Journey Of A Record Player- Evolution And History

The history of the sound recording is wide. Since invention, the recording and reproduction of the sounds have undergone various updates. Generally, each and every product will have a brief history, similarly do the record players. In this article let us look at the journey of how a phonograph travelled to become a turntable.

Journey Of A Record Player- Evolution And History

The Pioneers And The Predecessors

The pioneers who contribute to the invention and development are,

Leon Scott

In the year 1857, Leon Scott patented the phonautograph. He initially invented a diaphragm which was able to vibrate along with a stylus that was capable of recording the sound waves. He traced them on the sheets of paper without an intention of playing back.  Later, he made a phonautogram with singing and speech by using a tuning fork tone and snippets that were not able to be understood. This was the first ever recording of sound.

Thomas Edison

In 1877, Thomas Edison was the one who invented phonograph. He made them such that they were capable of recording and reproducing sounds, unlike the previous one. Initially, he used a tin foil and covered it over a metal cylinder, a stylus which was made to be sound vibrating, cut through the foil, when the cylinder rotated thereby creating a playback of the recording. Later, in 1880, he replaced the tin foil with the hollow wax cylinder and created sounds that were of better quality.

Emile Berliner

The US resident Emile Berliner coined the term gramophone by making laser-cut disc records. However, they were not of good sound quality and were used only as a toy. In 1894, Emile along with Eldridge R. Johnson created gramophones with better sound quality.

Charles Cros

In 1870’s he came forward with an idea of photoengraving. He named the device as Paleophone. His invention was a major progress in the sound recording and production.

History Of Speed

Since its invention, the 78 rpm discs have undergone several developments. The two different eras of speed are,

The Shellac Era

During the early 1900-1925’s, the records were made at 74-82 rpm of speed. In 1925, the records with 78.26 rpm were made standard due to the discovery of the electrical turntable motor; as they ran at 3600 rpm with a gear ration of 46:1 producing a 78.26 rpm speed. However, when the power supply was 50 Hz, the motor produced only 77.92 rpm speed. In 1950’s with the influence of the teenagers, the records of 45rpm were made popular.

Microgroove And Vinyl Era

Soon after the second world, the 33 ½ rpm and the 45 rpm records replaced the standard 78 rpm ones. The 33 ½ rpm records were introduced in 1948 whereas the 45 rpm records were introduced in 1949. Both the records used microgrooves which were played with a small stylus.

History Of Recording

The method of recording has travelled from acoustic to electrical methods. The brief about these recordings are as follows.

Acoustic Recording

This is the oldest method of recording sound. In this method, the sound was collected using a horn which was then piped into a diaphragm and a stylus cutting the disc created vibrations. However, the major drawback of this method was the poor quality of the frequency and the lower- pitched instruments were necessary to be replaced with high-pitched ones for creating sensitivity.

Electrical Recording

This technology of recording came to use in 1920’s. In this method, the sound was captured using the microphone, which was then amplified using the vacuum tubes. Then, with the help of the amplified signal, the sound was driven to the electromagnetic recording head.  After the invention of this method, the sounds that were impossible to record were recorded with an ease. In 1925, the electrically recorded discs were issued.

History Of Models

Soon after its invention, the record players became one of the common household devices. However, they were continuously updated with respect to the latest technology.

Early Model

As they lacked electricity mostly in all the residences, the early model of the record players was made such that the crank has to be manually turned by the hands. With the invention of electricity, the design was improved later.

Vinyl Model

In 1940, the vinyl models were introduced and it ruled the player’s industry as it was capable of storing vast data. They were also cheaper and that was why it became an essential household device in 1950’s

Modern Players

Until the 1970’s, the record player ruled the market by being popular. However, by the end of 1980’s, they were overtaken by the cassette players and the eight track players. Later, the invention of the compact disc otherwise known as the CD took over the entire market.

Final Word

The vinyl record players have had some developments in the recent time. With the incomparable sound quality and the listening experience, they are still preferred by the music lovers. Recently, the vinyl turntables have been built with the best in class features. With this, the article on the brief journey of the record players comes to a conclusion.

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