First digital recording?

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Spark
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First digital recording?

Post by Spark » Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:36 pm

Not sure which section to put this in, but Ill put it here i guess.

Does anyone know what/when the first song/album to be recorded digitaly was? I was reading about the Star Wars Christmas Album on Wikipedia (yah im a nerd) and found this "This album was one of the industry's first non-classical-or-jazz projects to be recorded and mixed digitally."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_in_the_Stars

Ill be the first to admit that one cant put put 100% faith in something found on Wikipedia. From my understanding this seems too early (it was released in 1980), but it got me to wondering what the first digitaly recorded song was. Anyone know the history behind this? Maybe a link?

Thanks!

evan
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Post by evan » Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:47 pm

From http://www.digital-recordings.com/publ/ ... ml#general:
The process for digitally coding sound by computer was first developed in 1957 by Max Mathews of Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill (Mathews, 1963). Other advances in digital electronics and microchips led to the development of the first digital Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) audio recorder in 1967 at the NHK Technical Research Institute (Nakajima, 1983). This machine was a 12- bit companded scheme (using a compression/expansion of sound to improve dynamic range) with a 30 kHz sampling rate. Data were recorded on a one- track, two-head helical scan VTR (Video Tape Recorder). The first commercial PCM/digital recording session was performed by DENON in 1972 (Takeaki, 1989).
I just googled 'first digital recording' and that's what I got.

Professor
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Post by Professor » Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:02 am

I felt pretty certain that the theory was developed in the '30s though the practical application didn't come until later.
Sure enough, this quote is listed further down on the same web page:
PCM - PCM was invented by A.H. Reeves in 1939 (American Patents 2272070, 1942-2 see Nakajima, 1983) and was analyzed and developed as a modulation system from the point of view of communication theory by C.E. Shannon (1949). Using only two alternative pulse values (0 and 1), a 16- pulse train is generated which indicates the sampled value (for example, 1010 1111 0110 1101, a binary coded 16 bit number). During conversion, 16 bit amplitudes A1, A2, A3 ... are generated with a rate 44,100/sec. The demand on the storage device and speed of transmission channel is 88,200 Bytes/sec. This is a 'brute force' approach, which is not the most effective way of using the storage device and transmission channel.

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Roman Sokal
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Post by Roman Sokal » Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:30 am

in terms of perhaps the first commercial and popular recording in digital, i am unsure, though i do recall frank zappa was among the earliest of recording artists to buy a digital machine back in something like 1979 or 80...

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Post by Spark » Thu Jan 26, 2006 8:49 pm

Interesting... Thanks guys.

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Post by philbo » Fri Jan 27, 2006 2:09 pm

Don't know for sure, but I've heard that Donald Fagen's solo album 'Nightfly' was first commercial album done all in digital. S'pose you'd have to ask Roger Nichols...
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Last edited by philbo on Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by jv » Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:57 pm

Supposedly, the first digitally recorded release on a major label was Ry Cooder's "Bop Till You Drop" (1979).

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