Acoustic Devices

 

Edison Cylinder player  in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection

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PLEASE NOTE: None of the Vintage Museum items are for sale.

 

MOMSR - documenting reel to reel tape recorder history since 1998

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The Vintage DVD set is not currently available. The entire 7 hour production is downloadable for $9.95 at this link.

view trailer of the 7 hour collection

Acoustic Recording

Read about the hot 1917 musician load-in.

Experiments in capturing sound on a recording medium for preservation and reproduction began in earnest during the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s. Many pioneering attempts to record and reproduce sound were made during the latter half of the 19th century – notably de Martinville's Phonautograph of 1857 – and these efforts culminated in the invention of the phonograph, patented by Thomas Edison in 1877.

The history of sound recording - which has progressed in waves, driven by the invention and commercial introduction of new technologies - can be roughly divided into four main periods:

the "Acoustic" era, 1877 to 1925
the "Electrical" era, 1925 to 1945 (including sound on film)
the "Magnetic" era, 1945 to 1975
the "Digital" Era, 1975 to the present day.

One of the earliest practical recording technologies were entirely mechanical devices. These recorders typically used a large conical horn to collect and focus the physical air pressure of the sound waves produced by the human voice or musical instruments. A sensitive membrane or diaphragm, located at the apex of the cone, was connected to an articulated scriber or stylus, and as the changing air pressure moved the diaphragm back and forth, the stylus scratched or incised an analogue of the sound waves onto a moving recording medium, such as a roll of coated paper, or a cylinder or disc coated with a soft material such as wax or a soft metal.

These early recordings were necessarily of low fidelity and volume, and captured only a narrow segment of the audible sound spectrum - typically only from around 250 Hz up to about 2,500 Hz - so musicians and engineers were forced to adapt to these sonic limitations.

Bands of the period often favored louder instruments such as trumpet, cornet and trombone, lower-register brass instruments (such the tuba and the euphonium) replaced the string bass, and blocks of wood stood in for bass drums; performers also had to arrange themselves strategically around the horn to balance the sound, and to play as loudly as possible.

The reproduction of domestic phonographs was similarly limited in both frequency-range and volume - this period gave rise to the expression "put a sock in it", which commemorates the common practice of placing a sock in the horn of the phonograph to muffle the sound for quieter listening. By the end of the acoustic era, the disc had become the standard medium for sound recording, and its dominance in the domestic audio market lasted until the end of the 20th century.

 

View our Museum's "live" acoustic recording video by Jim Cartwright using Austin, Texas jazz musicians

The first American acoustic symphony recording was made in Boston in 1917.

Read about the hot musician load-in.

Acoustic items in our Museum's collection

Edison 

 

Edison Cylinder Player Edison Cylinder (Standard) 1904 $20. Cylinders were $.25 each.

1904 Edison standard cylinder player  in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection

1898 ad  1902  1903  1904  1905   1908 ad

1904 Edison standard cylinder player  in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection

1904 Edison standard cylinder player  in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection

1904 Edison standard cylinder player  in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection

1904 Edison standard cylinder player  in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection

1904 Edison standard cylinder player  in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection

1904 Edison standard cylinder player  in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection

 

Edison Voice Writer Cylinder Dictating Recorder 1937

 

 

 

Edison Ediphone Cylinder Recorder - 1920 Dictating machine, 'Edison Ediphone', wax, Thomas A. Edison Inc., USA, 1920-1930.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Edison company

 

Edison Blank Cylinders

These cylinders are brand new.  The box of unused cylinders was purchased from the Ford Museum.

picture of box of blank edison cylinders

picture of box of blank edison cylinders

 


 RCA Nipper 

Theophilus vintage collection Limited edition RCA Nipper from Harrod's, London • Francis Barraud Painting His Masters Voice with Nipper

His Master's Voice (HMV) was the unofficial name of a major British record label created in 1901 by The Gramophone Co. Ltd The phrase was first coined in the late 1890s as the title of a painting depicting a terrier-mix dog named Nipper listening to a wind-up disc gramophone. In the original 1898 painting, the dog is listening to a cylinder phonograph. It is a famous trademark in the recording industry.

