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Author Topic: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?  (Read 3808 times)

3rd 4thT

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How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« on: October 07, 2009, 08:23:00 am »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOWs8ZrhUDw
Artur Rubinstein, RCA Studios, Los Angeles, 1948.

I see one mic and a ready light, but the engineer is riding two rotary pots. If you freeze frame at :48, you can see the closeup of his hands.

What are we looking at here, besides a very spare recording console?

Thanks,
3rd&4thT
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MDM,

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2009, 08:33:45 am »

pretty neat!

looks like a big ribbon mic in the back, and some kind of omni mic (small ball) closer-up?

actually similar to what's done today, but in stereo and with condensers

today maybe they'd probably add a couple of mics even closer..

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3rd 4thT

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2009, 09:17:37 am »

MDM, wrote on Wed, 07 October 2009 08:33

pretty neat!

looks like a big ribbon mic in the back, and some kind of omni mic (small ball) closer-up?

actually similar to what's done today, but in stereo and with condensers

today maybe they'd probably add a couple of mics even closer..




That ready light looks like a mic until they switch it on again at :38.

I still haven't gotten over that console.

Cheers,
3rd&4thT
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compasspnt

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2009, 09:44:53 am »

My favourite things are the clock, that table for the hat, and announcing the artist/take number for playback.

Quite sure there was the one RCA 44 mic only.

The engineer probably had one mic input level pot, and then perhaps monitor level or output level for the other hand.

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3rd 4thT

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2009, 09:53:01 am »

compasspnt wrote on Wed, 07 October 2009 09:44

My favourite things are the clock, that table for the hat, and announcing the artist/take number for playback.

Quite sure there was the one RCA 44 mic only.

The engineer probably had one mic input level pot, and then perhaps monitor level or output level for the other hand.



Yeah, I had wondered if one was input and one was output. I believe by the late 40's, RCA had a limiter in place. Would varying input and output be necessary for overload protection, or some kind of tonal variation?

I've got the recording that came out of this session, and it sure sounds like one mic.

Perhaps the engineer was just showing off for the benefit of (at the request of) 20th Century Fox.

Cheers,
3rd&4thT
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PRobb

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2009, 10:24:24 am »

Interesting. We do hear the engineer say "roll tape", but all we see is a lathe. 1948 is very early for tape. I wonder if the tape was for studio playback but they made the records from the disk.
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JimmyJ

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2009, 10:43:47 am »

Keep in mind that this was a "movie" about making a recording and any mic placement, knob twisting, spoken lines and lathe shots could simply be art directed and edited in.  The console might even be a prop (can't see a talkback / slate mic).
Jimmy J
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MDM,

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2009, 10:48:54 am »

OK then, ONE mic..

I think Rubenstein was recorded to tape, as I recall an article which talked about the many edits.

not sure if this is regarding 1948, but it could be.

part of the charm of those records is that it was just one ribbon.

Interesting to note how far away the mic, yet how defined the sound is relatively speaking...
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CHANCE

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2009, 10:58:30 am »

A lot of early recordings were direct to disc
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PRobb

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2009, 11:04:22 am »

CHANCE wrote on Wed, 07 October 2009 10:58

A lot of early recordings were direct to disc

Before the introduction of tape, all records were direct to disk. It was the only game in town.
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3rd 4thT

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2009, 04:05:36 pm »

Tape in the U.S. was brand new but had been adopted immediately by all the majors, so "roll tape" is not an anachronism. But the release vehicle was still 78's only, so the lathe footage you see is cutting the master for disc duplication. That's where the editing is misleading, telescoping the time between session and release.

However it was a real session at the RCA studios for a real recording. I don't believe the mic, console, or room configuration was faked for what is basically a glorified newsreel.

Cheers,
3rd&4thT
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compasspnt

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2009, 04:20:14 pm »

I wonder how the movie meeting went later that evening...
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3rd 4thT

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2009, 04:36:28 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Wed, 07 October 2009 16:20

I wonder how the movie meeting went later that evening...


