Devised, researched
 and written
  Peter King Smith BSc

                                                         The mid-1960s, German-built multi-track tape recorder with FM/AM/SW radio


Tasks | Criteria | Disciplines


In 1960, a team of gifted engineers working for Standard Elektrik Lorenz AG were set the enormous task of building a unique, high-quality tape recorder for home use [1], to a stringent specification. That machine would later become known by the company as the BBG (or the Schaub Lorenz Music Center). 


Multidisciplinary team 

The task required a multidisciplinary team of engineers with expertise in the following disciplines: 

  •  Magnetic-sound technology

  •  Radio-broadcasting technology

  •  Precision engineering

  •  Acoustics

To help realise these criteria, a "well-known designer" was invited to join the team sometime after the start [2].

Design and functional criteria 

  • Anyone should be able to operate the tape recorder, not just engineers

  • Machine had to have a built-in storage device that could store more than 45 hours of recordings

  • The quality of recordings had to be as good as the quality of radio broadcasts

  • The user should not be able to see the technology inside the cabinet 

Criteria for man-machine interface

In addition, the design of the man-machine interface had to include: 

  • A single button that could be used to record interesting radio broadcasts

  • Additional buttons to switch the radio on and off, and for playing back recordings

  • A conveniently arranged track-selection mechanism to enable user to access any desired, prerecorded track in seconds, at the touch of a button


1. Also referred to in a 1965 article on the Schaub-Lorenz Music Center as the 'home recorder' and a 'music box/ jukebox' (see article no. 3 in 'Archive').

2. This was most probably Siegfried Apitz.

: Translated and adapted from the original German music-center marketing brochure published by Schaub-Lorenz Vertreibs GmbH, Pforzheim, Germany (1-4-1965).