I think I posted part of this before, but here are a couple of followups to my ARSCJ article, "The
Dawn of Digital."
1. I finally found some printed matter to back up what I had been told about DGG -- that they used
the 3M system for their first digital recordings. DGG itself stated on its website what was its
first all-digital commercially-released recording: LP 2532 001, Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto; Gidon
Kremer, violin; Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Lorin Maazel. In an article in the January 1994
issue of Studio Sound, regarding DGG's "4D" digital recording system, author Francis Rumsey
reported, "In the early years of digital multitrack, the 3M format was used, and one machine is
still kept in working order to replay and transfer old tapes." The Kremer/Maazel recording took
place in Berlin, 12/79.
2. Philips' first digital recording was actually made by Decca, and in the USA. The LP was Philips
9500 921, "Pops In Space," by John Williams and the Boston Pops. The original LP carried a banner
boasting "FIRST Philips Digital Recording." The Soundstream system was used, and a Decca crew
handled the recording, according to two former Philips engineers. Recorded 6/80 in Boston.
3. In the U.S., Telarc trail-blazed digital classical recording, using the Soundstream system,
beginning in April 1978.
According to the Whacky-Packia page on Columbia Records: "On May 5, 1979, Columbia Masterworks began
digital recording in a recording session of Stravinsky's Petrouchka by the New York Philharmonic
Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta, in New York (using 3M's 32-channel multitrack digital
NOTE -- CAN ANY COLUMBIA VETERANS OR HISTORIANS CONFIRM THIS INFORMATION?
4. I can't find anything definitive about RCA Red Seal and its first digital recording. JON SAMUELS,
do you know the facts on this? When, where, who and what digital system used? I think but don't know
for a fact that RCA used the Soundstream system at first, and probably made their first recording in
5. Another avenue of inquiry I never pursued for the article but is of interest to me is, when did
digital recording start behind the Iron Curtain? Who did what first, where? What system was used?
Did the Russians clone a Western system or just buy the equipment for themselves? For that matter,
when did the CD medium become widespread in the communist world, or did it happen after the wall
-- Tom Fine