The evolution of audio devices

An industrial revolution is characterized by abrupt and radical changes, bringing new technologies into our lives. And one of them is part of most people’s daily lives: the evolution in the way we listen to music. Today, anytime, anywhere and with infinite collections of music, we can listen from the classic to the last release, but it wasn’t always like this.

To listen to a song you had to go to a theater, a festival or that some friend could make the sound near you. That’s whenThomas Edison created the phonograph. From then on, the players became more and more compact, and the ways of storing audio were also being improved. Check below the history of the devices that make the soundtrack around the world.


The phonogram concept emerged from the phonograph. It was the first functional device capable of recording and reproducing a sound recorded on the spot, in a totally mechanical way. In the beginning, it was possible to use the device for only three or four recordings. Over time, new materials were used in the composition of the phonograph’s cylindrical plate, increasing the durability and number of uses.


Given the start, what followed was a succession of innovations that enabled the growing storage of audio. The gramophone, invented by the German Emil Berliner, was the next natural evolution, using a disc instead of a cylindrical plate. The audio was literally printed by means of a needle on this disc, composed of various materials, and reproduced by the needle of the device, decoding the “cracks” of the audio disc.

Magnetic tape

Around the end of the 1920s, magnetic tapes, patented by the German Fritz Pfleumer, appeared. They had a considerable importance in the history of music, especially in audio recording, because, for the time, they allowed a great quality and extreme portability. In addition, the invention made it possible to record two or more audios recorded on different tapes, with the ability to unite them into a single tape. This process is called mixing.

Vinyl disc

At the end of the 1940’s, the vinyl record arrives on the market, a material made mainly of PVC, which registered the music in microrucks on the record. The vinyl was reproduced by a record player through a needle. They were already commercialized before that, but the record was made of shellac, material that caused many interferences and a somewhat doubtful quality.

Cassette tape

The fascinating cassette tape that reigned from the 1970s to the 1990s emerged from the innovation allowed by its oldest relatives. They are a magnetic tape standard that was created in the mid 1960s by Philips, consisting of two rolls of tape and the entire mechanism for movement inside a plastic box, making life much easier for everyone. Originally, the compact audio cassettes were released for exclusively sound purposes, but later became famous for their ability to record videos too, with larger tapes.


In 1979, the father of the iPod and mp3 players, the Walkman, from Sony, came to our hands and ears. First playing tapes and then CDs, the invention made it possible to take the music wherever you wanted. All you had to do was put on your favorite tape and create the soundtrack for your walks in the park.


In the 1980’s, one of the greatest innovations in media storage reaches the market: the CD – the Compact Disc. It could record up to two hours of audio in a quality never seen before. It was extremely popular since then, being still a standard for the recording industry, with a great sales rate still today. Derived from it, the DVD appeared, increasing even more the storage capacity and sound quality, following the evolutions in the Surround concept.

Digital Audio

Alongside the CD, digital audio was already mature enough to participate in the next step in the evolution of audio storage. Computers became smaller and smaller, and HDs acquired more space, making it possible to store days and days of music with great quality. Many computers began to have CD players and burners, allowing them to listen to their favorite discs and even record their own.


Streaming or broadcast is the name of the audio and/or video transmission over the Internet. It is a technology that allows transmitting audio and video without the user downloading all the transmitted content before listening or watching as it happened in the past.


And finally the applications, the famous APPs are undoubtedly the main name among all these media today. Nowadays, Spotify doesn’t stop growing and is one of the great responsible for the popularization of streaming as one of the main forms of music consumption today. It has a huge catalog and millions of subscribers around the world.