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Jack Whites Vintage AT&T Recording Studio

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  • Jack Whites Vintage AT&T Recording Studio

    I have in the past expressed interest/admiration for very early AT&T/Western Electric recording and playback systems. So during one of my bouts of insomnia I saw a PBS special on Jack Whites vintage recording studio. It consisted of one tube amplified microphone, a mechanically driven cutting table and a tube powered cutting head amplifier.

    Of particular interest was the cutting table, which was powered by a 110 lb. drop weight speed controlled by a flyweight governor. The table is not exactly original as no complete example survived but rather a reproduction based on surviving sections of old tables. The machine work is beautiful.

    The tube amplifier is original.

    There were a variety of artists recording in the studio ranging from relative unknowns to Willie Nelson all performing period correct pieces including my favorite "One Hour Mama".

    I've stated in the past that in the AT&T/Western Electric labs had more research and development talent under their roof than any company before or since. Actual scientists and multi-degreed engineers. They basically invented everything to do with modern sound reproduction. Anyway, the PBS special is a fascinating look into the early days that I highly recommend.

  • #2
    The equipment you saw in that video belongs to my engineer friend Nick Bergh, you see him in a few of the shots. He's an engineer and works with big labels and large studios archiving their material to digital media. The TV series is very interesting but unfortunately the resulting CD collection leave much to be desired. The selection is great and I've heard a little of the original archives which were excellent but someone at filtered the life out of them during mastering. I had a small role in the project with Nick and you'll see my name mentioned in the CD. Watch the entire series when you get a chance.

    david
    Audio Industry Affiliate:Lamm, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformers.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Rust View Post
      I have in the past expressed interest/admiration for very early AT&T/Western Electric recording and playback systems. So during one of my bouts of insomnia I saw a PBS special on Jack Whites vintage recording studio. It consisted of one tube amplified microphone, a mechanically driven cutting table and a tube powered cutting head amplifier.

      Of particular interest was the cutting table, which was powered by a 110 lb. drop weight speed controlled by a flyweight governor. The table is not exactly original as no complete example survived but rather a reproduction based on surviving sections of old tables. The machine work is beautiful.

      The tube amplifier is original.

      There were a variety of artists recording in the studio ranging from relative unknowns to Willie Nelson all performing period correct pieces including my favorite "One Hour Mama".

      I've stated in the past that in the AT&T/Western Electric labs had more research and development talent under their roof than any company before or since. Actual scientists and multi-degreed engineers. They basically invented everything to do with modern sound reproduction. Anyway, the PBS special is a fascinating look into the early days that I highly recommend.
      is this video from pbs posted on youtube and might you have a link or title of the show?
      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Shelter 501 Mark II Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Teac A3300SX R2R, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, DIY Silver Interconnects

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      • #4
        This is about all I can find for the time being http://www.pbs.org/wnet/american-epic/

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