How the Internet Archive Has Digitized More than 250,000 78 R.P.M. Records: See the Painstaking Process Up-Close

In the history of recorded music, no medium has demonstrated quite the staying power of the phonograph record. Hearing those words, most of us envision a twelve-inch disc designed to play at 33 13 revolutions per minute, the kind still manufactured today. But like every other form of technology, that familiar vinyl LP didn’t appear ex nihilo: on its introduction in 1948, it was the latest in a series of phonograph records of different sizes and speeds. The first dominant record format spun at 78 r.p.m., a speed standardized in the mid-1920s, though the discs themselves (made of rubber, shellac, or other pre-vinyl materials) had been in production since the end of the 19th century and remained in production until the 1950s.

The half-century of the “78” adds up to quite a lot of music, most of which has long been inaccessible to non-antiquarians. Enter the historically minded technologists of the Internet Archive, who since 2016 have been working with media preservation company George Blood LP to digitize, preserve, and make available, as of this writing, more than 250,000 such records.

The process involves much more than playing them all into a computer, due not least to the toll the past century or so has taken on the discs’ surfaces. “Each record is cleaned on a machine that sprays distilled water onto its surface,” writes The Verge’s Kait Sanchez. “A little vacuum arm then sucks up the water, along with whatever dirt and nastiness has built up in the record’s grooves.”

“The discs are then photographed, and the photos are referenced to pull info from the discs’ labels and add it to the archive’s database by hand.” There follows the actual digitization, which records each disc with four styli at once: since 78s never had standardized groove sizes, “recordings taken with various stylus tips will each sound slightly different,” but for any record in the George Blood Collection the listener can choose which of the four they’d prefer to listen through. You can see each step of the process in the video at the top of the post, part of a Twitter thread recently posted by the Internet Archive. There the Archive notes that, “after scanning 250,000 sides, we’ve found 80% of these 78s were produced by the ‘Big Five’ labels” — Columbia, RCA Victor, Decca, Capitol and Mercury — “but along the way, we’ve uncovered 1700 other music labels and some pretty beautiful picture discs.”

You can look at — and more to the point, listen to — everything in the the George Blood Collection here, which is a subset of the Internet Archive’s larger collection of digitized 78 records as well as the cylinders that 78s wholly displaced as a consumer format. As the Internet Archive’s Twitter thread reminds us, “from 1898-1950, this was THE way music was recorded & shared.” In other words, if your parents were listening to music in that period — or maybe your grandparents, great-grandparents, or great-great grandparents — 78s were their MP3s, their Spotify, their Youtube. We descend as listeners from enthusiastic buyers of 78s, and now, thanks to the Internet Archive and its collaborators, we can enjoy a large and ever-increasing proportion of their entire world of recorded music for free.

via The Verge

Related Content:

Massive Archive of 78RPM Records Now Digitized & Put Online: Stream 78,000 Early 20th Century Records from Around the World

25,000+ 78RPM Records Now Professionally Digitized & Streaming Online: A Treasure Trove of Early 20th Century Music

The Internet Archive Is Digitizing & Preserving Over 100,000 Vinyl Records: Hear 750 Full Albums Now

The Boston Public Library Will Digitize & Put Online 200,000+ Vintage Records

The Groundbreaking Art of Alex Steinweiss, Father of Record Cover Design

How the Internet Archive Digitizes 3,500 Books a Day–the Hard Way, One Page at a Time

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

The Story of the Rolling Stones: A Selection of Documentaries on the Quintessential Rock-and-Roll Band

The Rolling Stones define the rock-and-roll band, as they have for nearly six decades now. Exactly how they’ve done so is thoroughly documented, not least by the band’s own expansive and still-growing catalog of songs and albums (all of which I happen to have spent the last few months listening through). But the story of the Stones continues to compel, told and re-told as it is in every form of media produced by each era through which the band has passed: books, articles, podcasts, and also the sort of documentaries we’ve collected here today. Some were originally produced for television; others, like WatchMojo’s “The Rolling Stones: The Story & the Songs” above, for the internet. Each of them addresses the same question: how did a couple of blues-obsessed lads from Kent come to run the biggest rock group in the world?

