Audio Fidelity

Transatlantic records in the Audio Fidelity Doctored for Super Sound Series have US printed sleeves, but British pressed discs (and UK made inner sleeves). They are dated with 1960, the American release date, which precedes Transatlantic. Judging from the inner sleeve adverts, the British discs will be 1965.

Audio Fidelity was one of many astute Transatlantic choices for licensing, though this one got its own centre label. The American parent label was founded by Sidney Frey and was a pioneer of stereo, launching a commercial stereo disc before any of the majors, with a demonstration LP in early 1957. It featured the Dukes of Dixieland on side one, and yes, on side two, you got the sounds of trains travelling from one side of the room to the other. Audio-Fidelity had established a British presence (A-F England) back in 1959, but supplied demo stereo LPs to hi-fi shops, and sold a few through them.

Audio Fidelity had released a few things in 1960, but that pre-dates Transatlantic (one was Chanukah Music Box by Shirley Cohen).

Audio Fidelity went for the likes of Percussive Jazz from the Peter Appleyard Orchestra, TV Themes, Stereo Spectacular and Foreign Film Festivals. Forget the music, listen to the stereo separation. The liner notes go into tiny detail, but one that caught my eye was that the LPs are cut to a frequency range of 16 to 25,000. I thought 20,000 was the highest possibility for vinyl, but it says:

The frequency range on this record may not be within the range of the human ear but inspection of the grooves with a microscope will show the etchings of the upper dynamic frequencies. It is the opinion of the manufacturer that if these frequencies were omitted … a certain warmth of tone that is felt and sensed rather than heard will be lost.

The strobe pattern around the centre label is also static only if your turntable is playing at exactly 33 and 1/3 rpm. And yes, in spite of the flashy and unnatural stereo, the records sound stunningly better than other LPs of the era sold on hi-fi credentials. Well, once you get used to the production values … the producers feel if you’ve heard a snare drum and cymbal on the far left for a bit, with perhaps timpani on the far right, you might enjoy them changing places. But that is the genre.

In 1966, Transatlantic released 45 rpm records from the American Audio-Fidelity label, with a gold centre in a Transatlantic group sleeve. These are British pressings with small holes … US pressings have large centre holes:

US 45 Lalo Schifrin & Orchestra

The illustrated Scrooey-Mooey by The Peels was a comedy pastiche of Louie Louie, with a solid bass and brassy band mainly instrumental B-side, Time Marches On, which became a Northern Soul favourite. It wasn’t even on Audio Fidelity in the USA, but on Karate Records. Karate had acquired AudioFidelity Enterprises. Scrooey Mooey is pretty rare in the UK. Their other Karate single the same year was on EMI’s Stateside label.

See also sub-pages continuing the story. All in red are linked.
The Transatlantic Group
Audio Fidelity
Trailer, Leader