Tech

My Stereo’s Three Lives

KMNR's extensive CD collection

KMNR’s extensive CD collection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have an old Philips stereo, it sounds lovely with crisp, crackle-free audio, it used to be my alarm clock and saw daily use playing CDs but has languished in my living room, underused, being merely decorative for many years.  It has a cassette deck along with the CD player, it doesn’t have an iPod dock or even a 3.5mm input jack.  First the cassettes gave way to CDs and now MP3s are the norm, perhaps it could have been the end for my humble stereo.

But no, I was not prepared to give up its audio abilities that easily.  Now it is an amplifier, with some adaptors and a bluetooth receiver attached to its rear it has a new lease of life.  I have just about finished uploading my 6,300 track music library to Google Play Music and as such can play any of my collection via my Nexus 7 tablet over bluetooth onto my venerable old stereo.  The old Philips now effectively has a touchscreen remote interface and access to six-thousand searchable tracks, all of which sound as good (to me at least) as they did when I first listened to them on that same stereo on the days I bought the CDs.

I am still awed by what modern technology can achieve with these powerful mobile devices and cloud services.  Especially when I can rope in my good old tech too.

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Gadgets, Music, Tech

HBCD

Compact Disk

This could make me feel old but I’m not going to let it.  This year the CD celebrates its thirtieth birthday.  I was seven when I watched the famous demonstration on Tomorrow’s World of how you could spread jam on it (clean it off) and it would still play.  They didn’t mention that it you cleaned it with anything more scratchy than a swan’s tail feather and then played it in a less than perfect CD player it would skip more than, oh I don’t know, a bush kangaroo.  But in those early days Sony and Philips’ shiny new disc and player were the future of high quality, high fidelity digital music in a time where computers still had mono screens and games consoles still had faux-mahogany cases.

Today MP3 downloads and streaming services like Spotify are said to sound the death knell for CDs, like those same hypnotic discs were meant to do for vinyl.  I still buy most of my music on CD because I like the experience of getting a new album, opening the case, putting it in the CD player and listening to it all the way through while looking at the booklet.  Once it’s on the computer it’s all to easy to skip tracks and shuffle it with all the other albums.  But then I’m the same with books.  Sales may fall but I’m sure there will be plenty of people like me willing to buy them for some time still.

So happy thirtieth you little iridescent disc you, many happy returns, or should that be repeats.

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