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Bob Fine’s Recording Truck : 1951 – 1966
Old 12th November 2013
  #1
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Remoteness's Avatar
Exclamation Bob Fine’s Recording Truck : 1951 – 1966

Check this awesome online article about Bob Fine’s Recording Truck which ran from 1951 to 1966...

You can find by clicking on PreservationSound.com!
It's a great read and there's some awesome photos!
Old 12th November 2013
  #2
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Thanks for sharing!
Old 12th November 2013
  #3
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My pleasure...

It's a pretty cool article for sure!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piranhadrum View Post
Thanks for sharing!
Old 12th November 2013
  #4
Seriously awesome article and website.

I think Bob Fine actually had a recording studio over here in Bayside, Queens at some point in the '60's.

Too bad that place is gone...
Old 12th November 2013
  #5
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10,000 valves in that truck....
Old 12th November 2013
  #6
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boojum's Avatar
Wow! As a kid, my closest friends and I collected MLP as the pinnacle. They were better even that the Westminster Lab series. It is wonderful to see the article you have posted. Thanks.
Old 12th November 2013
  #7
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loujudson's Avatar
Interesting tidbit: The mixing and monitoring was often done in a room in the venues, with large speakers (604Es?) running off power amps in the truck. The truck had only reference speakers to be sure the right sound was there on each tape deck.
Old 12th November 2013
  #8
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
Wow, I loved the MLP recordings as I was growing up. I didn't have much opportunity to go shopping for LPs, but the few MLPs were fascinating, both to listen to, and to read about the technology of the day. Now, seeing the mobile truck that produced them closes the circle back around.

According to a few Google hits, Fairchild "Pic-Sync" was a method of synchronizing sound tracks (recorded on full-coat 35mm mag stock) with the camera film. Apparently, they recorded IN-BAND a 14 KHz sync tone which implies that they limited the audio signal bandwidth to something below 14 KHz (perhaps 10 or 12 KHz?). Or else they had a notch-filter to remove the 14KHz pilot-tone (which probably wouldn't have done any significant trauma to the recording, which is high overtones at that frequency).

But I would imagine that if they were recording audio-only (with no requirement to sync to picture) they could have just eliminated the "Pic-Sync" 14KHz tone altogether.

Those MLP recordings, and a growing collection of Deutsche Grammophon Archiv recordings including blind organist Helmut Walcha playing Bach's 18 Leipzig Chorales which I practically wore out (and now have in MP3 on my iPod). In particular I remember one comment in the album notes "from the earliest days of the stereophony". In the mid-late 1950s, IIRC.
Old 12th November 2013
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loujudson's Avatar
I think Pic-sync was only used for film sound.
“The two photos above show Bob Fine in the truck in Italy in 1958. Mercury took the truck to Italy to make opera recordings in 1957 and 1958. The truck was rebuilt in 1958 and both Fairchild mono recorders were replaced by Ampex 300 full-tracks. From 1961-63, the truck also carried a Westrex 35mm magnetic film recorder to many Mercury Living Presence and Command Classics recording sessions."
Old 13th November 2013
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Rob,
Bob's studio was just across the street from where I used to be in Bayside, which was off of 215 and Bell.
Although he was there and gone quite a few years before I built my joint the "Brewery".
That was the second Brewery, cause the first one I built was right down the road in Bay Terrace.
Old 13th November 2013
  #11
7+1
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really great article..

thanks for sharing.
Old 3rd December 2013
  #12
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Thanks for that Steve!
An inspiration as I complete my own truck project!!
Old 3rd December 2013
  #13
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Remoteness's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nobtwiddler View Post
Rob,
Bob's studio was just across the street from where I used to be in Bayside, which was off of 215 and Bell.
Although he was there and gone quite a few years before I built my joint the "Brewery".
That was the second Brewery, cause the first one I built was right down the road in Bay Terrace.
Yep, that's right, Paulie!



Quote:
Originally Posted by 7+1 View Post
really great article..

thanks for sharing.
It was my pleasure!



