This web-page gives a potted history of Brenell: the company and their
many domestic and professional models, as well as that of Soundcraft Magnetics, created by former Brenell staff.
The book, Brenell - True to life performance fully records
the history of these two companies and their influence on the development of the British tape recorder / home studio
/ studio recording industries.
The site also looks at their competitors, such as Truvox
and Thermionic Products whose histories have also been recorded in A Truvox Product
and of those 100+ other British companies recorded in, A
Guide to British tape-recorders.
It is hoped
that those who worked for Brenell/S-M, or used them professionally in studios, industry, the MoD or indeed have specialist
knowledge of them and their many competitors, such as TRD, RGD, EMI, Truvox and Collaro etc. will continue to contribute to
this record of a much neglected part of British audio engineering history.
B O O K S
Brenell - True
to Life Performance
detailed history of both Brenell and Soundcraft Magnetics is told in this well researched book, written with the help
of former Brenell directors, engineers and archive material. It presents more than just a glimpse of the company and the people.
Every known model and many prototypes, are discussed in detail.
(The history and development of the tape recorder since Valdemar Poulsen, as well as analysis of the British domestic
and studio tape recorder industries from the first edition is now in the greatly expanded 'Guide to British taperecorders').
in the industry will be delighted with this book" - Alex Nicholas: former MD, Brenell
"Brilliant! The detail uncovered is awesome. I learnt more about Brenell in
a few pages than ever I did when I worked there!" - M.A
"It is a truly remarkable piece
of research... I would recommend this to any reel-to-reel enthusiast or 'child' of the 60s" - R (Mk.5 owner)
Over 200 black and white illustrations.
140 pages plus. A4 Soft back.
2nd edition: £15.00 plus £3.00 p&p UK (Air Mail, please ask).
See last page for address and payment instructions.
|Brenell - True to life performance
|A Guide to British tape-recorders
A Truvox Product
Truvox / Thermionic Products / Racal
tape recorder history
3rd edition OUT NOW
Barry M Jones
A major competitor to Brenell's domestic models, this well researched book reveals the fascinating history
of Daniel Dan Prenn and his Truvox Engineering business which brought Celestion loudspeakers and then
BCC, Airmec, Vectron and Thermionic Products, later
merging with Racal Electronics. Each were specialists in their own field; Truvox with loudspeakers, tape decks and language
laboratories; Thermionic Products with the British made Recordon and Soundmirror and as pioneers in airport recorders;
and Racal for their military electronics. Racal-Thermionic were world leaders in analogue and digital
voice logging and instrumentation recording such as the Store 4, Storehorse, V-Store etc. Racal also bought the Zonal
tape company, whose history is also recorded.
Truvox also made the Wembley cameras, and floor
cleaners! But this book is more than an industrial history, it also records the engineering talents of many European engineers
who escaped Nazi and Soviet tyrany. The book also covers the history of the Ship Yard site, Hythe and its association with
the British Power Boat Company, Lawrence of Arabia and Imperial Airways.
"(the) book is amazing - a
great thrill to read" (D.E ex-Truvox)
"a superb job - most impressive" (P.W ex Racal-Thermionic)
greatest story never told" (A.B ex Racal-Thermionic)
Revised and updated Third edition with
much new information on Thermionic Products' early days
160 pages A4 paperback, 200+ B&W illustrations
£15.00 + £3.00 p&p UK
"A Guide to British tape-recorders"Barry
- 4th edition NOW OUT -
This illustrated softback
is a major work and has been fully revised to double the size and content. It presents a comprehensive history of magnetic
recording from the pioneering work by Valdemar Poulsen, through pre-war wire recorders and the development of plastic tape
by BASF in the 1930s, before concentrating on the British taperecorder industry and the development of the many British
models with histories of the 100+ domestic, studio and scientific tape deck manufacturers, plus potted histories of
the many component and tape manufacturers.
Based on interviews with those who formed, worked in and intimately
knew the industry, as well as contemporary records and company archives, it is also intended as a foundation for others
to fully research individual companies of choice, before it is too late, just as I have done on Brenell, Truvox and Thermionics
and Terry Martini has now done on Wright & Weaire and Ferrograph in his excellent Built
like a battleship - see links page.
The A-Z section covers over 100 British companies
and their models from 1949-1990:
ACE, ACES, Alba, Amplion, Ariel Sound, Astronic, Baird, Bias, Bradmatic, Brenell,
Bristol Cine, BAFC, BSR, Bush, Cadey, Casian, Cape, Chilton, Chitnis, Clarke & Smith, Collaro, Dansette, Dynatron, Editor
(TRE), EKCO, Electromechs, Elizabethan, Elpico, EMI, Epsylon, EWA, Excel, Ferranti, Ferguson, Ferrograph, FiCord,
Fidelity, Garrard, Gaumont-British, GBC, Gramdeck, Hartley, HMV, ITAM, JSR, Kenton, Kurland, Lane, Leevers-Rich,
Lorlin, Magnavox, Marconiphone, Minivox, Motek, MSS, Murphy, Pamphonic, Penny & Giles, Perdio, Planet,
Plessey, Portagram, PYE, Qualtape, Racal-Thermionic, RGD, Reflectograph, Reps, Regentone, Robuk, Scoptronics,
SE Labs, Simon, Soundcraft Magnetics, Sound Master, Spectone, Studio Magnetics, TRD, TRE, Thermionic Products, Thorn
Group, Trix, Trusound, Truvox, Ultra, Unitrack, Van der Molen, Verdik, Veritone, Vortexion, Walter, Winstone, Wright
& Weaire, Wayne Kerr, Wyndsor and many, many others.
