Dolby noise reduction

I’ve brought up this topic before, and I believe my point was misunderstood.  so, I’m trying again.

Many A’goners have commented that recordings originating in the late 50’s and early 60’s which have been transferred to CDs sound particularly open with better soundstaging than those produced later.
Ray Dolby invented his noise reduction system in 1965 to eliminate what was considered annoying tape hiss transferred to records of the time. The principle was to manipulate the tonal structure so as to reduce this external noise:

“The Dolby B consumer noise-reduction system works by compressing and increasing the volume of low-level high-frequency sounds during recording and correspondingly reversing the process during playback. This high-frequency round turn reduces the audible level of tape hiss.”

I maintain that recordings made prior to 1965 without Dolby sound freer and more open because the original tonal structure has not been altered and manipulated.


Totally agree with you regarding Dolby B. I find the post 65 discs that were made 

from those tapes totally devoid of high frequency air and so avoided them.

The system I enjoyed more was DBX which was miles better but never caught on somehow but in the right recording could sound breath-taking. In the sixties and seventies I was very friendly with a BBC engineer who worked in Glasgow and recorded most of the radio 3 broadcasts using 15 IPS Studers. He was made to use Dolby B for a while but later was allowed to use DBX for a few years till it became redundant . I remember one concert he taped which was in City Hall in Glasgow. It was supposed to be Ida Haendel playing the Sibelius Violin Concerto. Unfortunately Haendel was ill and she had to be replaced and it was a startlingly young Nigel Kennedy playing the Tchaikovsky Concerto and it was wonderful and this was before the career killing move to not play dead composers any more. I digress but The next week I was in Glasgow again and dropped in on Jimmy and he was working on a recording he had take the previous week and it was on 15 IPS with DBX. It was fabulous with no trace of tape hiss and superb dynamics which totally blew away Dolby D.

it was on 15 IPS with DBX. It was fabulous with no trace of tape hiss and superb dynamics which totally blew away Dolby D.

Back in the day, that was known to be the best playback system.