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Bye bye, Decca?

Discussion in 'classical' started by Chefren, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. Chefren

    Chefren pfm Member

  2. nightcleaner

    nightcleaner pfm Member

    I was born 1951.. decca has great memories for me a bit iconic really if thats the right phraze.

    First record i bought was on Decca "So much in love by The Mighty Avengers"

    My other memories is my sister buying Rolling Stones singles also on Decca

    the last Decca Single i bought Was my resistance is low by Robin Sarstedt. 1976 !!!

    Incidentally pop pickers Check out his Brother Peter Single, The one after "where do you go to my lovely" "Frozen orange Juice" I Think in its own way its brilliant
  3. Fox

    Fox The sound of one hoof clopping

    Not just the label but DECCA's fluid damped Unipivots were truly advanced for their time and didn't DECCA give us the ribbon tweeter selling the license to Philips?
  4. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    A real shame, some of the finest classical recordings ever made are on Decca. It will be sick and wrong seeing them reissued with the wrong labels / covers etc, but I guess that's been going on for a while now. One of the few labels to make their own arms and cartridges too. Decca were something uniquely British.

  5. Patrick Dixon

    Patrick Dixon Imagineer

    And they did Bingo too.
  6. Jonathan Ribee

    Jonathan Ribee Unavailable at present


    The London Decca cart was re-vamped a few years ago. I always fancied trying one at some uncertain point in the future. I assume it survives as I can't imagine the new one was produced by the record company.

    The label always confused me slightly - I have a number of "Decca" branded LPs and Cds - and a number of "London" ones - same logo. Not sure what that was about.

    The actual label really ceased to exist years ago.
  7. 2 many boxes

    2 many boxes pfm Member

    There's no story on the BBC website yet, so I would take it with a pinch of salt - if you can find any that is :rolleyes:

    If what that guy says is true then it's another case, like Wedgewoods, of no firm, no matter how old, established or respected, that cannot be ****ed down the tubes by an arsehole director with a big mouth and no idea what they're doing.
  8. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Put on Solti's Mahler 2 recorded in the Kingsway Hall in 1966. An object lesson in production. Forty years later you might ask what advance producers and engineers have made!

    I still look for the red and blue logos on my CD case spines when I open the cupboard.
  9. Chefren

    Chefren pfm Member

  10. Cheese

    Cheese Bitter lover

    Saying yes to the Beatles wouldn't have been a bad idea after all.
  11. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    They got The Stones though, so didn't do too badly out of 60s pop.

  12. SoupDragon

    SoupDragon Member

    as a Decca London Gold cartridge owner i salute their ability to take 'alternative' technological routes.

  13. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    Sadly I think we've moved on from the period when any "major" classical label can exist. There will still be fabulous engineering and production going on, but by small outfits/one man bands with a much more streamlined means of getting the product to market. I'm quite excited by that in a funny way.

    I will continue to cherish the legacy of Decca from the 60s/70s and even the 80s and enjoy the..."uncluttered clarity: home-made, high-tech and unfailingly discreet, a sound that never played ping-pong with your ears".

  14. DSJR

    DSJR Between us and them

    Sixties Decca LP's were cut at half speed and often very heavily equalised because the cutters couldn't then cut "flat" properly, giving that rich "Decca" sound. When they obtained Neumann lathes in 1970 or threabouts, many of the titles were re-cut and "HiFi" people didn't like them because they lacked the artificial warmth of the original versions. CD came along and the same thing happened again, although a friend who was there for eleven years as a back-catalogue mastering engineer until they closed the Belsize Road facility made sure that all his re-issues were transferred "flat" as the original producer wanted them.

    Their tape store was quite vast and I'd have loved to spend a day in there. When I asked where the 'Stones tapes were, he pointed towards a corner and said, "Over there somewhere..." Digitising their back catalogue was a race against time as some of the sixties onwards tapes were deteriorating. The Tom Jones two disc compilation they did in the mid nineties was just in time apparently, as the tapes were shedding badly. Chris did one disc and his late manager did the other. I met the latter gent at my firend's wedding and he went into detail about the mastering process. I believe he did the first Camel CD masters and added a touch of warmth at 40-60Hz or so. The Re-masters, which were done by an ex Decca mastering engineer (in the same premises I think) appear to have been transferred "flat" as they sound a bit brighter to my ears.

    Decca used to make all their own mixing and mastering gear, using Studer A80's IIRC for tape playback and Sony 1630's for A-to-D work. The early digital editors available weren't very good, so Decca made their own. I believe this practice stopped by the nineties as Sony had caught up. Speakers on my visit were B&W Matrix 801's (the model before the "N" version) donated in large quantities to Polygram (and EMI?) by the manufacturer and a chunky H&H amp was used to drive them via thickish gauge white mains cables......... To allow them to "see" over the meter bridge, Chris turned the stands on their sides, lifting them by an extra few inches. One could then see the mid/top "pod" clearly with no obstruction and the bass quality was improved further too as a result - they tend to thud a bit when sitting on the floor in a domestic environment.

    Just some more useless info for you...
  15. Carl Nyqvist

    Carl Nyqvist pfm Member

    "London Records was a record label headquartered in the United Kingdom marketing records in the United States and Latin America from 1947 through the 1980s. London arose from the split in ownership between the British branch of Decca Records and that same company's USA branch; the "London" label released British Decca records in the USA, since it could not use the "Decca" name there. The London label was also used by British Decca in the UK market to release American labels (such as Imperial Records, Chess Records, Dot Records, Atlantic Records, Specialty Records and Sun Records) which British Decca licensed. In the sixties more licensing deals were made with Big Top Records, Monument Records, Philles Records and Hi Records."

    off this informative site that's been of great help to me;
  16. Jonathan Ribee

    Jonathan Ribee Unavailable at present

    Ah! Thanks Carl. Another mystery solved.
  17. nightcleaner

    nightcleaner pfm Member

    most interesting read from all of you so far.. well done lads..

    can we also give a mention to the Decca Record plant at Holton Heath Near Wareham Dorset. Which was housed in the old cordite factory. Good few people worked in there i met..some quite recently. One chap was a fork lift driver who worked there right to its final closure.

    After a goggle it gets a couple of mentions one here
  18. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    When I get home from work, I'll post a scan of a letter I received from Decca way back in the early 60s.

  19. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    Just bagged a mint B Minor Mass SET 477/8 (well at least the vinyl is mint). Having a listen as I raise a glass to the old label.
  20. theopenmind

    theopenmind pfm Member

    Love Decca pressings and I don't even listen to Classical!

    Rolling Stones, Them, Zombies, The Artwoods, Leafhound, Bread, Love & Dreams, The End, Human Beast, The Applejacks, Small Faces, Black Cat Bones... to name a few, have all had outings on Decca and yes they sound superb; not a bad pressing among them unlike pressings found on many other labels. So if you're a peppermint twister who thinks they're missing out, theres something to be getting on with..

    I also believe Parlaphone contracted some of their pressings out to Decca, including copies of The Beatles White Album, Sgt Peppers, Please Please Me..

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