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Berlin Philharmonic Digitizes Wartime Archive

Concert recordings, made between 1939 and 1945, are being digitally preserved.

Berlin, Germany (February 15, 2019)—For a new 22-CD/SACD edition of historical recordings by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings employed the Nexus XMIC+ A/D converter from Stage Tec to digitize archived recordings of 21 symphonies and solo concertos by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Bruckner and Schubert and others.

Stage Tec Mixes Congress Chaos

The concert recordings, made between 1939 and 1945 and conducted by Furtwängler, were to be digitally sampled as faithfully as possible to the original in the highest audio quality and post-processed and remastered in 24-bit resolution. The original material arrived in the Soviet Union after the Second World War and did not return to Germany until the early 1990s.

“During the extremely sensitive process of transferring the historic tapes, optimal signal quality and absolute reliability were our top priorities,” explains Christoph Franke, recording producer at Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings. “Since the number of dubbing processes had to be kept as low as possible, the extreme headroom at an always ideal operating point and the absolute linearity of the Stage Tec converters were decisive criteria for us. The high resolution of the conversion provides reserves for later processing, which also has a positive effect on the comparatively small useful signal range of these historical recordings.”

Dr. Helmut Jahne, managing director at Stage Tec adds: “The decisive factor was the extremely high dynamic range of almost 160 dB of the TrueMatch converter used, which allows the finest tonal nuances, deep below the noise floor of the original signal, to be digitized and preserved for posterity. In addition, the TrueMatch converter has the smallest phase error of any AD converter on the market. Our TrueMatch converter is known worldwide for its absolute neutrality of the sound and its excellent impulse response, so that the digitized recordings correspond exactly to the original with the highest precision and do not sound different. Thus, the historical Berlin Philharmonic recordings will be preserved for future generations.”

Stage Tec •