The Old Bear's Den

my hiding place from the world...

Digital versus analog

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When I was a child, the turntable, tapes, reel to reel and 8 track, yes I said 8 track, then later cassettes, and the radio were the only sources of music.

The Internet was not an embedded part of peoples lives, no one had heard of digital outside of the world of technology.  Certainly not in the day to day lives of people enjoying music.

Now music in digital form is everywhere, CD’s, MP3 players, Ipods, cell phones, streaming music, even our cars have digital music both from connected devices and digital radio and satellites.

This is not about digital music bashing, I love the portability and accessibility digitizing music has given us. I can listen to my choice of music almost anywhere I go now because of this revolution, like most technical advances, I love it.

But I was recently reminded that analog still has a place in our audio world.

The wild child starting “stealing” our albums from packed away boxes a few years ago.  We gave her a stereo with a turntable in it and she loved it.  The vinyl now resides in her studio, where I have to go find it.  Which brings me to this post.

I have a turntable, it is hooked to the stereo in my office where I have some speakers I love dearly. A pair of Infinity’s that are older than some of my children, but they have a quality I think is hard to find accessible in today’s world.   I picked them up used years ago (we won’t say how many) and I have kept them in spite of not being able to use them all the time because of their size (they don’t fit in every room).

I forgot the turntable was there.  Over time I piled cords on top of the cover, I only use the stereo once in a while in recent years.  I hooked the laptop to the stereo to be able to enjoy the room full of sound.  I forget how much I love music sometimes.

Yesterday, I unburied the turntable and went into the wild childs studio and dug out some of my old albums.  I was almost afraid to play them, that the sound would not live up to my memory of the sound.

Don’t get me wrong, I really do love the accessibility digital music has, but when I dusted off the turntable and placed a record on it, I remembered the way the music resonated in a room and lowered the needle… I sat quietly as the sound filled the room.

It was beautiful, the waves of sound, the clarity, and the mellow tones, it was as good as the memory ever was.  I played records all afternoon while I worked.  One or two had some issues, a dirty record sounds worse than a lot of things in this world, but a clean record can have all the tone and fullness that sometimes digital just cannot achieve.

I know at least some of the arguments.  I will still listen to music from my phone and MP3 player, it isn’t about replacing, it is about being able to enjoy.  I won’t ever have the sound system that some audiophiles preach about, but I won’t swear off digital because of quality and tone either, I will enjoy the best of both worlds where I can.

I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy music, no matter the delivery mechanism…

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