Comments for page: RCA Dynagroove

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Posted by Robert from NJ October 19, 2012 - 05:01 pm
Steve, I apologize for hijacking this Dynagroove site and shifting the topic to Command and 35mm film recording. I will address my future comments toward RCA Victor Dynagroove recording. (Can I sneak in an RCA Living Stereo/RCA Camden/RCA Red Seal comment every once in a while????)HaHaHa!!!

Posted by Robert from NJ October 19, 2012 - 04:23 pm
If anyone is interested, the 1963 Reprise release of "The Concert Sinatra" with Nelson Riddle and 60 piece orchestra was recorded on 35mm film. This album was also released as a half-speed master version by Mobile Fidelity on vinyl, and as recently as this year Concord released a fully-remastered CD version. It is considered a landmark album by many. The original sessions were recorded in a Hollywood sound studio, which is probably why the 35mm film format was used. I believe the recordings were made over a 3 day period at Stage 7 of the Samuel Goldwyn Studios.

Posted by Robert from NJ October 19, 2012 - 03:23 pm
I pulled out 4 of my vintage Command albums, since all this discussion has kindled a spark in me. I played the first Command 35mm release, titled simply "35mm". Cranked it up thru my McIntosh system and Altec-Lansing floor-standing speakers...rattled every window in the house and had my kids scared witless!!!! They will never know how great serious audio was, and the tremendous sound that was possible in "mere home systems"!!!!! The 60's rocked!!!

Posted by Steve L. October 19, 2012 - 07:14 am
Hi Robert, Thank you for the the kind words and for the additional findings on 35mm recording. The "golden era" of audio does indeed hold a lot of fascinating Easter eggs, to discover.

Posted by Robert from NJ October 18, 2012 - 04:05 pm
Steve, I thank you for your research efforts. I learned alot from this site in the few short days I have visited here. The link provides a source of tremendous historical data concerning the audio industry. I found out that 35mm film was in reality magnetic recording tape bonded to 35mm film base, designed originally for the motion picture industry to assure their sound editing was in perfect sync with the corresponding image frames. Once 2 inch recording tape was introduced along with the 30 inches per second recording speed, there was no advantage to using the more expensive and cumbersome 35mm film. But some great material was layed down on those tracks! Also, it was Mercury Records that is credited as being the first to use 35mm film for recording record albums. The year 1960 is given as the inception. So my thinking is that since Bob Fine was the engineer that owned the 35mm equipment, and he was employed by both Mercury and Command, it was his involvement that resulted in the choice of recording format, not so much the execs at the record label. Also, several articles have suggested that after a while, the 35mm was more of a marketing strategy than a superior recording process.

Posted by Steve L. October 17, 2012 - 06:56 pm
Hi Robert,

I was curious and from a brief Web search, was able to glean the following details about the 35mm recording medium used by Command (quotations):

The 35mm recorders were built by Westrex and had three tracks, which were somewhat wider than existing two and three track tape machines. Used in the early 60's, it was sprocket driven and ran at 18ips. The large film reels held about 22 minutes of media. The large Westrex machines weren't designed for all the starts and stops tape machines could tolerate; apparently their use in recording, editing and mastering was very hard on them. Labels which used the machines included: Command, Mercury, Everest and London FFRR.

The actual tracks were 1/4" wide with a goodly amount of guard band. Special low impedance heads were used. This system was pioneered by the late Bert Whyte and Harry Belock of Everest Records fame. After Everest left the recording field, the system was purchased by C. Robert Fine of Fine Recording Studios and used on Mercury Records sessions and Command Records sessions. A superb system which was the finest sounding available and had superb transient response, low distortion, and wide frequency range. Fell out of use due to expense as it was an expensive system to use.

Refs: audiokarma.com, www.stevehoffman.tv. There is an excellent article (with photos of the machines) at http://www.preservationsound.com/?p=3939


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