14Panning

How stereo works

On 14 December 1931, Alan Dower Blumlein, then a researcher and engineer at EMI, applied for patent number 394,325, called “Improvements in and relating to Sound-transmission, Sound-recording and Sound-reproducing System.” This 22-page application outlined his ideas and vision to create a better sound reproduction system than the monophonic one used in those days. What Blumlein described as “binaural sound” is what we refer to today as stereo. His original concept was so far ahead of its time that many people could neither understand it nor realize its potential. The first stereo record was published in 1958—sixteen years after Blumlein’s mysterious death and six years after EMI’s patent rights had expired.

The term ...

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