Here are two short sequences from the radio play “Glanz und Größe der Kunstkopf-Stereophonie” – A radio play from Stefan Krebs, with Hans Peter Hallwachs as Kunstkopf; Stephan Wurfbaum as journalist and Andreas Fickers as media archaeologist; Research, script and mise-en-scène: Stefan Krebs; Sound: Christian Schimmöller; Producer: Werner Bleisteiner; Historical and technical advisors: Günther Hess and Stephan Peus

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Next week (June 17), I will present our binaural radio drama at the next Forum Z organized by the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH). Forum Z (Z for “Zeitgeschichte”, contemporary history) is a platform for a critical and open discussions of current issues in contemporary Luxembourgish and European history. Interested citizens are invited to debate with experts about different topics, new approaches and new sources in contemporary history. The next (and third) Forum Z will focus on the “Future of Storytelling”, in particular on how digital technologies will and already have affect(ed) historical storytelling.

The event will take place at the Centre national de littérature in Mersch. My colleagues from C2DH will present different virtual exhibitions and new digital tools like histograph. I will set up twelve pairs of headphones and invite people to listen to “Glanz und Elend der Kunstkopf-Stereophonie”, a binaural radio play about the history of (full) binaural sound reproduction.

When I give talks about failure and success of Kunstkopf stereo one frequently asked question is how many Kunstkopf recordings have been made during the 1970s or since the introduction of commercial Kunstkopf microphones in 1973? Read the rest of this entry »

Here you can find some photos from our past workshop on “Histories and Practices of Multi-Channel Sound Reproduction” hosted at the C2DH digital history lab (Feb. 2-3-, 2017). All photos were taken by Andy O’Dwyer. Read the rest of this entry »

Today, I have paid another visit to Studio 9 in Munich. There, Christian Schimmöller, Werner Bleisteiner and I have done the final editing of our binaural radio drama about the history of Kunstkopf recording that we recorded last November. Read the rest of this entry »

As announced in my last post, Andreas Fickers (director C2DH) and I are organizing a small workshop on “histories and practices of multi-channel sound reproduction” (February 2-3, 2017). Below you can find short descriptions of the papers that will be presented during the one and a half days. Read the rest of this entry »

Organizers: Andreas Fickers and Stefan Krebs
Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH)
University of Luxembourg
Date: February 2–3, 2017
Place: Campus Belval, Maison des Sciences Humaines, DH lab


This workshop has two objectives: First, it aims at contributing to the (still limited) historiography of stereophony. Read the rest of this entry »

Together with Werner Bleisteiner (Bavarian Broadcasting, and at the moment creative technologist in the ORPHEUS project) and my supervisor Andreas Fickers (director of the C2DH), I have developed the idea of recording a binaural radio drama about the history of Kunstkopf-stereophony. During the past months we discussed different approaches and finally I wrote a script for a two-hander (in German!). The plot is simple: a journalist interviews a media archaeologist about the history of Kunstkopf recording. Read the rest of this entry »

Last year, I organized a panel on “Engaging (with) the Senses: Historiographic, Ethnographic and Artistic Reflections on Studying Practical Knowledge” at the annual conference of the German Society for the History of Medicine, Science and Technology (DGGMNT) in Berlin. The section was composed of three presentations and a live recording session with an Edison phonograph. Read the rest of this entry »

This is an unabridged version of a (shorter) presentation I gave at last month’s ICOHTEC meeting in Porto (see session T1E in the conference programme). I would like to thank my fellow panelists, Susan Schmidt Horning, Melissa Van Drie and Krin Gabbard, as well as the session chair, Hans-Joachim Braun, and the audience for helpful comments and questions.


The design of a dummy head, or Kunstkopf, microphone is rather simple: it replicates an average sized human head that is equipped with pinnae and ear canals in which small microphones are placed, one in each ear. During the 1930s, first dummy head experiments were conducted at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, and the Philips Research Laboratory in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.Bell engineers Steinberg and Snow summarized that dummy head sound transmission aims “to reproduce in a distant listener’s ears, by means of [headphones], exact copies of the sound vibrations that would exist in his ears if he were listening directly”. Read the rest of this entry »