Date: Wed, 2 Nov 1994 03:36:45 CST From: "Donald M. Lance" Subject: Re: Relics Joan L-W's comments about CDs etc. reminded me of an interchange I had at Sears while looking at cable-ready VCRs. One model was labeled "hi-fi" and I wondered what that meant in this (commercial) context. In this type of audio machinery the term refers to "surround sound" that feeds 4 speakers if you have them. I happened to hear the very first stereo broadcast -- in early 1953, when the FM station in Woburn and an AM station in Boston simulcast the two channels of stereo recordings. Such fun stuff as a train running through the room, or through the wall between two rooms in the place where I was. At that time the term 'high fidelity' was used for monaural recordings that were produced by technology that produced a "flat curve," that is, the same relative loudness for frequencies from 20 to 20,000 Hz. When stereo recordings (and phonographs) came in a few years later, the term 'hi-fi' was popularly applied to stereo recordings (and equipment), in contrast to monaural. London Records were proud of their new technology, which they called 'ffrr' for "full frequency-range response." Placement of microphones in stereo recording added complications to how 'ffrr' might be achieved. At any rate, London's ffrr hi-fi recordings were consiered "lo-fi" within a couple of years after they were produced. And now we have 'hi-fi' taking on another shift. An irony was that many of the stereo recordings (and equipment) were in fact lo-fi, but the general public did not understand enough about the technology to make a distinction between lo-fi hi-fi stuff and hi-fi mono (classical) recordings. This all happened as Elvis was loosening up his pelvis in preparation for the now- famous assault on American culture. I don't know why I ran on and on. DMLance