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A brief history of recording?

Hey everyone!

I'm having to do a small project on the history of recording, mainly the gear used and the reason for its conception. Does anyone know where I can find good resources, either books or (verified) online sources? Something along the lines of a timeline would also be helpful.

The project focuses on (digital) samplers. The rest of the group is doing the main ones (Fairlight CMI, MPC, Ableton) and I'm just filing in the stuff in between, while also providing a context for the main samplers covered.

Thanks guys (and gals)!


mark_van_j Wed, 10/29/2008 - 09:51
haha, thanks guys. The thing is, it's kinda a combination of both. As Remy gave me a very cool list, I'll start researching them, but I'd also like to provide the context for the samplers (which studios, artists, producers were using them; thanks audiokid!)

I'll also need to provide at least one "academic" resource, though I'd even personally be interested in having a "recording" history book. Any suggestions?

And while we're on the subject, there is another project I'm working on. :) With this one, I'm focusing on the history of recording Jazz music. This means techniques, engineers, studios... Again, I need resources on this, and I'm willing to buy the books if necessary (remember, these are projects I'm actually interested in :P) So I'm hoping anyone has any AMAZING history of recording books to mention.


RemyRAD Tue, 10/28/2008 - 09:35
The history of recording really has nothing to do with sampling or MIDI.

If the project focuses on digital samplers, you're only going back 20 years. New England digital created the Synclavier . It also incorporated FM synthesis. But it was one of the first full-blown hard disk based multitrack recorder & production gizmo. Affordable starting at $250,000. Sting liked his.

The Australian company Fairlight, followed up with a similar device. The Thompson Twins produced a couple of problems with that thing.

New England digital doesn't exist anymore. But FairLight still makes a sophisticated audio production system.

Then the EMU EMULATOR came out which was much more compact. Actually portable. Pretty cool.

Then the cheap guys came out ENSONIQ with their 8-bit, 22,500 hertz sampling rate, utilizing 3 1/2 inch floppy disks, called the MIRAGE. I still had one of those sitting around. LOL. Some folks really liked the way it sounds because it's so hard & dirty. Certainly not high fidelity.

Then all the little box sampler's started to spring up all over the place.

And then there is the sample your employer will ask you for. And you probably won't pass? You have to start doing what you're doing for at least one month. And then your sample can pass.

Not passing samples
Ms. Remy Ann David

audiokid Tue, 10/28/2008 - 11:11
Well said Remy,

I bought an Emulator 2, and a Linn Drum 20 years back ( maybe longer yikes!), ordered Synclavier's vinyl album of their sounds and sampled the crap out of it. For those who wonder what it sounded like: (The intro to MJ Beat It was a synclavier). Very smooth sounds.

Frank Zappa loved his :wink:

I couldn't afford the real thing, so having an Emulator and sampling it was the next best thing.

Mark, it sounds like you want the history of samplers more than recording.