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And the Music Went Round and Round on Rolls, Disks or Reels

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There is no doubt that the introduction of the digital compact disc is the most remarkable step in sound quality improvement since electrical recording, the long playing record, and the hi-fi stereo cassette magnetic tape deck. Such evolutions in sound reproduction media make you think about all the years when mechanical music impulses were registered either on revolving cylinders, on flat discs, or on tapes or films wound on a reel. How did these sound carriers evolve and will the next phase be a black box in which solid state memories put a final end to the visual movement of the sound track? This bird's eye view is an attempt to present a balanced survey of the role played by important inventors and companies in distant parts of the world. We meet interesting, now little-known contributions to the achievement of "living room presence" or "highest fidelity" such as the electro-pneumatic reproducing piano and the electromechanical Philips-Miller system, the first tape machine with optical readout of a sound signal.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society