Contemporary wax cylinder recordings

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30 Responses to “Contemporary wax cylinder recordings”

  1. Clemoh says:

    Ugghh.   I couldn’t think of a more grating, annoying example of this media.  Maybe something more ‘musical’ next time.  I’m all for the John Cage bubblegum,  but this is… indescribably bad.  Recording something unlistenable for it’s own sake is a poor reason to support a dead format.

    • Alex Carlson says:

      Thanks. I was looking for some actual music in the above project, but found none. This is much more like it.

  2. Stefan Jones says:

    Edison continued making cylinder recordings for niche markets — mostly in the South — until the late 1920.

  3. taras says:

    I like it in principle, but do they have any examples of recording music or other identifiable sounds, or is it just clicks?

    Edit: Disregard that, just heard two of the non-clicky ones. Ugh

  4. Roy Trumbull says:

    Edison made a drawing for one of his machinists with a bonus figure on the drawing if it was done ahead of schedule. Edison wrapped foil around the hand cranked cylinder to make the first recording. He was somewhat upset when it worked from the get-go. He had a distrust of anything that worked right off. 
    http://archive.org/download/EdisonLifeAndInventions/08_The_Phonograph.mp3

  5. Palomino says:

    Maybe he should pick it up and give it a good shake, I think it’s broken. 

  6. blueelm says:

    I want to like this but yikes. Maybe the sense of pristine sound is required to make the whole non-music thing seem intentional. 

  7. I can’t help but think of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnsizkVjGm8 If only he hadn’t been so nervous to be on camera…

  8. copperwatt says:

    Signal to noise ratio: Low. Very low.

  9. I love my vinyl collection as much as the next guy, but all of this “digital files are the nadir of sound reproduction” business is so much hogwash. Certainly there are digital files that are terrible, as there are digital examples that represent wonderfully well-played, well-engineered performances that sound really quite nice. Now, that having been said, there may be discussions to be had about relative enjoyment of digital reproduction vs vinyl – at least some of it stemming from euphonic (or pleasant-sounding) distortions – but as for digital vs. the enjoyability of wax cylinder reproduction, I’m not sure there’s an awful lot of room for discussion there. Certainly, the raw idea that actual, physical sound waves directly moved a series of physical items causing a direct result on recording media – that’s very cool, indeed. As for any pleasure gained from the experience of listening to it, as opposed to a digital reproduction – well, I don’t know about that.

  10. oswarez says:

    Yes this utter crap. I was hoping to hear actual music not some retrophile jacking off in to a cylinder and calling it awesome. I would like to hear some Bieber on wax cylinders just to hear how it would come out. Clicks aren’t enjoyable for anyone. Ever.

  11. Chentzilla says:

    Posting those on the Internet kinda misses the point.

  12. johndonna says:

    Edison invented the phonograph with the foil cylinder but because it was not very effective (foil wore out easily, had to be operated by hand so very uneven sound, etc.) he did not see any potential in it and abandoned it to work on the light bulb. Alexander Graham Bell acquired the rights, changed the name from phonograph to graphophone and went on to invent (with Charles Sumner Tainter & Chichester Bell, the other members of his Volta Laboratories) the wax cylinder (which was made on a spiral cardboard tube – think toilet paper roll – invented by Tainter), the wax disc, the floating stylus, all made much more listenable with a speed regulator. They then sold the rights back to Edison. Credit where credit is due! :o) 

  13. Cunning says:

    That dude looks like Stephen King.  Also, the  clicks were disappointing.

  14. Charlie B says:

    I’ll just leave this here, for anyone wanting to know what real cylinder recordings sounded like…

    http://google.com/search?q=al+duvall+on+wax+cylinder

  15. myopiczeal says:

    I’m an acoustical engineer by training. While the history of recorded sound is indeed interesting, and worth studying, I don’t need to actually inscribe an archaic wax cylinder to understand it. There’s a reason that technology was replaced. I can’t imagine getting much joy from pain-stakingly recording a sound source with a needlessly complicated rig, and producing a recording with terrible fidelity. This sounds more like recycling old tech due to crushing boredom and an excess of spare time.

  16. Kaleberg says:

    If this is about physical sound artifacts, why not take the maker route, and fabricate plastic sound cylinders of short MP3 (or lossless) files. You could even fabricate the player. It would be a great DIY hack, and probably have better sound quality.

  17. robdobbs says:

    Why is that guy wearing a dress? 
    Oh… I see it now, never mind.

  18. robdobbs says:

    You can buy a Maker Kit: http://blog.makezine.com/2008/11/13/building-the-gakken-cup-p/

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