Friday, December 10, 2021


 I was cleaning the attic a bit recently, going through some boxes, mostly things we moved and never unpacked, and I found a pile of CDs, mostly either recordings of live shows or “mixes.” I put that in words just because many of the discs I attached that label to, my wife disagreed with the designation. 

For me, a mix was essentially any CD (or, of course, tape) that was a collection of songs that someone other than the artist/studio put together. So, for instance, a “Queen Mix” might be a bunch of favorite Queen songs. 

For my wife, a mix shouldn’t have more than one or, in rare cases, two songs by a single artist. More the classic mix tape.

Now, of course, these physical CDs are just sort of useless. I listen almost exclusively on my phone, through headphones. I can still remember when having four-foot tall speakers with a subwoofer and maybe a couple surround sound speakers was the highest audio achievement. Along with a record player, dual tape deck, 6-CD changer, and radio, plus the TV. When I got exactly that, I was over the moon. Now you couldn’t pay me to take them off your hands. Who has the space for all that? 

It’s amazing the sound quality you can get from small speakers if you want to play music out loud, and of course headphones / earbuds have gotten better and better. I know there are purists who decry the loss of quality in digital music, but even as into music as I am… it’s fine. Absolutely fine. The convenience far outweighs the relatively small loss of quality, and the sound of headphones, especially the noise-cancelling ones, has gotten better and better.

But it's definitely different. There was something magical about putting on a favorite song or album on the big system and just letting the sound wash over you, not to mention sharing that experience with a friend, simultaneously experiencing it yourself and waiting for their reaction. It's just not quite the same to watch someone listening on headphones, much less listening through the phone's speaker.  

1 comment:

  1. I still have some of my CD collection. I kept my favorites but sold many of the others long ago, but not before ripping them to MP3s. I liked having a 6 disc CD player. I'd put in several CDs and hit shuffle. It did take up a lot of room though and I don't think I'd want one now either!