Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Turntable Story


So I went to a shop today, and asked for a demo of the Rega RP3 turntable. And my first questions were:

1. Can you choose which track or song to play? And if yes, how do you do that? 

2. What happens if you fall asleep while you're listening to a "record" and the record ends? (yes, that's what they used to call 'em). Will the turntable automatically stop, will it go back to the first track, will it make screeching sounds? Hahaha.

We used to have a turntable (the kind enclosed in a cabinet), but I don't remember if I ever fiddled around with it enough to know how it worked. My memory of playing music starts with cassette tapes (and for the young ones, yes, the "mixtape" featured so prominently in Guardians of the Galaxy). The cassette tape players (think John Cusack and Say Anything) had Stop/Pause, Forward and Rewind buttons. You could sort of choose what track to play. And it automatically stopped when you ran out of tape.

It's funny how the world works. Music started being played "live", and then you could play it at home with vinyl. Then cassette tapes and CDs became the norm because you could bring the music with you, wherever. Nowadays, ipods and phones have supplanted CDs because one can store thousands of songs inside, or stream music through them, making music even more portable.

And yet, vinyl, which was supposed to have died and become extinct, is still around. And surprisingly, resurgent. Which makes me wonder - is it because one can actually see the album art (not the puny view from iTunes or spotify), or read the liner notes (no such thing with digital files)? Is it because you are forced to listen to the entire album, not just the one song which was #1 in the charts?

So excuse me while I re-read High Fidelity. And, as Zooey Deschanel says in Almost Famous, "Look under your bed. It'll set you free."

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