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 Audio Recording History, Battle Of Patents & Formats

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thirdsystem
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:56 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Interesting thread this Smile

I used a Minidisc player a good few years ago for some live solo work. Used it for drums and bass lines mainly. Need to think of a use for it in the studio. Still in excellent nick and lying unused and neglected at the moment Crying or Very sad .


Also, just reading the back of my Rick Wakemen Henry VIII LP, stating thereon........... " Also available on QUADROPHONIC tape " Shocked Eh ??

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phaedra2008
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:01 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

I rounded up from my collection some odd audio formats intended for home use (pre- recorded music), reel to reel tapes (stereo/quadro) were released but got dropped around mid 70's in favour of LP, compact cassette and in some countries the 8 track cartridge format.
A rare sealed Earth copy (Greek release only to my knowledge) and some US albums from the RCA & Polydor era, I think Beaubourg & Opera sauvage may have been skipped but I have seen Chariots of fire as well as Aphrodite's Child 666.
Below, the cute MiniDisc case & disc and sealed copy of Themes on Philips' DCC.

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dronescape
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:46 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

That 8-track stuff is amazing. It never got imported into continental Europe in the 1970s, possibly because due to protectionism (Philips compact-cassette format), or just because it would have been too expensive to sell (import taxes, customs etc.).

The wire-recorder looks a bit like the one a friend of mine used to have. Terry Gilliam would love this prop.

Stephen

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phaedra2008
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:16 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

see below, it was here, one edit & vanished...
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Last edited by phaedra2008 on Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:20 pm; edited 1 time in total

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phaedra2008
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:17 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

...and back to this thread I stared specifically for records Laughing

Audio recording technology fascinated me by the rapid evolution borrowing and adapting ideas from many technologies such as mechanical, acoustic, electrical and electronic.

It started in 1877 with Thomas Edison’s tin foil phonograph shown earlier imprinting a modulated groove suitable for playback kicking off the wax cylinder era.

Cylinders were limited to 4 minutes playtime and the next step was to imprint more grooves on a more robust disc surface & easier mass production.

With no standards for such things inventors and manufacturers were competing with all sorts of ideas patenting them & hope the market will decide on their product.
The battle of the patents brought a huge variety of devices and discs claiming superior performance.

My wish was for a display with the history of recorded music formats intended for home use, from wax cylinder to the memory stick regardless of musical content and with as many examples on display as possible.

That was 10 years ago & as it turned out the easier part.
With everything scattered in cabinets and drawers I assumed I had enough and needed to see them all together to figure out the best way ahead.

So, last year I placed them on the floor filling up a large room ignoring the “sleeves” yet all that “junk” made me a professional hoarder…

In the study room I had an empty wall 1.6m wide ideal for a shallow cabinet to fit discs & it is in a “musical” theme room where I spend time & here is the result:

Image

This display covers just about every disc size from the 20” (500mm) largest to the ¾ (20mm) smallest ever made in 10-15mm increments, all playable on the right gear.

The 3 “winning” formats 7”, 10” & 12” are marked in yellow to give an idea of what existed around them and here is a bit of interesting trivia:

The 20” Pathe (1905) is heavy & fragile as it’s made from concrete/cement coated with a layer of wax.
The single sided record spun @ 120rpm playing like CD’s from inside out, and, the audio grove was modulated up/down instead of lateral, duration was a pathetic 3 minutes so it was obsolete very quickly and very few exist.

The red 16” size transcription disc was used exclusively by radio stations between 1928-1980, mine dates from 1952 playing at 33rpm with maximum 20 minutes/side.

The 14” & 12” Pathe are single sided with similar features as the 20”.

The 10” Pathe from 1920 is double sided playing at 78rpm and is an early example of “marbled” material paving the way for coloured vinyl.

All the odd sizes were made by small companies to fit a certain size/playing time, often sold exclusively thorough chain stores and played on the established 78rpm players.

The brown 7” is a solid colour made by Emil Berliner in 1897, single sided playable only on Berliner players competing with Edison’s cylinders.

Through the middle is a complete set of 7 “stamp” records from Bhutan issued in the early 70’s.
Depending on size, they play either traditional folk music or the National anthem, paper from the back can be peeled of and the record suck on larger envelopes, a rare complete and unused set.

The other displays I am working on are for wax cylinders with 3 working players, more specialized records like metallic discs, recordable discs, early postcards, liquid filled discs, multiple content discs which held 4 versions of music depending on how the needle landed at the beginning and others including tapes & odd digital media.

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phaedra2008
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 7:47 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

...and some interesting items not fitting in the records display.
Besides the "plastic" records the industry tried aluminium as well.

With these discs the sacrificial component was reversed with a hard disc played with a cheap(er) soft needle made from fibre or bamboo, playback was on standard 78rpm gramophones, audio was double sided mono with a frequency response of around 60-6000Hz, so twice as good as a telephone line.

Introduced around 1920 it did hang around for some 15 years finding limited use mainly for speech such as radio stations transcripts although the small disc with 3 holes was purpose made for a particular type of jukebox.

The technology did leave a lasting legacy though as it's next refinement was a smoother lacquer coating to reduce crackle leading to the "acetate" disc which played a key role in the vinyl pressing process.

Image

Here is the 8" Fairchild disc being played:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ztBTF6M720

and the Speak-O-Phone:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFLV56y-6_w

and a cutter/recorder with a guy recording Stevie Wonder from radio then the LoFi playback at 78rpm Smile
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivozh45ttXQ

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