Thursday, December 09, 2010


years ago i read a sci-fi short story where the future turned out exactly as predicted via 1920s, 1930s sci-fi movies like fritz lang's metropolis. a future that was all analog replete with flying cars and personal jet-packs. a future sleek with art deco interiors and phallic skyscrapers penetrating the ether. a future where we ate food in the form of pills and communicated thru, um, radio.

only the skyscrapers were true. and they were true when those old movies were made. but here we are ending the first decade of the 21st century and i still don't have my jet-pack, and jammed as the california freeways are and as much as i would like to have a flying car, my car doesn't fly, thus limiting me in my mobility as i get stuck in rush hour traffic.

yet the technologies we utilize every day is so very much like sci-fi. smart phones? who could've envisioned those even 20 years ago. a couple weeks ago we treated ourselves to an early christmas gift and got a new blu ray dvd player. that thing is amazing. hd tv looks great. but what's even better is that we connected the blu ray to the internet via wi-fi and can stream movies and all sorts of stuff. astonishing! oh, if that technology existed when i was a kid. once upon a time if you wanted to watch a program on tv you had to wait for it to air at a certain time on a certain day. if you missed it, tough.

now i hear vinyl records are making a kind of comeback. they never went away for there is a core audience of audiophiles who always preferred the warmer sounds of wax. the lps are gaining in popularity because they offer an alternative to digital downloads. a physical object with a larger surface area so that the album art can be better appreciated. not that itunes should have anything to worry about. i'm sure the same kids buying vinyl still jealously possess their ipods. they probably even convert their lps to mp3 files to upload onto their ipods.

i remember when cd players were cutting edge and had that wow factor. they still have that wow factor for me. a small shiny disc that can hold all that music or movies blows my mind. the newest generation perhaps haven't cut their teeth on discs and know only itunes and streaming video via netflix. i predict a day when the older people, people like me, refuse to learn the new technologies and stubbornly hold on to their cd players and still think of them as cutting edge. cd players shall become quaint as an old victrola. it's hard to gather that such technology shall be thought of as square by the newest set of kids that will come after us. we'll tell the youngest of them that once upon a time if you wanted to change the channel on the tv you had to get up, cross the room, and turn a knob. if that knob broke off you turned the channel with a set of pliers. some of those tv's were even without color! the newest of the new kids will look at us with incredulity and say to us, my god -- how did you survive?


At 3:20 PM, Blogger Jim K. said...

My daughter is big on the LPs.
The MP3 wavelet compression has a
weird swimmy thing we can both hear.

A lot of artists go analog until
they hit the final mastering.
Beach house goes low-fi analog
with a cassette 4-track mix.
Sharon Jones and Amy Winehouse
go all tubes and reels with the
Dap Kings for the 'warm' sound.

If you go one notch up from the
common MP3 the difference pretty
much washes out. The killer is
when 16-bit CDs get ripped into
MP3...the lower noise get all
thrashy and bubbly in the treble.
Decent headphones show no mercy.

I'm slowly pecking my way back
into real hifi, part by part.
Some elves are workin on
Cambridge Audio (UK) spkrs
for me, I hear tell. Pretty
resonable for the audiphile sound.
I got a class-T amp from
thinkgeek to drive them.

At 3:26 PM, Blogger Ed Baker said...

I still have my
Heathkit Dual 25 ( built it myself one resistor at a time)
two AR -speakers
and that brown Gerard turntable

At 8:28 AM, Blogger Jim K. said...

Classics. I bought some
AR speakers surplus when they
folded the tent here. Smooth.

One ugly spot in hifi
classics is "foam rot" in
speakers like Genesis..

The future is ripe for
the good hifi again...
the class-D and class-t amps.
It'll be returning to the

It's incredible how the speakers
have evolved. The small-driver
ultra-hard-wall: even the $50
pair I got at Rad.Shack shows
the gains.

Strange how everyone is in their
own world at home now. Hard to
'crank it up'. A world in hiding.

At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah yeah yea yeah
Jimmy K.

me thinks that we-all went brain dead sometime in the mid 80's

got lobotomized en mass
caught Ronald Reagan's Alzheimer's

but never fear ..../ as, I am

searching the stars
for intelligent life
damn little of it here


pee est

what we-the-people need.... RIGHT NOW is

to get rid of 97% of all of this
Politically Correct ...... crap

and unplug from Big Brother and
spin some 78 s

At 4:56 PM, Blogger Jim K. said...

interesting hodgepodge...
serves me right for getting windy

all apologies

ps: i could never do 78s :-)

At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Vaguely Quotable said...

A couple of friends of mine are nostalgic for tapes. To me they always seemed a technological stop gap. Yeah, I 'm a vinyl (music) fetishist. I'm convinced it sounds different. That can be my ghost. Ryan

At 5:36 PM, Blogger Jim K. said...

phase jitter and
the collapse of the soundstage


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