Friday, July 06, 2007

The Bettini Reproducer

I covered in great depth last year some of the major developments in popular turntable technology. In not-so-popular turntable tech arena there was a man named Gianni Bettini, a native Italian and renowned audiophile. More here. He made a number of high-end phonographs that are highly sought after today. He invented a playback device which improves the sound quality of recordings; The Micro-reproducer. There were many models and refinements but it all circulated around the isolation of the stylus, a multi legged unit he called a "spider." most of his inventions were marketed toward what would later be considered audiopiles. One of his later inventions was a Universal Speed indicator. A device that aided the fine adjustment of a phonography motor. More here.

In the 1890s He was a New York socialite, living in the swanky central park south neighborhood, what is now in the center of Midtown on the edge of the Theater district. It was there that he operated his New York phonograph laboratory. He made of extrordinary recordings of the Pope, mark Twan and President Benjamin Harrison. Bettini cylinders are among the rarest in existence. His catalog of opera recordings was 12 pages long, and the cylingers cost $6 when Edison cylinders cost under a dollar. He was selling to a specific clientele.
Before WWI he brought many of his rare recordings to Europe. During the war most of them were destroyed leading to their obscurity. He died in 1938 in San Remo, Italy.