phonograph

/foh"neuh graf', -grahf'/, n.
any sound-reproducing machine using records in the form of cylinders or discs.
[1825-35 in sense "phonogram"; 1877 for the "talking phonograph" invented by T. A. Edison; PHONO- + -GRAPH]

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Instrument for reproducing sounds.

A phonograph record stores a copy of sound waves as a series of undulations in a wavy groove inscribed on its rotating surface by the recording stylus. When the record is played back, another stylus (needle) responds to the undulations, and its motions are then reconverted into sound. Its invention is generally credited to Thomas Alva Edison (1877). Stereophonic systems, with two separate channels of information in a single groove, became a commercial reality in 1958. All modern phonograph systems had certain components in common: a turntable that rotated the record; a stylus that tracked a groove in the record; a pickup that converted the mechanical movements of the stylus into electrical impulses; an amplifier that intensified these electrical impulses; and a loudspeaker that converted the amplified signals back into sound. Phonographs and records were the chief means of reproducing recorded sound at home until the 1980s, when they were largely replaced by recorded cassettes (see tape recorder) and compact discs.

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also called  record player 
 instrument for reproducing sounds by means of the vibration of a stylus, or needle, following a groove on a rotating disc. A phonograph disc, or record, stores a replica of sound waves as a series of undulations in a sinuous groove inscribed on its rotating surface by the stylus. When the record is played back, another stylus responds to the undulations, and its motions are then reconverted into sound.

 Though experimental mechanisms of this type appeared as early as 1857, the invention of the phonograph is generally credited to the American inventor Thomas Edison (Edison, Thomas Alva) (1877). His first recordings were indentations embossed into a sheet of tinfoil by a vibrating stylus; the tinfoil was wrapped around a cylinder that was rotated as the sounds were being recorded. Improvements in Edison's process followed, notable among which were Emil Berliner (Berliner, Emil)'s innovation in 1887 of tracing sound grooves in a spiral on a flat disc rather than in a helix on a cylinder. A negative was made from the flat master disc, and the negative then used as a mold for making many copies that reproduced the original master disc. These “records,” as they came to be known, could be played on a reproducing machine Berliner named a Gramophone.

      Improved methods of molding disc records followed in the early 20th century, and by 1915 the 78-rpm (revolutions-per-minute) record, with a playing time of about 4 1/2 minutes per side, had become standard. In the early 1920s electric loudspeakers were adopted to amplify the volume of reproduced sound. In 1948 Columbia Records introduced the long-playing (LP) record, which, with a rotational speed of 33.3 rpm and the use of very fine grooves, could yield up to 30 minutes of playing time per side. Shortly afterward RCA Corporation introduced the 45-rpm disc, which could play for up to 8 minutes per side. These LP's and “singles” supplanted 78s in the 1950s, and stereophonic (or “stereo”) systems, with two separate channels of information in a single groove, became a commercial reality in 1958. Stereo phonographs capable of the undistorted reproduction of sound became one component of what is known as a high-fidelity sound system.

      All modern phonograph systems had certain components in common: a turntable that rotated the record; a stylus that tracked a groove in the record; a pickup that converted the mechanical movements of the stylus into electrical impulses; an amplifier that intensified these electrical impulses; and a loudspeaker that converted the amplified signals back into sound.

      Phonographs and records were the chief means of reproducing recorded sound at home until the 1980s, when they were largely supplanted by recorded cassettes and compact discs. See also sound recording.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Phonograph — (griech., Laut , Klangschreiber), von Edison 1877 erfundener Apparat, der die menschliche Sprache sowie Töne und Laute jeder Art auszeichnet und nach Belieben wieder zu Gehör bringt. Fig. 1. Phonograph. Das Prinzip des Apparats ist aus Fig. 1 und …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Phonograph — Pho no*graph, n. [Phono + graph.] 1. A character or symbol used to represent a sound, esp. one used in phonography. [1913 Webster] 2. (Physics) An instrument for the mechanical registration and reproduction of audible sounds, as articulate speech …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Phonograph — Phonograph. Der von Edison 1878 erfundene Phonograph ist aus dem Phonautograph (s.d.) hervorgegangen. Er unterscheidet sich dadurch von diesem, daß er nicht zur Uebertragung der Schallwellen in eine sichtbare, die Wellenformen charakterisierende… …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • phonograph — 1835, character representing a sound, lit. writer of sounds, from Gk. phono sound + graphos writing, writer. Phonographic (1840) originally was in ref. to shorthand; meaning of an instrument that produces sounds from records (talking phonograph,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Phonograph — Phonogrāph (grch.), ein von Edison 1877 erfundener akustischer Apparat, Laute zu fixieren und beliebig wiederzugeben; eine durch die Schallwellen in Schwingungen versetzte dünne Membran macht mittels eines Stichels Eindrücke auf eine rotierende… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • phonograph — is now disused in BrE as a term for a type of gramophone, but is still used in AmE for any type of gramophone or record player (before the development of the compact disc) …   Modern English usage

  • phonograph — ► NOUN 1) Brit. an early form of gramophone. 2) N. Amer. a record player. DERIVATIVES phonographic adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • phonograph — ☆ phonograph [fō′nə graf΄] n. [ PHONO + GRAPH ] a device for reproducing sound that has been mechanically transcribed in a spiral groove on a circular disk or cylinder: a stylus following the groove in the revolving disk or cylinder transmits… …   English World dictionary

  • Phonograph — Turntable redirects here. For other uses, see Turntable (disambiguation). Edison cylinder phonograph ca. 1899 …   Wikipedia

  • Phonograph — Thomas Alva Edison mit seinem leicht verbesserten Zinnfolien Phonographen von 1878 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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