Record Testing Circa 1955

Record Testing.

record testing

This photograph shows something that seems outlandish to us today, but was considered absolutely ingenious at the time. The picture was taken in 1955 at a record store in which all of the customers had the opportunity to actually sit down and listen to the record before they decided whether or not they should buy it.

This was still a rather uncommon practice all the way back then, but it seems at least one record store thought it was brilliant. We can see a large number of young men as they each sit in their own little booth with a record player beside each. Apparently, you would simply walk up to these strange alcoves and just put the record on the player and sit down. The walls in the booths were not concrete like the rest of the building, instead they actually were like large, surrounding speakers complete with the mesh netting covering the equipment itself.

The record players were hooked up to these speakers and played through quietly. This way, each person could get a sense of the record before they had to purchase it, but the volume was always set rather low in order to actually hear the music, but also not be disruptive to the other shoppers. Today we see something kind of like this when you go to a music store and they have headphones out hooked up to a machine to help you hear a demo of a song. With the resurgence of vinyl in the last few years, however, there is a chance that someone resurrects this cool but bizarre idea.