Lloyd? 8-track? what?
My first real stereo system was a Realistic car 8-track player wired to a 9 volt power supply with 2 mismatched speakers. It was cool, the first piece of recorded media I ever owned was a KTEL’s Hot One 8-track cassette. I still have it around here somewhere.
Shortly after that I was upgraded to a revolutionary device that allowed me to take my music with me anywhere I went. It was self contained, portable, and had media I could share. Lloyds V150 AM/FM/8-track portable. This thing was great! I could take my music anywhere. Bring whatever tapes I wanted, and voila , instant dance party. 8 D batteries and a bag to carry my fine selection of Paul Simon, Kiss, Beatles, Bread, and Jim Croce and of course KTEL’s greatest hits.
Fast forward to October 2001, the IPOD. This was a revolutionary new product. This thing was great ! I could take my music anywhere, minus the 8 D batteries and a bag of clunky 8-Tracks. I think the IPOD had a few other advantages, too. But that’s not really important right now.
So, Mr. Jobs may not have been the originator of the concept of portable, convenient audio devices. But, does it get any better than our IPODs? Back in the mid seventies this V150 was really cool compared to those little AM/FM transistor radios everyone had. This thing had a huge speaker on it, we could crank it up, you had the choice of playing whatever cassette you had and not be subject to whatever crappy reception provided. Did it get any better than that?
Well, yes it did. The 8-track was ditched for the cassette tape. This format was smaller, easier to manage, and eventually lead to the Sony Walkman. At 1 quarter the size of the Lloyd’s and and now with 2 double AA batteries, we were on our way. 1979, heading for the 80’s. Funny, how there was little disco on cassette. I digress…
In 1982 we saw the introduction of the CD. our audio goes digital, we were now rocking quality recording on a small disc (not quite what really happened). In 1984 Sony at it again with the Discman. This engineering wonder had it’s issues too. Great sound , couldn’t move it or it would skip. In a few years we’d get anti skip making these devices usable as a portable.
The early 90’s we got the ATRAC format which allowed for the Mini- Disc Player. All the goodness of a CD in a small compact un-skipable device. OK, maybe not the fidelity of a CD. Then we started to see the advent of solid state devices which eventually lead to the MP3 format and eventually the IPOD. Yup, I skipped some formats and and some devices….
While the IPOD and MP3 did little for hi-fi , what it did do was create a resurgence in the interest in music. While the kids weren’t sitting in their dorm rooms huddled over a pile of tube amps and ark sized speakers, they were exploring music in an unprecedented way. The internet was coming of age, it was more usable and starting to become the social playground it is today. Many sites, blogs and services began to appear. Not only was it simple for anyone to upload and spread their music, it was just as easy to download the music. Sites like MySpace and Napster allowed buzz and conversation to happen. It was no longer about just the album. It was about the lyrics, the liner notes, the band websites and more importantly about the fans interacting over their favorite bands. This was the real gift of the IPOD. This little device fueled that interest. It made an accessible form of music popular and mainstream.
As I sit here on a Saturday night listening to the 80’s channel pumping out some Annie Lennox while the fire keeps me warm on the back deck I thank the stars that I don’t have to dig thru a pile of Texas Toast sized cassettes and wander thru 4 “sides” to find some good tunes. And I wonder what will be the cool thing 5 years from now. Tomorrow I will hunt down those 50 or so 8-tracks i have stuffed away in the garage in a trunk somewhere. Now if I could only find a V150 i’d be rockin’ it old school.