Reference Recordings offers EnjoyTheMusic.com a hearty congratulations on their 25th Anniversary! In honor of the occasion, they’ve invited our own Marcia Martin an opportunity to write about the history of the Reference Recordings label. See it (and wish them congrats) at enjoythemusic.com.
Thank you for the opportunity to write about our label for Enjoy the Music.com. First, hearty congratulations on your 25th anniversary, a real milestone! For so many years, Enjoy the Music.com has presented well-written, impartial information and reviews which are so valuable to the audiophile and music community. Thank you!
Reference Recordings was founded in 1976. Producer John Tamblyn (“Tam”) Henderson combined his love and knowledge of music with his quest for “the sound of real musicians making music in real space,” molding Reference Recordings into one of the most innovative and respected independent labels in the music business. His productions for RR are widely praised for their dedication to high quality sound in the service of great music. In 1978, Tam Henderson began working with engineer Keith O. Johnson, who was already an audio legend in the recording industry. The 100-plus recordings made by their team are considered by many to be the finest-sounding classical and jazz discs ever made.
In addition, during these years Mr. Johnson designed and patented many innovative products in the professional and consumer audio fields. The original “RR Sound” comes from his singular methods and equipment, almost all hand-built or extensively modified by him. Microphone techniques range from purist to complex, depending on the musical forces and the performing space involved. Johnson’s investigation of electronic behavior and acoustic perception led to his development (with digital engineer Michael Pflaumer) of the revolutionary High Definition Compatible Digital encoding process, originally produced and marketed by Pacific Microsonics and later acquired by Microsoft.
Reference Recordings released the first commercial CDs with the process. Currently all Keith Johnson masters are recorded at 176.4 kHz/24-bits, still using the never-surpassed Pacific Microsonics Model Two HDCD encoders. HDCD brings a high level of accuracy and musicality to digital recordings, whether made into compact discs, SACDs, or released as high-resolution digital files.…