Thursday, February 2, 2017

I Remember Records

I can remember when records and record players were popular.  I think it all started when Thomas Edison figured out you could capture sound on a cylinder and understand it when it was played back.  Around the turn of the twentieth century we came up with the shape of the modern record, a flat piece of material with groves on it.  The early ones spun around at 78 revolutions per minute and the sound, played through a steel needle, was not all that great, but as technology improved so did the sound quality.
Then someone figured out you could pack the information tighter together and slow the movement of the disk down to 33 1/3 revolutions per minute you would have a better sounding recording.  Why 78 and 33 1/3 RPM were chosen is one of life’s great mysteries, like why toast will always lands butter-side down if it is dropped on the floor.  Around the 1950’s someone had the bright idea you could put out singles of various songs, but for some strange reason they had to turn at 45 RPM and had to have a bigger hole in them so people with older players couldn’t hear them.
Next came the introduction of stereo where there was more than one speaker and the sound came at you from different directions.
The thing about records was their durability, or lack of.  The early records would shatter if dropped, and the later vinyl versions would warp if not properly cared for and stored.  Then, of course, you had the problem with scratches from the needle being jarred or general mishandling at the hands of the consumer.  There was also the problem of transportability, you really couldn’t carry your records around to listen to them wherever and whenever you wanted.  You could listen to someone else’s records on the radio, but that didn’t produce the same pleasing qualities as choosing your own songs to listen to.
Today’s social media seems a lot like an early record.  Everything spins at high RPM, the quality of the recordings stink, and everyone seems to be ruining the records with their poor handling of the product.  Tell you what, let me know when the speed of the recordings slow down just a bit and the fidelity of logic replaces the hyperbole of emotion.

1 comment:

EMax said...

Very little "spins" any more these days. Hard drives in computers are too a way of the past and everything now runs on "Flash Memory" and the result is things are processed much faster. DVD drives are gone and most of the time will require an external device. Thumb drives are the new norm. I'm loving it!

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