Plus, related histories of head and component producers such as: Branch & Appleby, Marriotts, Phi-Magnetronics, Ilford-Zonal
Foreword to first edition by Terry Martini (BVWS):
"... a useful and practical guide that no serious collector of British audio tape recorders or historian can
really do without. The history of the British tape recorder in all its glory".
"I congratulate you on a terrific job." Peter Lindsley, Director Bias/Leevers-Rich
"I have been a tape recorder enthusiast for 50 years, but I was amazed at
what I learnt from these (three) books. Still impressed with the amount of research you have done; these must be the
best of their kind anywhere." George West (ferrograph.info)
370+ A4 pages, 300+ B&W illustrations, softback. £30 + £5 p&p UK
Information still wanted:
I am keen to learn more of Boosey & Hawkes and Wirek
as well as histories of tape head, microphone and other accessory companies, so that this subject may be fully
recorded before such intimate information is lost forever.
Serial numbers wanted
Brenell - Thermionic
Products - Truvox
In the absence of surviving factory ledgers, I am particularly
keen to collate Brenell, Thermionic Products and Truvox serial numbers to determine dates of specification changes
and production levels.
In common with
most industries, serial numbers were designed to mislead competitors! Early Brenell models, including the 'gold with
ivory head cover' Mk.5 and the Type 19, appear not to have serial number stamped on them, but occasionally
they survive as paper labels under the head cover and on the despatch boxes. From the 'gold with black head cover'
Papst motor Mk.5 (Srs 1) the number is stamped under the front edge of the deck plate and from the 'grey'
Mk.5 Srs 2 it also appears in the lid on the manufacturer's label, often with a suffix number which is the pre-amplifier
Please note: There are four variants of the 'gold' Mk.5 motor arrangement: 3 x BT-H 1103;
2 x BT-H 1103 + BT-H 1303 capstan (alloy spider frame); 3 x all AEI; 2 x AEI 1303 + Papst capstan. Which one? And does
it also have the Mk.IV back-tension arm fitted on the take up spool side (this should be on the BT-H variants) and is it connected
mechanically to the feed spool, or electric switch?
Thermionic Products' Recordons are in two versions: round
knobs London/Hythe TP503 and 4-lobe knobs, Hythe TP504. Soundmirrors, flat fronted lid, sculptured lid, half track and if
ERRATA + UPDATES
A free errata and update slip is available for these books on ad hoc basis. Simply send me an SAE or
contact me on email@example.com
The final batch of Quantegy analogue
recording tape was made in early spring 2007. RMGI (formerly EMTEC) has now begun to offer the BASF/Agfa range.
For suppliers of tape, please see the Links page. Remember, if you don't
support these suppliers, it is unlikely there will ever be furthur production runs of analogue tape. You have been warned!
(c) Colour photographs and text
Barry M Jones - May 2003
Major revision + Truvox/T-P pages - February 2008
Last updated - 24th
(Please note: For some obscure
reason certains sections of these web-pages have lost their justification and correct font. Its a software problem
beyond my control! Oh the joys of modern technology.)
introducing the " Diamond
What better way of enjoying your quality recordings on your professional British tape recorder than through a hand-made
British, integrated valve amplifier?
recently introduced Diamond from Proteus Audio Development Ltd is designed and built to order
by Geoff Kremer of ServiceSound fame, using a twin cascade triode phono stage, free from microphony, with a twin triode output
stage offering unparalleled sound quality, right up to a full 20Watt RMS power output. Diamond uses
transformers hand made to the original "Williamson" specification.
'Hi-fidelity' is the faithful reproduction of sound, in its most natural
elements. The test of a good hi-fi system is one you can listen to all day long in total comfort and absorb the intricacies
of the music, rather than be bamboozled by the electronics. I thought my Armstrong amp and Mordaunt-Short Pageants were
'good', but the Proteus Audio Development Diamond integrated valve amplifier is truly stunning.
This is what Hi-Fi Critic said of it in a three-way comparison:
"Familiar, interesting, unforced, detailed, dynamic, pleasant, realistic... a high end sound that is remarkably
uncontrived always doing the best to reveal the essence of the music without sign of stress. It draws you in and makes you
want to listen" Hi-Fi Critic
... and it sounds superb too! (Barry M Jones)
Full details from:
Proteus Audio Development Ltd
31, Turkey Road, Bexhill, East Sussex
and please mention this web-site!
|Proteus " Diamond" valve-amplifier
Modern instrumentation taperecording
3rd edition - 1986
We have several copies of this fascinating,
technical Engineering Handbook on non-audio Instrumentation and data recorders. Written by a Senior Thorn-EMI engineer,
it also covers the EMI-SE Labs models (both of whose histories are recorded in the Guide to British tape-recorders
book!) 130pp A5 NEW (but old stock) and in good condition. £5 + £1.50