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About mechanical sound recording

A mechanical sound recording is based on cutting (or extruding) grooves in the material of a recording medium using a sound recording device — a recorder. When playing along the groove, the needle of the reproducing device – the pickup – moves (moves).

In the process of developing a mechanical recording, two main methods for modulating a groove were proposed: transverse, in which the cutter oscillates left and right from the neutral position and the groove of constant width acquires twists, and deep, in which the cutter moves up and down from the neutral position, cutting out the groove of variable depth and width.

About mechanical sound recording (mechanical sound recording)
Type of modulated groove for transverse and deep recording

All preliminary operations for recording and editing phonograms are carried out using magnetic recording. The finally mounted magnetic phonogram is transferred to a mechanical one on a mechanical recording machine. It has a massive disk (faceplate), rotated by the engine. The recorder by means of the mechanism moves in the radial direction. The recording medium (copper or varnish disc) is firmly fixed on the faceplate. The diamond cutter of the recorder gradually moves radially from the edge of the disc to the center. In the absence of a signal, a groove without gyrus is obtained, unmodulated.

About mechanical sound recording (mechanical sound recording)

When a signal is applied to the recorder, the cutter begins to oscillate and cut out a groove of complex shape. Such a groove is called modulated.

After the recording is completed, a silver layer is applied to the surface of the lacquer disc, which further serves as a current path during the electrochemical process of applying the nickel layer. The nickel layer reaches 0.3 … 0.4 mm. The resulting copy (first original) is carefully separated from the lacquer disk. Again from the first original, several (up to ten) new copies (second originals) are made using the electrochemical (galvanic) method. After the separation of the second original, they listen to him like a regular record. The detected defects are eliminated by engraving, controlling this work under a microscope. From the second originals, third originals are removed with a thickness of about 0.25 mm, to reduce the wear of the matrix, they are covered with a layer of chromium (although the quality of the phonogram is deteriorated) and used as matrices when pressing plates. One matrix without significant deterioration in quality is pressed up to a thousand records. The material for the plates is vinylite – a copolymer of vinyl chloride with 15% vinyl acetate with a small addition of softening and coloring substances.

Features of recording stereo signals

As mentioned above, in the process of developing mechanical sound recording, two methods for modulating a groove were proposed: transverse and deep. . A combination of these two methods is used for two-channel stereo recording. However, to control the movement of the cutter in the horizontal and vertical directions directly by the signals of the left and right channels is impractical due to some differences in the properties of the recorded phonograms and the difficulty of separating the signals in the pickup. therefore, both directions of the displacement of the cutter are rotated by 45 °, and the signals of each channel are recorded by simultaneous movement of the cutter in the horizontal and vertical directions. Then the movement of the needle reproducing the signal of one channel occurs in the direction from the top left – to the right down (and in the opposite direction), of the other channel – from the top right – to the left down (and in the opposite direction). So, in order to obtain a two-channel stereo phonogram, the cutter is informed of movements in two mutually perpendicular directions, both of which are at an angle of 45 ° to the surface of the carrier, as shown in. Since the angle of the walls of the groove is 90 °, one signal is recorded on each wall of the groove: on the outer (closer to the edge of the plate) signal of the right channel, on the inner (facing the center of the plate) signal of the left channel.

The phasing of signals in channels (tracks) is standardized. The pickup output voltages are in phase if the needle feeds up for the left channel and down for the right (or vice versa). This procedure has been adopted for the following reasons:
when the disk rotates, vertical needle movements occur due to warping of the plate and beating of the disk due to an inaccurate nozzle on the axis (the plane of the disk is not perpendicular to the axis). If the signal of one channel was recorded by the transverse recording method, and the other by the deep recording method, then the interference caused by the vertical movements of the needle would be reproduced in only one channel. By shifting the recording directions by 45 °, an out-of-phase and approximately equal amplitude amplitude distribution of the voltage of these noises over both channels is achieved. As a result, the sound of interference is not localized, which reduces its visibility.

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