Klik og se det gamle stereologo i fuld størrelse

By TaxaFinn  -  Danish Version

I am raised in Denmark in the 60´s, when stereo of course was something new and exciting. I guess music means something to almost all young people and when one was lucky to grow up whilst the sound everybody takes for granted today was evolving, it was hard not to get caught by it. And I did! Here´s my version of the birth and childhood of stereo in Denmark:

Stereo is older than you think. In France, the Parisian Telephone Company in 1881 offered its customers stereotransmissions from the Opera over the telephonewires. They simply put 2 microphones on the stage and connected them to two telephonelines. That way wealthy people with two telephonelines could listen to the first form of stereo ever transmitted. But many years was to pass until somebody finally made stereo available for everybody.

The first stereorecords came in the USA around 1958. But it was only for well established artists like Frank Sinatra and such who was allowed into the extremely costly stereostudios and make stereorecords. Even Elvis wasn´t making stereorecords until after 1960. The first records by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in 1962 was in very poor monoversions. The studios didn´t believe in those guys and they didn´t want to spend more money than nescesary on them. Many less known artists was making monorecords as late as 1970.

From the middle of the 60´s to the late 70´s the equipment for reproducing stereosound was getting better and better year by year. Every new model was better than the model before. Better sound and more features every year. The first stereoreceivers had build-in speakers, on the back there were plugs for external speakers, but not many people used them in the early years. People was generally impressed by the “wide” stereosound that came from those little wooden boxes with one fulltone speaker on each side of  the cabinet.

I the beginning the only source for stereo was the turntable, FM broadcasting in stereo first began around 1967 in Denmark. Tests were made already in 1962, but that was with one channel for the TV and the other on the radio. Not much future there! From 1969 two out of the three danish radiostations and its transmitters was stereoequiped and the studios was almost fully stereoequiped. The most popular radiochannel P3 – the one with the musiccharts and the popular music - didn´t get stereo until early 1970.

The first stereoreceivers didn´t have the decoder for FM-stereo. They could only play stereo from a turntable. The first FM-stereoequiped receivers came around 1969. I clearly remember our first stereoreceiver, it was a danish build Arena T2500. It had a little orangecoloured lamp which turned on a soon as the radiostation swtched to stereotransmission.

Some of the first stereoprogrammes here in Denmark was the nighttime radioshow after midnight. Remember, that Denmark only had three radiochannels then and they were all run by Danmarks Radio, the national radiocompany. They pulled the plug at 1 am and put it back in four hours later and said goodmorning. 24 hours radio in Denmark came around 1976. Most radioprogrammes around 1970 from Danmarks Radio was made in the old monostudios, but the midnight program came from the brand new stereostudio, so if you wanted to see that magic orange light turn on an hear music in stereo you had to stay up late then. In the middle of the 70´s all the studios were finally equiped with stereomixers and all programmes came out in stereo and the little orange light was on all the time. The magic was about to fade...........

If you wanted to record your own stereotapes when stereo was young in the 60´s, you had to use the reel-to-reel taperecorders. The “King” of taperecorders here in the 60´s was without doubt Tandberg. The first models in the early 60´s was 2 track only, you couldn´t reverse the tape then. Around 1965 the first reverseable 4 track reel-to-reel models came , where you could turn the tape at the end,  thus doubling the playingtime. There were usually 3 speeds on them, 19 cm/sek, 9,5 cm/sek and the lowest one 4,75 cm/sek which was the same speed later to be used for the Compact Cassette. The higher the speed the better the soundquality.

The Compact Cassette wasn´t introduced (by Philips of course) until 1970. The first models was mono-only, but in 1973 Philips introduced the first HiFi-stereocassettedeck, the 2510.

