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Historic recordings by inventor of stereo sound re-engineered

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August 5, 2008

The inventor of stereo, Alan Blumlein. 
 Pic courtesy DJ History.

The inventor of stereo, Alan Blumlein. Pic courtesy DJ History.

August 5, 2008 Historic recordings by the inventor of stereo have been digitally cleaned up so the public can hear them for the first time. The recordings, which include Sir Thomas Beecham conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in 1934, were made by Alan Blumlein, an EMI research engineer, who lodged the patent for “binaural” sound in 1931. The original recordings were digitally re-engineered by sound engineer Roger Beardsley to remove the crackles and hiss from the original 78 pressings. Beardsley said the recordings, “have never been properly reproduced, but we've recovered the original information that was there".

Blumlein and his colleagues made the series of experimental recordings and films to demonstrate the technology, and see if there was any commercial interest from the fledgling film and audio industry. The tests included him demonstrating how sound could move by walking and talking in a room and recordings of multiple overlapping conversations to demonstrate how his techniques could “open up” the sound being recorded. In January 1934, Blumlein took his stereo-cutting equipment to the newly opened Abbey Studios and recorded Sir Thomas Beecham conducting the LPO, as it rehearsed Mozart's Jupiter Symphony. The tests failed to convince EMI who concluded that the technology had no immediate commercial potential so Blumlein was turned his attention to the development of TV, and later radar.

BBC News has a video of Blumlein in action.

Via: BBC News.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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