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Home taping revisited: A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers

Unicornpiss Silver badge
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Tape longevity

I still have a BASF audiocassette of an elementary school Christmas program that I sang in back in 1977, painstakingly recorded in the school gymnasium by my father using an even older monaural SoundDesign cassette deck and a handheld mike, complete with my parents' comments and fidgeting.

It still plays fine, and the sound quality is probably about the same as it ever was. This is one of the few things that has survived from a much more innocent, hopeful time in my life, and is precious as gold. Somehow it doesn't even seem right to make an MP3 or other recording of it, though I probably should someday for safety's sake.

It's amazing how old analog media like this is so durable, when not mistreated, similar to actual paper books, while a (supposedly forever) digital stream or recording can apparently be so easily corrupted or lost. Not the least of reasons for this is that analog equipment doesn't recognize errors but will just reproduce what you have, for better or worse. It may degrade in time, but there will still be something there. The power of digital is how easily you can make an infinite number of copies, even it they're much more ephemeral on an individual basis. I also have a wire recording made by my father when he was in the service in WWII and I have little doubt that it would be playable, if I had anything to play it on.

Yeah, the old days kind of sucked in many ways, but it makes me a little sad that current generations won't know the rite of passage that was making a mix tape (or even CD) to give to the person you had a crush on.

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