Quote:
Originally Posted by bjornson View Post
Thanks for that Steve!
An inspiration as I complete my own truck project!!
No doubt - exactly what I was hoping it would do for us Remotesters!
Old 3rd December 2013
  #14
Brings back a lot of good memories, thanks for sharing!!!
Old 18th October 2014
  #15
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Hi
Of course 35 mm magnetic film sound recording was not invented by or first introduced by Bob Fine or Mercury. Harry Belock, the electronics whiz kid and entrepreneur who was born locally, established the Bayside recording studio and adapted existing Westrex 35mm Recorders extending their frequency range to 20,000 cycles. The Belock 3 track mixing console fed directly to the Scully lathes cutting the lacquers therefore completely eliminating the usual two track stereo master tapes. The result was an audibly clearer more immediate sound which can be heard on the very best Belock "Everest" LPs such as Kachaturian's Gayne or the Woody Hermann recording of Stravinsky's Ebony Concerto (which was dedicated to Woody by the composer) which took place in the self same Bayside Belock Recording Studio.

Belock also developed mobile 35mm recorders which operated in London (many significant records with the LSO made here by Bert Whyte) and in such diverse locations as Havana Cuba just before the revolution swept Batista from power, Paris and Spain.

Alas, the Everest Record Group was part of the much larger Belock Instrument Company - a defence company providing components for missile guidance systems and other projects - and by 1961 the Board forced Harry Belock to divest Everest Records. The existing catalogue was sold off to a Los Angeles based budget record club operation for years of low quality rip off re-issues both on cheap LPs, cassettes and even recently pirate CDs. The Vanguard reissues are the only ones to get with digital remastering from the original tapes and masters - or Classic Records for true audiophile sound on DVD-Audio, 180gm and 200gm vinyl reissues.

Part of the divestiture was that the Bayside studio, the 35mm recorders and some other equipment fell into the hands of the Fines and Mercury. Up to that point they had nothing to do with 35mm vinyl. After then they adopted it as their own! The studio operated for a further couple of years, then Mercury moved on and it became a freelance for hire venue, then closed and at some point the building was converted to office space, eventually being demolished.

Belock Instrument operated out of several West Coast and USAF locations including the famous Huntsville Space Laboratories Alabama, where the company worked on the NASA moon landing Saturn and Apollo projects. But its main manufacturing base was at College Point (it contained one of only two beryllium machining plants in the USA for rigid instrument mounting on missiles) just round the corner from the Bayside Studio. It was acquired by Applied Devices Corporation in 1966 following financial difficulties culminating in an emergency Defence Department rights share issue which saved the company from bankruptcy, but by that time most of its defence contract work and cutting edge technological work had ceased though the company continued to have service contracts on existing SAM installations.

35mm magnetic recording was comparatively shortlived as existing technology with standard half inch tape improved.

Paradoxically, Belock's main incentive for pioneering its development in audio recording for home reproduction stereo vinyl and tapes, was to provide an element of diversification to his company's operations and extend its reach into any area with which he had strong links and a technical background - movie sound recording. He was closely associated with Mike Todd and the development of Todd-AO six track stereo for film. At one point he was developing an extension of this into cinematic 8 track full stereo surround.
Old 27th August 2019
  #16
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A "Bob Fine Recording Truck" bump!
Old 27th August 2019
  #17
I found a writing by Hans Lauterslager, one of the main engineers at Philips from the dawn of stereo there until the 90s. In it he talks about working with Bob Fine in the 1960s, and it makes me wonder whether the Philips techniques (specifically the “3 or 4 mics-across-the-front plus surrounds and spots” techniques used regularly by the ex-Philips engineers at Polyhymnia) derived originally from Fine’s techniques.

The link to that text is dead now, but I’ve found a similar description of events at the following link:

http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/mercury.html
Old 27th August 2019
  #18
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Awesome information.


Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
I found a writing by Hans Lauterslager, one of the main engineers at Philips from the dawn of stereo there until the 90s. In it he talks about working with Bob Fine in the 1960s, and it makes me wonder whether the Philips techniques (specifically the “3 or 4 mics-across-the-front plus surrounds and spots” techniques used regularly by the ex-Philips engineers at Polyhymnia) derived originally from Fine’s techniques.

The link to that text is dead now, but I’ve found a similar description of events at the following link:

http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/mercury.html
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