An Investigation into Cook's Technique and
the Possibility to construct a DIY Binaural Tonearm

Emory Cook pictured while cutting a Binaural Record




At The Audio Fair of 1951, engineer and inventor Emory Cook demonstrated the extremely realistic sound of trains, this to the amazement of audiophiles and technicians alike. The recording was in fact the first version of the later Rail Dynamics and the many other real sound recordings Emory Cook made. The inventor would soon be surprising the audio world again with realistic sound, but now with his new invention, the Binaural LP Record.

In 1952, various magazines gave Emory Cook a platform to introduce and explain his idea of the binaural recording system that he and his technicians were working on. High Fidelity Magazine published an article written by Cook himself in which he talked about the aural restrictions of the monaural recording and the advantages of stereophonic sound, and of course about the duplex system he had devised.

It was too early, he wrote, to make a stereophonic vinyl LP along the 45/45 degree cutting system that was invented by Alan Blumlein and patented by EMI already in 1933. And if he wanted to use that system, a high performance cutter head and a cartridge should be manufactured first. Given the actual state of the art in the early nineteen fifties, such a system would result in a very low sound quality because of the restricted frequency range feasable at the time, Emory Cook said.

He therefor concluded that the best quality can be achieved if each channel has its own groove. Options like playing the two sides of a record simultaneously, or two grooves interleaving, were too complicated to realize and will never work for the full one hundred percent he said. That is why he opted for a record that had two bands with engraved sound. One for the left channel and one for the right channel.



For the cutting of the lacquer of a binaural record Emory Cook used a Scully lathe which was a quality machine at the time, and mounted two cutter heads in line. They formed an entity. No independent movement was possible. The cutter diamonds were spaced 1 11/16 of an inch and remained so at all instances. No mechanical corrections were made. That was a clever idea, because now the playback could give maximum results if it would take place in the same and exact way the lacquer was cut. There would be minimal mechanical error.

Jürg Jecklin and his Scheibenmikrofon

The term binaural is also used for the recording using an artificial head (dummy head) with two microphones located at the position of the ears or even in the ear cavity. The first "dummy head" or "Kunstkopf" was used in 1933. Later the head was modified by Jürg Jecklin to the famous Jecklin disc (Scheibenmikrofon) that physically and acoustically separates the two microphones, the measure of which depends on the size of the disc, its thickness, and the material the disc is made of. It is known that Erato used an artificial (dummy) head when recording organist Marie-Claire Alain.
The image at right is taken from DHFI Platte Nr. 6 / LP No. 6 of Deutsches High-Fidelity Institut, German High Fidelity Institute.



Livingston binaural duplex tonearm.Livingston Electronic Corporation from New Jersey designed the tonearm for the playback of Cook's Binaural Record. It was a stylish design. The shapes of the cartridge holders (short arms) differed, but certainly they were the same in mass. Lateron a second model was introduced with identical (mirrored) cartridge holders with the same mass. This arm made the set-up and fine tuning much easier. Although a Livingston arm may have the appearance of being rather heavy, only the mass of the two short arms with the (identical) cartridges should be considered. The main arm does not add its weight to the tracking and fundamental resonance of the cartridge holders.



The arm to wich the cartridge holders are connected, can be adjusted at the pivot (arm base) in height all right. The degree of inclination can be set by turning a screw. The drawing represents the principle of how it functions. The cartridge holder has limited freedom, the limit set by two stops (the two black strips at the end of the cartridge holder). In a later version the actual arm has a large nut which prevents the cartridge from "falling down".

In a reproducing system for COOK Binaural discs at least one of the pick up arms should have some freedom to move vertically in order to overcome warps.

In his November 1952 article, Emory Cook explains the most important mechanical aspects of the tonearm with two cartridges. Logically the needle tips should be spaced at the precise distance of 1 11/16 inch. No variation is allowed. Furthermore each cartridge should have its own tonearm or arm section (wand) and the alignment has to be precise.

