His Master’s Vintage Voice: Experiments in Instantaneous Disc-Recording

25 February 2020

His Master’s Vintage Voice: Experiments in Instantaneous Disc-Recording

HMV 2300H Advertising c.1948

Workshop & Demonstration with Sean Davies & Aleks Kolkowski (U.K.)

A hands-on workshop and demonstration of direct-to-disc recording on lacquer and vinyl discs, using C²DH’s newly restored disc-recording apparatus from 1948 – the HMV 2300H. The sessions will be led by Sean Davies, an internationally renowned audio engineer and a major authority on disc-cutting lathes. Participants will have an opportunity to cut their own one-of-a-kind records, supervised by a legendary figure in the field of disc-recording. In the afternoon session, open to the public, Sean Davies and Aleks Kolkowski will present an illustrated talk on the history of recording on disc from the acoustic era to the analogue electronic era, and give a demonstration of instantaneous recording on disc of live speech and music. The event will end with a question and answer session where members of the audience will have the opportunity to pose questions to Sean Davies about historical recording techniques and his vast experience working as a sound engineer in the recording industry. A short break will be followed  by experimental testing of the HMV 2300H disc-recording equipment, also open to the public.


Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Maison des Sciences humaines

9:30 – 12:30: Media Lab

Hands-on workshop for invited staff, students, technicians, audio archivists and recording industry professionals (see last page for details on how to register).

14:30 – 16:00: DH Lab

Presentation of historical background to recording on disc and demonstrations of
instantaneous disc-recording, open to all.


About the organisers

Known as the “master of the cutting-lathe” and “analog legend”, Sean Davies began his long career in 1958 as an audio engineer with artists such as the Rolling Stones, Yes, King Crimson and the London Philharmonic Orchestra among his many credits. He became a freelance sound engineer and audio consultant specialising in studio design and disc-cutting. In recent years, following the revival in the production of vinyl records, he has become sought-after internationally as the leading expert in the maintenance and restoration of disc-cutting equipment. Sean is currently writing a technical history of sound recording. https://www.discogs.com/artist/872736-Sean-Davies

Aleksander Kolkowski is a composer and post-doctoral researcher for the project Doing Experimental Media Archaeology (DEMA) at C²DH, University of Luxembourg. His research interests include the early history of sound recording and he has a large working collection of cylinder phonographs and vintage disc-recording lathes that are used in his creative projects, workshops and demonstrtations. http://journal.sciencemuseum.ac.uk/browse/issue- 03/the-art-and-science-of-acoustic-recording/


How to participate

Those wishing to participate in the morning hands-on session in the Media Lab, please send an email to: aleksander.kolkowski@uni.lu with “Disc-Recording Workshop” in the subject field no later than 20th February. Places are strictly limited and participants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.

Those attending the workshop are be encouraged to bring something to record, i.e. an instrument to play, song to sing, text to read or a sound file, preferably on a USB stick.


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