News & Politics

Wild Hi-Fi Dreams of the 70’s, circa 1961


Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.

September 14, 1961, Vol. VI, No. 47

The Sound of the 70’s — Your Wall Paint

All four walls of your living room will be wired for sound by the early 1970’s — but there won’t be any actual wires. Such is the prediction of Dick Ekstract, a director of the New York Hi-Fi Show, September 14-17 at the Trade Show Building.

“The wall paint used for the rooms of your future home will contain special sound-conducting chemicals mixed right into it,” Mr. Ekstract said yesterday. “All you’ll have to do is take your record player, a 3-inch by 3-inch box powered by molecular electronic amplifiers – the next step after transistors – and tune it onto your wall frequency.

“There won’t be any records as such. You’ll use tiny wafer-like cards containing an entire evening of music; this will be slipped into the little black box. The sound will fill the room and really surround the listener.”

But that’s only the beginning, according to Ekstract. “The walls of the listening room will change color according to the music being played. The sound frequencies will alter the chemical content of the wall paint so that certain sounds will produce blues and others will turn your walls red, yellow, and the like.”

On another front a Japanese company is now experimenting with a combination tape-camera and TV set. It will enable its owner to take pictures on his vacation with the camera, come home, and immediately play the tape film on his television set. The TV set will contain its own visual-audio tape recorder for the recording of programs while no one is home. And TV will be three-dimensional with full FM stereo sound.

“There are many amazing things happening in the world of sound now,” Ekstract continued. “For example, I think that the phonograph needle will be a thing of the past. There’s a man in Cleveland who is working on a system that uses light rays to track phonograph records. Records should last virtually forever – or until they are replaced with something else, probably tape wafers…

Music will also be different, Ekstract believes. “Electronic music will be soon popular — music created by hi-fi instruments electronically. Much work in this field is being done at the Columbia University Electronics Music Center under Professor Usachevsky, and by Phillips in Holland. Indeed, the New York City Center Ballet is doing on complete ballet this season to pure electronic music, no orchestra.”

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]


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