My earliest stereo experience in a home was in 1955 or 56 when a friend had an RCA Victor half-track stereo tape player. The playback unit was in the middle and there were two quite large speakers extended in each direction. I, of course, was awe-struck by the sound of swimming pools and subway trains and some very rich sounding orchestras, jazz bands etc. My first stereo experience not in a home was in the movie theatre with "Three coins in a Fountain". I remember picturing banks of speakers covering the entire area behind the screen because the music was coming from everywhere. I was still very young and had no ideas about sound imaging with 2 or 3 speakers.
In those earliest days I loved listening to "Simulcasts" - where two local radio stations would broadcast the two stereo channels. For allignment the announcer would say, "This is the left channel", from one side of the room, and "This is the right channel" from the other side of the room. How much more real can you get than that?! Absent of course was any thought of phase relationship or time allignment between the channels or even any similarity of sound between the channels. One channel would be your main radio console and the other a table radio on a coffee table somewhere. But it was STEREO! I remember when stereo FM was first introduced and the announcer was always on the left channel only - I guess because he was equally in the sum and difference channel. That's not so unnatural - if you have a concert with a live host, that host is usually standing to one side of the stage.
On Friday, September 5, 2014 7:43:05 AM, Randy A. Riddle <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>One thing I've wondered about early stereo recordings, particularly from
>the 50s and 60s, is how much the mix and tendancy towards extreme panning
>was about the type of stereo instruments used for listening in the typical
>home - a console or other single unit with two attached speakers, rather
>than the central unit with two wider spaced separate speakers that emerged
>in the 70s.
>It's the difference between having a wider stereo field, with the sound
>spread out, versus hearing the Beatles or Elvis playing in a "box" in your
>How much was the design of home stereo units considered by some of the
>stereo pioneers? Was some it designed for headphones with a "hole in the
>middle" or for two speakers spaced close together in a single unit or for a
>unit with the player and one speaker and another separate speaker placed
>not too far away like some of the early RCA stereo tape consoles?