Symposium on Auditory Perspective, 1934

On April 27, 1933, the Philadelphia Orchestra under deputy conductor Alexander Smallens was picked up by three microphones at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia—left, center, and right of the orchestra stage—and the audio transmitted over wire lines to Constitution Hall in Washington, where it was replayed over three loudspeakers placed in similar positions to an audience of invited guests. Music director Leopold Stokowski manipulated the audio controls at the receiving end in Washington.

This historic event was reported and analyzed by audio pioneers Harvey Fletcher, J.C. Steinberg and W.B. Snow, E.C. Wente and A.L. Thuras, and others, in papers published together in January 1934 as the Symposium on Auditory Perspective by the IEEE, in Electrical Engineering. Paul Klipsch referred to the Symposium as "one of the most important papers in the field of audio."

 

Stokowski at the controls in the 1933 Washington DC stereo broadcast with Harvey Fletcher observing

 April 27, 1933: Stokowski at the controls with Harvey Fletcher observing

 

It is particularly relevant in view of the ensuing confusion of not only the architecture of the cinema and the theatre—the word theatre applying as it does to the contexts of both live performance and film projection—but also their sound systems, given that the immediate rise of audio R&D beginning in the 1930s was spurred by Hollywood's massive financial investment in the "talkies." 

A large overlap existed between approaches to sound reinforcement and methods of sound reproduction for the next half-century or so, until custom matrix-based audio consoles began to appear—initially one at a time—in London's West End and on Broadway.

This overlap continues to exist in some venues and in the thinking of some sound practitioners, due in part to the primacy of mixing as a technique in audio production, to the virtual exclusion of other approaches to sound system design.

(photo source: http://www.stokowski.org)  

 

Read it here.