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Erläuterungen zu diesen 1958er US-AUDIO Seiten

Die hier stehenden amerikanischen Artikel aus 1958 (aus der US-AUDIO) sind teilweise sehr gewöhnungsbedürftig, weil sie erstens aus einer längst vergangenen Zeit stammen und zweitens, weil dort in den USA ganz "anders" gedacht wurde als bei uns in Old Germany oder in Europa.
Vergleichbar mit unseren deutschen Hifi-Magazinen etwa ab 1962 ist jedoch, daß auch diese Zeitschrift ihre Anzeigen- Kunden und -Leser (be- oder ab- ?) werben mußte.

Die Ausgaben der US-AUDIO von 1947 bis 1958 liegen in teilweise ganz miserablen PDF-Dateien vor, in denen die Reihenfolge der Seiten teils völlig wirr ist. Der Aufwande, einen einzigen Artikel komlett zusammenzubauen, ist daher erheblich. Die Fotos sind so gräuselig schlecht, daß sie nur in Ausnahmefällen eingebaut werden.


AUDIO ETC ("Edward Tatnall Canby") - Kolumne 1958/03

1. BETTER THAN EVER - Der "Lautsprecher Neuigkeiten"-Wahn

I just caught the February issue in time to see Mr. G. A. Briggs' letter (Anmerkung : Mr. Briggs ist der Vater des englischen Lautsprechers bei Wharfedale) to the Editor (who never shows me things like that ...) about the soft-surround Wharfedale speakers, cloth and foam, and my story thereon. It seems to have been fish.

Now, I do wish I'd had a notebook on hand one day some years back when I had lunch with Mr. Briggs in the Hotel New Yorker, after an Audio Fair. My recollection was indeed a bit fuzzy but the story of the "decrepit" cloth-surround men must have gone back to that day. That's the way I remembered it. Musta been dreaming. (It was hand assembly of the speaker surrounds not hand cutting, that Mr. Briggs evidently mentioned.) My apologies.

The good thing about Mr. Briggs is that he is able honestly to say, in so many words, that the new speakers are better than the old. He tells us how, with particulars. That struck me as interesting.

The trouble with most of us over here (to point a moral on the spur of the moment) is that, we like to claim virtues for our new products, but we can't bear to hint that the old ones were less than perfect, in any respect we care to mention. You can't have that grammatical cake and eat it too. If the new product is better, then the old one was worse, and that's that.

Our insincere, lily-white "... now better than ever" ads sometimes make me sick. So the old model can't quite match the new one - is that anything necessarily to be ashamed of?

As anybody knows, the cloth-surround Wharfedale speakers were rated up near the top in listening quality by plenty of experts and plenty of non-experts. Even their designer, Mr. Briggs himself, can not make them any less good than we thought them. But if you want to know just where the new ones are better still, read Mr. Briggs' letter. It is factual, where I was not.

2. GREAT MUSIC - Die Methoden der Schallplatten-Clubs

A lady at the Dessoff Choir rehearsal the other day (I sing in it) came up to ask me about the new "Great Music record club", launched by RCA Victor and the "Book-of-the-Month Club" jointly. Her boyfriend, she said, had seen the full-page ads in the paper and was worried as to whether he ought to join or not - and what did I think? What he wanted to know, specifically, was whether I thoutght the records would be hi-fi. Now that flabbergasted me on two counts.

First - imagine anybody questioning the "fi" (of Hifi) on brand new RCA Victor Red Seal records. That, I'm sure, is the least of his worries. True, a few of the older jobs might not be super-hi-fi, perhaps including the inevitable Toscanini-NBC fare. But I was amazed that the idea could enter his head that RCA would launch a record club with sub-standard discs.

I suspect two things might have prompted his feeling. One is, that some earlier clubs, selling at bargain prices, didn't do too well on hi-fi quality. Close-cut grooves, so-so plastic, from not-so-hot tapes. A few bad discs like that could spoil the reps of many better ones, sold at the same prices. I'm wondering also whether he isn't confusing such lines as RCA's low-priced Camden with possible RCA budget records via the club plan. These are strictly Red Seal and the "fi", at least, should be plenty "hi".

But what really floored me, was that this guy was bothered by the "fi" - not the music. It's the music that bothers me, plus that fine offer of benevolent guidance, to choose our discs for us.

Frankly, the record club sort of deal always leaves me upset. Not because of the savings in cash - more power to the clientele in that respect. What I can't take is the combination of papa-knows-best paternalism and that deadly restrictive phrase, "great music," so prominently plugged in record club advertising.

Wer bestimmt, was "GREAT MUSIC" ist ?

If you stick to "good music", your horizons are unlimited, your freedom complete, your choice as wide as the LP catalogue - and you have all sorts of help available from the record reviewers, if you want it. But "great music" is another matter. It's supposed to be the cream of the cream, the ultimate distillation of all music history. Actually, it is nothing of the sort. Go in for "great music" and you're limited to an utterly safe, small, secure corner of the musical scene where there are very few-surprises and darned little variety.

The record club usually has a panel of distinguished experts who choose the monthly offerings and alternates; RCA's is, in all truth, an excellent one. In fact the brochure suggests that with these fine men at the helm you just can't go wrong. Authority incarnate - just let the "Gods" decide your music for you, through their chosen jury, and all will be well!