There is practically no record that is completely flat. If one cartridge encounters the slightest warp, it should never be allowed to lift the other cartridge out of the groove, not even for one micrometer. While the distance between the cartridges should remain the same at all times, there should be enough play to allow the arm sections to move vertically and independently.



The Livingston arms, and the binaural recordings had to be tracked by "low mass cartridges" as could be read on the label of Carlo Montoya's Binaural disc. It says that "Failure to track the abrupt impulses will ruin the record."
Livingston Binaural tonearm - second modelIn the early nineteenfifties leading manufacturers of high fidelity cartridges were Pickering, Fairchild, and General Electric. The Pickering and the Fairchild cartridges were considered as being of the low mass type, if compared to the many cartridges mounted in heavy arms. That category of cartridges certainly had sturdy needle tips and were made by General Electric, Tannoy, Decca and Ortofon. Only much later the cantilevers of these cartrdges became more compliant.

In 1952 Emory Cook said that the staff at Cook Laboratories used several slightly modified Pickering cartridges. On inspection it became clear that the short arm wands (cartridge holders/headshells) of the Livingston binaural tonearm have a low mass and therefor cartridges with a relatively high compliance are needed. Above at right the second model of the Livingston arm is shown.

The Cook Binaural system was for the adventurous record collector and hifi enthousiast. To play back the records today in an authentic set up, one would need such cartridges and a Livingston tonearm. But modern cartridges will do of course. And there are possibly more options as far as arms are concerned.



COOK BN/mn preamplifier for the reproduction of COOK Binaural records, for binaural radio broadcasts and for binaural tape.

The Cook BN/mn (Binaural / monaural) preamplifier is designed in such a way that both binaural and monaural records can be played. One channel of the amp is a regular channel for reproduction of any monaural disc cut according to the NAB standard or other characteristics used by record companies. The other channel of this pre-amplifier has no such correction. The binaural discs are cut that way. At left on the front is a selector for RADIO OR TAPE and DISC. There are knobs for BASS and TREBLE adjustment, for GAIN (including on/off switch), and FOCUS (which we call nowadays BALANCE). At the top at right is the selector to choose between BN (Binaural) or NORM (Normal).

For the reproduction of the binaural records special equipment is needed, or at least a pre-amplifier with independent tone controls for the left and right channel, and possibly it should have frequency related turnover switches.
In High Fidelity of November-December 1953, the Cook Binaural Preamplifier was reviewed.
Actually it was more a description of how the Cook Binaural pre-amplifier works.

I quote one important passage in editor Charles Fowler's review:

"This preamplifier control unit is the product of Emory Cook, whose binaural disk recording system is currently, as far as we know, the only one in use. As readers know, Cook records have left-ear sound in a band of grooves at the outside edge of the disk. Right-ear sound is recorded in an inside track. To play back these records, two cartridges - spaced apart with great precision - are required, also two preamplifiers (or BN unit such as the one under discussion), two amplifiers, and two speakers. The left-ear or outside track is recorded with a 500 cycle turnover and with NAB pre-emphasis. The right-ear or inside track is recorded with the same 500-cycle but without pre-emphasis."

Binaural Arm and Twin-Channel amplifier by Licingston Electronic Corporation - Equipment for early stereo records - 1953

Livingston Electronic Corporation, manufacturers of Binaural Arm and Twin-Channel Amplifier.
Advertisement taken from High Fidelity Magazine of September-October, 1953. Edited by R.A.B.

As the advertisment above shows, it was Livingston Electronic Corporation who marketed the first complete stereophonic twin-amplifier. Is it safe to say that Livingston was the first company to design the "integrated stereo-amplifier"? The reason for manufacturing the amplifier was that Livingston also had an interest in the reproduction because the company went into the business of record producing as well as the ad shows cover and label of the Livingston release of the Barbara Carroll Trio.

Livingston Electronic Corporation Binaural Twin-Channel Integrated Amplifier and large Power Supply.

