No followup on this from across the pond. Anyone at the BL want to help out?
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, January 03, 2009 7:36 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Magnetic Recording History (was OTR online?
> Hi George and others:
> It seems like those BIOS reports would be at the British Library or a UK government archive.
> Perhaps a listmember in the UK could track down photocopies. I'd be happy to scan them and,
> assuming they are in the PD, perhaps the AES Historical Committee would be interested in hosting
> them? I will check into that if we can track down a copy for scanning. Some Googling last night
> netted nothing readily available online.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "George Brock-Nannestad" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Friday, January 02, 2009 6:42 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Magnetic Recording History (was OTR online?
> From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
> Richard Hess gave us a lot of information that needs to be constantly
> repeated, or myths will survive.
> I did an attempt at myth-busting in a Letter to the Editor of the JAES, while
> Jack Mullin was still around:
> "Comments on -The History of Magnetic Recording- and Author's Reply"
> JAES Volume 29 Issue 7/8 pp. 524-525; August 1981
> The Author had been John T. Mullin, who wrote:
> "Magnetic Recording for Original Recordings"
> JAES Volume 25 Issue 10/11 pp. 696-701; November 1977
> but apparently it has not helped a bit: I argued that the development of the
> procedure was no secret, that scientific Journals like Akustische Zeitschrift
> that were subscribed to outside Germany were freely available, and that the
> procedure was patented. The inventors Weber and his boss von Braunmühl were
> jubilant in the press releases. I think that the fact that this knowledge was
> apparently not present when German radio stations were taken proves
> difficulties in disseminating the information among the Allies.
> Apart from bringing home Magnetophons in pieces, as Mullen famously did, the
> British Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee and the Field Infomation
> Agency, Technical rounded up scientists and engineers in Germany 1945-47,
> interviewed them and copied and translated copious amounts of documents for
> publicly available reports, many of which are now forgotten, in all areas of
> endeavour. All US patents belonging to the Axis powers had been confiscated
> from (if I recall correctly) 1941 and were available for the war effort at a
> license fee of US$1 (one). After 1949, when Western Germany was created, all
> these permissions to use became null and void.
> The two most important documents relating to the present discussion are:
> "The magnetophon sound recording and reproducing system"
> B.I.O.S. Final Report No. 951
> based on several trips 1945-46
> "Plastics in German sound recording systems"
> B.I.O.S. Final Report No. 1379
> based on an expedition lasting a month in 1946
> These are essential reading, and they are in English. But there are several
> Kind regards,
> P.S. Lorenz AG was completely independent from AEG, which later became
> related to Telefunken (and Lorenz became part of Standard Electric). The
> Magnetophon GmbH was formed as a 50/50 ownership company by AEG and I.G.
> Farbenindustrie (which in itself was an industry conglomerate of dye and
> chemical industries, including Agfa).
> Richard Hess wrote:
>> For the record, the full name of AMPEX's founder
>> is Alexander M. Poniatoff. It is my understanding
>> that AMPEX came from Poniatoff's initials plus
>> the first two letters of the word EXcellence.
>> At 03:27 AM 2009-01-02, Michael Biel wrote:
>> >Second, that Hitler story is laughable. Hitler
>> >would "be" where ever the broadcast announcer
>> >said he was!!! Besides, Hitler was not making
>> >many speeches during the war. The sound quality
>> >of distant radio reception would mask any
>> >differences between a speech recorded on tape and a speech recorded on
>> The version of this story that I heard was that
>> Mullin and other Signal Corpsmen heard late night
>> orchestra broadcasts of some length and thought
>> that the sound quality was better than any
>> long-form transcription device they had so they
>> were interested in learning about this German
>> technology after the war. They thought the
>> recordings sounded live, but wondered if even
>> Hitler would schedule musicians to play in the middle of the night.
>> I concur with Tony that early AM radio sounded
>> much better than what we hear today. I recall
>> owning a tube Zenith AM/FM radio that was
>> reasonably high-fidelity in the 1950s--even on
>> AM, and having my first exposure to the "Texaco
>> Metropolitan Opera Radio Network" via WOR on the AM band.
>> >Lastly, the entire first season of Philco Radio
>> >Time was recorded and edited on DISC. Tape was
>> >only used for mastering and editing starting in
>> >the second season, and even then the tapes were dubbed to disc for
>> The first show recorded on tape was broadcast
>> 1947-10-01 (which was the start of the 1947-1948
>> season). While the original tape went missing
>> from the Ampex Collection prior to it being
>> transferred to Stanford (it would be on a 14"
>> Ampex NAB-hub reel in all likelihood), excellent
>> 2nd generation copies remain. One of those has
>> been digitized and delivered to the Stanford Ampex Collection.
>> No one at ABC wanted to risk going with tape
>> live-to-air due to the fragility of the early
>> tapes with multiple splices as well as having
>> only two of Mullin's modified Magnetophons to
>> play them on. Mullin shipped the transports and
>> heads home but did not bother with the
>> electronics as he saw improvements that he could
>> make right away. Mullin's electronics have one
>> additional tube as compared to the original AEG
>> electronics with AC bias that he left behind.