I think he turned them down when they insisted he play a boogie-woogie duet with Jose Iturbi, then accompany Judy Canova in some swinging Schubert.

Cheers,
3rd&4thT
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PRobb

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2009, 04:43:41 pm »

the Ampex 200 was introduced in 1948, so RCA having tape was right on the cutting edge of technology.
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Mike Cleaver

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2009, 06:53:44 pm »

Hard to tell from the video but the ONE mic over the piano is either an RCA 44B or a KU3A.
Both were available in '48, the KU3A having been just introduced.
The "ball thing" in front of and to the right of the piano is the "recording" light bulb in a floor lamp stand.
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jwhynot

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2009, 07:23:26 pm »

Sure looks like a KU3A to me.

JW

Edit: The shot later on is more 44-ish.
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compasspnt

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2009, 07:48:39 pm »

I would bet 44.
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feedback loop

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2009, 10:46:11 pm »

PRobb wrote on Wed, 07 October 2009 13:43

the Ampex 200 was introduced in 1948, so RCA having tape was right on the cutting edge of technology.

Wire recording technology was also in use in 1948 although I'm not sure how much use it received in Hollywood.
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PRobb

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2009, 11:09:04 pm »

Fred Baugher wrote on Wed, 07 October 2009 22:46

PRobb wrote on Wed, 07 October 2009 13:43

the Ampex 200 was introduced in 1948, so RCA having tape was right on the cutting edge of technology.

Wire recording technology was also in use in 1948 although I'm not sure how much use it received in Hollywood.

Nowhere near hi-fi enough for broadcast.
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RMoore

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2009, 02:52:47 am »

The desk looks amazin'
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Todd Loomis

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2009, 11:59:47 pm »

   Rubinstein's recordings of Chopin's Nocturnes are some of my favorite piano recordings of all time.  The ones I have though are from the mid 60s.  I tried recording my piano at my home a long time ago hoping to get that sound - NOT...  His touch was so amazing...  and the sound so beautiful.  Check this one out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAcAWWU_0mE - that's the one I tried to record myself doing way back when.  His sounded much better - hehe.

  According to the liner notes in my Rubinstein Nocturnes collection, the original recording was done to 3-track 30-i.p.s. tape.  Playback was through a solid state 3-track tape machine, but they left out the center channel and only used 2 tracks on the disc.  The booklet says "an equalization curve was devised to flatten the bass dip, mid-range and high-end peaks of the microphones used for these recordings, thus giving the sound of a flat microphone response."  There is no information though about the specific microphones that were used, or how/where they were positioned, etc.

  My set is a 2 disc set - recorded at RCA Italiana Studios, Rome, August 30 and 31, September 1 and 2, 1965.  Recording Engineer: Sergio Marcotulli.

3rd 4thT

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2009, 11:10:05 am »

Todd Loomis wrote on Sun, 11

    According to the liner notes in my Rubinstein Nocturnes collection, the original recording was done to 3-track 30-i.p.s. tape.  Playback was through a solid state 3-track tape machine, but they left out the center channel and only used 2 tracks on the disc.  The booklet says "an equalization curve was devised to flatten the bass dip, mid-range and high-end peaks of the microphones used for these recordings, thus giving the sound of a flat microphone response."  There is no information though about the specific microphones that were used, or how/where they were positioned, etc.

  My set is a 2 disc set - recorded at RCA Italiana Studios, Rome, August 30 and 31, September 1 and 2, 1965.  Recording Engineer: Sergio Marcotulli.



I'm afraid that info is lost to history. Even the studios were left to rot and were ultimately demolished - not enough soundtrack work to keep them going.

3rd&4thT
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MDM,

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Re: How did RCA record Artur Rubinstein in 1948?
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2009, 11:11:43 am »

One of the things I noticed is the sound of the piano.

in those days the hammers had different felt and could play darker without sounding thuddy
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