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BRASS TACKS

Armistice

By Edward J. Sack

The Great Record War of 1949-50 finally ended last week after one year of battling by the corporation giants. Its conclusion came with the appearance of RCA's long playing record, patterned after Columbia's model. Now the consumer has three different record styles to choose from: the old record at 78 rpms, Victor's doughnut-hole model at 45 rpms, and the long playing ones at 33 1/3 rpms. These three will now compete on an equal footing, for the same material is available on all speeds.

At the moment the big question is how good are the new, Victor LPs. Classical record buyers have already demonstrated their preference for the LP form with its uninterrupted music. They have been looking forward to having Victor's catalogue of famous artists in this form.

Tests of the first RCA releases showed that the new records are at least as good as other LPs and in some respects superior. The record surfaces seemed to be more uniformly good--hardly any needle scratch. The four records tested compared with only the best Columbia surfaces. The inherent possibilities of all LPs are about equal, leaving most quality differences dependent on processing techniques and microphone placement. Victor has always rated well in this respect and is up to its usual standards on these new records. But it is doubtful that these advantages warrant the higher RCA price.

For some strange reason, RCA is still ballyhooing its 45 rpmp records as the greatest things ever and is still concentrating its publicity on them. There is no discernible difference in quality between the 15's and 33's. The LP factor makes the latter much better for classical music while the former is obviously better for single records. Victor hopes eventually to persuade the single-record buying public from the old 78's to the company's favored 45 rpm form.

Meanwhile, the three record styles, with the infinite variety of attachments and gadgets for playing them, will be offered for sale. Just about the time that the public makes up its mind on these records, tape will probably come along and supplant them all.

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