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18 September 2013

Today's topic: Digital Revolution Evolution - Chapter 3

"Honey, I shrunk the tunes!"

Some laugh at how dated the LP record is but were it not for the original 'large' disc could we fully appreciate the CD? Or a computer's hard disk drive? Speaking of records, at around 14 minutes per side for 10-inch and 23 minutes per side for 12-inch, LPs provided a measured time to enjoy a recording before having to 'flip' discs.

The standard 45-minute playing time of the LP was a significant improvement over that of the previous dominant format, the 78 rpm single, which was generally limited to three or four minutes of play time. 3 to 4 minutes per side… up to a whopping 8 minutes for both sides!

Today's CDs are half the size of most 78 rpm records and hold up to 80 minutes of audio! That's 10 times more recording time in half the space!

45 rpm records (pictured below) usually contain a single song on each side. Often 'A Side' recordings were / are more popular than 'B Side' recordings, but not always.

Picture of 45 rpm Record

45 RPM Record

I still own a number of LPs but at present do not own a turntable on which to play them. How about you?

Back in the day, album art (by my definition) included the art that appeared on the paper inner sleeve in which the LP was packaged and was often as elaborate and artistic as the outer shell, usually made of laminated cardboard having a paper finish which enabled the industry to print magazine quality graphics and text including full color photos… to say the least the packaging was at times as inspired as the recordings. These days the same can't be said of most CDs, simply because there isn't sufficient real estate for much more than song lyrics that are nearly impossible to read without a magnifying glass. Progress? Well, in a 'green' sense, yes. So why go on about what many consider to be antiquated and obsolete technology? History wouldn't be the same without tried and true old school ways and means of recording and enjoying music, images, video, etc.

BTW, what's your all-time favorite album art? I'm still thinking on mine.

The next time you hear someone scoff at a piece of antiquity, whether its the 'cheesy' special effects from a 1960's black and white science fiction TV show, or some fading and flickering home video shot with a Super 8 video camera, or perhaps the ridiculously small size of disc camera negatives and the poor quality images they sometimes produced, remind them that these and countless other examples defined 'state of the art' at the time. When we measure the past by today's standards we likewise invite a critique of today's cutting edge technology at some later date. While the shape of things to come is always uncertain, it's a sure bet that the shape of 'what is' will in some way influence the shape of 'what will be' in the future.

Continued soon…


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< Digital Revolution Evolution 2
I took a little trip down memory lane and arrived somewhere in the 1980's, wearing a Casio C-80 calculator-watch, which as memory serves me was the first digital 'hybrid' I'd ever owned. I've possessed a few hybrids in my 55 years... Read More


Digital Revolution Evolution 4 >
"Honey, I shrunk the tunes!" (continued)

Just when you think music can't get any smaller, somewhere in the mid 1990's a newfangled way of reproducing audio bursts onto the scene… enter the mp3. With all due respect... Read More


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