NOW that the Hereford Times Blumlein Memorial Campaign is under way, we would like to expand upon the subject’s undoubted talents.

We reported in last week’s edition that Alan Dower Blumlein was carrying out vital research when he was killed in 1942 at the age of 38 along with 10 colleagues at Welsh Bicknor.

In the years before he embarked on innovating airborne radar which would prove so pivotal to the War Effort, the young man from Hampstead had, in fact, already made his mark in the world of music.

At the age of 25 in March 1929, Alan Blumlein joined Columbia Gramophone which later merged with The Gramophone Company to form EMI.

Working in the Central Research Laboratories of EMI at Hayes in Middlesex, he filed 121 patents in the next thirteen years.

Many papers were co-written with EMI, and the record label of that name is now part of Universal Music. His most famous patent “improvements in and relating to sound transmission, sound recording and sound reproducing systems” was lodged in December 1931.

After a night at the cinema with Doreen, the lady who would become his wife, he was frustrated that the sound from a character on screen could only be heard from a speaker on the corresponding side of the room. To solve this problem, Blumlein began working on something which he called a binaural system.

He started by abandoning the idea that two loudspeakers represented the listeners’ two ears and instead sought to re-create the features of the sound field including directional information.

He then set about developing a complex cut on the gramophone record with two grooves that could be read simultaneously to playback the new binaural sound yet still remain compatible with the existing mono records. So what Blumlein called binaural has come to be known universally as “stereophonic”, or stereo.

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On the 14th December 1933 the first wax disc was cut in a test recording of stereo sound at the auditorium of the EMI site in Hayes.

The following year Blumlein took his microphones and stereo disc cutting head to Abbey Road Studios to record the London Philharmonic Orchestra,thus laying the ground work for a raft of influential bands and pioneering producers who would later use the studios.

Much of the Blumlein team’s technology is still in use at Abbey Road Studios and many other studios all over the world today.

For all of his endeavours Blumlein was for many years a largely unheralded genius. But recognition is slowly coming along for the man who invented stereo.

In 2015 his ground-breaking work was celebrated with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at Abbey Road Studios.

The event was attended by son Simon and grandson Alan, as well as many former colleagues who continued his work at EMI.

Simon Blumlein told the audience about how his father had climbed the BBC’s Alexandra Palace broadcast tower in the early days of television to tinker with the picture, whilst on the telephone to his wife who would be watching at home.

Peter Cobbin, senior director of engineering at Abbey Road, says “We’re immensely proud of our historical connection with Alan Blumlein and the small part we played in his pioneering development of stereo sound.

"Since that time, thousands of musicians have passed through our doors and all have benefited from the fruits of his vision and dedication.

"We are delighted to be the permanent site of the commemorative plaque, which will remind future generations of musicians, engineers and music lovers of his genius.”

Further recognition came in New York with the posthumous awarding of the Technical Grammy for 2017 - again received by members of the Blumlein family.

The Recording Academy praised “one of the most prolific inventors of the last century for transforming the worlds of audio and recording technology, television and airborne radar".

At the time of writing, Caryn Tomlinson, senior vice president with Universal Music Group International, the world’s leading music company, has said that the group is very excited by the Hereford Times plans to erect a memorial to ADB at Welsh Bicknor.

Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the person who showed early promise by fixing his father's doorbell at the age of seven would leave such an indelible legacy.

All you have to do to contribute to the appeal is visit

Alternatively, cheques made payable to the Hereford Times Blumlein Memorial Appeal can be handed in or posted (c/o Garth Lawson) to the Hereford Times office, Holmer Road, Hereford HR4 9UJ.