Sound Thinking

As a somewhat libertarian, former techno-geek, West Coast sport-fan blogger, I am somewhat particular about what shows up on my Home Page in the morning.   After years of putting up with Yahoo, I switched last February to iGoogle, which allows me to customize my Home Page experience.  Translation: It allows me to choose news sources like the Wall Street Journal, geek-news like CNET and less East-Coast biased sports like ESPN that I’m more likely to read.  And the more I read, the more likely I am to find the kind of story that leads to a post for Top Sites Tuesday, the meme that asks for Two Thoughts on Tuesday.  This morning, CNET reported that Bruce Willis was considering a law-suit against Apple to assure that his extensive iTunes music collection could be passed on to his heirs.   You see, although the days of needing to connect to a music site to confirm your license before listening are long gone, you really don’t own the music you buy … you just have lifetime permission to have it on your computer.  At least in theory, you might not be able to pass that privilege on to your heirs.

Now hold it a minute, I thought (Thought Number One).  No one’s lining up to take possession of my 986 vinyl LP recordings (all in excellent condition, mind you).   My collection of cassettes have found their way to the Orange County dump and no one is likely to want my 546 CDs Is the next generation really going to be interested in outmoded music in an outmoded digital format?  After all, most purchased music is recorded in formats like mp3 and Advanced Audio Coding that use compression techniques to reduce the size of the files … compression that degrades the quality of the sound.

I come from the audiophile generation that fought for every Hz of frequency response and dB of dynamic range.  We mourned the loss of warmth when audio systems went from tubes to transistors.  We payed nearly double for digitally mastered vinyl records and complained about loss of fidelity when CDs came out using a lower sample rate.  We bought speaker systems the size of compact cars and carefully phased our speakers so that the bass response wouldn’t be suppressed.  But as the world changed, some of us changed with it … our speakers went from:

and our music went from:

and our headphones went from:

We appreciated being able to bring our whole music collection along in our pockets but knew it didn’t sound as good.

Now, really, Bruce … this being Thought Number Twowhen technological advances to allow storage of full-fidelity digital recordings on our devices, do you think your heirs, who will probably be watching football on a 14080i 200 inch LCDVC TV, are going to want your compressed iTunes purchases?  Get over yourself, Bruce.  And by the way, would you like to buy 986 vinyl records?  No?  Well, at least push my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #167.

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5 Comments on “Sound Thinking”

  1. cherperz Says:

    Hell yes, I would line up for your vinyl albums. Those babies are collectables…or at least some of them are. As for CD’s, I am with you I have tons of them and they are a bugger to store. I always have the best intentions of downloading them but then that technology changes as well. What good is it if you have a thousand songs down loaded on an Ipod and then switch to the newest and best MP3 player. I can see where audio files are getting more compressed but I am not seeing how it is easier to manage.

    • oldereyes Says:

      Well, it’s interesting. I thought they might be collectable, too, so I went to ebay to see what might be worth. Nearly all of them were there with no bids or bids under a dollar. I did some investigating and it turns out that for the most part, “special editions” and pressings are the only ones worth much. I did start to digitize the best of them but I never get very far.

  2. Trina Says:

    Great thought. Seriously how big and how much money did he spend on this collection? Next thought.. do you think he really listens to it all?

    I like your illustrations. I remember as a kid laying next to our big speakers thinking they were the most awesome… Pink Floyd was played just right “Breathe… breathe in the air..” and the speaker was moving enough air that you could feel it. While I love the Bose on my desk, it just doesn’t compare.


  3. Wolfbernz Says:

    Hi Bud,

    I’m not really an iTunes user, but it does seem a bit extreme to will you iTunes to your heirs (Like my children are going to listen to what I like anyway)

    Every now and then we run into a cassette in the shop. We get a good laugh seeing who can get it in the trash can.

    Nice Post, Clicks for you!

  4. My 16 year old son is OBSESSED with collecting vinyl albums, and he uses a real record player, from back in the day.

    It absolutely amazes me how much technology has shaped / changed the way we listen to music.

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