Today is "The Day of Sound".

Thomas Edison invented the "Phonograph" on December 6, 1877. In other words, it can be said to be the birthday of audio.

When I traveled to Kanazawa city a decade ago, I had a chance to listen to various types of phonographs at the Kanazawa Gramophone Museum.

The one I remember well is the "Victrola Credenza", which was commercialized in 1925 and was called the "King of Gramophones". It was the pinnacle of mechanical phonographs. At that time, the price was enough to buy a whole house.

I had listened to many inexpensive SP gramophones before, but this Victrola Credenza surprised me with its special sound.

Even though it was a 78 rpm SP record played mechanically with no electric amplification and only horn speakers (a compactly folded 180 cm long horn), the sound was so deep and delicate that it was hard to believe it was monaural, and the sense of presence was especially wonderful. Moreover, the playback volume (dynamic range) was sufficient even for a small hall.

It is true that the reproduction frequency range is narrow, but it must have been exquisitely tuned by knowing the sweet spot of human hearing. It might be better to call it an musical instrument.

It was an experience that made me realize once again that 100 years ago, the technology for faithfully recording and reproducing music had reached its peak. Since then, I have come to respect SP record enthusiasts (for their good feeling and good ears).
posted by toons at 22:55 | Audio