Sampling frequency on Radio programmes - Taking it off topic

C E Macfarlane c.e.macfarlane at
Tue Apr 28 01:05:34 PDT 2015

Yes, I was quite shocked by that part of the program ...

>     My reaction was more practical, but heading in the same direction. I
>     thought "Well a Steinway sounds different to a Fazioli, and
>     the same piano
>     sounds different when played in the RFH than in Wigmore Hall." :-)

Quite, and anyway that's not really the point.  See below.

>     So I suspect some measure of 'educated guess' is required on his part,
>     based on skill and good judgement.

I am not so forgiving.  It sounded like good-old-fashioned-British arrogance
to me!

The point is that by removing clicks, rumble, etc he is merely restoring the
recording to as pristine condition as can reasonably be done given that the
original recording is damaged by such artifacts and is no longer actually in
said pristine condition.  By changing the sound of the piano, he is going
beyond mere restoration and actually putting something into the recording
that was never there in the first place.  Absolutely he should NOT be doing
this.  He may think that he's merely making up for the less advanced
recording technology of earlier times, but the punters of those times
accepted that technology at face value and enjoyed it nevertheless, and a
modern listener who wishes to explore old original recordings would expect
to do likewise, not find themselves actually exploring what has been
artificially injected into a recording by modern technology.  What would be
the point of that?  If you must have a modern sound, why not buy a modern

It's tampering with the historical record (here I mean 'record' in the
'written history' sense).

I get a sense that some people who use digital technology rapidly get a sort
of megalomania where, because it's so easy, they fiddle-faddle and tweak
everything under the sun, regardless of actual benefit or otherwise so
derived.  It's the same sort of arrogance that (being at my most generous)
removed all the master tape hiss from some early Fleetwood Mac CDs, but in
so doing left us with a gutted sound that was inferior to the original LPs.
It's the same sort of arrogance that feels the need to insert the sound of a
buzzard over the soundtrack of a natural history scene, even though there's
no buzzard in sight, or, even worse, the scene is of a different bird of
prey which makes a different noise.  After all it's so easy, you don't have
to make the camera crew go back out there to refilm the scene to suit the
editor's lack of taste, by merely pressing some buttons he can ruin a
perfectly decent shot entirely on his own at little or no extra expense to
the company.

Regards, Charles.

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