Dennis and Donald,
Thank you for the reference on the Brunswick Light Ray system; I will look
About Tri-Ergon, the diagrams on the Swedish site is impressive. While it
is similar to DeForest PhonoFilm, their microphone design seems more modern
than his and I find it significant that it had no moving parts,
which of course became a standard feature on microphones afterward.
However, I also note that in the photos of the early Tri-Ergon cameras that
the mike is fixed to the body of the camera which limits it's reach and
mobility and potentially exposes it to the noise of the camera itself.
From what I understand about Tri-Ergon, despite these photographs, they did
very little in terms of direct sound before 1925, mostly adding music
scores to essentially silent films. There had been pictures with roughly
synchronized recorded tracks in Europe for about 15 years already, and
perhaps they were merely following established trends. Apparently their
record label only lasted from 1928 to 1932, and it is unclear as to whether
they used the film-on-sound system to record the tracks used on the issued
records, or if these were just regular studio recordings. Perhaps if Rainer
Lotz is reading this thread he may be able to illuminate us in this regard.
The handful of Tri-Ergon synchronized films I have seen, all made around
1930, are extremely primitive. For example, "Prix de Beauté" is still
practically a silent movie, with a French actress dubbing the voice
of Louise Brooks very, very poorly.
Uncle Dave Lewis
Lebanon, a.k.a. "Boehnerland," OH
On Sat, Oct 13, 2012 at 2:57 PM, Donald Tait <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> The Phonograph Monthly Review article about Brunswick's Light-Ray system
> is in the first issue of the magazine, October 1926, pp. 19-21. By Oliver
> C. Nelson. It explains the system in some detail and includes diagrams
> about how it worked.
> Don Tait
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dennis Rooney <[log in to unmask]>
> To: ARSCLIST <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 3:09 pm
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Early electrical disk recording
> Dear Dave,
> It has been more than fifty years since I last looked at some issues, but I
> seem to recall an article on the Light Ray process in THE PHONOGRAPH
> MONTHLY REVIEW sometime in 1927. I don't know how accessible they are. The
> Philadelphia Free Library has a set (1926-32).
> On Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 9:42 AM, David Lewis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Dr. B wrote:
> > In late 1922
> > Hewitt had a visit from Charles Hoxie who was doing sound-on-film
> > recording for GE and WGY, and loaned Hewitt some of the equipment.
> > Parts of this system was later the basis of the Brunswick Light Ray
> > Recording process which is not such a mystery as Dave Lewis seems to
> > think!
> > >>>
> > Well, good. Perhaps you can point me to a study on the light ray
> > technology. I'm interested in it, but never encountered much on it save
> > record collector's scuttlebutt.
> > As usual, there is no mention of Orlando Marsh in this thread. And to my
> > knowledge Autograph did not issue anything before 1924, though
> > I've never encountered a formal, or even informal, listing of their
> > releases. Nevertheless, Rainbow 1026, "Oh My Soul Bless Thou Jehovah"
> > and "Tis the Precious Name of Jesus" by tenor Loren Jones appears to be a
> > Marsh electrical. It is difficult to date precisely, and the copy I
> > have seen comes from a period whereby Homer was stamping out the centers
> > his master discs and replacing them for some reason, so
> > that the mx. number is lost. But it was available by his third catalog,
> > published in October 1922. And typically there is no mention on the disc
> > that it is electrical; Rainbow was well past the number 1026 at that
> > and it appears this disc was used to fill in for an intended issue that
> > didn't come about for some reason.
> > Although it wasn't issued at the time, one very early Marsh disc that
> > survives is the "Unknown Black Band" performing "Muscle Shoals Blues"
> > from late 1921; it is Marsh mx. "19" and I don't know of an earlier one
> > than that.
> > https://www.box.com/s/dam8frmr96o04pmhsn5h
> > The band is officially "unknown," but unofficially believed to be Tim
> > Brymn's Black Devil Orchestra. On their arrival in Chicago from the
> > European
> > theater the Brymn unit, which was still military at that time, set up at
> > local Armory and played music in addition to conducting military drills.
> > Some
> > of the drills were filmed by Oscar Micheaux and shown as part
> > of a newsreel exhibited along with one of his features though -- like so
> > many of his
> > films -- it no longer is known to survive, and we don't even know what
> > title of that may have been.
> > I think one of the reasons Orlando Marsh seems to get so little love is
> > that his electricals don't sound like electricals; they sound like
> > somewhat louder
> > acousticals with extra distortion added. Note the blasting on the drums
> > here, which would likely have precluded its release if Marsh had any way
> > issue his records in 1921. While I will certainly not argue against the
> > "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" as the first issued electrical, and this
> > track was not
> > issued until the 2000s, I would humbly suggest that this might be the
> > earliest surviving electrical recording of music.
> > I also used to have a cardboard flexi from Canada which contained choral
> > music, recorded electrically in 1924. I don't remember the details on it,
> > but they
> > claimed it was the first electrical recording; it is certainly still very
> > early.
> > Uncle Dave Lewis
> > Lebanon, OH
> Dennis D. Rooney
> 303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
> New York, NY 10023