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Re: [ARSCLIST] Early stereo mass market tapes
Yes, definitely. And, "in-line" and "stacked" were used interchangeably really early on. As I
understand it from the Ampex list, Ampex was far ahead of the field with the first duper lines (3200
and 3200B) and they also were successful early on at making high-quality stacked heads so the
stacked standard took hold despite Magnecord and others. Interestingly, Ampex's earliest half-track
duplicators had staggered record heads, with the top track in a separate cup from the bottom track.
I believe that Ampex garnered a lot of knowledge in building the first 3200's from Leon Wortman's
home-made duplicating place in NY. Leon wrote an article about it in Radio & TV News in I think 1951
or 1950. He hung a roomful of Ampex 300 half-track mahines on a common signal buss and paralleled
all the remote controls. I don't think his setup had the duplicator headblock (no erase, separate
record heads for upper and lower tracks) or that it went above 15IPS, although you could
special-order 30IPS 300 audio decks back then so he might have used those. I forgot if he had a bias
buss and common oscillator, too, although I can't see the need if it's just a roomful of
synchronized recorders. The thing the 3200 did was take a lot of parts out of the slave machines.
All they were was transports and heads, with a common record and bias units and a single control
To my ears, very few mass-duped tapes were done really well, but when a place was on-target, the
results were excellent. Too bad low-noise tape was invented back then.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2006 11:31 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Early stereo mass market tapes
In a message dated 10/17/2006 9:34:18 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
I'm trying to find out some history of the early stereo hifi era,
specifically the handful of
companies that sprang up to make and market stereo tapes. This would be
circa 1955-56, when the
first commercial mass-duped 2-tracks were out. What was the business model
for a company like
Livingston or Bel Canto? Were they basically run like boutique record labels
or differently? Aside
from those two and Stereotapes, who else was making original recordings as
opposed to licensing and
releasing stuff from major labels or European sources?
It should be noted that the first commercial stereo tapes were either
stacked or staggered, depending upon the heads utilized.