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From Tin Foil to Stereo: Evolution of the Phonograph Hardcover – March, 1976


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 550 pages
  • Publisher: Howard W. Sams; 2 edition (March 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672212064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672212062
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,015,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I read this book as a teenager, and I've read it again as an adult. The two author's 19th century writing style is easier to follow now that I'm older and have expanded my vocabulary a bit. I get the impression that they immersed themselves in the earlier periods (1870s to 1920s) that the book covers, to the extent that they believe music should still be acoustically recorded and reproduced today ( or 1976 when the book was last printed). There is a heavy pro-Edison bias that the authors make no attempt to conceal. Also, there are a few quirks such as having photographs of machines like an open-horn Edison Diamond Disc phonograph that is actually a prototype that was never put into production and has never been found. The book makes no mention of this being a prototype and has lead to fruitless searches by collectors over the years, at least until the internet made information more readily available. There were a few chapters tacked onto the end the second (1965?) or third time (1976) the book was printed that deal with magnetic tape and video discs. There is a dubious section on vinyl record wear comparing grooves played by spherical/conical stylii and elliptical stylii. Apparently the authors weren't aware of the more advanced stylus profiles such as Shibata, Van Den Hul, line contact and micro-linear contact. I think by 1975 or so they should have been aware at least of Shibata stylii as this was used for the CD-4 quadraphonic records during the quad fad of the early/mid 70s. By the way, no mention of CD-4... I'm not a fan of quad, I just find it strange that the authors find themselves in 1975 or 76, the most advanced phonograph record of the time is the CD-4 system, and no mention of it or the advanced stylus profiles we enjoy today because of it.
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