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Born into an Analog World

Updated: Apr 19, 2021

I was born into an analog world. At least for me, there really wasn’t such a thing as “high tech”. People had vacuums, clothes washers, cars, radios, and televisions. Clothes dryers and automatic dishwashers were the exception, not the rule. Computers were exotic far away things beyond the reach of common folk. At one point my family lived in an area of rural Kansas where the television reception was so poor that when the TV broke there wasn’t any point in getting it fixed. My first glimpse of the coming digital age was of a computer punch card. What a novel concept that a volume of information could be stored on a stiff piece of paper. More amazing still, that computing power and computer storage would evolve into the ubiquitous systems we have today.

At the age of twelve I bought a reel to reel tape recorder. Which was just one chapter in my life long fascination with sound, music, singing, acting, and the performing arts. In high school I worked at the local radio station. It had a small recording studio which was equipped a microphone on a swing arm, a pair of headphones, a couple of reel to reel tape decks and some cart machines. If you’ve never seen one, a cart machine records and plays tape cartridges that resemble 8-track tapes. If you’ve never seen an 8-track tape, then someday I’ll have to tell you about my 1977 Chrysler Newport. It had the full package—vinyl top, 8-track stereo, and power steering! Nonetheless, commercials and other messages were recorded first on reel to reel and then dubbed on to cart tapes. Cart tapes were available in fixed lengths of 15, 30, and 60 seconds. Essentially a cart tape was an endless tape loop in a plastic case which made it self cuing. In other words, once a cart was played it would stop and be ready to play again at the beginning of the recording. Here’s the Wikipedia link. Fidelipac - Wikipedia

Analog vs Digital. Is one better than the other? From my perspective they both have their place. But there is no denying the egalitarian elegance of digital recording. For a modest investment, one can assemble the necessary components (microphone, computer interface, headphones, and download the software) and begin recording on your computer. However, that is just the first step on the path towards realizing your creative vision. Whether it’s music or voiceover, the practice of one’s craft is a labor of love that demands an investment of time, resources, and energy; but one that ultimately yields professional and personal dividends.

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