Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The Introduction of Stereo (Part 1)

Whether it be FM radio, a CD or an MP3, just about all the music we hear today is in stereo. That means there are slight differences between what comes out of the left speaker and the right speaker, which gives us an illusion of spaciousness.

Vocals appear out front. Maybe the guitar is slightly off to the left and the keyboards seem to come from the right while the drums are all over the place.  But do you know when stereophonic sound was first introduced?

It was 1957, not long after it was figured out how to transfer a two-channel recording made on tape to an LP record–which, back then, was a very tricky thing. The first demonstration of a stereo test disc happened in New York City on December 13, 1957.  Side one of the first stereo record was some Dixieland jazz while side two was devoted to sound effects of a train. 

More on the development of stereo next time.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37838 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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