Towards the end of the 1800s, there were three primary American groups competing to invent technology to record and play back audio. Alexander Graham Bell worked with with Charles Sumner Tainter and Chichester Bell
in at their Volta Laboratory
in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., while Thomas A. Edison
worked from his Menlo Park facilities
, and Emile Berliner
worked in his independent laboratory
in his home
. To secure the rights to their inventions, the three groups sent samples of their work to the Smithsonian. These recordings became part of the permanent collections, now consisting of 400 of the earliest audio recordings ever made. But knowledge of their contents was limited to old, short descriptions, as the rubber, beeswax, glass, tin foil and brass recording media are fragile
, and playback devices might damage the recordings, if such working devices are even available. That is, until a collaborative project with the Library of Congress and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory came together to make 2D and 3D optical scanners
, capable of visually recording the patterns marked on discs and cylinders
, respectively. [more inside]
The Phonograph Doll
was the first attempt at making a talking doll, invented by Thomas Edison. The doll utilized a miniature phonograph to talk, and was possibly the first audio recordings for commercial purposes. An example of the (now 123 year-old) talking doll was found in 1967 in Edison's New Jersey workshop, which is now a National Historic Park and museum
. Recently, the warped metal cylinder was optically scanned and re-created
, providing a 12-second clip
of the oldest known recording of a woman's voice. [more inside]
Lauri Warsta put a tape recorder inside a box, set it recording, sealed up the box, sent it from London to Finland through the post, then animated the captured audio. Previously
The first known recording of a digital computer playing music
, recorded by the BBC in 1951. The music played on a Ferantti Mark 1
, one of the first commercial general-use computers, and was entered via punchtape
and played on a speaker usually used for making clicks and tones to indicate program progress.
Holophonic sound is an audio recording technique which operates on a principle similar to Holography. The result has been reported to be realistic and life-like three dimensional sounding audio recordings
. [more inside]
Any experienced studio engineer or producer knows that the presence of visitors in the studio can dramatically affect the performance of singers and musicians. Using advanced proprietary computer modelling, the Virtual Studio Visitor
plug-in convincingly emulates the effect of various studio visitors on a performance, without the need for the visitors to actually be present. Also from the visionaries at Sonic Finger
: the Dead Quietenator
provides you with the highest quality pure digital silence, including several highly sought-after vintage silences previously unattainable.1>
For the would-be recording buffs: understanding compression.
A three-part series which explains the workings and uses of compressors, limiters, expanders, and gates. Plus some thoughts on the modern epidemic of overcompression from the listener's perspective
DIY Guide to Recording.
Set up a home studio. This seems to cover a lot, and not being a pro at audio recording, I found it pretty useful.
Audio from Flight 93 - Pennsylvania
(Realvideo) Somehow ABCNews got ahold of this and made it an "exclusive" on Primetime Live
. Certainly chilling, but also seemingly exploitative.