AES San Francisco 2012
Historical Event H2

Saturday, October 27, 12:15 pm — 1:15 pm (Room 122)

H2 - The Evolution of Electrical Recording At RCA Victor Studios 1925–1953

Nicholas Bergh, Endpoint Audio Labs - Burbank, CA, USA

This must-see presentation explores the first decades of electric recording by examining the technical evolution of the RCA Victor recording studios. The early commercial recording industry was comprised of only a few major studios, employing just a handful of recording personnel who used relatively secret equipment. Very little is left from the music industry to document the early electrical recording era—cryptic technical notations in recording ledgers, brief technical comments in memoirs, a few crude photos, and decades of secondhand lore. Since the few remaining Victor studio documents alone are not adequate in explaining what was going on behind the scenes, the focus of this research has been a number of alternative primary sources, for example the original engineering reports from Western Electric and RCA, manuals for the leased studio equipment, and modern tests of restored original recording equipment. Although these sources are not always definitive on their own, they become quite powerful when used together. This research helps address some of the important questions and misconceptions of this era that still face us today in the modern use and archival transfer of these recordings. Mr. Bergh will explain sound quality shifts during different years, the development of equalization standards, and session ledger notations. Exploring the evolution of RCA Victor also provides an important understanding of the evolution of the modern recording industry as a whole. The presentation will include images of the recording equipment used, as well as fascinating audio clips

Return to Historical Events

EXHIBITION HOURS October 27th 10am – 6pm October 28th 10am – 6pm October 29th 10am – 4pm
REGISTRATION DESK October 25th 3pm – 7pm October 26th 8am – 6pm October 27th 8am – 6pm October 28th 8am – 6pm October 29th 8am – 4pm
TECHNICAL PROGRAM October 26th 9am – 7pm October 27th 9am – 7pm October 28th 9am – 7pm October 29th 9am – 5pm
AES - Audio Engineering Society