[Dixielandjazz] Re: Columbia's echo

David Palmquist davidpalmquist at dccnet.com
Thu Sep 25 08:29:12 PDT 2003

Sometime in the late 1960's, a high school friend who was taking 
electronics showed me a gadget used to create reverberation.  It was 
mechanical rather than electronic, I think, and looked to be about the size 
of a cigar box.  Inside were several wires, some of which were (oh, boy, 
I'm trying to picture this now, 35+ years later) springs - think of coiled 
wires similar to a piano string?

He told me that reverb was created by passing the sound signal through 
these wires, and I formed the impression the reverb would be created if the 
box was shaken.  It seems in retrospect that it is more likely the idea was 
that the wires were just of significantly different lengths, the coiling of 
some of them beomg to allow a greater length to fit in the box, and there 
would therefore be some delay in the transmission of the sound signal 
through the longer wires.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that makes any sense at all, because an 
electric signal carrying the sound wave would be travelling at the speed of 
light, and I can't see even a significant lengh difference making much 
difference to the amount of time it takes the signal to carry.

Is anyone familiar with this gadget, and if so, can they explain the 
technology?  It seems obvious to me that I haven't got a clue what I'm 
talking about.

David in Delta

At 16:02 24-09-03, Bill Haesler wrote:
>Dear Brian,
>It may not have done for the BBC old chap.
>However, here in Oz, two medium, private, recording companies I knew 
>personally, (Telefil and W&G) experimented with
>'echo' and used for several live sessions respectively, the ladies' toilet 
>and a stairwell.
>Both also later (as I recall) had a large 'reverb' room, not unlike your 
>bare-walled chamber.
>When it came to jazz reissues, Robert Parker used(s) his special system to 
>change the ambience of pre-recorded vintage
>material. Robert and I never saw eye-to-eye (heard ear-to-ear?) about this.
>Robert's Spanier 'Big 16' and his Oliver Syncopators reissues come 
>immediately to mind.
>Disaster IMO. Now replicated on his CD reissues.
>Ace of Hearts in England also ruined perfectly good reissue stuff in the 60s.
>Once 'echoed' up, there was no way they could be un-echoed.
>Perhaps it was an early form of protecting their material from piracy, 
>although I doubt that they were that worried.
>Just well-meaning 'techs' doing what 'techs' do.
>In some cases, we 'completists' had no choice at the time but, I for one, 
>have weeded out the offending LPs when better
>remastered items came on to the market.
>Thank goodness our mate John RT Davies hated these enhancing methods.
>He is a true believer in NOT 'meddling' with original material.
>Very kind regards,
>Dixielandjazz mailing list
>Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com

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