Comments for page: RCA Dynagroove

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Posted by Robert (NJ) October 02, 2016 - 09:58 am
Thanks for sharing your Sarnoff experience. I did see the facility where the chips are manufactured. Also, while Ampex is credited with inventing VTR's, they could not record in color, only monochrome. They had to get RCA Labs to figure out how to do it, as your comments explain. Great place...I hope to go there again. Best regards.

Posted by Steve L. October 02, 2016 - 05:14 pm
Hi Robert, Thanks for sharing the story about your tour of the original RCA Laboratories. In the 1990's, I was honored to be given a consulting contract from there to do part of an analog IC design. This had to do with video noise reduction in a VCR. The facility was called Sarnoff Laboratories then and had a storied past. I flew up there for a meeting and enjoyed a brief tour of the place where the U.S. color television system was invented. They had a stunning collection of prototype video camera tubes, picture tubes and other memorabilia. In addition to his pioneering work in electroacoustics, Dr. Olson led a team to crack the problem of color television tape recording. That resulted in the first broadcast of recorded color television signals in 1956. It was quite a thrill to be working with those folks. Thank you for bringing to light, RCA Laboratories and the rest of the story.

Posted by Robert (NJ) October 01, 2016 - 06:48 pm
Thanks for the reply Steve. I recently (July) had the opportunity of a lifetime when I was given a brief(1-hour) tour of the original RCA Laboratories in Princeton, NJ by a senior research scientist that has been there since 1985, just before RCA was acquired by GE. I was afforded the chance to see Harry Olson's anechoic chamber, which is no longer used as such. Since the facility does much Defense Dept. contract work, there were many areas that were restricted, but what I did see gave me a great satisfaction. I felt tremendous awe while walking the halls where so many monumental discoveries in electronics were made between 1942- 1986. The facility is now called SRI International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stanford University of California. It is still an amazing place where amazing things are being discovered and built. Best wishes.

Posted by Steve L. October 01, 2016 - 04:40 pm
Thank you for reporting the results of the audition that you and your friend conducted and for the kind comments. Your results make good sense to me and are consistent with what I heard from the Italian album. I'm glad to have this discussion documented with the article. I think it adds a lot. Best wishes.

Posted by Robert (NJ) October 01, 2016 - 09:36 am
Hi Steve, I am impressed at your diligence in studying the different record grooves. I played the Italian pressing for an audiophile friend (MIT grad, former VP for the old TechHiFi chain, then VP at Technics/Panasonic until he retired 2 yrs. ago). We compared a few Command 35mm pressings, 2 RCA Victor Living Stereo pressings, an RCA promo album titled, "Sounds Fantastic", and a London Phase 4 Ronnie Aldrich Pianos Today album. Referring specifically to the Italian Dynagroove album, my friend said it sounded less dynamic, and having less "presence" compared to the other Dynagroove LP's. He also felt the Command records had less bottom compared to the US Dynagrooves. But we both agreed that the Italian LP was overall fair-to-good in sound, and a step below the others. As far as my groove comparisons, I compared no mono pressings, only stereo. Thank you for all of your time and effort in this interesting research. You are truly knowledgeable and motivated...a really good combination!

Posted by Steve L. August 13, 2016 - 03:56 pm
Hello again, Robert. My copy of Questo e' il Dynagroove arrived from Italy and I listened to both sides, very intently. You had described it, saying " the sound quality is fair at best. No dynamics and spaciousness that are the norm on American pressings." My impression was good but unexceptional overall quality, which, given the subjectivity involved, is generally consistent with your comment. I found the dynamics pretty compressed but most vinyl albums are, since doing otherwise would leave much of the music mired in surface noise and blemishes. So we don't disagree there, either.

I think I see what you mean about the lack of spaciousness: There seemed to be less reverberance in the studios, giving the impression of a smaller space. I took that to be an artistic choice, which could be viewed by some as giving a cleaner, tighter sound. I prefer more reverberance for classical music. However, in the classic rock category, I love the low-reverb, tight, studio sound of Chicago VI, (1973) as evidenced by the "Feeling Stronger Every Day" hit from that album. It just seems SO clean to me. Producer James William Guercio had just built the Caribou Ranch studios in the Colorado Rockies, where the album was recorded.

I guess the bottom line is that we probably heard the same things but the subjective effect depends on one's personal taste. It's hard to say how much of what we heard from this record is related to the Dynagroove process and how much is due to artistic choices. One thing I did notice was that the surface noise level was exceedingly low. At one point between tracks I could discern a master tape transition from the change in white noise level. That was something which Dynagroove did try to address. Also, distortion seemed quite low. In any case, I appreciate your bringing up this interesting, international dimension to the Dynagroove story. It's been fun to explore it.


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