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What I miss from the "old days"

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  • What I miss from the "old days"

    I'm 64 years old. In college in the 70s, I obtained an interest in audio and went through a series of the usual "mid-fi" gear. I was a budding professional musician (classical conductor, educator, brass player and folkie finger style solo guitarist), and my goal was always to try to get some semblance of the real sound of music at home. Around 1979, by accident, I discovered The Absolute Sound and Stereophile, and it shook my world. I heard my first "high end" system at a store in Orange County, CA, and I was hooked. Those magazines were ad-free, and the reviewers spoke with, for better or worse, AUTHORITY. They were sporadically published and not "slick". I hung on every word. There were LOTS of high-end audio stores in SoCal at the time. That's the first thing that I miss now. I loved going to a variety of these establishments and hearing music played through these esoteric brands. The staffs were eager to let me listen to things in a quiet space, and I would purchase as I could afford to. I went through a succession of NAD amps, speakers like the DCM Time Windows and early Martin-Logan, turntables from Denon and Micro Seiki, then CD players. I discovered the used gear market and found things that I couldn't afford new, like a great VPI TNT with an SME arm, etc. Then in 1995, I lost all of it in a divorce, then went through some medical things for 5 years and lost interest in the hobby. Now for the past 15 years or so, I've happily gotten back into it. What changed in the time that I was away from audio? There are FAR fewer high-end stores now. I live about a 3 hour drive from L.A. in one direction and San Francisco in the other. There are some fine establishments in both locations, but far fewer than before. The hobby has obviously down-sized. The next things that I miss is that the stores seem to carry far less stock than before. With notable exceptions, things have to be ordered, as all that is available is the floor stock. Also, it's more difficult to hear combinations of gear (this table with that arm/cartridge, etc.). Also, more of the stores back then seemed to carry recordings. I loved leaving the store with a few records to hear when I got home. I guess that I'm just sounding like an old person, and am lamenting the "old days". What I worry about with the present realities of the economy, is that when things open up again, our favorite little audio and record stores might not be around anymore. Already, one of my favorite places, The Analog Room in San Jose has closed. Brian (THERE'S an interesting guy!) has taken this opportunity to retire. I've vowed to not get used things, but rather to save a little extra money and support brick and mortar whenever possible. Good retail establishments are precious and need to be supported. OK, end of old gal rant. Happy listening, everyone!

  • #2
    I miss Century Stereo on Bascom Ave. And Quement Electronics too.

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    • #3
      The Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Who, Grand Funk Railroad, James Gang, Rare Earth, the Hollies, the Byrds, Chicago, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater, Chicago, Yes, King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Santana, CS&N (&Y), Bob Dylan, Booker T, Sly and the Family Stone, James Brown, Cat Stevens (before he lost his mind), Heart, Black Sabbath, the Doors. Moby Grape, Vanilla Fudge and more than I can remember. The great explosion of creativity in the 60s through the 70s.

      What I really miss is browsing through the stacks at record stores. Finding the latest and greatest and then figuring whos house we'd go to and listen without comment. Well, I can still browse the stacks at the local used record store(s) to pick up a few things missing (lost all my records and equipment in 1982 along with a car and house) or never had to begin with. Only problem is all the guys and gals from back then are gone so it's become a more solitary endeavor. But I spin a disc (LP or CD) or pop in a tape, crank that sucker up, and immediately get cheered up.

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      • #4
        I miss a lot of the same things ( brick n mortar etc) but one non-audiophile experience I really miss centers around music store community. In the nineties (on a break from a life long hifi love affair) I got into dj'ing edm (techno house etc). It was all vinyl at the time. Every week I visited 3-4 specialty shops in town always on the hunt for the next cool track. These records were printed once, often 300 -1000 copies. Miss it and its gone. After a while a few shop owners learned my 'taste' and would set copies aside for me. They didn't know my name and didn't expect me to buy it. Just "oh hey here is a stack i set aside for you. Check em out". Man I miss that...
        Erik
        http://solypsa.com
        North American distributor for: Aidas cartridges, RADA, STST turntables, Audiospecials. USA distributor for: Tedeska Cartridges

        Available for in home setup and calibration of fine turntable systems

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        • #5
          Originally posted by solypsa View Post
          I miss a lot of the same things ( brick n mortar etc) but one non-audiophile experience I really miss centers around music store community. In the nineties (on a break from a life long hifi love affair) I got into dj'ing edm (techno house etc). It was all vinyl at the time. Every week I visited 3-4 specialty shops in town always on the hunt for the next cool track. These records were printed once, often 300 -1000 copies. Miss it and its gone. After a while a few shop owners learned my 'taste' and would set copies aside for me. They didn't know my name and didn't expect me to buy it. Just "oh hey here is a stack i set aside for you. Check em out". Man I miss that...
          I'm sure you still know where to find it but there is an underground movement printing 500, 1000 vinyl copies here and there of obscure bands, boots or just limited runs. The fun is in the pursuit and seeking them out. This isn't an admission to the digital-centric protagonist but apart from preferences re SQ, maybe there is a part of us that doesn't want to let go of our youth? (vinyl, crate digging, etc.).

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          • solypsa
            solypsa commented
            Editing a comment
            Nostalgia for youth sure. The human element though, its hard (for me) to get as excited online....

        • #6
          I miss running back & white film thru my Pentax and developing the film and making prints.
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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          • Rust
            Rust commented
            Editing a comment
            Can't say I really miss film. The main reason was expense and hitting the end of a roll right when something happened. Missed a couple once in a lifetime shots over the years. With my latest DSLR, although I can't begin to use half the features, the burst mode is fabulous for sports and wildlife, as is fast autofocus, multiple exposure modes and I never run out of film. The various image processing software allows for image manipulation undreamed of with film, and has salvaged a few shots that would have been otherwise unusable. For me, digital photography is a huge improvement. Vinyl still rules though.
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