Tuesday, March 10, 2009

POST 1: Miranda - History of Music Storage

Thomas Young came up with a design for a sound recording apparatus, though had no way to actually translate human speech into graphs.

Leon Scott's first apparatus.

Leon Scott ambitioned to produce an oral shorthand. He took the design of Thomas Young’s apparatus and improved upon it. This design consisted of a horn (auricle), a thin membrane and on the outside was a fixed hogs bristle. This made it possible for the sound vibrations to be traced onto a lamp blacked glass plate.

Leon Scott's second apparatus.

Leon Scott again improved his design to store sound as an oral shorthand. He instead of a glass plate used lap blacked white paper fixed on a drum or cylinder. The recordings Scott did were never intended for listening as the idea of audio playback was never thought of. Instead he sought to create a paper recorded that could later be deciphered.

Thomas Edison and his phonograph.

Thomas Edison invented the first practical sound storage device, the mechanical phonograph cylinder. These had an audio recording engraved on the outside surface which could be reproduced when the cylinder was played on a phonograph. He first tested using wax paper. In early productions the recordings were on the outside surface of tinfoil wrapped around a metal cylinder.

Wax phonograph cylinders were mass marketed. These had sound recordings on the outside hollow cylinders of slightly soft wax. They could be removed and replaced easily but would wear out after being played a few dozen times. The cylinders were left smooth and new recordings could be made on them. They go on to dominate the music storage market.

Phonograph Cylinders.

Edwin Welte introduced the perforated paper roll in Germany one year after the pianola was invented. The paper rolls were the music storage medium used to operate the pianola. The rolls were based on the design of the Jacquard punch cards used to weave designs into cloth.

“Birthplace” of the music roll.

Emile Berliner invented the lateral cut disc record which were used exclsively in toys.

Charles Tainter patented the use of hard carnauba was to replace the common mixture of paraffin and beeswax used for phonograph cylinders.

Berliner began marketing disc records under the Berliner Gramophone label. These records had lateral cut ‘zig zig’ grooves produced by a special lathe that cut a wax master which was electroplated with copper.

Berliner Record.

Shellac gramophone disc was developed by Emile Berliner.

The disc-shaped record for the gramophone system triumphed in the market place to become the dominant commercial audio medium. Also that year both sides of the record were used to carry grooves.

Edison Blue Amberol record was introduced, with a longer playing time of around 4 minutes (at 160rpm) and had more resilient playing surface that the wax predecessor. The format was no good due to the diffiulty of reproducing the recording.

Edison Blue Amberol.

The patents for the manufacturing of the lateral cut disc records expired, leaving an opening for countless companies to produce them. This coursed disc records to overtake cylinders in popularity.

The commercial mass production of phonograph cylinders ended.

The LP (long playing) record was invented by Columbia Records. It was 10 or 12 inches in diameter and played at 33rpm. The LP was made from vinyl, which was a flexible plastic. New microgrooves allowed up to 20 minutes of sound to be recorded.

An LP record.

7 inch, 45rpm records were introduced.

Phillips Company of the Netherlands invented and released the first compact audio cassette. High quality polyester 1/8 inch tape was used. Recording and play back was at a speed of 1.7 inches per second.

Compact audio cassette.

As a cost cutting move, much of the industry used lightweight flexible vinyl pressings. This technique reduced the thickness and quality of the record.

The idea of MP3 (MPEG – Moving Picture Expert Group) was started.

Phillips and Sony develop the compact disk. The CD gained popularity after Phillips started manufacturing on a commercial basis. The CD is a moulded plastic disc, containing digital data that is read by a laser beam.

A Compact Disc.

Records went out of the mainstream.

Phillips DCC and Sony’s MiniDisc were offered to consumers for record/play. This was possible by digital audio data reduction.

MP3 was published.

MP3 was developed and published.

NOW (2009)
Vinyls and cassettes are considered ‘retro’. CD’s are slowly starting to become out dated and MP3s are most people’s choice of music storage.

iTunes mp3 music list.

1 comment:

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