C32 class loco, flat truck and guard's van


The return of an old favourite LRS002 in its new guise as LRCD001.

Locofonic Recordings first CD

G'day. We've finally been able to digitize the master tape for the first 12in LP we released in 1974. The recordings of NSWGR Steam's last years were made in the period 1970 - 1973.

You will hear :-

                                                                                                -: all in "You'll think you're there!" Stereophonic Sound.

We have kept any digital processing of the audio tapes to an absolute minimum so as to give you every thing that was recorded as unadulterated as possible. The original recordings were made on a Uher 4400 Report stereo tape recorder (alas long since succumbed to a diet of too much coaldust), which was the (mono) machine favoured by most Radio-Stations of the day (only the Nagra, used by film companies, was better). Its signal-to-noise ratio was rather limited by todays standard at -56 dB. Todays digital recorders are around -90 dB. In order to get the approx 100 dB of dynamic range of steam-trains actually recorded on the tape, the record levels were adjusted, as carefully as possible, at the time of the original recordings. All possible effort was made to keep the original shape of the dynamic change in audio levels as the Steam-Locos passed. You will probably hear some low level hiss throughout the recording as -56 dB is nowhere as quiet as the -90 dB of digitally recorded CDs.

Our old ears believe the CD sounds better when listened-to on 1970s earphones or speakers as their frequency response is more in keeping with what's actually recorded. The Uher dynamic mics rolled off at 14kc and the recorder itself rolled off a bit above 16kc, so you can see that using 25kc headphones will not put back what is not there and will only let you hear more of the hiss. Similarly, the distortion of the recorder was approx 0.7% - 1% (2% on peaks) while the 1970s headphones and loudspeakers were around 4%. Nowadays, good quality headphones are around 0.5% so you can see, once again, that new technology headphones will only let you hear more of what is wrong with the recordings.

As everyone hears things differently, you can probably take what we just said with a grain of salt. However, if you only have modern equipment, then judicious use of the treble-cut control or a graphic equaliser will sweeten the sound to your hearts desire.

Given all the above, we still think the sound recorded is pretty faithful to the original and it's probably a miracle that it is, given the tapes are now 30 years old.

So put on your 'phones, switch off the lights, switch on your imagination and be transported back 30 years to the time of Steam-Power.

LRCD001 is available from Firebox Recordings

  ©  Gary Yates   Locofonic Recordings Australia  
This page first written 6-11-2002 last updated 28-9-2005.