It wasn´t only the audiomarket which was booming in those years, colour-TV arrived in our lifes at the same time. The clever people at the danish telecompany Post- og Telegrafvæsenet didn´t believe it was possible to transmit colour-TV on the ecsisting 15 years old VHF-net. They wanted to spend 125 million kroners on a new UHF-net for colour-TV transmissions. Therefore Danmarks Radio waited some years before playing with colour. But when they discovered, that the German televison companies started transmitting colour-TV on the old VHF-net in 1966, things suddenly began to happen. A few testtransmissions in 1967 proved them right, and the first colourprogrammes on danish TV was from the Winter Olympics in Grenoble in 1968. The very first danish TV-production to be shown on danish TV was a cartoon called “Cirkeline” in early 1968. The last danish TV-program to get colourized was The News (TV-Avisen), which was in black and white until 1979. I´ll might just ad, that Denmark only had one TV-channel as late as 1988, when TV2 appeared. At the same time cable-TV was introduced and we got a chance to see the world.

Here in Copenhagen we could receive the two Swedish TV-stations TV1 and TV2. They came in colour at the same time as our, but had more colourprogrammes to begin with, so when we got our first Philips colour TV in 1972 I had my attention there a lot of the time.

In april 1970 21.000 danes had bought themselfes a colour-TV. The first models had a 90 degrees tube, which made the TV´s very deep. The first screensizes was 22” and 26”. Sony had their little 13” beauty on the market here, but beside that one, most colour-TV´s sold here then was (of course) from Philips. Right behind them came Bang & Olufsen, Dux and a couple of other brands.

In the early 70´s production and marketing of stereoequipment for home use really accelerated. Especially Philips was picking up speed then. Philips was leading the market in Denmark in those years, with innovative ideas and beautiful design for each new model. The japanese competitors was still only looking in from the sideline. Philips invented the Compact Cassette (and already had the Compact Dics in the oven!) with a modelrange from the smallest 2x 5 watt non-HiFi radio to the beautiful 720 with its 2x30 watts amplifier, with fingertouch buttons and all.

Around 1974 the japs came storming in, and Philips slowly lost the market. They´re own mistake really, because when the japs intruduced their clockworkprecisionbuild quality models made with metal fronts and buttons with real wooden sides, Philips instead introduced some awful plasticboxes with bad technology inside. And since the japs even dumped the prices, Philips had their back to the stereowall. Philips thought their name would sell the things itself, but it didn´t. By the end of the decade, their models became even more plasticstyled and the japanese competitors had won the battle of stereo!

And what was little TaxaFinn listening to on his stereo in those days? It started in the mid 60´s (I´m from 1959) with stereotapes on my fathers Tandberg 64X. He had recordings of songs with Elvis, Roy Orbison, Sandy Posey, Nany Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood, Tom Jones, Rick Nelson the less konown The Sons Of The Pioneers. I especially enjoyed the stereo through my headphones, connected to our Arena T1900 receiver with build-in speakers, since we didn´t have separated speakers on the wall then.

When I started buying my own records in around 1970, it began with The Les Humpries Singers evolving to glamrock with The Sweet, Slade and lovely (then!) Suzy Quatro. Soon both Deep Purple, Status Quo, Nazareth, Sailor, Paul McCartney and Elton John entered my scene.

In the same period, the japs began playing with quadrofonic sound, what we nowadays know as surround sound. Quadrofonic sound came in 2 systems, they less exspensive SQ (Stereo Quadro) and the “real” quadrofonic system called CD4, which had all 4 channels separated from the source to the speakers. They introduced some extremely big and expensive receivers with 4 discrete amplifiers and Philips answered back with their Ambiofonic Sound or Stereo 4, which was phasechanged stereo for the rear speakers and only used 2 amplifiers. A few recordcompanies released a few hundred quadrofonic records and quadrofonic a FM-radiosystem was planned but never made. SQ-records could be played on an ordinary stereoturntable with a quadrofonic receiver, CD4 needed special turntables with real CD4-pickups. Almost all records with quadrofonic sound was SQ-record, only a few titles came out in CD4. Second hand quadrofonic records from those days are of course quite rare and expensive today. Both systems eventually flopped totally within a few years.

And then the 80´s suddenly appeared around the corner, and the dull and boring stereoworld we live in now appeared in the horizon.....

Her er Tandberg store 64X spolebåndoptager
DR´s første og iøvrigt nuværende farve-testbillede fra 1970
Tandberg farve-TV fra omkring 1970
En af Philips´ første stereokassettebåndoptagere, model 2400
Technics 8080 forstærker/tuner-sættet fra 1977