My 1st Recording

David Forchheimer in Martin's "ham shack"


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Please take our Museum Survey •  KXAN Austin Recording Museum Update

My 1st Recording is a project in which Museum staff will be conducting interviews with a wide range of folks and asking "when did you 1st hear yourself on a recording and do you remember what the recording device was?"

We hope to accumulate a large collection, specifically in the period prior to digital recording technology.

Please share with us your response to the following questions:

When did you first hear yourself recorded?  What was your reaction?  Do you recall the device is was recorded on?

•  Please share some brief thoughts regarding the evolution of the technology?  You may also send a brief video clip and photo.

Submit your responses to this contact page



  Grammy Award winning Floyd Domino shares a story about his early recording - view video


David Hough, Audio Director, Austin City Limits during interview with MOMSR's Board President Martin Theophilus


Austin City Limits Audio Director - David Hough - David recalls first recording during MOMSR interview with Chris & Martin Theophilus - view video




Dave Boyers - My father was a founding father of Magnecord, Inc. in Chicago. In about 1950 he brought home an engineering sample of the PT-6 transport and an Dave Boyers early Magnecordamplifier unit. The transport had no case, and the amp still had layout die on the sheet metal parts. It was basically junk, but it worked.

By the tender age of perhaps ten, I could splice audio tape and align the playback head. That recorder was my favorite "toy", and later served me well when I started in my commercial TV production business.

Dad once hooked up headphones to the playback head on a machine with a separate record head and had me record and listen to the delayed recording at the same time. To my amazement, I couldn't talk! (Neither can most other people) The delayed playback technique is currently being experimented with to silence speakers in public by using the same delay, shotgunned back at them. I'm sure you're already familiar with all this, but to a young boy sixty years ago, it was quite amazing.


Dr. Richard Metzner, Esther Metzner & Robert G. Metzner

Robert G. Metzner, founder Califone & Roberts Recorders - (from his son Dr. Richard Metzner) - My dad remembers hearing his recorded voice using a wire recorder, but is unsure of the date. It sounded "tinny" to him.

On December 11, 2012, Chris & Martin Theophilus, Directors for the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording, interviewed 95 year old Robert G. Metzner in his home in Beverly Hills, California.  His son, Dr. Richard Metzner facilitated the interview and Robert Metzner's wife of 72 years, Esther Metzner joined in the interview and hosted lunch.  more information

Jeff Morris - I believe the first time I heard myself recorded was Christmas Day, 1974, when my Uncle brought over a cassette recorder. I was 2 at the time. I believe it was the same rectangular mono G.E. model that was later given to me on my 11th birthday, and which I think is still around somewhere. I just recently found this recording on an unlabeled 10-minute G.E. cassette with a purple and white label on one side only.

The following Christmas, the present I most wanted to get was a record player, and this event was captured on (I assume) the same recorder, this time on a 90-minute K-Mart cassette with a red and white label. At this time I was aware of being recorded, whereas I'm not sure I really was the previous year, even though they played it back for me.

I was quite disappointed that record players could not record. I kept wanting to get a record cutting machine as a kid, not realizing that such things were not common household items. To satisfy this, my Aunt & Uncle gave me the cassette recorder, and that opened up a whole new world, and eventually led to me opening a recording studio.

I have since worked with many older and newer formats, as one of the things I do at my studio is transfer analog recordings to digital. All things considered, acetate 1/4" reel-to-reel tape from the 50s & 60s might be the most Bruce Newlin, Libby Lee & Martin 1984 Air Texas edit sessiondurable medium I've transferred, and in nearly every case I feel it sounds as good today as when it was recorded. It doesn't stretch or shed, and when azimuth and EQ are set just right, you get wonderful sound!

Bruce Newlin Hey old friend! When my Dad was stationed in Hawaii in 1953, he bought two mono recorders, one of which he left in Pennsylvania with my grandparents. Our family regularly recorded stuff around thehouse and the dinner table and sent the little 3" tapes home to the family in PA. Rather progressive for those days. I have a box full of those tapes, which have been stored in horrible conditions. I have thought of paying someone to take the box and see if anything can be salvaged and digitized. Any recommendations on who to approach? Dad brought a stereo Akai home from Vietnam in 1960 and generously let me play with it and I compiled hours of pop music for our teen parties in Nicaragua where we were assigned in the mid-60's. I'll be interested to follow the progress of your project. Cheers!

Mark Powel:  It was the mid 1960's, I was around 10 yo, my brother was 8. We lived in Carbondale, IL. We found an old reel to reel tape recorder in the garbage in front of someone's house. We brought it home because we figured our dad could fix it. He was a young broadcast engineer for the SIU educational TV station.

