Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Analog, My Ass

The other day I was torturing my daughters by making them listen to old man radio in the car. There was just no way I could listen to that damn Rhianna and M&M mashup anymore.

The station, my station, was playing some classic Led Zeppelin, which I appreciated.
However, they were playing it on vinyl, which I didn't.

Seems some hipster douchebag station manager decided that music sounds better on those old LPs than it does on a CD. It doesn't. I can't tell you how much money I spent on dust cleaners, static cloth and new turntable needles just so I wouldn't have to hear all that scratching, clicking and distortion.

Now, in some misguided retrospective ode to the good old years, they want to us appreciate the 'rawness' and 'purity' of music on wax? I'm sorry but the battle of digital vs analog is like the Israelis vs the Arabs in the 6 day war of 1967. Digital is the precision flying of Israeli pilots in F-4 Phantoms. Analog is the feckless Egyptian infantry, "My pita fell in the dirt."

All of which is a roundabout way of getting to the picture above.

We were at Pitfire Pizza the other night. (It was an old Shakey's Pizza but has since been remodeled, updated and vastly improved. Seems America has had it fill of Mojo potatoes. And good riddance to them.) Pitfire has a great menu of personal handmade pizzas and an incredibly wide offering of tasty micro-brews. They also offer beer in a bottle. Including, and this is what set me off, Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Anybody who drinks beer knows that PBR hardly qualifies for the "beer" label. If it ever won a beer tasting contest you can be assured it was the only entrant. It is swill of the worst variety. If, as teenagers we ever stooped to buy Pabst Blue Ribbon, I guarantee it was with the last few pennies we could find under the seat of my 1966 Plymouth Valiant.

So why, in the company of so many other excellent, equally-priced brews, would someone go out of their way to actually drink Pabst Blue Ribbon? I can only gather that some sideways baseball cap wearing, Ashton-Kutsher wannabe is under the illusion that it's retro-hip.

It's not.

I bet I could sell my old scratchy Emerson, Lake & Palmer Trilogy album to one of these ignorant ass-napkins.


Eric Walker said...

Hate to disagree, but as a longtime audiophile who has poured more money into my system than I care to admit, I have to say that analog is indeed a more realistic reproduction of sound. CDs may not have any of the pops and scratches you mentioned, but they tend to produce a metallic and unnatural sound that is less like live music. This is due to the computer processing that goes on inside your CD player where loads of digital jitter and timing variations in processing create unpleasant distortions, resulting in a clean, but harsher, more brittle reproduction. Analog frequencies are more in line with how the human ear process sound. This has actually been proven in a lab. My system also employs analog tubes due to their natural frequency reproduction.

Rich Siegel said...


I will freely admit that my beer palate is much more discriminating than my aural palate. And I yield to someone who actually knows something as opposed to someone like myself who just goes off on ill-informed rants. But I do have to wonder if the distinction you speak of can be detected over a normal car stereo.

In any case, I stand corrected.

About the music, not about the douches who drink PBR.

Eric Walker said...

Either way, your "rants" are always compelling and entertaining. I remember when myself and many others thought you should turn your status updates into something more. Glad you did. I look forward to reading them.