There are 6 knobs and switches on the Amplifier. The top left knob is for Monaural A/B, Binaural A/B. Bottom left is a dual function knob for Right/Left and Low Tone (Bass). Center top is the Power Switch combined with Balance. Center bottom is Gain. Top Right is Input (Tape, Tuner, Phono). The knob at bottom right is for Right/Left combined with High Tone (Treble).

This is of course a tube amplifier. The back of it shows inputs for Tape, Tuner and Phono. It needs a Power Supply with various voltages.



The inards show the hardwired 'circuits' as was the custom at the time.

Images supplied by Bryan Barger who bought these items. (April, 2020).




With two microphones spaced 10 feet apart Emory Cook makes a binaural recording of the Long Island Sound
Leopold Stokowski praises the Binaural Magnecorder

The Livingston ad states: "After waiting patiently for someone else to do it, Livingston now releases a complete stereophonic twin-channel amplifier designed specifically to take full advantage of the many 3-D sound sources currently available. Consisting of two complete 10 Watt hi-fi channels from cartridge to loudspeaker, 3 twin inputs have been provided for disc, tape, and binaural broadcast. Separate tone-controls for highs and lows on both channels mean that exciting effects can be obtained, even with a conventional monaural program source."

Cook recorded his binaural sound with only two microphones, spaced 10 feet apart. At left part of the edited image of the cover of High Fidelity Magazine, issue October, 1954, showing the man with the Magnacord Binaural Magnecorder. The technically oriented and popular conductor Leopold Stokowski spoke out in favor of the Magnecorder equipment.



In an article (again in High Fidelity Magazine from October, 1954) Cook said:


"I have a theory that most recording engineers are frustrated musicians. They want to put themselves into the records they make, from behind a forest of microphones and a 17-channel mixer, to 'create' something they can identify later, with pride, and say This is me!' "

Food for thought for the producers and engineers of today's recordings.

Loudspeakers should be spaced apart the same way Emory Cook made  the recordings.

Cook used the typical microphone set up for the Road Recordings as well as for the performances of the new Orchestral Society of Boston. He advised to playback the records by placing the speakers also 10 feet apart. That would give an authentic result. And there should be a rug on the floor. And the wall opposite the speakers should have sound-absorbing curtains or drapes.

The binaural system as developped by Cook Laboratories and Livingston Electronic Corporation was well received by the reviewers of High Fidelity Magazine, but probably not much liked by the average record collector as it meant buying specific components to add to their already expensive quality hifi sets.

Willis Page conducts the new Orchestral Society of Boston.COOK 1067 has Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, performed by the New Orchestral Society of Boston conducted by Willis Page.
Reviewer C.G. Burke wrote in High Fidelity: 'Heard through a well-adjusted binaural apparatus, the demanding tumult of the Fifth Symphony surges from all directions in a reality of irresistable power that makes one exult and say, "This is it, at last".'

Cook Binaural 2xLP1060 Brahms First Symphony with Willis Page conducting the New Orchestral Society of Boston Willis Page conducting the New Orchestral Society of Boston can also be heard in the First Symphony of Brahms pressed on COOK 1060, a 2 LP set.
Again G.C. Burke says: '...the suffusion of binaural grandness may make the binaural version seem like a great musical happening, something that the standard disk of this performance cannot do.' At right the cover of COOK 1060 designed by
Design House Curt John Wittt.

Pianist Samuel Sorin plays a recital of works by Chopin, Granados, Liszt, and Scriabin on COOK 1038.
Reviewer Ray Ericson writes: 'In its customary way, Cook has reproduced with 100% realism the sound of a piano. I am tempted to say that a piano never sounds this good in concert; it is true that concert performances on the piano are rarely heard under such advantageous circumstances, in this ideal state of maximum resonance without blur.'

