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.