1935 Shearer Horn

Sep 1, 2006 4:01 PM

Polls


Mix Regional

The Mix Regional section for Mix's September 2014 issue focuses on Miami. Send us your studio news: updates, sessions, new rooms, plus club performances and installations. Let the Mix audience know what is going on! Send photos and descriptions to mixeditorial@nbmedia.com.

Shearer Horn, with plywood extension wings

In the late 1920s, cinema audio playback was dismal. Western Electric had a single driver on a large re-entrant horn. It didn’t sound very good, even after the company added a separate HF unit and extra 18-inch woofers. RCA’s competing system was no better.

Dissatisfied with these bulky, 5kHz bandwidth systems, MGM’s sound department head, Douglas Shearer, set out to create something better. Shearer asked John Hilliard to head the team, with Robert Stephens and Harry Kimball. Consultant John Blackburn suggested using James B. Lansing’s new high-performance components. Essentially, Shearer created a dream team with some of the best minds in audio. Other ideas came from William Snow, who worked with Harvey Fletcher at Bell Labs, and RCA’s John Volkmann and Harry Olson.

Known as the Shearer Horn, the two-way system had a large multicell horn coupled to Lansing’s new 284 compression drivers. One or more “W” bin folded horns loaded with two 15-inch Lansing woofers handled LF. On its debut, the Shearer Horn was a near-instant success, offering high-SPL/high-fidelity performance from a package that could be easily shipped and installed. Thousands of Shearer-style systems (from a variety of suppliers) were in theaters everywhere, and the system received a Technical Academy Award in 1936.

The Shearer Horn began the age of modern sound systems. Equally significant was its role in launching an entire industry of pro audio with an awareness for fidelity. The system’s lifespan was cut short by Altec A-4 Voice of the Theatre models in the mid-1940s (designed by Hilliard and Lansing), but innovations such as the “W” bin design stayed in use for another half-century.






Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Mix Books

Modern Recording and Mixing

This 2-DVD set will show you how the best in the music industry set up a studio to make world-class records. Regardless of what gear you are using, the information you'll find here will allow you to take advantage of decades of expert knowledge. Order now $39.95

Mastering Cubase 4

Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology PTR have joined forces again to create the second volume in their Personal Studio Series, Mastering Steinberg's Cubase(tm). Edited and produced by the staff of Electronic Musician, this special issue is not only a must-read for users of Cubase(tm) software, but it also delivers essential information for anyone recording/producing music in a personal-studio. Order now $12.95

Newsletters

MixLine

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine takes you straight into the studio, with new product announcements, industry news, upcoming events, recent recording/post projects and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

MixLine Live

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine Live takes you on the road with today's hottest tours, new sound reinforcement professional products, recent installs, industry news and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the The Wire for the latest press postings.