Why recordings made before 1965 sound better.


 

I’ve brought ht 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.”

‘Dolby A and C work similarly.

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.

128x128rvpiano

to cd3181  Old vinyl has a lot more detail that we can retrieve now that we couldn't  10 or 20 yrs ago unless maybe with $50K of equip. Today a ttbl for a few thou, arm the same, cartridge too, we or at least me can hear lots of music not heard before.  And yes good engineers using proper equip helps too.   If you read Pete Townsends autobiography "Who I Am" he goes thru a lot of equipment development that he did to record for The Who.   I read interview with Jim Messina who recorded and engineered some Buff Spring and POCO etc.  Poco 1st album. Picking Up the Pieces, sounds lousy. Tthe next one just title Poco sounds great.  He did it.  When vocalist is recorded separately in a sound booth, the ambience is all gone and you can tell he is not singing with the band. 

Old vinyl has a lot more detail that we can retrieve now that we couldn’t 10 or 20 yrs ago unless maybe with $50K of equip. Today a ttbl for a few thou, arm the same, cartridge too, we or at least me can hear lots of music not heard before.

 

Not true.

Best turntables, tonearms and cartridges from 80x can compete with any gear of today.

For example, Micro Seiki 5000, 8000, Yamaha 2000, Technics sp10mk3, EMT 950,... turntables. Fidelity Research tonearm.

The same story with more affordable gear.

 

 

@rvpiano Great post. I was listening to Dave Brubeck's 'Time Out' vinyl album (Columbia CS8192) which I believe is from 1961 and likely cost a couple dollars back then.  The 1st cut on side 1 (Blue Rondo a La Turk) is so lifelike you swear the musicians are in the room performing for you. I've never heard instruments sound so real such as the bell of the cymbal used extensively on this song. That's a sound not captured correctly on most current recordings.

Everyone's comments about the process and equipment to record back in the 50's & 60's being so different than today's recordings is likely why no current recordings I'm aware of have the same lifelike sound qualities.

This topic is very good and it clearly demonstrate that the tube is better choice  in transmit the sounds.

Great thread. Seems to boil down to simple vs. overdone recording/processing and tube vs. SS equipment.  The switch to SS probably mandated by the recording/processing complexity.