cool tapes i find and cassette related equipment.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

notes from the format war

there is some type of analogy i'm playing with here.  i'm not sure, but this is just an off-the-cuff hypothesis.  forgive me if this is conceptually a bit slapdash. as usual i reserve my right to preface everything with "i could be wrong about the whole thing," but here goes:
back in the eighties, certain guitar manufacturers started making these really flashy guitars.  they had these bigger exaggerated bodies, neon colors, and floyd rose tremelo systems, active pickups, all this stuff.  and for awhile they sold tons of these things.  there is a certain type of mechanism at play when companies make a lower quality product, make it easier to get, advertise the crap out of it, and make it really flashy to the eye, and ofttimes shallow to the spirit.  it attracts folks that aren't that interested in the subject in the long term.  more folks that are dabblers will pull the economic trigger on something like that, then put it in the back of the closet and move onto something else.  it looked really good in the ad.
from my ad 101 class i had at the university of texas back in the day, the suits consider this a success.
anyways, after a few years, the dust settled and folks figured out, you know, these things sound like crap without tons of distortion, they are heavy, and they kind of look like musical leisure suits.  and folks started going back to playing les pauls and strats and teles more.
i believe there is some type of analogy to be had here with audio formats as well.
there are some industrial designs, that are just very usable friendly designs.  another example is the colt 1911 semi-auto pistol.  that's one of the most enduring designs ever made in the history of american manufacturing.  that design is still kind of the standard.  much like the les paul and stratocaster, or telecaster.  sometimes folks stumble onto designs that stand the test of time. { i read that the wright brothers kind of just stumbled onto a propeller design that was very efficient, without the aid of computer modeling. that perhaps they just kind of eyeballed that one. }  the big block chevy V8 is still the screaming hot rod engine.  the cessna 172 is still an awesome airplane design.
i think cassettes are somehow like the telecaster of the audio formats.