Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Real Retro.

No doubt you've heard about them. The folks who persist in buying vinyl. They come up with all sorts of interesting reasons involving waveforms and the human ear, stuff like that.

Bah, humbug to that!

If you want to be really hip and not buy into all those newfangled formats like mp3s and CDs listen to cassettes! Vinyl is for wimps. It takes a real man or woman to listen to music on cassette. I personally intend to to listen to a lot more music via cassette in the foreseeable future, and I might buy myself a Sony Walkman(a real cassette Walkman, not the radio and mp3 pretenders Sony slaps the name on) one of these days.

Okay, I'm not really doing this out of some misguided jihad against modern audio tech. I simply remembered how many cassettes I have lying around and intend to listen to them more, since there's a lot of great music on them. I'm not sure how many I have, but I bought a lot of them over the years, which of course will seem strange to younger readers who started buying music after the prerecorded cassette format was put out to pasture.

In an era when people want their music instantly and can randomly access hundreds or thousands of songs from a device that fits in their palm the idea of listening to cassettes can seem frustrating. Want to listen to a specific song on the cassette? You need to sit there and fast forward or rewind until you reach the beginning of the song. Even vinyl allows quicker access to a tune. Even if you listen to a side all the way through in most cases you'll need to spend some time rewinding or fast forwarding because most albums don't have equal amounts of material on a side. But in a way the cassette was truer to the way albums were recorded during their heyday than other formats, as songs were recorded one after another on reel to reel multitracks before being mixed down to a master reel to real stereo tape. Like a cassette to access a certain point on such tapes you had to fast foward or rewind them, although this was faster and there were ways of aiding the process.

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