HISTORY OF SOUND RECORDING: THE 1950s

HISTORY OF SOUND RECORDING

Have you ever wondered about the music in your phones, your computer, where did they come from? You recorded an audio file and out of the blue, you wonder how can you do that? Thanks to the development of the technology, nowadays we can get to enjoy all these kinds of digital sound and stuff. So, let’s take a look at the history.

In this era, acoustic recording studios were very simple, little and basic equipment. They have essentially soundproofed recording rooms that keep the artist from the noise outside. During this time it was pretty common for recording process to be done in any location that is isolated enough, such as a local ballroom, and people bring along their portable acoustic gear.

Thanks to the invention of microphone, the mixing desk, and the electronic amplifier, loud speakers… along with their commercial presentation, the recording industry has stepped to another level that the ancient mechanical acoustic recording style almost disappeared.

The next innovating product was developed by the great German inventor Joseph Begun – he called it the Magnetic Tape, the world’s first tape recorder used for broadcasting.

During the 1950s people discovered they can do more in the recording studio with this magnetic tape, and decided to develop it for further applications. Until Les Paul introduced the first Multitrack Recording to public, this was the greatest step of the development. Paul started in 1945, and quickly developed it until 1953, he promised to invent “the world’s first eight-track reel-to-reel tape recorder”, by his own money. Thanks to his diligent efforts, Ampex Corporation presented the first products of multitrack recorder in 1955, called it “Sel-Sync”.

The next invention was the Cassette Tape. Philips Company invented and sold the audiocassette in the Netherlands, 1962. They used high-quality polyester 1/8-inch tape made by BASF. The speed of recording and playback was 1.7/8 inch for second, incredible right? The surprising response and massive demand came unanticipated with the Philips, they become the king after just one night.

In the 1960s, computer micro chips were developed especially in the Nasa Space Program. But they have already known that, the real future of recording was digital, not tape. The first huge advance happened in 1967 when Thosmas Stockham created the first digital tape recorder when using a 12-bit 30 kHz stereo device accompanied with compander to extend the dynamic range. Along with computer means, as well as advancing a digital audio recorder by his own, they offered him a chance for his invention to be commercially presented and he agreed. In 1976, keeping up with the process, he continued to make the first 16-bit digital recording to be exhibited at the Santa Fe Opera on a artificial Soundstream digital tape recorder.

Up to now, the MP3 file is considered the most important invention we love. Mp3 audio files are burnt on CD, downloaded from the any website and usually imported into your smartphone and PC. In 1991, it was ‘born’ by a team of Philips’s European engineers. Following by compact disc, and the rest remained in the history.

 

Jeremy

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