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Vintage Tape (Audio), Cassette, Wire and Magnetic Disc Recorders and Players Open-reel tape recorders, cassette recorders, 8-track players etc.

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Old 11th Mar 2018, 2:06 pm   #1
rontech
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Default EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

I wonder if anybody has information on a high quality Tape replay system made by EMI in the 1957 1960 period. When I started work in 1957 the Company had a science and arts club and at an early meeting 1957/58 ish there was a demonstration by two scientists from EMI of their "StereoSonic" pre recorded tapes. If my memory is right one gent was a Dr Dutton and maybe the other a Mr Theobald ( (Bit hazy this! ) Anyway the playback system consisted of two separate, matching, nicely veneered radiogram style and size cabinets. One contained a professional looking EMI tape player ( No recording facility) Also what was described as an 18Watt amplifier plus a loudspeaker system. The second cabinet contained the RH channel amplifier and speaker.

They gave a talk on EMI's co-incident microphone system followed by a demonstration of some of their repertoire. It was extremely impressive compared to anything I had previously heard!

EMI marketed StereoSonic tapes in the period 1958 to about 1963 to the best of my knowledge. I never saw any ads for the EMI player system though.

If you have access to EMI Stereo demonstration record SDD1 it contains much of the material used at the above demonstration. I have seen these discs for sale on ebay etc recently.

If anyone has knowledge of the EMI player system used or about the mysterious Dutton and Theobald. I would be grateful to learn.
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Old 11th Mar 2018, 2:31 pm   #2
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

Dr Gilbert Dutton is fairly well known as EMI's head of research at that time. I can't tell you anything of Theobald, though, I'm afraid, but someone here will,probably know!
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Old 11th Mar 2018, 5:22 pm   #3
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

I have seen pictures of oddments of a replay only machine based on the TR50 deck. I would assume this would have been a single speed 7.5 ips machine.

Perhaps the cabinets were based on the HMV 3030 console recorder, apart from the TR50 deck it has a 13 x 8 speaker which sounds very good even on the 2 watt standard amplifier.

https://www.radiomuseum.org/images/r...30_1872973.jpg

(very poor image)

Just surmising that the 18 watt amplifier could have been similar to that used in the RE351, which was a mono reproducer based on a TR90.

Dr Dutton was high up in the research department at Hayes when my Dad was working at EMI in the early fifties.
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Old 11th Mar 2018, 5:44 pm   #4
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

Dr Gilbert F Dutton was Head of Engineering Research at EMI Research Labs, Hayes until his retirement in 1968. He was a very practical pioneer in stereo recording and reproduction, working with Philip Vanderlyn and H A M Clark. It's probably to Dutton's credit that the earliest EMI stereo recordings from the 50s and early 60s are so highly prized for their stereo imaging and naturalness. Two interesting points are:

Dutton's introduction to EMI seems to have been via a young Alan Blumlein whom he met at the City & Guilds College.

His middle initial stands for Faraday. He clearly possessed prescient parents!

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Old 11th Mar 2018, 7:45 pm   #5
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

http://www.americanradiohistory.com/...stereosonic%22
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Old 11th Mar 2018, 8:00 pm   #6
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

Somewhere I have an EMI demo tape for 'reflectograph stereocorder' IIRC. No idea if it's the same thing. Can dig it out and check if you like.
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Old 11th Mar 2018, 9:12 pm   #7
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

Many thanks for the quick response gents.

Ben. I would be grateful to learn more about your dem tape.

WD40 addict Thanks for the link. The pics and description are exactly as I recall the demo back in 1957!

That elliptical speaker has an ancient heritage. My father was a radio enthusiast in the 1930's and 40's He was the proud owner of two ( second hand I think!) top of the range radios. Both used identical electronics. One was a Marconi console unit the other an HMV table Model 650 five-band radio.They had 10 valves on two chassis units, the smaller contained the power supply components plus a push pull output stage delivering about 10 watts max. ( KT63 o/p valves ) The speaker in each case was an elliptical unit of similar appearance to the Model 3034. In my fathers's sets the long axis of the speaker was horizontal and things did not run to tweeters on those days.
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Old 11th Mar 2018, 10:16 pm   #8
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

Found it. The label actually states that an excerpt in the material is from Columbia 'Stereosonic' tape BTD711.
Edit. I notice you're in Southport. I actually remember buying this tape at a car boot sale in Liverpool circa 1989. May nor may not be relevant. Who knows, maybe it was the very one played at the demonstration you heard!

