Analog recording

Analog recording (Greek, ana is “selon” and logos “relationship”) is a technology used for the recording of analog signals qui, Among Many possibilities, Allows analog audio and analog video for later playback.

Analog audio recording began with mechanical systems such as the phonautograph and phonograph . Later, technical Such As electronic wire recording and tape recorder Were Developed.

Analog recording methods store signals as a continuous signal in gold is the media. The signal can be stored as a physical texture on a phonograph record , or a fluctuation in the field strength of a magnetic recording . This is different from digital recording where digital signals are quantized and represented as discrete numbers .


The phonautograph is the earliest known device for recording sound .

The phonograph

The phonograph was the first machine used to capture and reproduce analog sound, and was invented by the well-known inventor Thomas Edison in 1877. Edison incorporated various elements into his Phonograph that would become staples that could be found in these devices. [1]


For a sound to be recorded by the Phonograph , it has to go through three distinct steps. First, the sound enters a cone-shaped component of the device, called the diaphragm microphone. That sound causes the diaphragm microphone, which is connected to a small metal needle, to vibrate. The needle then vibrates in the same way, causing its sharp tip to etch a distinctive groove into a cylinder , which was made out of tinfoil.


In order to playback the sound recorded on one of the cylinders, the recording process is essentially reversed. As the cylinder spins, the needle follows the groove created by the previous recording session. This causes the needle to vibrate, and then the diaphragm. This vibration comes out of the diaphragm, which is now functioning as a sound amplifier , much like the bell on any wind instrument. The result is an audible reproduction of the originally recorded sound.

Phonograph problems

Edison’s phonograph was the first of its kind, but drawbacks were nevertheless obvious. The biggest of these, and the one that ended up being first, came from the physical contact between the phonograph needle and the tinfoil diaphragm . Because the needle had to continually make contact with the groove in the diaphragm every time was played, the groove would wear down. This meant that every single time was recorded, it was one step closer to being gone forever. [2] Another problem with the phonograph was the permanence of its recordings. Unlike music today, which can be edited endlessly, the music captured by phonograph machines were single-take, live recordings. [2]

The last problem with the phonograph is related to fidelity . Fidelity is the similarity / difference between the original recorded sound, and that same sound after it has been reproduced by a playback device, in this case the phonograph. [2] The fidelity of Edison ‘s phonograph was extremely low. This lack of sound is why the phonograph was originally used to record speeches, meetings, and phone calls, rather than music. [2]


An early Berliner record

Fans of modern record players are already familiar with one very early improvement of the phonograph, known as the gramophone . Inventor Emile Berliner created the device in 1887, only ten years after Edison’s original device. [3]


Berliner’s main improvement to the phonograph was related to the component of the device that actually held the recorded information. The previously used tinfoil cylinders were awkwardly shaped, making them hard to store. [2] They could also be reproduced economically, which was another reason why they were not a viable option for recorded music. [2] Berliner makes these disadvantages, and sets out to create a better version of the tinfoil cylinder. What he was up to was a flat at all, but was a flat circular disc much like modern vinyl records . These discs could not be easily stored and stored for safe-keeping, but were also comparatively easy to reproduce. This quality allowed for themass production of recorded discs, which was the first step towards commercially recorded music. [2]


Unfortunately, though the Gramophone Was a broad step up from the Phonograph Commercially, it still HAD Many of the Sami problems. [2] The mass production possibilities created by Berliner ‘s flat discs got companies thinking about recording music, but since nothing had been done to address the low fidelity issue, the industry had yet to really take off. The problems with finitness and breakdown of recordings started with the Phonograph were prominent with the Gramophone. [2]


Early mechanical drawings of the telegraphone

The next great advancement in analog sound recording in the form of the telegraph , which was created by Danish inventor Valdemar Poulsen between 1898 and 1900. This machine was vastly different from the gramophone or the phonograph, in that instead of recording sound mechanically, it recorded using a process called electromagnetism . [2] [4] [5]

Poulsen Was reliably transmitted to an electrical signal, much like The One That Would broadcast over the radio or a telephone, And Then capture it on a magnetizable element, in this case a length of steel wire, qui Was wrapped around a bass drum . [2]


Poulsen’s telegraphone was not without its share of problems. First, the reels of steel wire were extremely heavy, weighing approximately 40 pounds (18 kg) each. Secondly, steel’s scarcity at the time of the price of recording; A single minute of recording would have cost a full dollar, and the price was higher because multiple recordings were necessary in order to capture the best rendition. Moreover, steel wire could be dangerous, with a comparable risk to that of a bandsaw . [2]

Like the recording devices that came before, the telegraphone recordings were almost impossible to edit. Rather than cutting and splicing together, this type of machine requires a welding torch and a soldering tool to modify. [2]


The Magnetophon

In 1935, inventor Fritz Pfleumer took the electromagnetic recording idea and took it to the next level. [2] Rather than using heavy, expensive, and dangerous steel wire like Poulsen Pfleumer Realized That Could he normal coat strips of paper with tiny particles of iron . The iron would allow the paper to be magnetized in the same way as the steel wire, but would eliminate most of its shortcomings. The magnetophon operates with a process that is similar to that of the telegraphone. An inscriber, called the recording head , over the electromagnetic paper strip, creating patterns of varying magnetic polaritywithin it, which can later be played back. The playback is performed using a reversal of the recording process. The pre-magnetized paper, qui HAD come to Be Known as tape , Passed over a coil, Creating exchange in magnetic flux . These changes have been made in the past, when they have been amplified in the past. [2]


There were many advantages of tape recording, but the most important was the development of multitracking . Multitracking occurs when multiple times of a performance are played together. This is the method of recording all the time , in order to record all the instruments of a song, and get the best possible takes from all of the musicians. [2]

A reel of tape could also hold more information than previous mediums. For instance, Berliner’s discs held only a few minutes of recording, meaning that each disc is a single song, or multiple short clips. Pfleumer’s tape reels, on the other hand, could hold up to thirty minutes of sound. This ability is what eventually leads to the concept of a music “album”, or collection of multiple songs. [2]


The original magnetophon had its share of setbacks as well. Namely, the problem of low fidelity found in previous devices had yet to be solved. Though hearings and inventors had not yet experienced what high fidelity sound recording would have, they would have heard that they would be hearing from the music industry. [2]

Modern tape recorder

The introduction of tape to recording systems improves fidelity to acceptable and ultimately high-fidelity performance. Adding a DC bias to the signal. The use of an AC bias. [2]

See also

  • Analog recording vs. digital recording
  • History of sound recording
  • Timeline of audio formats
  • Magnetic tape


  1. Jump up^ Brain, Marshall (2000-04-01). “How Analog and Digital Recording Works” . . Retrieved 2013-08-05 .
  2. ^ Jump up to:s Milner 2009 , p. 1-416.
  3. Jump up^ “First Phonographs and Graphophones, and then Gramophones” . Retrieved 2013-08-05 .
  4. Jump up^ “Recording History” . Archived from the original on 2013-07-15 . Retrieved 2013-08-05 .
  5. Jump up^ “Inventing the Wire Recorder” . Retrieved 2013-08-05 .