Even when straightforwardly presented, as in the Biography broadcast above, the history of the Rolling Stones constitutes a pop-cultural thrill ride. It begins, by most accounts, with former classmates Mick Jagger and Keith Richards bumping into each other at a train station in 1961. Their shared interest in music, and especially American blues, inspired them to put a band together.

Before long, Jagger and Richards’ Blues Boys made the acquaintance of another band, Blues Incorporated, whose members included Brian Jones, Ian Stewart and Charlie Watts. Though Watts wouldn’t join up until later, the other four constituted most of the first lineup of the Rolling Stones, who made their debut at London’s Marquee Club in July 1962.

You can see a great deal of archive footage depicting the Stones in their early years in the documentary above, Rolling Stones: Rock of Ages. The title implies an obvious and much-repeated joke about the once-rebellious youngsters’ insistence on rocking into relatively advanced age. But onstage — and the live performance has always been essential to their appeal, more so even than their albums — they remain very much the same band once promoted with the question “Would you let your sister go with a Rolling Stone?” That line was only one of the strategies used by its author, the Stones’ first manager Andrew Loog Oldham, to launch his boys into worldwide popularity by framing them as the brash opposite of the Beatles — to whom, despite their considerable musical differences, one can hardly avoid making reference in the story of the Stones.

Though the bands became fast friends in real life, the press of the 1960s couldn’t resist crafting a rivalry, as recounted in The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones, the Canal+ documentary above. Whatever competition existed between them (or with American bands like the Beach Boys) only encouraged them to make their music more powerful and distinctive. This they did in the face of countless personal and professional setbacks, which for the Stones included the loss of founding member Brian Jones and the violent Altamont Free Concert, widely interpreted as the end of the utopian 1960s. As products and survivors of that era, the Stones also remain embodiments of its insouciant ambition. “For my generation, what was happening and the feeling in the air was: it’s time to push limits, says no less a survivor than the subject of Keith Richards: The Origin Of The Species. “The world is ours now, and you can rise or fall on it.”

Related Content:

A Visual History of The Rolling Stones Documented in a Beautiful, 450-Page Photo Book by Taschen

Watch the Rolling Stones Write “Sympathy for the Devil”: Scenes from Jean-Luc Godard’s ’68 Film One Plus One

Revisit the Infamous Rolling Stones Free Festival at Altamont: The Ill-Fated Concert Took Place 50 Years Ago

The Rolling Stones at 50: Mick, Keith, Charlie & Ronnie Revisit Their Favorite Songs

Watch the Rolling Stones Play “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” While Social Distancing in Quarantine

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

How the Clash Embraced New York’s Hip Hop Scene and Released the Dance Track, “The Magnificent Dance” (1981)

“Before playing guitar for Captain Beefheart and Jeff Buckley,” John Kruth writes at the Observer, “Gary Lucas worked as a copywriter for CBS/Epic Records,” where he fell in love with a punk band called the Clash, just signed to the label in 1977. “They weren’t easy to work with,” he remembered. “Like Frank Zappa, they spoke about politics, government and corporate interference with radio. They were, as I said, when I came up with the slogan to promote the album: ‘The only group that matters.’”

The slogan stuck and has become something more than marketing hype. Of the slew of British punk bands who made their way to the US in the late 1970s/early 1980s, the Clash had more impact than most others in some unexpected ways. Their classic double album London Calling made Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine (the only 90s rap-rock band that matters) take notice and change direction. “It was music I could relate to lyrically,” he says, “much more than the dungeons-and-dragons type lyrics of my metal forebears.”

Moreover, godfathers of political rap Public Enemy found their catalyst in the Clash, and went on to create a raucous, militant sound that was the punk equivalent in hip hop, full of snarling guitars, strident declarations and sirens. The song that most had an impact on PE founder and chief lyricist Chuck D came from the band’s even more sprawling triple album Sandinista!. When Chuck heard “The Magnificent Seven,” the Clash’s attempt to incorporate Grandmaster Flash and the Sugar Hill Gang — six months before Blondie released “Rapture” — “that’s when I started to pay attention,” he says.

“Magnificent Seven” came out of the band’s increasing musical adventurousness in the recording of 1980’s Sandinista!, in which they soaked up influences from every place they toured. “When we visited places,” Mick Jones remembered, “we were affected by that… And for me, New York City was really happening at that moment.” Jones took to carrying a boom box around blasting the latest hip hop. “Joe looked at the graffiti artists,” he says, “and I was taking in things like breakdancing and rap.” The band, bassist Paul Simenon recalls, was “open for information” when they met “people like Futura and Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow.”

