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Simon 3

Simons SP4 tape recorder from 1959. This machine was a high quality recorder featuring auto reverse


You can download the original 1959 SP4 test report here


Simon published a booklet in the mid 1950's entitled "Affairs of Tape"which you can download here


Simon SP2 tape recorder Spec sheet can be downloaded here



Simon Cadensa Ribbon Mic

The Simon Cadenza Ribbon Microphone from 1959


The Simon "Minstrelle" from 1959 featuring the ill fated Garrard tape magazine


Simon Cymbal

The Simon "Cymbal" portable recorder from 1960, also fitted with the Garrard tape magazine





Simon Sound Equipment -3

A short history

Following hot on the heals of the SP2 and SP3 (polished wood cabinet version of the SP2) was a completely new design of tape recorder, the SP4. Simon engaged a well known UK industrial designer, Peter Bell who designed the cabinet. The machine launched in 1958 and featured a completely new Simon design of deck. The transport was in fact auto reverse. The mechanics are fairly complicated and difficult to work on. Having said that it is a fine machine and gives very good results. These also appear to have sold in reasonable numbers and still occasionally turn up. A high quality ribbon microphone designed by Eric Tomson and marketed as the Simon Cadenza was also produced for the SP4. The next model to appear in late 1959 was the Simon Minstrelle. This heralded a move away from Simon designed tape transports. The Minstrelle incorporated the Garrard "Magazine" deck. This unit was ahead of its time but not taken up by many manufacturers or supported by the public. For this reason machines using this deck are rare. The Simon "Cymbal" launched in 1960 also featured the Garrard magazine.

The final tape recorder produced by Simon was the SP5. This machine was hybrid (valve/transistor) and incorporated the HMV Voicemaster deck having first appeared towards the end of 1961. The cabinet design work was carried out by Lucas Mellinger. This machine has to be seen to be believed. Hideous! Examples do turn up from time to time though. It would appear to be the last machine produced before Simon vanished from the marketplace. Although it appears to have been on sale until at least 1966.

A company memo from 1959 lists R.W. Simon, K.H. Williman and F.H. Maddox as the directors of the company. A Mr R.B. Dyer is also listed as holding the position of "Service Manager". The premises appear to have expanded somewhat over the years and the firm started at 46 George Street, Portman Square London W1. In later years No's 48 and 50 were acquired. Further premises belonging to Simon were just around the corner in 1-3 Kendall place. These were described as The development division. The company traded as Simon Sound Service Ltd, Simon Equipment Ltd and Simon Development Ltd presumably to cater for differing markets. IE: industrial military and domestic users. The company eventually pulled out of the domestic markets by the mid 1960s. Harland Engineering had in fact bought the company as far back as 1957. It can only be assumed that the firm was facing a downturn in sales in the face of stiff competition from the many other firms in the same market. This trend shows in the final products, with "bought in" tape transports and other cost cutting measures, particularly in the electronics and quality build.

Research is ongoing into this company's history. Did you know the company or work for them? What happened to them? If you are able to help with this article, you can contact me here.


Simon Magnetic Rack Mount Recorder

Simon 4 channel rack mount recorder from 1954, Aimed at professional users. These were probably made to special order. It is not known if the tape transport is of Simons' manufacture or bought in from elsewhere.


Simon Sp5
Simons last domestic tape recorder, the SP5 first marketed in the autumn of 1961, it remained available until the mid 1960s. The deck featured is the HMV Voicemaster which has listed Major J.F.E Clarke as one of the Co-patentees of the design . The machine could be adapted for stereo use by purchasing a kit of parts which included a plug in printed circuit board and V.U meter to replace the dummy one fitted on the back panel.