In Great Britain Cook's Sound of the Times recordings were later released on the Nixa label. Example is the recording of the New Orchestral Society of Boston conducted by Willis Page with popular works by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (Dance of the Baffoons), Johann Strauss (Emperor Waltz), Camille Saint-Saëns (Dance Macabre), and Johannes Brahms (Hungarian Dance No. 6). Soloist is violinist Alfred Krips. Nixa SLPY 802.

The recording of a rather unknown work is issued on COOK 1094, The Seven Last Words (Les Sept Paroles du Christ) written by Belgian composer Théodore Dubois, also received a positive review in High Fidelity magazine.

THE SEVEN LAST WORDS of Jesus Christ, composition by Théodore Dubois, erformed under the direction of Willis Page on 2xLP Cook Binaural.What the reviews also indicate is that there is a difference in sound coming from a vinyl disc if compared to the reproduction with tape as sound carrier.

The sound of Barbara Carroll's piano on Livingston 1081 BN is very well captured by the technicians of Livingston. Could be that the recording was made in cooperation with Emory Cook, or just by Emory Cook alone if hired by Livingston. Although the COOK label was first mentioned in September 1954 in Schwann Long Playing Record Catalog, the Livingston disc with Carroll is not mentioned in the jazz section, nor in the 1953 and later editions. The Livingston label does not appear in Schwann's list of Record Companies before the fall of 1954, nor does it appear in earlier Jazz 'n Pops catalogs.

Advertisement for Livingston duplex arm, Bozak loudspeakers systems, and Cook Laboratories promoting  the binaural sound reproduction.

Bozak's unique binaural-monaural loudspeaker enclosure.

When you devise a new recording format it is of the utmost importance to get the support of manufacturers who will produce the equipment for playback if your company is not able to do that. The above advertisement is from High Fidelity Magazine, January-February 1953 edition. It shows the importance of the cooperation of hardware manufacturers. In this case Livingston and Bozak. Together with Cook Laboratories they formed what one could call a "trinaural" cooperation.

Open up the "Hole in the Wall". That was the heading of the Bozak advertisement promoting the new binaural format. The ad shows their specially designed multi-way loudspeaker system for the reproduction of the two channels. The units were mounted in one single enclosure. That was obviously done to give the acquisition of a binaural loudspeaker system a high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). But it was also an important aspect for any record collector. This speaker would mean that the listener did not have to "mess up" his "finest audio outfit". The speaker could be switched to mono reproduction if desired. The ad says that adjustable directors (the two side panels) control the sound placement to enhance the acoustical qualities of any room.

In order to be able to play the binaural discs without the use of the Livingston tonearm, a special clip-on device was available for $ 5.95. It could 'easily' be connected to the head of other tonearms. Cook Laboratories advertised for this CLIP-ON showing the head of a Garrard tonearm.


One of the recordings I recently acquired is of Symphony No. 1 of Johannes Brahms performed by the New Orchestral Society of Boston under conductor Willis Page, released in september 1954 on COOK 1060 (2 LP set). The symphony has an impressive beginning as many of you know. But it is also a long symphony. The first movement takes about 14 minutes.

The second movement has a length of about 10 minutes. The 3d movement is rather short, about 5 to 6 minutes. And the last movement has a length of 18 minutes. It all depends who is the conductor. The total for these movements is 48 minutes.

This means that the symphony needs 2 discs. Interesting to see how Emory Cook divided this lengthy work on these 2 LP's. The first movement can be accomodated on Side One. The total is 28 minutes plus you do need space for the separation of the bands and for the lead-in and lead-out grooves. One side can hold 30 minutes of music, this means that Side One is used up to the maximum. The second movement and third movement do not present problems. They are short. But the last movement of the symphony is 18 minutes long and that is too much for one Side. Therefor the beginning of the last movement starts in the same band, right after the third movement on Part 3; Cook likes to indicate Parts instead of Sides.

