BMUG and MacRecorder

246 words

2K on disk

September 1985

BMUG and MacRecorder

Audio Recording Hardware

We take recording audio on personal computers for granted nowadays. Without audio-in, we wouldn’t be able to use Skype, record a video for YouTube, or sing along with GarageBand. But before audio became a standard feature of the personal computer, there was a group of volunteers in Berkeley, California who figured out how to get sound into their Macs.

A graduate student in Math, Michael P. Lamoureux, is credited with the original design of the digitizer hardware. Plans were published in the Fall 1985 BMUG Newsletter, enabling anyone handy with basic electronics to construct the device. The box plugged into the serial port on the back of the Macintosh.

The first comprehensive coverage I can find about building MacRecorder is from the Fall 1985 BMUG Newsletter — but it’s possible the Spring issue of that year, or the 1984 Newsletter (only distributed on floppy disk) have earlier plans. The Fall 1985 Newsletter actually includes three articles about MacRecorder, including the source code of a basic program to receive digitized audio from the device:

Farallon, a company that productized several BMUG inventions (including PhoneNET adapters), released a commercial version of the product in early 1988. MacWeek showed a preview in December 1987:

Intriguingly the article mentions “SoundTrack, a sophisticated sound editor.” This is undoubtably SoundEdit, the famous software written by Steve Capps in 1986. Farallon was perhaps considering renaming it to differentiate their version, but it shipped (as near as I can tell) as SoundEdit, not SoundTrack.

BMUG and MacRecorder
Kind: Audio Recording Hardware
Size: 2460 bytes, accounts for 2K on disk
Where:Hardware, internal drive
Created:Thursday, September 19, 1985 at 12:14 AM
Modified:Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 10:25 PM