Sunday, September 22, 2002
I thought the following article would be of interest to most CBSers
What was the first high fidelity recording?-------------------------------------------------------------------------
One might guess it was the invention of the 33 and 1/3 LP record by
Peter Goldmark at CBS Labs in the late 40s. That was certainly a big
leap forward in audio recording. It was also about the time that the
word hi-fi replaced the name record player or Victrola.
But that is not it. The player piano has to take that title. The
player piano had a roll of paper punched with holes that recorded the
key stokes on a piano. Compressed air was blown through the holes as
the paper scrolled by and a mechanism played the piano in the same
way that the holes were punched by the original artist. The system
became so sophisticated that extra tracks of holes were placed along
the edge of the scroll to provide such nuances as tempo and the
positions of the foot pedals. Since the piano was actually used to
recreate the original music from the piano roll (software!), it was
The player piano (Pianola) was invented in 1896 and originally had
mechanical fingers to play the keys.
Other inventions in recording included the tape recorder, which
appeared in the USA right after the war. Captured German machines
were brought back in 1946 and they used metalized paper and plastic
tape. Bing Crosby helped fund the further development of the tape
recorder, which laid the foundation for the Ampex Company. Bing
wanted to be able to make recordings away from the record studios so
he could easily pursue his pastime of golf.
The Germans made tape recordings of propaganda radio broadcasts so
that they would sound "live". BTW The German engineers had a jump on
a source of plastic tape. The Germans produced a cigarette with a
fake tip on it made out of metalized plastic film. The tip looked
like our modern filter but it was only intended to give the
impression of being a cigarette holder. This happened around 1932
by the company we know as BASF.
There were some earlier U.S. & German recorders that used tungsten
wire, but they were not as good as tape.
Submitted by Ted Perzeszty
posted by Ted at 9/22/2002 02:45:00 PM