Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wow and flutter
There was a time when average folks spent the majority of their stereo budget on. . . a tape deck. I've owned a few in my time, all entry-level stuff, a Denon, a Nakamichi, never a Sony ES, interestingly enough. The issue was that I never owned a car stereo or Walkman of high enough quality to warrant making good dubs. This despite the fact that a one J.A. Feldman challenged me to making the best tape mixer (but he put tracks from Farewell to Kings on his, so how could I compete?) Even with sub-par equipment, making a quality tape mix is like creating art- it embodies self-expression, balance, and something of an effort to connect with our fellow man. I have never gotten the same feeling when doing so using iTunes or Media Player on the computer, and I think the reason lies in the lack of forgiveness when using tape. Sure, you can record over something, but it takes time and effort (real time, usually). Plus you get the chance to actually interact with the mechanicals of a tape deck- you hear the heads engage and disengage the tape, hear the whirring of the motors during fast forward and rewind, cool stuff. For a few years now I've needed to dub my late brother-in-law's cassette tape recordings of his band (he was an excellent guitar player) to CD, so it's time to buy a tape deck. The question is, what is still out there that is worth spending any money on?