I Refuse to Let Go of My Retro


I was leisurely making my way through my iTunes library and playlists this afternoon, juggling around some of my music for the purpose of relaxation, with a bit of productivity thrown in. I came across one song that reminded me of why I love music so much, and why music that sounds extraordinary is so essential to me everywhere I go.

To begin, I am an audiophile of sorts, though acutely imperfect as far as that definition goes. Wikipedia defines an audiophile as one who is a “hobbyist who seeks high-quality audio reproduction via the use of specialized high-end audio electronics.” Wikipedia goes on to say, “Audiophiles can purchase special recordings made with extra attention to sound quality, some being special audiophile-oriented reissues, as well as recordings in high-resolution formats such as Super Audio CD or DVD-Audio. Many modern audiophiles also take advantage of lossless file formats such as WAV, FLAC, WMA Lossless, and Apple Lossless.” I suppose – or maybe I just hope – the last bit qualifies me as an audiophile, but also as one who does not believe in going broke on tons of high-$$$$ home stereo equipment just to listen to music that sounds as close to perfect as possible.

I am an ipodophile, because going digital has saved me space, money (on equipment and maintenance), and time. And I can also share the joys of my large music collection with others with little effort. Clicking and dragging and burning in iTunes is far more efficient than the old ways. I have five iPods and an iTouch. Plus I have a DroidX and a Nook Color, both of which hold lots of music and play Pandora radio. The days of spending hours to produce one high-quality cassette or mini-disc or recorded CD – on a full-blown CD recorder – are long over. I still have my vast collection of cassettes, both recorded and blank, and the photo below shows just a small assemblage of some of the old recording medium I haved stored for many years.

Note the Denon MG-X metal cassettes – those were $15 blank tapes. The Sony UX-Pro, Denon HD and HDM, and the Maxell XL-II S – they were all top-notch tapes for recording music that could enable Ella to break the glass. The mini-discs? I, like the Japanese, was convinced they were the right medium for the time, and I still cling to those, too. I still have my Sony mini-disc player/recorder, my $1,000 1986 Nakamichia CD player/changer, my Denon 3-head cassette recording deck, and my Sony CD player/recorder. I never did get a Nakamichi Dragon, which was a teenage dream of mine. I yearned for a Dragon for years and years. Those still go for $1,500 & up. And as to Ella – if you are not old enough, here is that memorable and great Ella Fitzgerald commercial for Memorex.

I still have my Fisher Studio Standard (1980-ish) amp and tuner, and they work perfectly. I only added a “modern” Yamaha surround-sound receiver (still, an older, 1st generation style) to drive my Bose AM5 Series II satellites and subwoofer for watching movies. I still use a late 70s model Realistic (Radio Shack brand) graphic equalizer. My 1982 Technics turntable took a dive, but I will get it fixed.

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February 15, 2010