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Section 1: BINAURAL LISTENING
Section 2: STEREOPHONIC SOUND
Section 3: STEREOPHONIC SYSTEMS FOR THE HOME
Section 4: RECORDING PROCEDURE
Section 5: LOUDSPEAKERS FOR STEREOPHONICS
Everything these days is a pursuit. Automobiles go after more horsepower. High fidelity amplifiers were going after more watts, until they ran out of bigger tubes. Movies went after bigger screens. And when they rolled back the curtains on these super wide screens, they needed sound that "rolled back" with them. Thus stereophonic sound came to the movies.
But it did not begin with the motion picture industry. Believe it or not, the first experiments in this direction were demonstrated at the Paris Exposition of 1881! But naturally it had to wait for the advent of high fidelity before stereophonic sound could really come into its own, which it is only recently beginning to do.
This subject seems to have grown up in a sort of no man's land. Ask an engineer, "What is stereophonic sound--how is it different from high fidelity?" and he will probably launch into higher mathematics to explain it to you. Ask a musician the same question, and he will weave a lot of artistry around his explanation, that may mean something to him ... So who is to tell us about it?
Maybe I am a citizen of this no man's land. While various loudspeaker enthusiasts have, in almost reverent tones, chanted praises to such mystifying terms as "back-loaded horn", "bass reflex", "infinite baffle", "acoustic suspension", I have tried to keep myself informed on the relative merits of these wonderful developments, without joining any individual camp of absolute worshippers. The same goes for people with such very definite ideas on other subjects--the "right kind" of phono pickup, for example. And, although I was trained as an engineer, I have endeavored to understand the musician's viewpoint--the artistic aspects, and at least I have, to show for this effort, a passing acquaintance with the piano keyboard!
Do I know the answers, and have I told all there is to know? Everyone "in the business" will tell you there is still a lot to learn, and you ask me if I know it all! But let me say this: the information I have presented here is based on progressive experience in the subject's development. I have listened, investigated, compared notes with the experiences of many others, technical and other wise, and they all seem to add up, consistently, to the answers I have given in this guide.
Don't let anyone tell you that only an expert can understand the intricacies of stereo. Sometimes the inhibitions of "experts" makes them slower to perceive the simpler things than ordinary folks, and nowhere is this more true than in stereo. The endeavor here has been to convey to you, the reader, what I have learned, in such a way that you will be able to confirm it with your own experience, and thus grasp the subject more readily. Further, by giving you the pros and cons along the line--where there are such--you will be set to go on learning from your experience in this intriguing and highly controversial subject, long after your first reading of this guide.
A good stereophonic system, With well-recorded program material for it, can give the most satisfying experience. So here's hoping this guide will lead you on, without unnecessarily depleting your budget, to some solid listening satisfaction.
New York, N. Y. September 1957
NORMAN H. CROWHURST, M,I.R.E., A,M,I,E,E.
(Adapted from: Stereophonic Sound (1957) by Norman H. Crowhurst)
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