See my ARSCJ article:
Aside from Denon, no one was making commercial digital recordings before Telarc. Denon was first,
Soundstream was second, 3M/BBC was third, Sony was 4th (and it was the pro-sumer PCM F-1 system at
first, followed quickly by the 1600 system). As far as underlying technology, it sprang from ITT,
then Bell Labs. Then NHK, first alone and then with Denon. Then BBC, later licensed parts of their
technology to 3M. Soundstream's development was somewhat parallel in time to BBC, both after NHK, if
you count Stockham's work on DSP and "de-horning" old recordings as part of the Soundstream digital
recording system development.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2012 9:46 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Early digital recording history -- a couple of followups
> Tom, there was a number of sessions issued on Denon LPs and CDs,
> collaborations with Supraphon, and I think those began in the late '70s. I
> don't own any - they are in the library I managed at WXXI. Rather glassy
> sounding. Recall somehow that it was a 14bit system.
> I do have a few discs from a Shostakovich Symphony cycle issued by JVC in
> Japan, recorded in Moscow in 1983. Familiar, spectacular Melodia multi-mic
> production, with huge dynamics, and at least one burst of overs that can
> wreck your tweeters. The discs say "Digital Recording," and they do sound
> that way, but except for covers in English, all the notes are in Japanese.
> The first Melodia USSR produced CDs I saw were issued around 1990.
> This is in the classical realm, assuming it got the new tech first, but
> that's rather high-art centric. The first CD I heard was Born To Run.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
> Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2012 8:26 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Early digital recording history -- a couple of followups
> 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