The Clash didn’t only take from hip hop, but they tried to give back as well. Their 1981 run at “an aging Times Square Disco,” Jeff Chang writes, proved to be a major opportunity for graffiti artists like Futura, who painted a huge banner that was unfurled onstage every night and got to deliver his own rap while the band backed him. When the Clash announced an additional 11 shows after the NYPD limited capacity, they showed what Chang calls a “naive act of solidarity,” booking Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five as an opening act. White American punks sneered at the group; the Clash “responded by excoriating their own fans in interviews, and future Bronx-bred openers, The Treacherous Three and ESG, received marginally better treatment.”

Even more exciting was the fact that the B-side to “The Magnificent Seven,” a dub remix called “The Magnificent Dance,” had made it to New York hip hop radio and made the band unlikely stars among black American listeners. “The Clash were ecstatic to tune into WBLS and find that the DJs were not only playing ‘The Magnificent Dance’ up to five times a day, but also doing their own remixes of it,” writes Marcus Gray, “dubbing on samples from the soundtrack of Dirty Harry.” While the track, with its loping bass line played by Ian Drury and the Blockheads bassist Norman Watt-Roy, primed dance floors for the success of the following year’s funk/disco “Rock the Casbah,” it was the lyrics that most grabbed listeners like Morello and Chuck D.

“They talked about important subjects,” says Chuck, “so therefore journalists printed what they said…. We took that from the Clash, because we were very similar in that regard. Public Enemy just did it 10 years later.” It may have taken that long for the barriers between punk and hip hop fans to come down, but to the extent that they did, it was in large part thanks to the musical adventurousness of the Clash and the early icons and fans who saw their revolutionary potential.

Related Content: 

“Stay Free: The Story of the Clash” Narrated by Public Enemy’s Chuck D: A New 8-Episode Podcast

The Story Behind the Iconic Bass-Smashing Photo on the Clash’s London Calling

Watch Audio Ammunition: A Documentary Series on The Clash and Their Five Classic Albums

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

What Makes Ringo Starr a Great Drummer: Demonstrations from a German Teenager & Ringo Himself

The question of whether or not Ringo Starr is a great rock drummer — maybe one of the greatest– seems more or less settled among drummers. “From the simplistic heavy-hitting of Dave Grohl, to the progressive mind bending of Mike Portnoy, and way beyond,” writes Stuart Williams at Music Radar, “all roads lead back to Ringo.” Not only is Ringo “your favorite drummer’s favorite drummer,” but when he took the stage in 1964 on The Ed Sullivan Show, “you’d be hard-pushed to find another moment where one drummer inspired an entire generation of kids and teenagers to pick up a pair of sticks and beg their parents to buy them a kit.”

There was little precedent for what he did in rock drumming even in the band’s earliest years. Ringo helped change “the role of the drums from an orthodox, military and jazz-led discipline into a more democratised art form. If there was a blueprint for what drummers ‘did’ in rock ’n’ roll, Ringo’s approach widened it,” adds Music Radar. Much of his expansive vocabulary was accidental, at least at first, a product of what Beatles biographer Bob Spitz calls a childhood beset by “a Dickensian chronicle of misfortune.”

Like many a groundbreaking musician, Ringo played at what might be considered a physical disadvantage. He learned the drums in “the hospital band,” he once said, while convalescing from tuberculosis. “My grandparents gave me a mandolin and a banjo, but I didn’t want them. My grandfather gave me a harmonica… we had a piano — nothing. Only the drums.” Like Hendrix, he was a lefty forced to adapt to a right-handed version of the instrument, thus enlarging what right- (and left) handed drummers thought could be done with it.

As German drummer Sina demonstrates at the top of the post, Ringo’s unique style involves a great deal of subtlety, “tone, taste, musicality, and that left-handed drummer on a right-handed kit reverse-fell tom-tom work,” writes Boing Boing. We’ve previously featured Sina in a post in which great drummers pay tribute to Ringo. The daughter of a musician in German Beatles tribute band the Silver Beatles, she shows off an unimpeachable grasp of Starr’s signature moves.

