Northern/ Western Electric Mirrophonic sound systems

posted by Frogman on October 4, 2006 at 6:25 am

After some research, I am almost sure that the old theater that my dad worked in as a projectionist, had this sound equipment.( The Capital, Welland Ontario).

This equipment was released around 1935, the year the Capitol opened. The speakers were huge! A three way system on a open baffle, Three 15 inch woofers, two 12 ft by 12 ft snail horns and two small flare tweeters. MGM hated this sound system because they were mainly into musicals at the time, because single step taps coming out of these huge horns sounded like two.

Douglas Shearer and MGM developed their own system which was the genesis of the famous Altec Voice of the Theater speakers.

Does anyone remember these old systems and could provide some insight on how may Mirrophonic systems existed in the US and Canada?

Comments (5)

KenLayton
KenLayton on October 4, 2006 at 8:26 am

Projector manufacturer Motiograph licensed the Western Electric Mirrophonic system. Quite a few systems got installed. I remember seeing lots of theater ads in the microfilmed newspaper collections in the theater ads. at the bottom of the ads would usually be a phrase like, “featuring Mirrophonic sound system”.

This equipment is very valuable now. It fetches big bucks if you look at ebay. Many Japanese audio collectors pay real big money for these systems and components.

JimRankin
JimRankin on October 4, 2006 at 10:14 am

Possibly your best source of contacts on this is the Web site: www.film-tech.com You can search that site for references to that system, but you cannot post there unless you first register with them. Failing that, you might inquire of the Theatre Historical Society of America at: www.historictheatres.org Use the CONTACT US link on their second front page, and use the Ex. Director’s E-mail. He will check their extensive records, and possibly direct you to several of their tech members. Best Wishes.

William
William on October 4, 2006 at 10:54 am

Here is some info on the speakers.

http://www.jblpro.com/pages/history1.htm

I have some material on the Mirrophonic system, somewhere at home.

DavidClark
DavidClark on November 15, 2006 at 1:10 pm

Here’s a link you really enjoy. This guy has several old Western Electric speakers, horns, drivers, amps, etc. He knows the history of them and is replicating the “snailhorn” horns. Be sure to click “Audio Anthology” on the left side.

http://cinematreasures.org/members/members.php?p=activate&id=1582087061455b8d96e6ac1actually

DavidClark
DavidClark on November 15, 2006 at 1:14 pm

******Sorry, could not edit the above link. It should be:

View link

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