Benefit in particular) improve a murky recording, and to me, the trade-off is worth the price of digitizing in the process.
                  I can't imagine in the course of label consolidation and the indifference shown to the analog format in the '80s and most of the '90s, that much care was taken with a lot of the old multitracks except perhaps for big selling albums or for artists who had enough leverage to control the tapes. Storage alone would be a bear, and why worry about them, right? They were the like the raw work-product, really for archival purposes, once the recording was mixed into its final commercial form and approved. I'd be surprised if the multitracks exist for a lot of old recordings....
                  Interesting question. I always assumed they kept the work/original tape copies.

                  Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                  Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                  ________________________________________

                  -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                  -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                  -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                  -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Mk. 2, 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. 6, 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                  Comment


                  • Bill Hart
                    Bill Hart commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I don't know Myles. I probably should have posed it as a question rather than a statement.

                • #13
                  I think it's safe to say that all US and European tape manufacturers had some batches of tape that were succeptible to SSS. I remember when I got my first Revox in 1974 that they threatened to not honor the warranty if Ampex or BASF tape was used; the recommended tapes were Scotch 207 and Maxell UD.
                  Tascam BR-20
                  Modwright Oppo 205 full tube mod w/LPS
                  Euphony Summus server, EtherRegen, HDPLEX LPS
                  MSB Discrete DAC (dual PS, ISLPro, balanced out)
                  Pass Labs INT60
                  Daedalus Audio Apollo 11’s
                  REL S3 (Kimber Kable connection)
                  Daedalus/Wywires, Audioquest, Acoustic Zen, DH cables
                  Torus IS5
                  Stillpoints and IsoPods, Tube Traps, GIK

                  Comment


                  • MylesBAstor
                    MylesBAstor commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Check the link in #3. Richard has listed the most used tapes from all over the world.
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