Sound engineers have digitally restored some of the earliest recordings of stereo sound by the technology's inventor, Alan Blumlein. Blumlein, a research engineer at EMI, had lodged a patent for "binaural" sound in 1931 and made several experimental recordings to see if they could sell it to the fledgling film and audio industry. In 1934, EMI decided that nobody really needed surround sound and shelved all projects related to it. File that under late great historical oopses.
By the time Blumlein's patents were put to use—nearly twenty five years later— the prolific inventor had already passed away. In 1942, while testing radar technology, Blumein's plane crashed in Wales and killed everyone on board. He left behind a legacy of 128 different patents, one for every six weeks of his working life.
The person in charge of restoring Blumlein's recordings, sound engineer Roger Beardsley, called the transfers "incredibly historic." He used digital remastering to remove crackles and hisses from 78 original pressings, allowing the recordings to sound the way they were originally meant to. Check out the BBC for a fun little video of Blumlein and colleagues walking through a room counting to demonstrate the technology. [BBC]