S.A. Regal Zonophone 78rpm - Stunning Restorations

John Brooks

Well-Known Member
I recently purchased from HR Connect in Belgium the first in a planned series of S.A. Regal Zonophone 78rpm restorations using state of the art technology. The first release is all ISB. I am now 74 years of age and, when I was a little boy, growing up in London I listened to these recordings often on an old windup record player, later graduating to a single play electric machine. Those old brittle and scratchy 78's were the foundation for my life long love of brass music. I played Roland Cobb's Wondrous Day endlessly, such was the impact of that recording. Years ago, I made some tape recordings in an attempt to preserve some of what I consider my personal heritage. Later, I acquired the CD collection issued by SP & S which were so much better than my tapes and which I thought at the time were as good as technically possible. While I subsequently learned that was not the case I would never have anticipated what is now possible. Since I have lived with these recordings for well over 60 years, I can say that the production in this current version is simply stunning. The clarity and total absence of surface noise so prevalent on the 78's must be heard to be believed. This is much more than a trip down memory lane for me, it is almost a virtual visit to the studio when the recordings were being made! I look forward to further releases with great anticipation. For those with an interest in these historic recordings contact: Heinz Schmidt <hschmidt@proximus.be>
 

Jack E

Well-Known Member
I found this website which gives a very detailed listing of what's available, and you can search by artist, country, album title, catalogue number, year, or medium - i.e., CD, cassette, 45, LP or 78.
You can't download them from this site, but you can pick out an individual track to play, or a complete album, and it can be accessed via a desktop, tablet or phone.
HTH
Jack
 

Heinz Schmidt

New Member
Hi Jack

I know the Regal Zonophone website very well, because I supported the work from Ian Barton from Australia, but on a very low level. Let's have a look at some aspects of these old records.
If you like to listen only in a rush moment to the old recordings, this website is absolute ok, but if you are a music enthusiast which like to hear these albums nearly in perfection, then you don't will be pleased with the playback sound on the Regal Zonophone site. The reason is very simple. Ian was everytime very unpleasant about the many typical noises of the old 78rpm albums, and was very suprised as he get some copies from our studio. Not only that we removed all unwanted noises, we also set the old mono recordings into a "pseudo stereo" audio file. Another point was, that Ian use a low mp3 conversation (128kbps). World of Brass use for their downloads actual 320kbps, which is nearly CD quality. Our studio restore each album in PCM 32bit/384kHz or DSD audio. I am sure that many people doesn't understand what this wording means. So, let it say in simple words - actual these are the best audio formats, with the focus, to preserve the original analog sound as much as possible. So I think you can't compare our re-recordings with the streaming files from the Regal Zonophone website. Please missunderstand my comments, this is not a critical aspect, for sure; absolutely not, this is simply the fact.
And now let me say something to the streaming issue. We all know that our world is faced with enormous ecological problems in the next few years. Streaming is a great negative aspect of this problem. Experts talk about 800 million tons CO2 per year - from my point of view absolute unbelievable. I don't know if audio streaming will be the right way to save our world climate - now, but this is what each user must check by its own. for us it would be very easy to provide audio streaming, but this is an absolute 'no go', even if we are against the current trend, but we are very proud of this decision in front of the major environmental problems in the world.
 
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Jack E

Well-Known Member
@Heinz Schmidt - many thanks for your explanation of the technical differences between the two formats, Heinz; I found that very helpful.

With best regards,

Jack
 

BrianSA

New Member
It was discovering Ian Barton's SA Regal Zonophone web site that was instrumental in bringing me back to the Army after many years outside. Now happily back in uniform and playing in Fellowship and Corps bands.
 
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