In the clip above, Ringo himself demonstrates his technique on “Ticket to Ride,” “Come Together,” and his highest-charting solo single “Back Off Boogaloo.” In explaining how he employed his most highly praised talent — playing exactly what the song needed and no more — he shows how the drum pattern in the Abbey Road opener came directly from John’s vocals and Paul’s bass line. In “Ticket to Ride,” he shows how he works from his shoulder, producing a downbeat that’s slightly ahead.

Where do Ringo’s quirks come from, according to Ringo? “It has to do with swing,” he deadpans, “or as we keep mentioning, medication.” More seriously, he explains above in an interview with Conan O’Brien, he “leads with his left,” a limitation that he turned into a musical legacy on his favorite Beatles drum moments and on everyone else’s.

via Boing Boing

Related Content: 

Musician Plays Signature Drum Parts of 71 Beatles Songs in 5 Minutes: A Whirlwind Tribute to Ringo Starr

How Can You Tell a Good Drummer from a Bad Drummer?: Ringo Starr as Case Study

Isolated Drum Tracks From Six of Rock’s Greatest: Bonham, Moon, Peart, Copeland, Grohl & Starr

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

The Rolling Stones Jam with Muddy Waters for the First and Only Time at Chicago’s Legendary Checkerboard Lounge (1981)

Whatever marketing materials may claim, the Rolling Stones did not just happen upon Buddy Guy’s Checkerboard Lounge on Chicago’s South Side (before it closed, reopened in Hyde Park, then closed again for good) on a night when Muddy Waters happened to be there in 1981. And they did not spontaneously get invited to jam, as it seems, when they “climbed over tables” to get onstage with their hero and blues legends Buddy Guy and Junior Wells.

A chance meeting, of course, would have been magical, but the truth is the event was probably “planned and coordinated,” writes W. Scott Poole at Popmatters. These were the biggest names in the blues and rock and roll, after all. “Why,” before the Stones and their entourage arrive, “is there an empty table on the night Muddy Waters came back to Southside?”

And why did the Rolling Stones’ manager claim he “approached the Checkerboard higher-ups a week in advance,” Ted Scheinman writes at Slant, “proposing a surprise concert and proffering $500 as proof-of earnest”?

Was it a cynical ploy to re-establish the band’s blues cred during what would turn out to be the largest grossing tour of the year — one featuring what Jagger called “enormous images of a guitar, a car and a record — an Americana idea.” In some sense, Muddy Waters was also an “Americana idea,” but how could he be otherwise to the Stones, given that they’d grown up listening to him from across the Atlantic, associating him with experiences they had never known firsthand?

And so what if the historic meeting at the Checkerboard Lounge was stage-managed behind the scenes? That’s what managers do — they arrange things behind the scenes and let performers create the illusion of spontaneity, as though they hadn’t spent an entire tour, or decades of tours, making the same songs seem fresh on any given night. When it comes to the blues, playing the same songs over again is a key part of the game, seeing how much attitude and style one can wring out of a few chords, doggedly persistent themes of sex, love, death, betrayal, and maybe a bottleneck slide.

It’s a lesson the Stones learned well, and their adoration and respect for Muddy Waters is nothing less than genuine, even if it took some backstage negotiation to bring them together this one and only time. Muddy is spectacular. “Even as one of the aging elder statesmen of the Chicago blues in 1981,” writes Poole, “he exudes an aura of sex and power, showing off every attribute that so inspired Mick and Keith and that became an ineffable part of their own music and their persona.”

Meanwhile, the absolutely boyish glee on the faces of Jagger, Richards, Ronnie Wood, and Stones’ pianist Ian Stewart as they perform onstage with an artist who had given them so much more than just their name speaks for itself. The concert video and live album “began appearing as bootleg and unofficial releases almost immediately,” Allmusic notes, “from LP and CD to VHS and DVD.” Here, you can see them jam out three songs from the night: “Baby Please Don’t Go” (on which Waters brings Jagger onstage at 5:30 for an extended version and Keith joins at 6:50), “Mannish Boy,” and “Hoochie Coochie Man.”

