Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Scott was a French Parisian typrsetter, publishing a book on the history of shorthand. Scott apparently thought that sound recording might improve stenography. His aim was to represent sound visually, not record it for playback.

During 1850s  Scott de Martinville  invented a device called as “phonautograph,” which had a barrel-shaped horn attached to a stylus.  Sound waves entering the horn caused the stylus to vibrate, which etched squiggiles onto a sheet of paper covered with a layer of soot from an oil lamp. 

The paper was mounted on a rotating drum that also moved horizontally along its axis as it turned, so the stylus traced a spiral, much like a wax cylinder”

On Dec. 6, 1877 Thomas Edison was the first to record sound successfully on a ‘phonograph’.
This device recorded sound mechanically. As the cylinder rotated at a steady speed and Edison began to recite, “Mary had a little lamb / Its fleece was white as snow…”, his sound wave directed into a horn would vibrate a disk connected to the stylus, in turn embrossing a groove onto the tinfoil that was at some points shallow and at others deep, depending on the strength of the sound.

When he had finished reciting the nursery rhyme, he brought the needle at the beginning of the groove and rotated the cylinder again, the movement of the stylus in the groove caused the disk to vibrate again, thus turning the horn into a speaker reproducing original sound. This device sounded very harsh and not so clear.

During 1880s Alexander Graham Bell began his research on the nature of sound in a laboratory in Washington, D.C. 
In 1881, he designed a device with a wax coated cardboard cylinder called the ‘Graphophone’, an improved form of the phonograph having better sound quality.

The main difference between a phonograph and graphophone was that the graphophone used wax as the recording channel rather than tin foil, and the recording was cut or chiseled into the wax rather than being embossed.
Although Edison is often referred to as the inventor of the gramophone record, but this honour is really due to Emil Berliner.
In the 1890s, Emile Berliner designed a flat recording disc that was an improvement of Thomas Edison’s cylinder design.
Emile used a zinc disc coated with wax to record sound. When the recording was chiseled into the wax, the disc was dipped into an acid solution, which ate away the disc under the groove and etched the recording into the surface of the zinc.  Then the zinc disc was turned into a stamper using an electroplating process.
The final recordings in large number can be produced by pressing the stamper into a ball of vulcanite which is a type of hard rubber.  Emile Berliner named his invention as the ‘gramophone’.

Its volume can be increased by the pressing of tonearm into the grooves hardly. Berliner’s first record had a diameter of 12.5 cm, only half a centimeter larger than the Compact Disc that was to be introduced 95 years later. But Berliner’s disc had a playing time of barely one minute, while today’s CDs can contain around 80 minutes of music.
Emile set up a small recording studio in 1896. Berliner later on switched over to shellac as the material for his records, and this continued to be used for the production of 78 rpm  records until the introduction of the LP (Long Play record) in 1948.

But there was still an era of silent films till the late 1890’s. while many scientists including Edison were  trying to link sound with the silent film images.

 Western Electric introduced electrical recording and playback systems developed at AT&T’s Bell Labs in 1925. It was called the transcription recorder in radio stations. This electrical recording technology given by Western Electric became the basis of talking pictures.

In Oct, 1924, . The Columbia Phonograph Company developed a new device called as ‘Orthophonic’ having sound different from those of recorded by the acoustic process.    
Edison never believed in Berliner’s flat records, and stubbornly continued with his cylinders. Finally Edison also developed a gramophone record with 30 cm Long Play record. It was capable of holding 20 minutes of music per side.
That 12-inch diameter discs had finely spaced grooves and turned at just 33 1/3 rpm. But despite its excellent sound quality this record was not a success, the public instead choosing the 78 rpm shellac records with horizontal (lateral) recording,
The English inventor Oberlin Smith worked out theoretically on the principle of the magnetic tape recorder  in 1888. German scientist Fritz Pfleumer was learning how to apply iron-oxide particles to paper tape for magnetic recording in the early 1930s. He invented magnetic tape for recording sound in 1928. 
Magnetic tape was further developed by the German electronics company AEG, which manufactured the recording machines and BASF (a German chemical company), which manufactured the tape.
Magnetic tape brought revolution in both the radio broadcast and music recording industries. It gave the power to record and re-record sound with minimum loss in quality.

Within a few years of the introduction of the first commercial tape recorder, In 1948, the Ampex 200 model was launched ,which was the first multitrack tape recorder, invented by American musician-inventor Les Paul.

It brought about another technical revolution in the recording industry. Tape made possible the first sound recordings totally created by electronic means,

The compact cassette, also called the audio cassette, cassette tape, cassette, or simply tape, is a magnetic tape sound recording format. The main purpose for its designing was to record dictation but later on it replaced the Stereo 8-track cartridge and reel-to-reel tape recording in most non-professional applications. 

 The area of its usage increased from portable audio to data storage for early microcomputers. Between the early 1970s and the late 1990s, the cassette was one of the two most common formats for prerecorded music.
The Mercury Record Company, a U.S. affiliate of Philips, introduced M.C. (Musicassettes), prerecorded music cassettes, to the U.S. in July 1966.
During the 1980s, the cassette’s acceptance evolved further as a result of portable pocket recorders and high-fidelity (“hi-fi”) players, such as Sony’s Walkman (1979),
Sony’s WM-10 was even smaller than the cassette itself and expanded to hold and play a cassette.

Like the transistor radio in the 1950s and 1960s, the Walkman dominated the portable music market in the 1980s,
The Compact Disc (also known as a CD) is an optical disc used to save digital data. Sony first openly demonstrated an optical digital audio disc in September 1976.
The CD was considered to be the successor of the gramophone record for playing music, rather than first and foremost as a data storage medium

In 1982 First ever album on a CD released by Sony, which was Billy Joel's 52nd Street.
In June 1985, the computer readable CD-ROM (read-only memory), In 1987  The first Video CD (VCD) format created for storing and playing video and audio and,
In 1990, CD-Recordable were introduced, also developed by both Sony and Philips. In 1996, DVD technology hit the world, through the collaboration of leading computer companies such as Sun, Apple, Dell, and many more.
Today, the process of making a recording is separated into tracking, mixing and mastering. Multitrack recording makes it feasible to capture signals from several microphones allowing previously unavailable flexibility in the mixing and mastering stages for editing, level balancing, compressing and limiting, adding effects such as reverberation, equalization, flanging, and much more.


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