A Moment Of Silence, Please

I note with real sorrow the passing of Ray Dolby, who gave my generation of recording engineers a priceless gift: quiet recordings on analog tape. That may not sound like much, but let me tell you, friends — it was.

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2 Comments

  1. Porter says

    When I was young, my iPod playlist was contrived by lunging for the cassette’s play/record keys whenever a coveted song would happen by the radio. It took many hours of predatory stillness to collect my quarry. I usually recorded these with Dolby, but found I never liked the high frequency attenuation at playback.

    I wonder how many others at the time demanded a Dolby-capable deck…and never used it.

    Posted September 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    I always loathed cassettes for their inconsistency and unreliability. On several occasions I had remix sessions that turned out to be unnecessary once we got back into the studio and realized that the only problem was that the artist or producer had simply been given a dodgy cassette of the original mix.

    For professional tape machines, however, a well-calibrated Dolby rack gave excellent results, and the second-generation Dolby SR was even better. For recording engineers who hated hiss as much as I did (especially those who had to work on high-dynamic-range material such as classical music and jazz), it was a godsend.

    It wasn’t until rather later on, once the tape manufacturers began bringing out formulations that could work reliably at much higher fluxivities, that we began to stop using Dolby noise reduction. But for 15 IPS at 250 nw/m, it was a real blessing.

    Of course, once open-reel digital machines, and then Pro Tools, came along, they rendered the whole thing moot.

    Posted September 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink