My dad's favorite album of all time was "Velvet Brass" by Jackie Gleason." Came out in 1957 and my dad got a free copy with a bunch of other Capitol and Decca demo LPs when he bought our one and only "Hi-Fi" system in 1959. At any rate, I loved it as well, still do, and was able to do a stereo remaster of the album for Razor & Tie on CD some years ago. ("How Sweet It Is - The Jackie Gleason VELVET BRASS Collection"). When I was in high school I had a nifty stereo Ampex machine and a bunch of commercial reel to reel tapes. VELVET BRASS was one of them, the stereo version. As much as I loved it, I wondered why it didn't sound the same as the old MONO LP version. I mean, it sounded good and it clearly was the same music, but the presentation was not the same, for sure. I found out why many years later. Capitol built the Tower Studio in 1956 and it was a mono studio. When stereo started to hit about a year later, Capitol didn't know what to do, their studio was mono and no way were they going to tear it all out and start over. So, they decided to add a separate binaural recording of some of the sessions to the daily routine. At Capitol, Hollywood AND the new Capitol East, NYC, they put an Ampex 300-3 1/2" machine nearby (in the case of Hollywood, in the upstairs "snack room lounge") and ran separate microphones to the sessions below in Studio A. But, for them, two microphones for an entire orchestra was good enough for stereo. It was only a fad anyway! So, there was a Telefunken Omni for the right side of the orchestra, another Tele for the left side and a third microphone for the center channel (vocal or main instrument). How did it sound? Dicey, actually. You didn't get anything like the mono version recorded with 8 or 10 microphones, but sort of a dreamy far-miked hint of the power of the music. Nonetheless, it worked, sort of. Capitol released some stuff on open reel in 1957 and then stereo 45/45 cut vinyl starting in 1958. It wasn't until a few years later that they bit the big one and created a stereo/mono studio, using the same microphones for both. 1960 or so, wasn't it? That being said, albums like VELVET BRASS or Nat "King" Cole's LOVE IS THE THING were pretty much ok with this "two Telefunken omni mics on two booms up in the air for stereo" (binaural) approach and for many other important sessions by Sinatra, Nat Cole, Dean Martin, etc. from 1956 to 1960. Was worse on some vocal recordings, too many important things happening off mic.. Capitol's microphones were the best and they really saved the day. Though built by the Georg Neumann company, a number of vintage U 47 tube microphones were badged as a Telefunken products -- Telefunken was their distributor and likely had a hand in the design of the microphone. The Neumann U 47 was the first commercially available switchable pattern microphone and a recording legend, used extensively on many famous recordings and regarded by Beatles producer George Martin as his favorite mic. It is widely regarded as the most iconic vocal microphone in history, with exceptionally clear high-mid response, described by renowned mic technician Klaus Heyne as "authoritative." The U 47 can switch from a cardioid to an omnidirectional pattern. It is known to have higher output of around 5 dB in cardioid mode. Originally, the U 47 was sold with the PVC-skinned M7 capsule. When Neumann engineers found about a decade later that the PVC was cracking and the sound of the capsules was changing over time, they switched to the Mylar K47 capsule in the late 1950s. The K47 generally has a brighter, more aggressive sound, especially when compared to M7 capsules which have "mellowed" over time as the PVC has dried up. Telefunken VF14M tubes ("M" for microphone-grade. Many non-M VF14 tubes exist and may work just fine, but must be tested over a period of 48 hours inside the microphone for noise and stability) were used in original U 47s, though toward the end of the microphone's production, Neumann's repair department were swapping the original tubes for Nuvistors, as their supply of VF14M was dwindling. Only 5000 U 47s were manufactured, with about 3200 specimens produced as long bodies and around 1800 short-bodied. Early specimens may be labeled Telefunken, as they originally distributed the microphone. Here is a sample of VELVET BRASS recorded in "stereo" in June of 1957. This is the exact version that I worked on for CD. Arranged by Pete King (not Billy May as some have thought), recorded in NYC at Capitol's great studio, two Telefunken Omni microphones on the orchestra plus Toots Mondello's alto sax mic in the center channel. From a long thought lost "Stars In Stereo" master tape that was loaned to Razor & Tie by the late, great Pete Welding.