Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Our first tape recorder

Derek Tait’s recent post about the song/movie, Born Free, reminds me of our first tape recorder.

My recollections are a bit hazy, but I think it was my eldest brother Chun Chew (Zen) who bought it second-hand from a colleague. At that time, he was working at the Singapore Harbour Board – predecessor of the Port of Singapore Authority, PSA. The year was probably around 1967 or 68.

The tape recorder was a reel-to-reel type. You have to mount the full reel on the left sprocket, thread the tape over the RP head (record-playback head), and then ‘connect’ it to the empty reel on the right side. I think it came with two covers which functioned as the speakers. You can also record sounds onto a blank tape, but you need to connect a microphone to do that. I believe the brand was Sony. It looked the one in this Creative Commons photo by Flickr.com member Erik Hartberg.

Tandberg Reel to Reel


The friend who sold my brother this tape recorded gave us a pre-recorded tape with several Matt Monro hits. We listened to them over and over again. Today, 4 decades later, I can still remember several of the song titles (and even some of the lines) like Somewhere, From Russia with Love, Softly as I Leave you, Portrait of My Love, Yesterday, Unchained Melody, Exodus; and this one which is my favourite.




Related post by Andy Young
here.

10 comments:

Andy Young* said...

Hi Chun See,

It was fun wasn't it playing with the tape-recorder? It was such a thrill to hear my own voice the first time.

I posted my experience on Monday, November 02, 2009 when I wrote about the TELEFUNKEN Magnetophon German Tape Recorder.
Cheers.

Brian and Tess said...

Yes I had a reel to reel as well in spore in the early 60s - it was a Japanese copy of a Phillips I think I was told. It was the only way to record music off the radio - you had to put the small microphone in front of the radio speaker and then hope that the DJ would not interrupt the song, no noisy cars would go by or that anyone would come into the room and speak! It was hard work building up a playlist in those days.

Lam Chun See said...

".... hope that no noisy cars would go by ..."

In our case; that the dogs won't start barking.

zen said...

SHB was renamed to PSA in 1964. I bought the sony tape-recorder from my colleague for less than a hundred dollars. The sound system was really good and everyone found great pleasure listening to it.

PChew said...

In the 50s my uncle had a reel to reel tape recorder. He used it for illegal purposes - horse racing bets and 4Ds. Later he brought it to my house. I recorded pop songs and played it through a loud speaker for everyone to hear. I was very proud of the gadget for not everyone could afford one then.

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