The Wild Story of the Man Who Invented Stereo

Later this month, I’ll have an Ongoing History of New Music episode on the history of the home stereo. Part of that show will focus on the work of Alan Blumlein, the engineer at Abbey Road who came up with the technology for stereo music.  This article comes from ReDef.

Alan Dower Blumlein’s stereo breakthrough began in 1931 when he visited the cinema with his wife Doreen. Frustrated that the sound from a single speaker didn’t match up with the actors and action on the screen, he told his wife he had a better idea. Later that year, Blumlein filed a patent including a whopping 70 ideas related to stereo, some of which are still in use today.

The first stereo discs were cut in 1933. And in 1934, Blumlein recorded in stereo the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham, as it performed Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, at the recording facility now known as Abbey Road Studios. It’s a fitting location, then, for Blumlein’s contribution to audio technology to be commemorated.

That commemoration comes in the form of this plaque.

Stereo invention plaque copy

Continue reading.

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.

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