rand’s esoteric otr

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Victor Radio-Tone Demonstration

September 25th, 2009

In this post, a disc that isn't a radio broadcast, but one meant to simulate one.

record label

It's the "Victor Radio-Tone Demonstration", a 78 prepared by Victor for dealers to show off the sound of one of their radio-phonograph combinations.  It's a fairly common record and easy to find on auction sites, but we offer it here in its more-rare Canadian pressing version which features a white "batwing" label, rather than the more common US version pressed with a black "scroll" label.

record label

The first side of the disc features Milton Cross and his round tones extolling the virtues of Victor's dedication to superior sound; the second side consists of the theme song to the weekly Victor radio broadcast, called, appropriately, "Victory" and performed by the Nat Shilkret and the Victor Symphony Orchestra.

One 78 collectors discussion board I frequent dates the disc to late 1930 and notes that it was likely used to demonstrate the RE-57 sets.  You can see a photo of this model at this site.

Our mp3 was transferred from an original Canadian pressing of the disc, matrix numbers D-1-A and D-1-B.

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  • Jim

    Impressive early-electrical recording. Was it subject to any ‘digital enhancement’ at the hands of this Webmaster?

    Sep 28, 2009 at 8:45 pm
  • randsesotericotr

    The only thing I did to the original file was run it through some very light click reduction. The 78 was in excellent shape.

    In some of the forum posts about the disc, collectors talk about it being recorded “hot” - indeed, the volume is louder than many Victor 78s of the period in my collection. I don’t know what studio or hall was used to record it, but that probably helps the sound. The room has just the right acoustics to give the recording some presence and “oomph”.

    I have an lp of early hi-fi and stereo recordings made by Bell Labs with Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra in the 1920s. The disc was done for Bell Labs employees in the 1970s with the original metal masters used for the transfer. It has really amazing sound, so good results could be had with the equipment under the right circumstances.

    Sep 28, 2009 at 9:21 pm