In the 1970s, the statue of the dog and gramophone, His Master's Voice, were cloaked in bronze and was awarded by the record company (EMI) to artists or music producers or composers as a music award and often only after selling more than 100,000 recordings.

 final painting of Nipper and the phonograph   final painting of Nipper and the phonograph part 1  picture the story of Nipper and the phonograph part 1   Nipper and Page 3 of the story about the painting

 


Garrard Lab 80

When I began our collecting in 1998, I considered the range of recording devices and initially included video, turntables, film andother media. However it became obivious that it would be more beneficial to concetrate on reel tape recorders and their support equipment including microphones and mixers. Even the area of effects was daunting. This acoustic segment is included as it was important to understanding the history of recorded sound.

So, that said, I want to share one turntable that has been with me from the beginning, It is the Garrard Lab 80. It is pictured to the left in 1967 with my Concertone 800, an Eico 2080 amplifier built from kit and an Ampex 1100. The Garrard Lab 80 is displayed in the MOMSR collection (right) with its unique dust cover, record changing spindle and 45 rpm insert.

 

Here is a recent summary about the Garrard Lab 80 turntable.

Garard Lab 80 brochure

Garrard Lab 80 ads

1965 review of the Garrard Lab 80 Transcription turntable in the MOMSR /Reel2ReelTexas /Theophilus vintage reel tape recorder collection  1965 review of the Garrard Lab 80 Transcription turntable in the MOMSR /Reel2ReelTexas /Theophilus vintage reel tape recorder collection  1965 ad for the Garrard Lab 80 Transcription turntable in the MOMSR /Reel2ReelTexas /Theophilus vintage reel tape recorder collection1965 ad for the Garrard Lab 80 Transcription turntable in the MOMSR /Reel2ReelTexas /Theophilus vintage reel tape recorder collection1965 ad for the Garrard Lab 80 Transcription turntable in the MOMSR /Reel2ReelTexas /Theophilus vintage reel tape recorder collection  1965 ad for the Garrard Lab 80 Transcription turntable in the MOMSR /Reel2ReelTexas /Theophilus vintage reel tape recorder collection  1965 ad for the Garrard Lab 80 Transcription turntable in the MOMSR /Reel2ReelTexas /Theophilus vintage reel tape recorder collection 1966 ad for the Garrard Lab 80 Transcription turntable in the MOMSR /Reel2ReelTexas /Theophilus vintage reel tape recorder collection 1965 ad for the Garrard Lab 80 Transcription turntable in the MOMSR /Reel2ReelTexas /Theophilus vintage reel tape recorder collection  1966 ad for the Garrard Lab 80 Transcription turntable in the MOMSR /Reel2ReelTexas /Theophilus vintage reel tape recorder collection1975 ad for Garrard in the MOMSR /Reel2ReelTexas /Theophilus vintage reel tape recorder collection


On August 13th, Chris and Martin, two of MOMSR's Board of Directors, were treated to a tour of Jim Cartwright's Immortal Performances, Inc.'s collection of vintage acoustical devices. We had not asked to shoot any video in advance, however when we arrived and saw what Jim has, he gave permission to video our visit with Martin's iPhone. At some point it would be fun to re-shoot seriously. The collection is incredible!

PLEASE NOTE: The Jim Cartwright collection is not associated with the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording


On February 11, 2015 Jim Cartwright held his annual party celebrating Thomas Edison's birthday (168th) by recording a group of Austin musicians on a cylinder recorder. Jim allowed Chris & Martin to videotape portions of the party for the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording

     

 


Go to Record CuttersMagnetic Film RecordersMicrophonesReel Tape Recorders • Unique Recording Items • Wire Recorders

 

 

Tour our collection! 

We offer seven hours of 50 video segments via download about our reel to reel tape recorder and microphone collection and the history of magnetic recording available at this link.

ORDER THE VIDEO FILES ON LINE - was 14.95  NOW only $9.95

There are 50 QuickTime H264 854 X 480 files in this download.  Play on MAC OS or Windows Media Player

While most content deals with the history and manufacturers of the reel to reel tape recorder, or tape deck, we cover many aspects of magnetic recording.

We provide 48 hours during which to download the files. After that the file access will expire.  Once the files are downloaded they are yours to keep.

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