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Re: [ARSCLIST] Thirties Stereo

I have a copy of the Bell Labs stereo experiments. Volume 1 was issued by Bell Labs on its own label in 1979.
It is called EARLY HI-FI Leopold Stokowski/The Philadelphia Orchestra/1931-1932.
That is where they were stolen from if I am not mistaken. There was a second volume as well with
different selections issued in 1980 of all Wagner. The originals now reside in the National Archive.
My understanding is that these recordings were given away as premiums for contributing to Public
Radio fund drives and were never commercially available. I have the covers of both volumes but Volume
2 had a manufacturing error and contains the music from Volume 1. The labels are right and they inserted
a xerox of the liner notes from Volume 1 to accompany the actual selections included. I am in Philadelphia
and perhaps this arrangement was done exclusively for the Philadelphia public radio station though I somehow
doubt it, as the liner notes say they are making these recording available to "historians of science, music and
other interested people". Hope this helps.

Aaron Levinson

Larry Friedman wrote:
Ironically enough, I recently went on a search for the Stokowski Bell Labs
recordings, and the only thing I found was that Iron Needle disk. I have
never bought anything by this label for obvious reasons, but I had no choice
here, so I did. The transfer is actually not bad. There is a certain bloom
to the sound that I liked. I couldn't help but wonder where they had stolen
the recording from.

Soon after I bought the Iron Needle disk (that has about half of the
recordings), I found a "private" disk of all of the Bell recordings pressed
by Theo van der Burg of the Netherlands. His site is
http://www.med.hro.nl/burtw/. I have nothing to do with Her Burg, except
that I am a happy customer of his. His product is extremely well done, very
clear and open, and he was kind enough to send the set out to me even though
PayPal had bollixed up the payment. I imagine the rest of his transfers are
equally as good.

I heard the Ellington "accidental" stereo disks a number of years ago. They
were pressed and released, but I have forgotten by whom. The sound was good
and certainly less distracting than the Fantasia sound, where each choir of
instruments keeps bouncing around from speaker to speaker. As I remember,
the Ellingtons had a very nice spread. I will try and find out on which
label they were transferred.

-Larry Friedman

-----Original Message-----

From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List

On Behalf Of joe@xxxxxxxxxxx

Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2006 10:17 AM

To: ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Thirties Stereo

The reference found on the web points to a CD on the Iron Needle label,

and for me that is not a thrilling recommendation. Has anyone heard this

CD and care to comment on the quality of the transfer?

Joe Salerno

Industrial Video Services

PO Box 273405

Houston Texas 77277-3405

Roger and Allison Kulp wrote:

I have the Beecham centenary box,referenced on this

board,which looks good thanks for the link.While EMI

was behind the curve,in putting out thier first

Lps,and getting into stereo,they weren't the only

ones.Victor,put out both 33 "Lps",and were into

stereo,in the 30s.The Lps,were the famous "Program

Transcriptions',there are a few pop ones,but there is

also the Stokowski "Unfinished",which i own,and the

Toscanini Wagner Preludes,which i am actively

seeking,as well as a Beethoven #5,which i don't know

who did.(Like to get this too.)

As for stereo,I am aware of two systems.There is a

very cumbersome Victor system,that used synchronized

tandem turntables,with the left,and right channels,on

two different records.I am aware of recordings of this

type,by Duke Ellington,which I heard,when they were

issued on CD,several years ago.

And then there was Bell Telephone/Laboratories,with

thier famous Stokowski recordings,of 1931,issued on

private Lps,by Ma Bell,in 1979. Quoting from the liner

notes "Another Bell Labs innovationfrom this era was

stereophonic recording and reproduction.As the quality

of sound systems improved,some kinds of distortion

became noticeable.A.C.Keller and I.S. Rafuse concieved

a way of reducing them by seperating the high and low

frequencies and recording them on parallel tracks on

the same record.Later they fond a way of recording two

complete sound tracks in one groove and using a single

pickup to reproduce both tracks simultaneously with

minimum interference.From this came the recording of

two full range bands from left and right microphonesin

the same groove-the stereo technique perfected by

Keller and Rafuse in 1938.

But Stereophonic records needed needed expensive

pickups and two amplifiers and speakers,so it was

difficult to find a market during the depression era

of the 1930s.It wasn't until after World War II that

stereo recordings and equipment for the home became


I have a duplicate of one of these Lps next to me,in

a pile I want to stick on eBone.I can't get thier new

photo upload system to work on my Mac here.If anyone

can help me,please contact me offlist.

Roger Kulp

--- Steven Smolian <smolians@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

The record was issued by Symposium, pressed from


Steven Smolian

----- Original Message -----

From: "Frank Strauss" <fbsdmd@xxxxxxxxx>

To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxx>

Sent: Saturday, October 14, 2006 9:51 PM

Subject: [ARSCLIST] Thirties Stereo

Interesting thread on the Classical message board

of BBC 3:



Frank B Strauss, DMD


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