Related Content: 

10-Story High Mural of Muddy Waters Goes Up in Chicago

A Visual History of The Rolling Stones Documented in a Beautiful, 450-Page Photo Book by Taschen

The Rolling Stones Release a Long Lost Track Featuring Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Freddie Mercury & Rami Malek’s Live Aid Performance: A Side-By-Side Comparison

All Hollywood musicals need a big final set piece, one final rousing number to bring all the narrative threads back together, and provide redemption to our fallen hero. Bohemian Rhapsody, the 2018 biopic about Freddie Mercury and the band Queen, uses Live Aid as its final number. We’ve written elsewhere about how this was not really the final hurrah for the band, nor was this some kind of triumphant return after years in the Wilderness. (“Radio Gaga” and “I Want to Break Free” had been in the charts just over a year previous.) Neither was it their biggest concert of the 1980s. That would be the Wembley concert of 1986, where they would fill the exact same stadium used for Live Aid, but this time it was just for them.

But Hollywood cares not for that, so instead lets look at how faithfully Rami Malek and his fellow actors (along with what might have been Bryan Singer as director or possibly Dexter Fletcher, the man who replaced him after events we’d rather not go into, look it up) faithfully recreate those 20 glorious minutes. After all, it was one of the most watched events in the summer of 1985. There is video evidence!

I’ll leave it up to you out there to debate over Malek’s performance, which is going to suffer no matter what he does in a side-by-side with the real thing. Instead, notice how the filmmakers use certain parts of the performance to complete the narratives of the film. We get a cutaway to Brian May (Gwilym Lee) with a “by George he’s actually got it” look on his face—relief that Mercury finally got it together for the performance. There’s no equivalent shot in real life. The kiss that Mercury blows to somebody off camera is received by his mother and sister back at his childhood home.

After Mercury’s call-and-response with the teeming audience, the band dives into “Hammer to Fall” and the film cuts to a montage to show Live Aid’s phones ringing off the hook, anxious viewers wanting to donate even more because of Queen’s performance. This is again Hollywood hokum, as donations only really stepped up after Bob Geldof got in front of the cameras a little after Queen brought the house down and harangued viewers.

Still, you have to hand it to the movie for having the stones to indulge in the full 20 minute set, despite silly moves like cutting away to the movie’s “you’ll never go anywhere” record executive for the line “no time for losers” during the final song. (D’oh!)

YouTube user Juan Dela Cruz, who assembled this side-by-side, has made two other comparison videos using existing footage and the film: Part One is here, and here’s Part Two.

Related Content:

Watch Queen Rehearse & Meticulously Prepare for Their Legendary 1985 Live Aid Performance

Watch 16 Hours of Historic Live Aid Performances: Queen, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young & Much More

Bob Geldof Talks About the Greatest Day of His Life, Stepping on the Stage of Live Aid, in a Short Doc by Errol Morris

Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the Notes from the Shed podcast and is the producer of KCRW’s Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.

Watch a Newly-Restored Peter Gabriel-Era Genesis Concert Film From 1973 in Stunning 4K Quality

There are two late-20th century rock bands named Genesis and both of them featured Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, and Tony Banks. The second Genesis we know of as one of the biggest-selling bands of all time and authors of such massive hits as “Land of Confusion,” “In Too Deep,” and “Throwing It All Away.” The first we may not know at all, except indirectly by way of its frontman, Peter Gabriel, better known as… solo artist Peter Gabriel.

One reason Genesis, the second, is more famous than its predecessor must be the unabashed pop ambitions of the remaining three members after Gabriel departed in 1975 and pioneering lead guitarist Steve Hackett left in ‘77. Another, related, reason must surely be that Genesis, the first, made music that was not what most people would call accessible, even in the ‘70s, though it is undeniably beautiful and strange. Lovers of the song “Invisible Touch” might find themselves unprepared for “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.”

Gabriel, too, went pop in the 80s, though he only got a little less weird. Yet what largely drove the success of his solo career also drove the success of Genesis II: MTV made it impossible to escape “Big Time” and “No Reply at All.” Can we imagine an alternate ‘80s, perhaps, in which Gabriel’s odd-pop leanings and the earnest balladry of Collins & company found a middle ground? That is to say, if Peter Gabriel-era Genesis had made music videos? What too-little visual record we have of the first Genesis looks more and more promising in the YouTube age….

