Brief History: Highlights in Music Recording

Brief History: Highlights in Music Recording

Brief History: Highlights in Music Recording

(1857)– The Phonautograph was created by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, a French Printer/Book seller. This revolutionary development was used to visually study amplitude envelopes, and analyze waveforms of speech and other studied frequencies and musical elements. The device could not aurally reproduce audio. It would 2-dimensionally transcribe lines that represented audio on either paper or glass. It wasn’t until 2008 that scientists were able to scan the old Phonautograms into digital audio files.

(1877) Gramophone – Developed by Emile Berliner, A German/American inventor who founded the Berliner Gramophone Company; a premier record label. The Gramophone device could both record sound, and successfully reproduce sound recordings. To record, waveforms were engraved into a spinning cylinder with a needle that would vibrate to emulate the recorded sound waves. Similarly, in (1877), Thomas Edison introduced his version of the Phonograph, which is technically an equivalent to the Gramophone. These were the first devices that could record and recreate sound. The Gramophone/Phonograph/Record Player was dominant all throughout the 20th century.

(1930) Electrically powered phonographs were introduced, which now made it possible to use microphones to capture various sound elements. Through (1925-1930), the major record labels switched to using microphones to record, which drastically increased sound quality. Electrical recording also shed light upon the concept of over-dubbing.

(1901-1925) Victor Talking Machine Company, at the time, was one of the leading phonograph companies in the world. They were the first company to release a record that introduced over-dubbing techniques. The company was founded by Eldridge R. Johnson.

After Telegraph systems became popular in the 20’s and 30’s through the Magnetic Recording process, in (1943) Magnetic Tape Recordings were developed, and AEG was in charge of creating the first Stereo Tape Recorder. Both American Engineer John T. Mullin and Bing Crosby helped with the commercial advancement of Magnetic Tape Sound Recording. In (1947), Mullin met Crosby and gave him a demonstration of the new tape recording device, to which Crosby responded quite well. Crosby could now record his radio shows and play them as many times as he liked without having any noticeable diminished sound quality. Crosby hired Mullin as his chief engineer, and the two paved the way for Crosby to become the first American Music Star to pre-record radio broadcasts.

(1947), Colombia, Victor, Decca, Capitol, MGM, & Mercury were the 6 leading record companies.

Multi track Recording is now developed by allowing tape to be divided into multiple tracks working in sync with one another. In (1943), Germany Audio Engineers paved the way for the 2-track recorder, which became highly influential througout the (1950’s) as audio signals could be combined concurrently. Although this was a true technical advancement, both Jazz and Pop music continued to be produced monophonically until the (1960’s).

(1950) Les Paul began experimenting with tapes and recorders, which led him to custom order the first designed 8-track recorder from Ampex, (An American Electronics company founded in 1944.) Paul and his wife investigated the potential capabilities of Multi track recording.

(1956), CBS broadcasted their first network show with videotape.

(1958)- The Willi Studer Company of Switzerland comes out with the Studer 69, an early analog mixing console using reel-to-reel tape.

Ampex produces 3-track recorders for widespread commercial use until the mid (1960’s). Motown records regularly produced music with the 3-track recorders, as did American Producer/Songwriter, Phil Spector.

Late (1960’s) The 4-track tape recorder was released, and became a standard. The Rolling Stones and The Beatles produced much of their work via the 4-track. The 4-track also allowed for an early simulated version of surround/quadraphonic sound.

Before (1963), Philips came out with the new and improved compact audio cassette.

In (1970), Dolby Laboratories used “Compansion” (compression/expansion) to reduce tape hiss problems. Dolby A/Dolby B introduced in (1968), made high fidelity recording possible.

(1972) Denon introduced a digital audio recorder using reel-to-reel techniques. (1979) Soundstream introduced their version, and then shortly after, Mitsubishi did the same, using Pulse Code Modulation.

(1972) Philips introduces laserdisc playback-only deck

(1980), Digital Recording methods were introduced.

(1980), Home LaserDisc systems are now sold to the public.

(1981), First compact disc was created.

(1990’s), Computers are able to store digital sound files, and hard disk recording becomes popular.

In (1991), Alesis releases the ADAT machine which can record 8-tracks of audio to a VHS video cassette.

(1999), Portable MP3 players were created

(2001), Apple Computer released the I-pod

(2004), First HD car radio sold

(2005), Apple Computer released the I-pod Shuffle.