Robert Parker (sound engineer)

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Robert Noel Parker (24 December 1936 – 30 December 2004) was an Australian sound engineer, jazz expert and broadcaster, well known for his radio series Jazz Classics in Digital Stereo.[1]

Born in Sydney, he worked for the Commonwealth Film Unit then moved to Britain in 1964 to work in the film and television industry. On returning to Australia, he received a commission from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for a radio series on jazz.

As a collector of records from the age of twelve, he had built up a large collection of vintage music. He developed a system for transferring recordings to digital media, eliminating noise, adding stereo and enhancing acoustics. He first used an analogue machine, the Packburn 323 Audio Noise Suppressor, and later digital equipment from CEDAR Audio Ltd to transfer, retouch and enhance recordings. He also used an Orban model 245 stereo synthesizer to decorrelate the original mono recordings into pseudostereo, further augmenting the results with stereophonic reverb.

With these techniques he produced "reproductions of jazz records of the 1920s and earlier that are not only free of surface noise but reveal details, subtleties and a sense of presence that were not previously evident on the records, even in LP re-issues."[2]

He used his enhanced 78rpm transfers in a long-running radio programme Jazz Classics in Digital Stereo, first broadcast in May 1982 by ABC Radio and later carried by BBC Radio 2, amongst other stations.

His transfer of "Milenberg Joys" performed by McKinney's Cotton Pickers was adopted by him as the theme tune for his broadcasts.

He settled back in Britain and set up his own studio in Devon, and followed on from his radio show with a series of vintage record transfers under the banners Jazz Classics in Digital Stereo and The Classic Years in Digital Stereo.

Select discography[edit]

  • The Best of Robert Parker: Jazz Classics in Digital Stereo (RPCD641)


External links[edit]