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  1.  

    Thomas Hardy’s William Worm complains of “people frying fish: fry, fry, fry, all day long in my poor head.”

    That Buzzing Sound
    The mystery of tinnitus.


    Article at the New Yorker.

  2.  
    "With the recent proliferation of MP3 players, rates of hearing loss and tinnitus may rise sharply in the coming years."

    Indeed,
    I bought a little MP3 played from Oxfam, but can't stand to listen to it for more than forty minutes or so, whereas I can listen to old ANALOG tapes with their own HISS in the background for hours........
  3.  
    To each his own I suppose, but just can't understand the appeal of tape hiss, and all the other artifacts of magnetic tape - wow and flutter, dropout, machine mangling of tape... ugh, the bain of my life for many years. Various precious items irretrievably ruined as a result of these gremlins.
  4.  
    There are huge variations in sound quality between players. The difference between my son's cheap Phillips player, my iPod Nano and iPod Touch is almost night and day. Phillips is unlistenable, the Nano is thin and the Touch has real punch. The other key is that I refuse to listen using those nasty earbuds. The odd result is that players look funny at the end of a pair of massive Sony headphones.

    Like Fergus I have no nostalgia for tape.

    However, I am surprised no one took the bait on the Hardy quote. "Eardrum Buzz" or "Provisionally Titled the Frying Fish"

    8-p
  5.  
    I have lots of tapes. Why digitise them when they still play just fine?
  6.  
    1) Never having to clean a tape path again. If I don't do it, the pinch roller eventually starts to eat my tapes. Then they don't play just fine.

    2) Mix tapes. Everyone has kind of a romantic nostalgia about receiving them, but I found making them a tedious affair.

    3) Azimuth error (the pervert uncle of MP3 artifacting).

    4) Tape hiss, which to me is an unfortunate by-product of a compromised audio delivery format. I harbor no affection for it.

    5) Tape wrinkle, stretch, oxide shedding...

    6) Rewinding and fast-forwarding. Don't get me wrong, I live to play albums front to back the way the bulk of them were meant to be heard and am suspicious of the Shuffle Generation. But sometimes, yes, I do want to hear that song right now... and I love that digital lets me do it.

    7) Realizing a split second too late that I just placed a cassette on top of a speaker.

    There are about 10 cassettes in my collection left from a once-vast empire, all irreplaceable. The only way I can agree on the "why bother digitizing them" question is: it is a completely tedious affair to drag out the tape deck, get it souped up again (see complaint #1), and go through the whole stupid process.

    As for other ear issues, I have moved to Apple Lossless (the proprietary FLAC) for everything. Solves massive amounts of the ear fatigue problem. Sonically, the difference is sometimes exceedingly subtle or seemingly non-existent. Other times, such as a re-rip of a Front 242 EP (Mixed By Fear) next to an old MP4 rip, the difference is startling.

    I am also trying to move off music and onto news/talk/podcasts on my commute. Save my ears for home music listening and not worry about the format-portability questions at all.
  7.  
    Cassette tape is an entirely redundant medium. The only place for tape is in my old Watkins Copicat echo machine for my guitars - with these things you want a bit of flutter, hiss and unpredictability!
  8.  
    An excellent point, and does remind me of one other benefit I found of one particular cassette - a friend put Sonic Youth's "Inhuman" on a mix tape for me years ago, and whatever combination of recording deck/tape/level settings/etc. yielded a crazy, muddled roar in the guitars that I have not been able to coax out of CD or even vinyl. Hmm.
  9.  
    Don't you ever have to clean the coatings from CDRs off your CD player?

    Tapes use less electricity to make a noise than records, and both use much less than CDs.

    So even though vinyl is usually more expensive THESE DAYS, you will still save if you bother to pay your electric bill.
  10.  
    Hmm. The only thing I ever had to clean off my CD player was some hideous disc scratch-filler that I tried once (don't. do it.)

    and - this is all in good fun, right? - regarding point two:

    my CD player: 21w

    my cassette deck: 23w

    my turntable: no clue, but it's an old beast, so I'll bet the power consumption is fairly high.

    Firing up the computer to play through iTunes: don't ask. I try to avoid this option.

    So CD is still my greenest option.

    Unless we count my folks' old Victrola, which I'm hoping they'll send my way someday. Carbon footprint-free music reproduction that even provides some mild exercise to crank it up? Bring it on! Do you think I can convince Wire to do a 78rpm of Object 47?
  11.  
    You might find installing solar panels to be a more sensible route to
    Where the Power Is!
  12.  
    If I was allowed to install a wind turbine on my roof I'd do it in a heartbeat. I need to own my own roof first I'm afraid.
  13.  
    My tape walkman runs way longer than the CD one I never ever bother to use, or the MP3 player.