Livingston also entered the binaural recording business and printed the following text on the back of the covers:


Ten inch COOK Sounds of Our Times LP
Livingston BINAURAL recording of the Barbarra Carroll Trio.
12 Inch binaural recordings were also issued in mono on 10 inch discs. Only one band did suffice for Sounds Of Our Times Series. Above are Pacific 231 (Honegger) and Danse (Debussy). The binaural disc was released in October 1954. Emory Cook started recording sounds in the open. They were released on a different label named Road Recordings. Above is the label of record 5011 "Voice of the Sea". Other labels started recording in the new format. Atlantic joined in with Wilbur de Paris. And Livingston recorded The Barbara Carroll Trio (Joe Shulman Bass, Billy Exiner Drums) with good realism on 1081-BN, already in 1953.
Carlos Montoya plays Flamenco for Cook Laboratories in Stamfor Connecticut
Cook Laboratories Binaural Record red label.
Vector Stereo and Microfusion COOK STEREO LABEL
The Carlos Montoya disc had a different style of label. The red label of THE PIPE ORGAN recording. The binaural recordings were later issued in the 45/45 stereo groove format and labeled 'microfusion'


Click here for a Sound Clip of jazz pianist Barbara Carroll and her trio playing 'The Gentleman Is A Dope' from Livingston Binaural LP BN 1081 from 1953.



Each cartridge has to mimic the diamond of the cutter head at the time the lacquer was engraved. Not "just about right", but "exactly and precisely". Not only the 1 11/16 inch distance between the needle tips has to be adjusted and fixed so no deviation is possible during the playing of the record. That is the first step to good reproduction. Furthermore there should be no time difference between the signals. The needle tips of the cartridges should be in the same spots when the cutting of the record was started. No cartridge is allowed to track the groove in advance of the other. Nor should a cartridge be allowed to lag behind. Even if it were a micrometer.

Livingston second tonearm.on
Livingston Tonearm cartridge carrier adjustments.Livingston tonearm allows lateral and longitudal  adjustments of the cartridge holders.

In order to achieve the perfect set up, one arm wand of the Livingston tonearm can be set to reach the required distance of 1 11/16 inch by turning a screw which is connected to a small disc that is out of center. The plate on which the cartridge is mounted, can only pivot.
The mounting plate in the other cartridge holder can slide forward and backwards. This makes it possible to adjust the alignment until there is no difference in time.
To help the audiophile, Emory Cook produced a ten inch binaural disc containing the sound of a ticking clock. This disc makes it possible to adjust the cartridges in the two horizontal planes by ear. Once the ticking is without time delay, the adjustment is right.


Well, today you do not need a Livingston tone arm to enjoy Emory Cook's binaural recording process. Just make a recording of the seperate left and right track using Audacity, AVS, or Audition, or any other recording-editing program.

I used Audacity to begin with. First I recorded the left (outside) track, gave it a name and saved it. The outside track contains predominantly the piano. I did not close the file but left it open. Then I recorded the right channel (inner band of the LP) which contains base and drums. I did not save it and left it open.
Now I had two 2-track recordings. One of the left channel that had been saved as a wav file, and one of the right channel which was not saved. I did not apply corrections in either track, because this will make synchronising difficult if not impossible.

The next step was to align these tracks so that there was no time delay between the first recording and the second recording, even if each recording was represented by two tracks. This alignment is done by deleting a few milliseconds bit by bit in one of the channels.

The right channel on the Barbara Carroll disc (as on all binaural discs) needs some high frequency filtering or attenuation. I choose a low pass filter setting (in Audacity), and considered the outcome usable after checking by playbacking the two recordings simultanuously. Simultanious playback automatically happens in Audacity.

Now that the two tracks are in sync, balance and level of each channel can be done by sliding the left-right faders and the faders for level. So the left track was panned more to the left and the fader for base and drums was set more to the right. Adjusting level and balance will allow you to choose the best stereo presentation. That is if your loudspeakers are of a certain quality and if they are positioned at identical distances from your pc screen. In the case of the Barbara Carroll disc I found that the left channel needed a bit of amplification.

