Previously: STEREO PART 1: ACCIDENTAL AND EARLY DISC EXPERIMENTS
If I find information to correct or add to an earlier post, I will bring it to your attention. In this case, rather than add it to the original post where it might get overlooked I decided to make a stand-alone post so the information can get the attention it deserves..
On December 27, 1931, Alan Dower Blumlein was awarded a patent for “Improvements in and relating to sound-transmission, sound-recording and sound-reproducing systems”. Just as the motion picture industry in the United States moved to Hollywood from New Jersey to try and get away from patents held by Thomas Edison, Blumlein’s experiments were done for Columbia Gramophone to try and find a way to work around patents held by Western Electric. Columbia Gramophone later merged with The Gramophone Company to form Electric and Musical Industries, more commonly known as known as EMI.
Unlike the “accidental recordings” done at the RCA studios in New York, these were intentional stereo recordings done on a single disc as was done later in experiments in the Bell Telephone Labs as described in Part 1 of this series. Like the Bell Lab experiments, Blumlein’s recordings used both lateral and vertical modulation of the groove although he seemed to have obtained better separation than did Bell Labs.
Here is a video giving an overview of Blumlein’s work, conducted at London’s now-famous Abbey Road Studio’s Studio 1, used by the Beatles thirty years later.:
Experiments of the new recording system were made in 1933 as shown in this video.
In January, 1934, recordings were made of three pianos arranged in an arc and of of the Ray Noble Orchestra, a popular dance band of the time. Here are some of those recordings.
As a side note, Ray Noble travelled to the United States in 1934. Union regulations prevented Noble from bringing his musicians with him so he hired Glen Miller both as an arranger and to put an orchestra together.
In total, Blumein obtained 128 patents during his lifetime. The last project he worked on was the development of an airborne radar system. It was during the testing of this system that Blumein was killed in a plane crash on June 7, 1942. Imagine what other things this great mind may have invented had his life not been cut short at the young age of 38.
Coming up in Stereo Part 2: Part 2: Hollywood experiments with stereo
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