Technology – Play it Forward
Down in the basement, thanks to hand me down artifacts of previous family generations, there still are a few boxes of 12” 78 RPM, Long Playing records; thick and heavy… and still playable on rare, capable turntables (which used to be simply called record players!) Some are in good shape (ie, hardly played,) but the better content is usually found on those well worn, as the process of playing induces physical wear. Well worn records sound plain terrible.
Also mostly hidden around our house, are 33 rpm stereophonic records, and 45 rpm records, all these encompassing the same needle on grove technology. In boxes elsewhere, there are some reel to reel tapes, 3 ½ inch, 5 inch and 7 inch reels containing hundreds, if not thousands of feet of ¼” wide acetate or polyester “tape”. There are a few “8 track” cartridges here and there; and a lot of the smaller and better cassette tapes. I even have ½” wide VHS tapes which in the 80’s could produce impressive audio quality on “hi fi” settings; and a load of micro-cassettes used mostly for voice recordings over the years. A friend of mine even had a kind of cassette player on steroids, called an El Cassette.
Then, there are the CD’s, still an excellent media which with a little care can last supposedly for eons. But they need relatively bulky players, and in themselves can take up a lot of storage space.
The I-Pod came out a little over 11 years ago, and as a portable media player, and ultimate storage and organizational platform, set the standard contemporary way we listen to music and other audio content. This, and other means of disseminating digital “files” are pretty much the game today, for personal music listening, (although “purists” are probably correct in claiming superiority to the non-compressed CD formats, and even pristine LP’s.)