Thank a Crooked Leg for Stereo Headphones

Discussion in 'Vintage Headphones' started by Lauri Cular, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. Lauri Cular

    Lauri Cular Well Balanced

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    It's often mentioned that Mr Koss produced the first stereo headphones with the SP-3 in 1958, but stereo headphones have a slightly older (and darker) heritage.

    During World War II, aerial bombing was very inaccurate during the day and hopeless at night, so a system was used by the German Luftwaffe which employed radio beams for the pilots to follow. Using a pair of radio transmitters a couple of hundred miles apart, two beams could be made to intersect over the intended target. This technique was called Knickebein, or Crooked Leg.

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    Then, if the pilot strayed too far to the left on his flight, he would hear a series of morse code dots. Too far to the right and he would hear dashes. If directly over the target, he would hear dots and dashes. Maybe it was felt that a directional cue would also be useful within the pilot's headset, as the dots and dashes would come through on the left and right channels.

    This necessitated stereo headphones right back in the 1940s. But it's a shame Lili Marlene and We'll Meet Again weren't stereo recordings, as it might have caught on! Next to the destruction experienced by cities like Coventry, listening to Dame Vera Lynn doesn't seem so bad.
     
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  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Obsessive Auditor

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    The Beyer DT-48 was created in 1937 for that or similar purposes. At the end of the war, when the German Intel surrendered under the command of Reinhard Gehlen, the Germans stated that the DT-48 was made for Audiometry, and so the DT-48 continued to be manufactured by Beyer (now Beyerdynamic) for 75 years, ending in 2012. I've owned several.
     
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  3. Lauri Cular

    Lauri Cular Well Balanced

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    If us Brits had even half of that common sense, most of the computer industry would be here!
     
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