By force of an old habit I read Livejournal blogs through the website instead of Bloglines. I immediately regretted that because once again almost made a mistake of writing about a private post. Livejournal marks private posts with little locks, and I once very stupidly discussed some non-public information about an LJ user without realizing that it was from a locked or “friends only” post. Eeek, I cringe just remembering that. Anyway, this time I got permission to post about this (even though I will try to keep away from “locked” posts as much as possible). Upc747 was very kind to let me use this photo of an old newspaper that he took:
The Soviets are gone, but Iraq and Iran are still troublesome. And you know what? I’ll take the War on Terrorism over the Cold War. It seems like all the Generation X-ers and Boomers suddenly forgot the terrible, paralyzing fear of the global atomic war. Not the fear of North Korean or terrorist nukes or conventional attacks, but the dark gut feeling, the stomach churning certainty that the Soviet Union and the United States will annihilate the entire world in one final showdown.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set the Doomsday Clock at seven minutes to midnight in 2002. It seems that in the years when the clock was at 9, 10, 14 and even off-the-scale 17 minutes everyone seems to have forgotten all about the fear of World War III. Do the people that say that the world at the turn of the new century is crazier than before remember the ominous 1984, when the clock stood at three minutes to midnight? The time when few people thought that the arms race will result in the collapse of the Soviet Union, but almost everyone was certain that the end of human race in nuclear inferno was almost assured?
I subscribe to two weird magazines. One is Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The second one, as I learned right now is defunct. So I subscribe to one weird mag.
In any case, the magazine was called “Listener”. It was a renegade audiophile magazine. This magazine was against Home Theater and solid state electronics in general. They concentrated on vacuum tube (valve if you are British or thermionic if you are really old) technology and analogue sound in general.
You see, there is this group of people who believe that analogue technology is far superior to digital in sound reproduction. They say that solid state devices will never replace the vacuum tube and CDs will never replace LPs. Those who do use CDs prefer to use tube amplifiers.
It may surprise you to know that there are literally hundreds of companies that manufacture only turntables. There is a bunch of Russian and Chinese companies that still manufacture and sell vacuum tubes, Sovtek being the most famous. Lots and lots of companies are making vacuum tube amps. And I am not just talking about DJ equipment and guitar amps. No, they are making honest to god consumer stuff. Somebody even made a motherboard with vacuum tube based sound card or something.
Of course vacuum tube stuff is expensive. There are systems that cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are cheaper ones, going for just mere thousands. And then, on eBay, you can purchase old cheap equipment for hundreds.
But some audiophiles don’t stop at that. No, no, no. Once they get going there is no stopping them. They purchase vibration free platforms not just for turntables, but for ALL of their equipment. They say that vibration muddies up the sound. They buy cables made of exotic materials. They buy special power supplies that “scrub” the electricity. See a hilarious cartoon about this here. Oh, but some even run their equipment entirely from batteries.
There is no stopping this maddnes. Check this out:
This made me laugh hard.