'Reproduction of 78rpm records'.
I have provided mp3 format files of some transfers from 78s chosen to give an idea of what can be achieved. My choice of material is limited by copyright, so all the recordings are of classical composers since jazz or dance-band music may still be in music copyright.
Please don't be put off by the surface noise: it's higher than you may be used to hearing, but filtering off the noise also results in filtering all the life out of the recording. If you can ignore the noise - which isn't bad on these records - you will find that the sound quality is surprisingly good for the age of the recordings. The first two are pre-electric (recorded mechanically down a horn), the others electrical.
Click on the links to open a player. If you would like to download these recordings you can do so from this page.
LITVINNE (soprano): 'I SACRI NOMI' (Aida) (Verdi)
Modern vinyl pressing of Fonotipia 39217, recorded Paris, 1905 (1.4MB).
The vinyl surface reduces the noise considerably: the recording is extremely clear and shows up the limitations of the piano all too well.
Usually in Caruso transfers one hears a very ringing, penetrating tone. Here you can hear why he was so famous - the voice is darker than one might expect, with a very creamy tone. It's quite the best recording, technically, of Caruso that I've heard. This copy is in good condition apart from a fine scratch over the first part which I have reduced by digital editing.
CHALIAPINE (bass): SONG OF PRINCE GALITSKY (Prince Igor)
HMV DA891, recorded 1927 (1.6 MB)
A very vivid recording of this powerful performer.
RUBINSTEIN (piano) with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by
John Barbirolli: 3rd movement from the Piano Concerto No.1
HMV DB7243/2 (auto couplings), recorded at Abbey Road, July 1932 (2.9MB)
Despite some crackle in this post-war pressing the well-balanced recording comes over well with a very good piano tone.
SUPERVIA (soprano): IL ÉTAIT UN ROI DE THULÉ (Faust)
Modern vinyl pressing of unissued Odeon, recorded 1932 (2.4MB)
A fine recording, benefiting from the low noise of the vinyl pressing which has been further reduced by digital processing.
HENRY J. WOOD conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra: FUNERAL
MARCH OF A MARIONETTE (Gonoud)
Columbia DX969 recorded March 1940 (2.2MB)
This is the music used at one time by Alfred Hitchcock as the theme music for his TV series. A good clear recording with a wide dynamic range and low surface noise.
Further mp3 files of operatic vocals on 78s on another page.
These recordings are all more than 60 years old, and are out of
mechanical copyright: the music is by composers who died more than 70
years ago and is out of copyright.
"His Master's Voice" and the painting of that name are trademarks of EMI.
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