This was all covered in my ARSCJ article, linked earlier but here again:

Denon also experimented with DSP very early, recording orchestras in an anecholic chamber and then 
introducing electronically created "space" around the 100% dry close-mic'd music tracks. Denon made 
the first commercially-released digital recording, the first digital recording in Europe and the 
first digital jazz recording in the US (see the sidebar to my article).

Also, at the end of the article is a list of sources. One of the sources was Sony's book on the 
history of digital recording, which cites and credits Denon's work. Indeed, the only photo I have of 
the NHK mono recorder came out of the Sony book.

Just to make sure to give Sony due credit (although their own self-promotion machine does the job 
just fine), they are responsible for the following major and widely used innovations in the early 
years of digital becoming the widely used standard for audio production:

1. the PCM-F1, which was the first digital recording/playback interface within monetary reach of the 
"masses." It interfaced with a Betamax if you went all-Sony, but the interface works fine with a VHS 
machine too, and many professional audio people used a U-Matic recorder.

2. the 1600, 1630 and later U-Matic based CD mastering systems, which adopted video insert-editing 
to audio and used a common/relatively cheap video format as the storage medium.

3. Sony's partnership with Philips which led to the Compact Disc, by far the widest-used digital 
commercial mass medium (and I mean INCLUDING downloads, so far).

4. Sony's work in the DASH format, which was a widely-used pre-DAW digital multitrack recording 

5. the Minidisc, which didn't really catch on as a mass medium but did replace cassettes in some 
broadcast situations.

6. Sony and Philips again partnered on the SACD/DSD formats and systems.

There are other major innovations and products I'm forgetting to mention.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Shai Drori" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 3:44 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Digital History Query

> Need to make a clarification. In the early 70's Denon (NHK) showed and used a 4 track digital 
> recorder based on a Quad VTR. It was the size of a Sub Zero. I think I have a picture of it 
> somewhere in my computer.
> Shai
> בתאריך 08/08/12 6:20 PM, ציטוט Tom Fine:
>> Sony's digital efforts were years after the NHK, first alone and then working with Denon, had 
>> developed PCM audio recording. NHK had a working mono PCM recorder that used videotape as its 
>> storage medium before 1970. By 1972, Denon was releasing commercial LPs made with its stereo 
>> PCM-to-video recorder. By 1974, they had dozens of LPs in the can. As I wrote in my ARSCJ article 
>> linked in a previous post, PCM concepts and technology were developed for telephony and dated 
>> from the 1940's (and earlier, actually the 1920's). But, the first use for professional audio 
>> recording was the NHK in Japan, and Denon quickly latched onto their developments and research. 
>> Sony was not a "digital first" by any means, but their R&D probably did as much or more than 
>> anyone in making digital audio (and video) recording and playback ubiquitous.
>> I didn't get into Sony very much in my ARSCJ article because the scope of it was to deal with 
>> "digital firsts" i.e. the dawn of things digital. Sony would be a lead subject in an article 
>> about "the day of digital" or "the digital takeover of mass media." I don't mean any of that in a 
>> pejorative sense, just stating facts.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Lou Judson" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 8:15 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Digital History Query
>> Just to save others time researching; The article says this:
>> "Nevertheless, Takayama and Suzukawa toiled to build Sony's first PCM digital audio recording 
>> machine, the X-12DTC, was announced in 1974. It used 2-inch wide tape and a fixed head with 56 
>> channels. Although it reproduced sound, the X-12DTC recorder was roughly the size of a 
>> refrigerator. The transport unit alone weighed approximately 250 kilograms. Although overly 
>> bulky, the creation of the first machine marked the beginning of Sony's history in digital sound 
>> recording. The machine was transported to and from various venues to make test recordings of 
>> orchestral music. The recorder was also exhibited at the 1974 Audio Fair in Japan. Some audio 
>> specialists remarked on the clarity of the machine's sound. In the end, however, the recorder was 
>> not marketed, even though producing digital sound through a PCM system with fixed heads 
>> represented a revolution in recording technology."
>> and Betamax is not describer further in the article. So there was a 2" digital recorder 
>> prototype, but it was not a Betamax... was it? Kind of like having an 18 wheeler Chevy; I never 
>> saw one!
>> If one were looking for that specific CD how would one ID it - does it have a label number? 
>> Sounds interesting.
>> <L>
>> Lou Judson
>> Intuitive Audio
>> 415-883-2689
>> On Aug 7, 2012, at 2:03 PM, David Lewis wrote:
>>> Is it possible that digital was somewhere in the chain of "Cheap Trick at
>>> Budokan." Historically it is possible:
>>> The PCM-1 was in use and already being marketed by April of 1978 when
>>> the Budokan concerts were recorded. At that time, Sony was using 2" Betamax
>>> tapes;
>>> the disc was being developed, but was not putting out acceptable results
>>> yet as either a recording or playback format. However, April 1978 is a bit
>>> before the
>>> fateful meeting with Karajan mentioned in this corporate history.
> -- 
> בברכה,
> שי דרורי
> מומחה לשימור והמרה של אודיו וידאו וסרטים 8-35 ממ.