Soundstream DTR

Soundstream article published

By Simon Barber on November 6, 2012 — 1 min read

The November 2012 issue of the Journal on the Art of Record Production features an article that I wrote entitled ‘Soundstream: The Introduction of Commercial Digital Recording Technologies in the United States’. It can be read in its entirety on the journal’s website.

From the issue editorial:

“Moving on from early analogue recording, Dr. Simon Barber cites an equally revolutionary point in history in ‘Soundstream: The Introduction of Commercial Digital Recording’, taking as his case study the first commercial digital audio recording company in the United States. Navigating the complex political, cultural and economic territory surrounding new digital recording in the 1970s, Barber informs his article with much ethnographic work conducted with Soundstream associates.

Barber highlights the influence of yet another oft-overlooked engineer in Soundstream founder Dr. Tom Stockham. In tracing the company’s trajectory from inception to demise, points of focus include the manufacture of the first DTR (digital tape recorder), the use of a Soundstream 2-track on early 1980s Fleetwood Mac records, as well as the effect of digital recording on the wider popular music industry. Reasons behind industry take-up (including classical recording and ‘cutting edge’ development) as well as issues surrounding resistance (including analogue aesthetics and economics), are critically examined in a study that expands existing historical scholarship.”

Posted in: Academia

Leave a comment

  • My photo of the SS DTR caught my eye. Was quickly shot for Jules ~ 10 yrs ago. . The machine is one of 4 that I ended up with when I purchased the assets of Optical Recording ~ 1988. Hope to get one or 2 of them resurrected this summer.

  • Just to add, that picture is of DTR #13, the last serial number in the official series. 2 series of machines were built. 1-4 were the original design and 5-13 were the final design that had 2 extra digital cards and the ability to control two tape drives. Some cards were interchangeable between the 2 series but not all. Also, tapes made on either series could be played back on the other series.