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 Post subject: A mysterious sound at the beginning of some Victor records
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:08 pm 
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Victor II
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Over the years, I have come to notice a noise phenomenon that occurs at the beginning of some Victor acoustic recordings. It is somewhat difficult to describe, but is akin to a metallic "puff" or a muted clunk just before the selection begins. I have heard this only on some, but certainly not all, Victor acoustics. It seems confined to the earlier discs, i.e., pre-1920s. Does anyone know what this is? Was it some sort of signal from the recording engineer to begin the music/performance? I find it hard to believe that, as when Rosa Ponselle described an acoustic recording session, she stated the engineer simply gave a signal at which point the conductor would raise the baton to begin recording. Anyone else noticed this or am I just hearing things?
Wonderful invention, the phonograph. Keeps a man alive long after he's dead. ~ P.J. Wolfson


Last edited by CharliePhono on Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A mysterious sound at the beginning of some Victor recor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:43 pm 
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Victor VI
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You are not mistaken- it is not unusual to hear a conductor's signal on records.

and on this you can hear the whistle from a nearby factory

(Double-click the video above or click this link to go to the video on YouTube.)



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 Post subject: Re: A mysterious sound at the beginning of some Victor recor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:41 pm 
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Victor II
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estott wrote:
You are not mistaken- it is not unusual to hear a conductor's signal on records.

and on this you can hear the whistle from a nearby factory

(Double-click the video above or click this link to go to the video on YouTube.)



Thank you for that. I love Galli-Curci, and that particular recording I had not heard. It is a lovely song, and aside from the intrusive whistle, is a beautiful recording.

Charlie
Wonderful invention, the phonograph. Keeps a man alive long after he's dead. ~ P.J. Wolfson


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 Post subject: Re: A mysterious sound at the beginning of some Victor recor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:07 pm 
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Victor V
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estott wrote:
You are not mistaken- it is not unusual to hear a conductor's signal on records.

and on this you can hear the whistle from a nearby factory

(Double-click the video above or click this link to go to the video on YouTube.)



Are you referring to the sustained "a" at approx. 1:45-1:50, and again at 2:45-end?


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 Post subject: Re: A mysterious sound at the beginning of some Victor recor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:20 pm 
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Victor V
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On the earlier records there is sometimes a rapping sound, or a couple of raps. I've assumed that was the conductor signalling the start.

Rosa Ponselle didn't start recording for Victor until 1923, late in the acoustic era, so maybe they had changed the practice. Rosario Bourdon conducted her Victor acoustics.


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 Post subject: Re: A mysterious sound at the beginning of some Victor recor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:29 pm 
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Victor II
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Wolfe wrote:
On the earlier records there is sometimes a rapping sound, or a couple of raps. I've assumed that was the conductor signalling the start.

Rosa Ponselle didn't start recording for Victor until 1923, late in the acoustic era, so maybe they had changed the practice. Rosario Bourdon conducted her Victor acoustics.


Wolfe, I believe that is precisely what I am hearing - a light rapping noise. As well, I failed to mention that Mlle Ponselle was discussing her acoustic recording experiences for Columbia: https://78records.wordpress.com/2018/05/16/the-james-a-drake-interviews-%E2%80%A2-rosa-ponselle-discusses-her-recordings/
Wonderful invention, the phonograph. Keeps a man alive long after he's dead. ~ P.J. Wolfson


Last edited by CharliePhono on Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A mysterious sound at the beginning of some Victor recor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:33 pm 
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Victor V
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Yes, I don't recall hearing it on a Columbia record, if I have.


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 Post subject: Re: A mysterious sound at the beginning of some Victor recor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:36 pm 
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Victor Jr
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I believe I hear it at about the thirty eight second mark. I wish I could recall what records they were but I have two in my collection where there are these strange sounds. One has a clunking sound at the begininning andf the other occurs further in right before the vocal. I always just assumed it was someone messing with the recording horn. However, a conductor tap or recording engineer signal sound much more probable than my assumption.


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 Post subject: Re: A mysterious sound at the beginning of some Victor recor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:44 pm 
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Victor V
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Zkeener323 wrote:
I believe I hear it at about the thirty eight second mark. I wish I could recall what records they were but I have two in my collection where there are these strange sounds. One has a clunking sound at the begininning andf the other occurs further in right before the vocal. I always just assumed it was someone messing with the recording horn. However, a conductor tap or recording engineer signal sound much more probable than my assumption.


Not exactly somebody messing with the horn, but a bump into the horn. This has several, like at 1:16:

(Double-click the video above or click this link to go to the video on YouTube.)



The same bumps are on any transfer or copy of this 78 that I've heard, I have a few copies of this.


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 Post subject: Re: A mysterious sound at the beginning of some Victor recor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:44 pm 
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Victor VI
I have good days...this might not be one of them
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:23 pm
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Location: Albany NY
Henry wrote:
estott wrote:
You are not mistaken- it is not unusual to hear a conductor's signal on records.

and on this you can hear the whistle from a nearby factory

Are you referring to the sustained "a" at approx. 1:45-1:50, and again at 2:45-end?



No, I mean it- the Campbells Soup plant was near the studio, start at .33 and you can hear the factory whistle- she pauses a second & it is audible over the strings. It can be heard on other records too & the Sooy Brothers write of it in their memoirs.

Similarly the Vitaphone movie studios were located in a Brooklyn basement & sometimes picked up the subway noises


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