Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: This is in response to the subject of stereo recordings. I cannot recall any full stereophonic recordings being available until the late '50s. There were, however, binaural ones available in the mid-'50s.

Binaural tracks, made using two microphones spaced about six to eight inches apart and separated by a large flat board, gave a sense of direction to recordings, especially when played back with headphones — the idea being to replicate the directionality of human hearing. The effect resulted in a very real "stereo" sound. Binaural lasted for about two or three years at most. Then stereo as we now know it became available.
—Jack Dayton, Sequim, Wash.

DEAR JACK: For another response regarding early stereo recordings, read on:

DEAR JERRY: Having been in radio broadcasting for many years and owning a record collection of over 13,000 LPs and numerous singles, transcriptions, and 78s, you speak my language.

The recent letter from a reader about early stereo reminded me that I once read RCA Victor had toyed with stereo as early as 1932 on some of their tests discs, but I am not aware of anything actually released..

As you know, the movie studios were way ahead of the game and were recording stereo for soundtracks in the late 30s and early 40s. Disney's "Fantasia" was recorded and released in stereo to theaters. That is why we can buy it on CD in true stereo today.

Twentieth Century-Fox released on record Glenn Miller's recordings from the 1942 movies "Orchestra Wives" and "Sun Valley Serenade."

Such songs as "In the Mood" and "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo" were recorded with multiple mikes and mixed into stereo for the record releases in the 1950s. Viper's Nest released these same recordings in true stereo for CD, titled "Glenn Miller in True Stereo."

Finally, the Germans were recording in stereo in the mid-1940s. I have a recording of the "Emperor's Concerto," by the Berlin Philharmonic from late 1944, recorded with two mikes onto a tape recorder using paper tape.
—Norman Guise, Queens, N.Y.

DEAR NORMAN: Thanks to you and Jack, both providing interesting information. Also, I get off easy this week, as neither of you are asking a question.

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