After meticulously aligning the tracks they are ready to be recorded together. The two double-track recordings can be saved as one two-channel wav file. Now this file can be edited if you want to.

Audacity does not have the option to convert to mp3. So the conversion - if you need it - should be done in AVS, Audition, or a similar program. If you are not satisfied you can reload the saved left channel and record the right channel anew and start the procedure from scratch.

You can hear the result of my exercise by clicking on the link below. It is inclusive of distortion which is partly due to the old, used (abused) recording. I am aware of the fact that a better alignment is necesssary to eliminate the phase problem. This result however, illustrates how difficult the alignment of a Livingston Binaural tonearm was in the 1950s and is today. Nevertheless I must say that results differ depending on the player you use. Creative Labs is more precise and gives a better attaque. Real Player has a better mid band and gives a better stereo rendition. The AVS audio editor gives a less precise and less tangible sound, but is great for converting the file from wav to mp3.



Michael Kaplan writes to me on November 9, 2015, that the very first commercial binaural recording was made in September, 1952, of Wilbur DeParis. The record was already released in November of 1952 titled Rampart Street Ramblers. They were in a hurry to launch the disk right in time for the holiday season to score the best impact.

The photo on the rear of the album shows that two microphones were employed, spaced about 25 cm apart and sitting atop a tripod. He says that when "listening to the recording issued on a tape around 1955, it is clear that some microphone experimentation was made, and I suspect that the standard distance of 10 feet was also used on some of the tracks".

Scans of Atlantic Binaural BIN 1208 and tape AT 7-5 BN submitted on November 10 and 11, 2015, by Michael Kaplan.

A Stereophonic Recording of The Atlantic Tape Library duplicated and distributed exclusively by Livingston Electronic Corporation. AT 7-5 BN. 7.5 IPS Stereophonic.


Initially I did not have a Livingston arm. So I started to deduct the measurements from the advertisement of the double-header, and from the data published in the articles written by Emory Cook. By scanning and enlarging the advertisement the picture with the top view of an arm and record on a platter, I came up with a template for constructing a DIY arm for binaural reproduction. As for material I intended to use a sandwich of balsa wood and two 0.5 mm thick aluminum sheets glued to both surfaces. The balsa is 10 mm thick. So the total is 11 mm. My initial idea was to construct a binaural arm akin to the earliest model made by Livingston. A standard tonearm can also be used, but then if an original clip-on device is available or is constructed and attached to the headshell as the advertisment shows.

Cook Clip-on advertisment

To begin with I made an enlargement of the arm by multiplying the distance between the two individual arms (wands) with a factor in order to arrive at the 1 11/16 inch. The result seemed to be satisfactory, but the final measurements were not correct.

After I received my Livingston tonearm, I have measured the arm and made a drawing.
You can download this drawing and print it out. It may help you, or give you an idea if you want to construct a binaural tonearm.

When discussing the technique of the Cook Binaural system with a technically apt friend, we decided that the Rabco SL-8 / 8-E tangential tonearm would be the best arm to playback the Binaural discs made by Cook, Atlantic and Livingston. That is, if the Rabco could accomodate an extra wand (cartridge holder).
When using the Rabco tangential arm, or any standard arm, it suffice that only the added cartridge needs the freedom to move vertically and thus warps do not pose a problem. But the extra wand (cartridge holder) should not increase the arm mass of the original cartridge holder too much.

Rabco Tonearm can probably be adapted for the playing of COOK's Binaural Vinyl LP records.

This is just an idea that is not yet realized but it can be the point of departure for a construction using a Rabco SL8 tangential tonearm.
The small screw of the connector has to be taken out.