Nothing personal, you understand. The panel is made up of good men. It's the system that gets me, the very idea of this safe, trusting, idiot surrender of all the rights and prerogatives of collecting in favor of the pre-selected automatic safety-package. I find this sort of thing pretty terrifying. Are we to be musical robots forever?

If it weren't for that term "great music," we might get somewhere with this kind of plan. But keep in mind that the record club, unlike the book clubs, does not deal with brand new music. It promotes the classics - the "great" classics. Book clubs promote new books, just-written, and their authors are often unknown. Book clubs (including the Book-of-the Month Club) choose their offerings from the whole field of publishing - not just from one publisher.

The usual repertory of the record club is defined by that term, "great music." That means - or it always has meant - the ultra-familiar "safe-and-sound" classics of the last century, beginning inevitably with Beethoven and Schubert (the Beethoven Fifth and the Schubert Unfinished) and progressing through Tchaikowsky, Brahms, Grieg, Mendelssohn, perhaps even Debussy.

These are the "music appreciation" pieces - Virgil Thomson once called them the Fifty Pieces - the stuff that was considered ultra-ultra in up-to-date culture back around 1900. Time marches on, but music appreciation dawdles. "Great music" is top-notch stuff, most of it, of course. But right now, the choice covers about one per cent of the market.

Über die Titel-Vorschläge der "Experten"

As most old Audio readers will realize, our own record recommendations have gone on just the opposite principle. We aim to keep the furthest horizons in view - because there always is something new under the sun, for those with ears and eyes open and a spark of curiosity about them, a yen for new things, new experiences.

We have ranged from one side to the other of the record field, excluding nothing, because you never can tell ... you can never be sure ahead of time what's going to be good for you, the individual, and what will leave you cold.

We are not robots and we do change, all of us and each of us. People's potential interests, in music they don't even know, changes enormously with each passing year - in ways they may not even realize, themselves. You can't ask them what they like best - now. And, most of all, yon can't roll people through the mill of statistics and bring 'em all out the same.

The pleasure in playing records and in collecting them is in learning, I don't honestly think that learning means getting to know just the so-called "great music." It may well bore you to tears. It may not be your great music. Maybe the piece that will whack you between the eyes or in the pit of the stomach is some obscure little item out of another century - somebody else's "great music." On records, it's yours for as long as you wish; you can play yourself to sleep with it every night and hear it again for breakfast. That's your right as an individual.

The main thing, you see, is to keep the channels open, to maintain contact with the wider world of music - just in case. Again, you never can tell. If you're curious, if you want to be around when your special music comes along, you'll never submit to any papa-panel of benevolent judges, who must face the conservative economic necessities of mass operation in their choices, no matter how good their intentions.

You're not going to widen your channels of communication by joining a record club. You'll close them safely off, most of them. You won't have to bother with nine tenths of the music on LP records. What yon don't hear about you'll never miss, I guess. So, go ahead and enjoy the hi-fi stuff at the reduced rates, join the club and settle the record problem once and for all. The experts will buy your records for you.

But you might keep an eye on your "record reviews" now and then, just in case. You never can tell - you might want to get hack your freedom, some day.


A few days ago, I got to the subject of stereo in my new and enormous (so it seems to me) book on "hi-fi for the music lover". My lady editor, the same one that worked with me on my first book a few years back, is still the best and most reasonable foil you can imagine. She represents the General Public and keeps me on the track.

She it is, who questions things that seem perfectly obvious (perfekt normal) to me, enthuses over sections that I thought were unspeakably dull, and generally balances my own somewhat erratic ups and downs, as I go alternately into a state of excitement or despondency, depending on how many dozen new developments have been announced that particular day.

Anyhow, when we got to editing my chapter on stereo, she asked me the question of questions, which I think will show you where the General Public is likely to stand on the subject of stereo disc, in these present days.

"45-45," says she. "Now that's interesting. Does that mean they use two 45-rpm records? What an ingenious idea ...." So I wrote that page over again.

Ob es noch zu früh ist, zu spekulieren ?

Maybe this is a nutty time to be speculating on stereo disc. For all I know, things may have "broken" by the time I am in print. I first stuck my neck out, however, way back last August (1957), without a trace of official information on hand but a lot of hunchy feeling that something was up.

The fall demonstrations of stereo disc, from English Decca (lateral-vertical) and Westrex (45-45) saved my long neck for me nicely and I've let the rest of the audio gentry stick their necks out ever since. Now, a bit more neck.

März 1958 - und das ist absolut bemerkenswert :

Es gibt zur Zeit eine einzige Stereo-Platte auf dem US-Markt !!

You see, as of this writing there is exactly one stereo disc on the market, strictly for experiment. (Audio Fidelity) At this moment (February 5), there's exactly one stereo pickup on the market and you can buy that, too, for $250, cartridge and arm. I'm not in this particular market. But behind all sorts of scenes, right now, the stereo pot is red-hot in everybody's audio kitchen.

Dozens of pickups are under development and a number have been played in public. Lots of people are busily turning out Westrex 45-45 test records for themselves. Everybody's ear is to the ground, or more likely, ear to ear with the next (Continued on page 82)  . . . . . und weiter ???????????????????????????

Ganz großer Mist - die Seite 82 fehlt ??????

Wichtig zu vermerken ist also :

Es gab für die 2 kanaligen Stereorillen 2 Sytem-Varianten, die von

English Decca (lateral-vertical)

und die (mono-kompatible) von

Westrex (45-45)

Es geht nicht mehr weiter, leider.


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