ryanpeds

At the Dawn of Recorded Sound, No One Cared

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mikewest   

Great stuff Ryan

I have a book that recounts the early days of disc recording,

The Gramophone Company (that turned into HMV) recorded classical music and also foreign sounds too.

Their recording engineers transported their acoustic recording equipment around the world complete

with chemical baths to etch the discs etc.

Boat travel, plus very heavy equipment made it an arduous task.

I guess we have got it so easy these days!!!!

mike

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One of these recordings was played over the air by the BBC: the news reader, highly respected and professional Charlotte Green, heard her producer commenting in her headphones that it sounded like a bee trapped in a jar. This did not bode well for Charlotte's composure, as you can hear:

 

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ryanpeds   

That's pretty amazing John. Really amazing to see how far recorded sound has come.  One thing that I found interesting in the article is that he never intended it for playback but rather for the study of sound. 

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I happened to hear this at a demonstration that was done at an Association for Recorded Sound Collections conference a few years ago. Pretty cool stuff. Amazing the hoops the jumped through to reproduce those etchings.

-S


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Awesome article!  So weird about how he never wanted to listen back to his "recording."  It's just incredible the work done to play that back!!

A few years ago I stumbled upon a one-sides 7" featuring that first recording!  It was on inferior clear wax but honestly it sounds almost exactly as it does in that video.

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This, and Walter Murch's restoration of the first "Black Maria" sync sound film (the two guys waltzing accompanied by a violinist).  This is the film made before they had any idea of how to sync a sound recorder (wax cylinder) to a camera (hand crank), but they rolled them simultaneously and then had the longest dailies delay in history, 106 years.  But it's pretty startling to watch people moving and speaking in sync in 1894.

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This Youtube video gives a terrific history of early recorded sound. Its long, about 55 minutes, and a little difficult to take all in one sitting, but it's quite extensive and interesting, if you can get past the simple production style.

Tom

 

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