I will digitize it if you like.
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Old 11th Mar 2018, 11:12 pm   #9
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

Interesting spelling of 'STEREACORDER' on that tape. Was that a misprint or was it really intended to be spellt that way rather than the more obvious 'STEREOCORDER'?
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Old 12th Mar 2018, 10:37 am   #10
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

Hello Ben.

Thanks for the offer but I still have my original copy of SDD1 which has everthing I need.

The demonstration actually took place in the evening at a fuction room in the old Stork Hotel in Liverpool. It was situated a few buildings along from the NW corner of Williamson Square but was demolished some years ago.

You mention a reflectograph tape recorder. I vaguely remember that these were high quality decks made by "Wearite" which were also used in recorders by Ferrograph and Vortexion at that time.

Regards,etc
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Old 12th Mar 2018, 10:55 am   #11
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

My memory of Reflectograph was that they produced their own deck though they may have used the Wearite deck for some models.
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Old 12th Mar 2018, 11:50 am   #12
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

Relectograph used their own deck when the firm was owned by Rudman and Darlington - a fickle thing with variable speed drive, inclined to tweak itself when you weren't looking. Later models used the Multimusic deck, once they had bought the company. Never used Wearite, as far as I know - although Vortexion and Clarke and Smith did.
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Old 12th Mar 2018, 12:00 pm   #13
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

Quote:
Originally Posted by barrymagrec View Post
My memory of Reflectograph was that they produced their own deck though they may have used the Wearite deck for some models.
That's right - the Reflectograph deck looked very different from the Wearite, though its performance was said to be of similar calibre. I've never seen a Reflectograph, let alone played with one. See http://www.ferrographworld.com/reflectograph.html .

They were made by Rudman Darlington, who also manufactured rather good robust can openers!

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Old 12th Mar 2018, 12:02 pm   #14
barrymagrec
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

Reading through the whole of the Wireless World article referenced by WD40 shows a considerable effort must have gone into what would have been a niche market at the time.

Much larger cabinets than the 3030, similar elliptical speaker with the addition of an electrostatic tweeter with a separate amplifier - an early example of an active crossover.

Looks to be the TR50 deck running at 7.5 ips half track (.110) stereo. Response to 16Khz - seems optimistic for 1956.

The cost would have put it beyond most people in 1956.
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Old 12th Mar 2018, 1:18 pm   #15
rontech
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

Thanks Barry, Ted, Hartley! Fascinating stuff!.

Yes think you would be right about the cost. A 1939 luxury radiogram in an old RGD catalogue I have cost 110 guineas. Probably about 12000 today.
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Old 12th Mar 2018, 1:57 pm   #16
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Default Re: EMI Stereosonic Tape Player "DR Dutton"

Quote:
Originally Posted by barrymagrec View Post
The cost would have put it beyond most people in 1956.
This model, the 3034, was listed at 275 gns. It is history now that the system was a commercial flop, in spite of its considerable technical virtues. There was a dearth of affordable playback equipment - Spectone made an expensive console, but apart from that you were stuck with a Ferrograph 3S and a Stere-Add unit - and the tapes cost much more than the equivalent disc, even without the purchase tax applied to records.

I think it also became borne in on EMI quite early on that the system would bankrupt them if it did succeed - the time involved in producing each copy was not inconsiderable, compared with pressing a disc, and they were much more prone to QC issues. Even at the prevailing prices, they probably sold at a loss. Mass-market stereo had to wait for the introduction of the 45/45 disc system in 1958.

Stereosonic issues petered out by the end of the 'fifties, with a final release in 1962. The plant saw out its days duplicating the obscure Stereo 21 series for World Record Club, an EMI subsidiary by this time (1964).
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