A few years back, we brought you news of a restored Peter Gabriel-era Genesis concert film from a 1973 show at England’s Shepperton Studios. Now, we have, from that same year, the concert above in Paris at the Bataclan in “a 4K restoration that is a stunning improvement over anything seen before,” writes Rolling Stone. “Simply put, it’s the most pristine video of a Peter Gabriel-era show that has ever surfaced.”

This is a good thing for fans of Genesis One. The band played their final album with Gabriel, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, in its entirety on all 104 tour stops two years later. It was “the most elaborate production they’d ever attempted,” and “in a decision they lived to regret, they never bothered to film it.” The Paris concert, if sadly incomplete, may be the closest we’ll get visually to the glorious high weirdness of the original Genesis.

Related Content: 

Watch Genesis (from the Peter Gabriel Era) Perform in a Glorious, 1973 Restored Concert Film

Peter Gabriel Re-Records “Biko,” His Anti-Apartheid Protest Song, with Musicians Around the World

Revisit Kate Bush’s Peculiar Christmas Special, Featuring Peter Gabriel (1979)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Watch “Hi-Fi-Fo-Fum,” a Short Satirical Film About the Invention of the Audiophile (1959)

Sometime in the mid-1990s, my father gave me his hi-end, hi-fi stereo system from the mid-1970s: a vacuum tube-powered amplifier, pair of stereo speakers in walnut cabinets, and a turntable. Heavy, bulky, and built with hardly an ounce of plastic between them, these components lacked all of the functionality we look for in consumer audio today: no 4K HDMI, no Bluetooth, no surround sound of any kind. As such features became de rigeur, my stereo migrated to the closet, piece by piece, then out the door, to make room for new, shiny black plastic boxes.

Now, a search for that same equipment turns up auctions for hundreds more than its worth ten, twenty, fifty years ago. Why does obsolete audio technology fetch such high prices, when there are appliance graveyards filled with CRT TVs and other relics of the analogue past? Blame the audiophile, a very specific kind of nerd who spends their days obsessing over frequency response curves, speaker placement, and the optimal tracking force of a stylus, immersed in magazine articles, online forums, and product reviews.

While the rest of the world contents itself with streaming MP3s and tinny computer speakers, audiophiles buy and restore old analogue stereo equipment, pair it with the latest in high-tech engineering, wire it together with connectors that cost more than your TV, and build specialized listening environments more like boutique showrooms than any run-of-the-mill man- or woman-cave. In short, they tend to orient their lives, as much possible, around the pursuit of perfect sound reproduction.

Audiophilia has trickled down, somewhat, in the renewed consumer love for vinyl records, but to compare the big box-store systems on which most people listen to LPs to the gear of the well-heeled cognoscenti is to spit upon the very name of Audio. The snobbery and endless dissatisfaction of the audiophile are nothing new, as the 1959 BBC short film above shows, addressing the question asked of audiophiles everywhere, at all times: “Do they like music? Or are they in love with equipment?”

The charming, satirical BBC portrait brings this character to life for non-audiophiles, who tend to find the audiophile’s obsessions unbearably tedious. But if appreciation for such things makes audiophiles just slightly better than ordinary listeners, so be it. Whatever the disagreements, and they are numerous, among them, all audiophiles “agree on the fundamental facts in life,” writes Lucio Cadeddu in a “Survivor’s Guide on Audiophile Behavior.”

Enjoyment of rhythmic, organized sound may be universally human, but for the audiophile, that pedestrian pleasure is secondary to “having a wide frequency response and getting a realistic virtual image, whatever that means.” Audiophilia, for all its privileged investment in equipment the average person can’t afford, can be seen as no more than an advanced form of conspicuous consumption. Or it can be seen as a life “devoted,” Cadeddu writes, “to formal perfection.”

via Ted Gioia 

Related Content: 

An 82-Year-Old Japanese Audiophile Searches for the Best Sound by Installing His Own Electric Utility Pole in His Yard

How Vinyl Records Are Made: A Primer from 1956

How Old School Records Were Made, From Start to Finish: A 1937 Video Featuring Duke Ellington

Conserve the Sound, an Online Museum Preserves the Sounds of Past Technologies–from Typewriters, Electric Shavers and Cassette Recorders, to Cameras & Classic Nintendo

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

« Go BackMore in this category... »
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.