He did fix that old, kinda beat up, Voice of Music R-700 reel to reel tape machine. We were ecstatic. We would play with it for hours. Our favorite tape recordings were ones we would play back at the wrong speed!! I loved the recording level indicator, a golden tube that glowed brighter the louder we recorded.

My dad and I, when I was a little older, played a lot of music together, he on banjo, and me on guitar. He had a Sony Reel to Reel and we played country and folk. He was Pete Seeger to my wanna be Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Those tapes are still in the family, my dad is long gone, he died too early at 63. I have been afraid to play them, the memories and emotions they will certainly evoke.

Also, in high school, a friend was an aspiring sound engineer, this was the early 70's. He had a Revox A77 and he liked it when I brought my guitar over so he could practice recording live music...The high fidelity tapes we made are somewhere long gone I think. He was in some ways inspired by the taper's section at Grateful Dead Shows.

Now I can get CD quality recording on my MacBook Pro, a FocusRite Interface and a AKG condenser mic and a Shure 57. It is no less fun, but not quite as magical.

Thanx for the opportunity to revisit those memories!


Jeffrey LeBrun - Surprisingly no tapes were made of me by the family, or at least none exist that I know of. I was given my first 3" Reel to Reel recorder when I was 6 years old. Japanese manufactured and i don't remember much of the Make or model. It lasted for about 6 months or so until I took it apart to see how it worked and had a difficult time trying to put it back together, so my dad threw it out. Two years later I got another one. Same thing happened again. It wasn't until 1968 when I was 10 years old that I received a 5" SEARS portable that I have recordings saved on. My father sternly warned me of the consequences of tampering with this unit (I'll have to dig in my head to remember the model of the recorder). By this time I was much more careful in my maintenance of the unit. It served me faithfully until most of the critical caps gave out in 1980. Unfortunately this unit was lost in transit during a move. As far as hearing my voice played back for the first time....I Hated I would alter the way I used my voice for recording family interviews and anything else a kid with a vivid imagination could dream up.

I was exposed at the age of 2 to my uncle's tape recorders thru my Grandfather in the late 1950's. I was told that I would spend hours watching the reels go round, totally fascinated as my uncle would work with the equipment. His first was a Webcor Stereophonic that i don't remember too well. His next was a Berlant Concertone 505. I think this was just around the time it was taken over by TEAC.
Early 1960's. Many years and tape recorders of my own later, I am still using the workhorses in my collection; A solid state unit by AGS, a Pioneer RT-707, an RT-701 and an AKAI GX-4000D (those glass heads can last forever). My family lets me indulge in this hobby, which gave me a big chuckle reading the DVD "WARNING". Lots of fun playing the OTR shows I've saved and my uncles 2 track pre-recorded tapes that I inherited. 

I can tell you more about that 5" Sears reel to reel I had. It was a model 7245 portable that used AC or 6 "D" cells. That would make it 9v operational. Although it came with a jumper cell (an empty aluminum "D" size cell) so the unit would run with one less battery. It was of mostly all metal construction and built to take it.....but the sound quality was best for voice. Quite lousy fidelity for music. I remember taking it to my 6th grade class for show and tell. Stole the show. All were curious about it and wanted to hear what they sounded like. I found out how badly it could perform when I recorded our class play on it with the mic. it came with. The class room was in a building circa 1927 with high ceilings and not much on the walls to deaden the room. The playback sounded like a cacophony of cats meowing with cotton in their mouths in a cave......under water. Jeff

David Forchheimer in Martin's "ham shack"Martin Theophilus - The first time I heard myself recorded was in the KVLF the radio station in Alpine, Texas. I was there with a high school friend David Forchhiemer who was invited to the station by one of the DJs.   The tape recorder was a Magnecord S-36B.  I denied that it sounded like me. We spent many an evening loving the technology. That's David (left) in my "ham shack" in the early '60's.  Gotta love that switchboard! 

David took a part-time radio announcer’s job at KVLF while attending Alpine High School in the 1960s and made broadcasting his life’s work. David became the broadcaster known as Bob Young.  His expertise in country music programming from the 1970s through the 1990s put the stations where he worked in the top echelon of the market. Billboard magazine named him country music programmer of the year in the late 1970s. His work took him from coast to coast where he was program director for stations in Memphis, Philadelphia, Houston, Shreveport, New Orleans, Denver, Oakland-San Francisco, Sacramento and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He counted among his friends and acquaintances county music performers Garth Brooks, Charlie Pride, Buck Owens, Lynn Anderson, and Charlie Rich. David passed away September 28, 2012.

Jim Rankin, retired radio DJ and Program Director Jim Rankin, radio DJ and Program Director first heard himself on a Webcor wire recorder - view video - Jim Rankin's Vintage Radio Collection

Joe Cecil, nuclear engineer - First recording heard of himself was on A WilcoxGay disc recorder - view videoJoe Cecil


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