Stanton Magnetics Helps out Les Paul

Apr 16, 2004 12:00 PM, Editors


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Recently, Les Paul turned his attention toward archiving the thousands of recordings he’s had a hand in creating since 1929. “We have recordings in every format you can imagine,” said the 89-year-old music legend. “We have analog tapes that are so old we only have one pass left on them before they disintegrate. From 1929 to 1947, though, most of the recordings exist only on very old acetate, mostly 78s. We have all different formats: 1 mil, 7 mil. We needed all the best stuff to play these old records for the first time in decades.”

The exacting archival standards being used to transfer the audio from each acetate recording are those defined by the Library of Congress, and each transfer requires painstaking attention to detail. To ensure the recordings maintained their original sound and feel, Stanton provided Paul with a selection of cartridges and styli designed for the old 78s and other acetate/vinyl formats.

“My relationship with Stanton goes back to the very beginning of the company, over 50 years ago,” continued Paul. “I think I was already standing there when the founder of the company arrived in his office. In any case, we only wanted to use the very best equipment for this project—the best speakers, best audio capture tools, the best playback stuff—so that’s why we called Stanton Magnetics.”

The archives, which are being captured in several formats including digital hard disk, will be used for a variety of purposes. These include a compilation of recordings to be released commercially and an upcoming special for PBS public television.

“Obviously, we are very proud that Mr. Paul came back to Stanton for this exciting and historic project,” said Henri Cohen, Stanton’s VP of sales and marketing. “Any company would be happy to send him anything he needed to accomplish the task of ensuring the long-term viability of these important recordings, so we’re glad that he chose Stanton as a crucial component of this process.”

“All we’re looking to do is get this music across to listeners in the way it was intended to be heard. We made the decision to give it to them raw. We could have gone in and cleaned up everything, made it perfect, so to speak. But it would be like colorizing a Laurel & Hardy picture. We prefer to give it to people exactly as it was,” Paul concluded.

For more information on Stanton Magnetics, visit

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