Another possibility is to construct the basic tonearm and add two short arms (segments) of aluminum tube and give these the connection for the standad SME headshell. Two SME type armtube-sockets are necessary. They can be taken off the tonearms of second hand 1970s turntables which are no longer fit for use. Check your local flee market and thrift stores. These represent the cheapest option as opposed to the incredibly high priced SME-like items from any eBay seller.
Most 4-pin SME type connectors with a nut can be mounted in a 10 mm diameter aluminum tube of a few inches length. This will make it possible to easily exchange cartridges. The mass of the two individual arm wands has to be optimized in relation to the compliance of the cartridges used. The damping of the short tubes can be done by adding just a bit of balsa wood. Only if necessary of course. And you need very supple arm tonearm wire. I may come up with a result later.

Added on July 23, 2014:

I discovered in a newly acquired edition of High Fidelity Magazine, January 1956 issue, an advertisement by a company named Audio Specialties, 13167 Steel Avenue, Detroit 27, Michigan. They were the manufacturers of the TRULINE Reproducer Arm. It is an advertismeent that I did not come accross in earlier editions nor in later ones. So it is not sure if the product was sold in large enough quantities to establish itself on the market. At left you see the ad. The TRULINE is a tangential tonearm that came in two versions, a binaural one and a single (one cartridge) version. It had been on display at the New York Audio Fair. There the COOK LABORATORIES Exhibit showed the Binaural version. And at the ELECTROVOICE exhibit the monaural (single cartridge version) was used to demonstrate ElectroVoice's NEW Model 84 Cartridge. The ad lists all the advantages of linear tracking. See also: Rabco SL-8 and SL-8E Vintage Tangential Tonearm.

When I was in advertising I was responsible for campaigns, presentations on audio fairs, and documentation for Tandberg audio products and later, in the early nineteeneighties, for Mission and Cyrus Electronics, and Cabasse loudspeakers for some time as well. In those days I often had talks with the sales director of the company that imported the components of Tandberg, recorders, amplifiers and loudspeakers. His name was Wim de Haan.

He was a knowledgeable man and had witnessed the years from the early LP in 1948 up to and including the Digital Audio Compact Disc. In the conversations he often mentioned this or that name, an invention, a principle, etc. Some of the names he mentioned were those of Harold Leak, Avery Fisher, James B. Lansing, Frank McIntosh, Saul Marantz, and from England, Gilbert Briggs, John Bowers and Peter Walker, and so many more. In those days Europe was oriented towards the USA.

At one time Mr. de Haan also mentioned the name of Emory Cook, the inventor of the Binaural Duplex Recording System. He found Cook's recording system interesting, as so many technicians did. But he - and again many others, typically the marketing managers - were well aware of the fact that it was rather complicated to set up, to maintain and use the format, and buy the necessary extra equipment and components in order to be able to experience the stereo effect. Therefor it was difficult to popularize the system on a large scale. Of course Emory Cook himself was well aware of this handicap and issued practically all stereo recordings as 10 inch mono editions.

When in 1958 the stereo LP with the 45/45 system (invented by Alan Blumlein 25 years earlier) finally came into being, Cook reissued many of the earlier recordings, now indicated with the label Microfusion.

The Cook Binaural Sound Recording Process and the duplex records produced by Cook, Livingston and Atlantic at the time have been noticed by a few technically interested people already for a long time. But most do not have the original arm, or a clip-on device for the second cartridge. The obstacle of not getting involved is that the original Livingston arm is missing. But with some experimentation you may find a solution for playing these binaural records.
The negative side of writing this article is that some sellers may start asking high prices for the discs. But if you are lucky, there are chances to get them at reasonable prices. And if a seller asks more than average, he better be sure that the disc he offers is in Excellent or preferably in Near Mint condition. And do check if the records offered are genuine binaural recordings and not the 10 inch discs that are the mono versions and are from the mono-days. Or see if they are Microfusion stereo LP's issued from 1958 on in the regular stereo format.
Collection of Cook Laboratories Binaural recordings and Sounds of Our Times 10 inch disc.s

Page first published on the web on April 14, 2013. This page will be updated and expanded.

Audio&Music Bulletin - Rudolf A. Bruil, Editor - Copyright 1998-2020 by Rudolf A. Bruil and co-authors