My Inexorable Retreat From Technology

The advance of technology is inexorable and few folks ever seem to understand or even be aware on how it affects one’s actions and one’s thoughts.

The advent of the digital camera in which after taking a raw image one can convert it into many ways, from high contrast to b+w or to some crazy colour has at the same time taken away from the photographer a flexibility of approach, as an example, to a portrait.

I prefer to use more than one camera. I might use a digital camera, a large medium format and a 35mm Nikon FM-2, both with film. I might and I have opted for two 35mm cameras, one loaded with b+w film and the other with colour. And while my stock of Fuji Instant film lasts I can shoot that with my Mamiya RB-67.

My friends think this is inefficient. I argue that the one digital image with all its possible variations is still one and the same picture. When I transfer from one camera to another, my portrait subject might move and reconsider a pose. The changing of cameras also affects how I approach my next shot. The result is a large variety of portraits.

Having a smart phone suddenly be made obsolete by a new version or model makes most people trade in (better word is discard).

I have been faced with this new technology conundrum with our brand new 2017 Chevrolet Cruze. Once we had purchased the car I was shocked to find out that it had no CD player.

My friends have told me that I must modernize and accept the changing technology. I have been instructed to “rip” my CDs and then convert the files to MP3 and save them on to a flash drive.

Much has been written on how MP3 files compress sound by taking stuff. Much has been written about the warmer sound of LP records.

Of the former statement I do not think my ears could possibly tell the difference between an MP3 file played through a good sound system and an equivalent CD through the same. Of the latter I believe, since I am old enough to have seen my first long play record in 1955, that many records had noise and scratches from day one. I remember the spending of money to get a better cartridge, a better turntable, a better record cleaning device, etc.

I believe that most who praise the sound of modern LPs are younger people who believe what they read.

I am very happy with the sound of my many CDs in my home sound sytstem with a Denon CD player, NAD amplifier and the JBL Studio Monitors. If I have to play a record for which I have no corresponding CD I use my Sony linear tracking turntable with a Stanton cartridge.

Today I went to my local London Drugs and enquired, “How can I play CDS in my new car that does not have a CD changer?”

A $40 portable Sylvania CD changer connected to my car’s headphone port (it took 1 minute after I put to double As into the changer) produced beautiful sound which I can modify for volume with two buttons behind my steering wheel. It sounds superb but I am sure I could not tell the difference from an MP3 file.

It feels good to be a throwback.

At Sikora’s in Vancouver (they sell CDs!) I was told (they are most pleasantly knowlegeable of two, heretofore unknown to me, CDs from the Dave Brubeck Quartet project that began with Time Out. I had the third one, Time Out in Outer Space (and dedicated to John Glenn) as an LP that was beginning to show its age. I now have the whole collection and lots of it is listening to something for the first time even though it might be 50 years old.

Link to: My Inexorable Retreat From Technology

Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store