Reel to reel tape recorder, manufactured by Byer in Melbourne, Australia in the 1950s.

The operation of the tape recorder is detailed in a booklet entitled: 'Magnetic Tape Recorder by Byer: Operating Instructions' (HT 23770).

This recorder was used by architect and acoustician Hugh Vivian Taylor.

Hugh Vivian Taylor started practice as an architect in Victoria, Australia during 1923 and in acoustics in 1928.

The arrival of "talking pictures" in Australia in 1929 required acceptable acoustic conditions to ensure satisfactory reproduction of the sound. From 1930 to 1941 he acted as consultant for at least 434 theatres and public halls.

Acoustic equipment is used to measure the intensity of sound within an environment, for example outdoors or within a building.

The equipment consists of a microphone and sound level meter to pick up the sound, an analyser to determine the properties of the sound, for example, frequency and intensity, and an output meter to measure these properties. In some cases, sounds are produced using test records, for example in a building,

The key instrument is the sound level meter with its microphone. All the other instruments take their input from the sound level meter. These instruments include sound and vibration analysers and tape recorders.

In the case of measuring vibrations, the microphone is replaced with a vibration pickup.

This tape recorder, along with four Victor 78 rev/min test records, was probably used by H. Vivian Taylor for reverberation testing.

The Byer tape recorder was a high-quality precision piece of equipment, with a tape speed up to 38 cm/s [15 in/s], and a high frequency response extending probably to at least 10 kHz.

Physical Description

Timber case with lid with black leather style covering, with chrome catches. Lid can be removed to reveal panel with controls. There is another 'lid' on the underneath There is a reel of tape in place.


The arrival of 'talking pictures' in Australia in 1929 required theatres to have appropriate acoustic characteristics. From 1930 to 1941, H. Vivian Taylor was the architectural and acoustical consultant for at least 434 theatres and public halls.

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