04 July 2015

Audio components by famous Italian designers

YAMAHA Designed by Mario Bellini

Mario Bellini is an Italian architect and designer, winner of several prestigious architecture awards. His work includes a remarcable set of Olivetti machines as well as furniture for B&B and Cassina. In 1974 he was commissioned to design a cassette deck and a set of headphones for YAMAHA.

The design of the YAMAHA TC800 (TC800GL and TC800D) cassette deck is extraordinary in the sense that the complete front is angled, adapted to a more ergonomical layout. This deck is unique also because it can run on 12V (car or batteries) making it the first portable cassette deck. To complement this new cassette deck, two orthodynamic headphones were designed in 1974, the HP-1 and HP-2.

YAMAHA ergonomics

Mario Bellini and YAMAHA

YAMAHA TC-800GL and HP-1
YAMAHA HP-1 and HP-2

JVC, SONY and That's Designed by Giugiaro

Giorgetto Giugiario is an Italian automobile designer who's "folded paper" era designs from the 70's include the BMW M1, Lotus Esprit, DeLorean DMC-12 or the popular VOLKSWAGEN Golf Series 1. His more recent work include the design of the FIAT Punto, Grande Punto and Alfa-Romeo Brera. 

It is less known his activity as audio equipment designer. Some of his works include the design of the That's SOUNO audio cassette from 1988, JVC car audio from 1988 and the SONY Celebrity II compact audio range from the 90's.

That's SUONO compact cassette
That's SUONO Metal position
JVC Digifine car audio
SONY Celebrity II MD-7000
SONY Celebrity Design by GIUGIARO

QUAD and Aliante Designed by Pininfarina

Pininfarina is an independent Italian car design firm with long established customers such as Alfa-Romeo, Peugeot, Fiat, Lancia and most notably Ferrari. 

The company has been also involved in loudspeaker design such as the QUAD Moda 2000 / Aliante Moda Pininfarina, Aliante One Pininfarina or the Aliante Linea Pininfarina.

QUAD MODA 2000 Pininfarina
Aliante Moda Pininfarina
Aliante One Pininfarina
Aliante Linea Pininfarina

You might think that this is the end of the story, but it isn't.

28 May 2015

80 years of tape recording - The Magnetophon

This year we celebrate 80 years of tape recording since the first tape recorder, the MAGNETOPHON was presented by AEG at the Berlin Radio Fair in 1935.

The first magnetic sound recordings were made on a machine using a steel wire as early as 1899. In 1928 Fritz Pfleumer was granted a patent for a new recording medium that was using long paper strips coated with a magnetizable powder. In 1932 AEG hired Pfleumer to work with Theo Volk and BASF chemist Friedrich Matthias to develop a magnetic tape recording sytem. The BASF group used carbonyl iron powder on a tough cellulose acetate-base material that was strong enough to handle the torque of the transport motors.

The world first magnetic tape recorder was unveiled at the Berlin Radio Fair in 1935 by AEG.

aeg magnetophon k1

This was the AEG MAGNETOPHON K1 (K stands for "koffer" - suitcase) 
The AEG MAGNETOPHON K1 was a 3 motor 3 head machine using the MAGNETOPHON C1 tape developpend by BASF for AEG. The first recording was made in november 1936 with Sir Thomas Beecham conducting the London Philharmonic at BASF's concert hall. This was a poor recording but tape improvements, such as BASF's ferric-oxide tape in 1939 and an accident that led to the application of high-frequency AC biasing further improved the tape recording performance.

magnetophon k1

This machine was using tape made by BASF that was 6,5 mm wide.
The tape speed was 100cm/sec with a frequency response of 50-6000 Hz.
Signal to noise ratio was -35 dB and recordings could be made up to 20 minutes on a 30 cm diameter tape. The original price was aproximately 1200 RM (Reichsmark)

telefunken magnetophon
TELEFUNKEN MAGNETOPHON in a studio in 1959

Discover more reel to reel recorders at 1001 Hi-Fi - The Stereo Museum.

26 May 2015

The violin in audio advertising

The violin and audio systems, a musical link in vintage audio advertising.
Here are some examples of audio sytems advertised as stand out units,
just like a tone of a violin that stands out above other instruments.

AKAI reel to reel with GX head in a vintage japanese advert
akai gx

AIWA AD-F990B cassette deck from 1985

Infinity Reference Standard II loudspeakers 1981
infinity loudspeaker

FOSTEX LS3 studio monitor
fostex monitor

ONKYO audio system in a japanese advert

SONY DD-100 BOODO KHAN from 1987
sony boodo khan

PHILIPS......plug and play
philips vintage audio