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Re: My Audio Roots

Subject: Re: My Audio Roots
From: Walter Knapp <>
Date: Mon, 09 Jun 2003 14:58:04 -0400
Bill Mueller wrote:
> Klas,
> You just stirred up one of my early recording memories.  1948, 
> Webcor Electric wire recorder.  I recall the wire was hair thin and 
> created a real miss when the wire broke and the spindle keep 
> reeling. That seemed to happen often.  Editing was simple.  Cut the 
> wire and knot the ends together. Oh me, times gone by.

I, too started with a wire recorder. About the same time.

I'd used it a little before I ever started into school, including 
hanging a mic out the window, recording music off the radio. But, in 
first grade my teachers were unhappy with my english, those were the 
days of phonics being the be all and end all of teaching english. So, I 
spent endless hours with the wire recorder practicing my phonics. Got 
good enough to get a passing grade, which is all I cared about 
concerning phonics.

In 1952 we moved to the Pacific NW. With most of our extended family in 
Louisiana we all got tape recorders and corresponded by tape all through 
the 50's and 60's. I also did some more "nature recording" using the 
tape recorders. Limited by how far a extension cord went and that the 
mic was the standard voice mic that came with the recorder.

I built my first parabolic mic in the late 50's. It was part of a air 
sonar system I built for a science fair project. Everything in that I 
designed from scratch with no help, power supplies, pulse oscillators, 
amplifiers and so on, except the oscilloscope I used for the readout. I 
could measure a distance to within less than a inch at 20'. It was very 
noisy as the only speaker I had available was a hifi tweeter, so the 
pulses were in the audible range. The parabolic was only 10", but big 
enough to work, designed from a photographic light reflector. And the 
whole thing won nothing in the science fair. That was the period when 
anyone that wanted them could get relay banks that the phone company was 
junking. And the phone company even had a handout on how to make a crude 
computer with them. You guessed it, someone wired up one from the 
handout and won the grand prize. All it could do is add two small 
numbers. Last science fair I ever participated in.



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