>> At 10:51 AM 2009-01-02, Anthony Baldwin wrote:
>> >In Germany this situation changed irrevocably in 1941 when AEG
>> >engineers von Braunmühl and Weber stumbled across AC tape bias, where
>> >the addition of an inaudible high-frequency tone resulted in a
>> >striking improvement in sound quality - something that was radical
>> >enough to be discernible in prerecorded German AM broadcasts, if the
>> >BBC's Caversham Park wartime monitoring reports are to be credited.
>> >In fact, this is not so hard to believe, as the generous bandwidth of
>> >national AM channels in the 1930s and '40s offered a far higher level
>> >of AM fidelity than we're used to today. Nazi speeches aside, the
>> >technical leap forward was most glaringly obvious in prerecorded
>> >broadcasts by the likes of Fürtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic,
>> >as recent CD reissues have adequately confirmed.
>> For a more detailed discussion, please see
>> Engel, Friedrich Karl.
>> Weber's Technical Innovation at the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft
>> Engel, Friedrich Karl and Peter Hammar,
>> Selected History of Magnetic Recording
>> There may be additional items of interest at
>> >While Jack Mullen may have been able to kickstart Ampex by sending
>> >home a couple of these liberated machines in bits via the no-doubt
>> >bemused Army Post Office, the final broadcast requirement for tape -
>> >superior editability - was only really achieved when the notoriously
>> >fragile German acetate-backed "paper" tape could be abandoned in
>> >1947-48 in favor of 3M's new, sturdier #111 stock. From that moment
>> >on tape was definitely superior to disc as a studio medium, even if
>> >Bing's transcriptions were still pressed up as discs.
>> That is partially true in that the German tape
>> that Mullin brought back was fragile but more in
>> the context that he had only about fifty reels
>> (most of which survive in various states of
>> repair in the Stanford Ampex Collection) and they
>> were cut and spliced and recut and respliced
>> until 3M came up to speed with tape
>> manufacturing. Audio Devices also supplied some
>> tape at this time or shortly thereafter (we found
>> some spliced in with some of the German tape).
>> However, paper tape was abandoned circa 1935 in
>> Germany while it was still made for the Brush
>> Soundmirror and sold directly by 3M (Scotch)
>> until some time in the 1950s in North America.
>> Utah recorders in Canada also sold paper tape.
>> The German tape from 1935-1944 was an
>> acetate-based tape called Magnetophonband Typ C.
>> The factory where this was manufactured was
>> destroyed in an industrial accident (not a
>> war-related explosion) and from 1944 until the
>> end of the war, only homogeneous PVC
>> Magnetophonband Typ L tape was available. In the
>> Typ L tape, the gamma ferric oxide was embedded
>> in the PVC matrix and not coated on the basefilm
>> like current and preceding tapes. The "Typ L"
>> refers to IG Farben's trade name "Luvitherm" for
>> their brand of PVC, just as "Mylar" became
>> perhaps better known than PET for this later basefilm.
>> Most of the Magnetophonband tape has survived
>> well. Some of the Typ C is starting to exhibit
>> signs of vinegar syndrome, but this has occurred
>> mostly with ones stored in the steel film-style
>> cans than in the cardboard (press board?) boxes that most of them came in.
>> Some of the Typ L tape is showing some structural
>> weakness and, as with many plastic films, shows a
>> tendency to tear when edge nicks have occurred.
>> Sometimes, splices would catch at the tape edge
>> and start a long tear at a very shallow diagonal.
>> In one case, the tear was about half a metre
>> long. Repeated playing of this tape on the
>> less-than-completely gentle original Magentophon
>> in the Pavek collection has caused some pinholes
>> to occur in the Typ L tape where clumps of the
>> oxide material have fallen out of the PVC film matrix.
>> You may also enjoy reading my paper on the
>> playback effort for some of these tapes. As of
>> 2008-08, all of these have been delivered to both
>> Stanford and the Pavek Museum and we included 101
>> (IIRC) different items in the collection, most
>> were on the original Magnetophonband. These have
>> been ingested into Stanford's Digital Repository
>> system. I am not sure about access.
>> Hess, Richard L.
>> Jack Mullin/Bill Palmer Tape Restoration Project
>> Since there was additional material in the Pavek
>> Museum collection, including Magnetophonband from
>> other collectors, I concatenated the the
>> Mullin-Palmer collection, the Mullin family
>> collection, and the Pavek collection plus a few
>> other related items into one collection for the
>> sake of looking at these early tapes. The
>> original material for the Mullin-Palmer
>> collection resides at Stanford, while the Mullin
>> family collection is retained by the family, and
>> the Pavek retains its own collection. I have
>> recorded the 1947-10-01 show back onto some
>> new-old-stock Magentophonband Typ L for
>> demonstrations at the Pavek and I need to make
>> one or two more copies for them on NOS material I still have from the
>> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
>> Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.