Friday, January 15, 2016

The Analog Renaissance

Kodak 8mm

It started when a friend confessed or announced that they had received a Vinyl Record player as a Christmas Present.   And in the last month I seem to have been bombarded or should I say haunted by Analog devices.

We even found one at home!

And again at Aldi

Sony PS-HX500

At CES 2016, Sony launched the above HX500.  Obviously the video side stepped the point that your analog listening experience would be far inferior to a digital download.   

Panasonic SL 1200 GAE

Panasonic came up with a very heavy remake of their legendary SL-1200.  If you are too young to rant over the original then read this

Audio Technica  AT-LP60 Bluetooth turntable

Crossley Radio

I am all for nostalgia, but whilst growing up I perhaps had a 500 record collection and that was considered an ocean against friends who has substantially less.

Vinyl was simply troublesome, and fragile, and crackly, and difficult to store, or transport.  Going to a friends house for a party, before the age of Cassettes, meant literally taking records.  And boy, it was not fun!

Analog Film

Again, for those of you too young to remember physical film some of the exciting experiences you can look forward to

- Not knowing if any of your photos came out at the time you took them
- Taking a roll of film and posting it off for development, in other words waiting a week or two for it to return
- When the film returns the thrill of finding all your shots blank, because the film got exposed before it reached the processor
- Paying a lot of money for the film, oh and then paying again for the development
- For Super 8, well recording the video and audio separately, then trying to patch them together
- Buying High sensitivity film for low light and then finding you are shooting in daylight  (or buy low sensitivity higher quality film and find you are shooting at night)
- Having the film jam inside the camera, and trying to find a dark room to salvage what you have shot so far (at best), and jettison the remainder of the unused film
- Ending up with lots of film reels or negatives and wondering how you will ever digitise them  (okay the new Kodak process will do that for you)

The Exception

Rick Wakeman tribute: Life on Mars

I can think of an exception, and that is the [Analog] Piano. It still holds it head up high in the face of digital emulation. In a week where I have seen the untimely demise of a childhood hero, namely David Bowie, the above video is both an indulgence and a further [analog] tribute /to the man/.


Retro is great as a curiosity.  It is wonderful at a dinner party, or as occasional, ostentatious statement.  But for daily use it's inappropriate.   In the case of vinyl or analog film, the process is convoluted, it costs more, is of lower quality, is difficult to store, and can't be transmitted or transported as easily.   In short there is just no merit as a production technology.

But if you have the room, and the patience, and you never grew up with analog, then by all means be my guest.  I think if I ask you in 1 year you will admit to me that you realise why I don't ever want to use and delve into this technology again.

As with vintage cars, the best person to own an analog camera, or analog record player is an eccentric and generous friend, who likes to share.

Vinyl at CES

Jan 30 update: Cassettes :-(