Friday, August 14, 2009

The Sound Of Silence

Keeping Track Of Technology

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON


I clearly remember the day that my perception of silence between soundtracks was re-defined. If you’re familiar with the era of vinyl records, you would remember the intermittent scratchiness that pervaded the long moments between tracks on each record.

But the first time I heard a CD played through an amplifier, I remember thinking how clear the sound reproduction was – so clear, in fact, that I could actually pick the sound of individual instruments.

Then as the track came to an end, I actually raised my eyebrows, because there was none of the vinyl-type scratchiness. There was real silence between tracks. That, to me, was the real definition of the quantum leap of recording technology. Yes, the sound of each track was great. But more importantly, the quality of silence on the CD really broke new ground.

It’s been years since I’ve seen a vinyl record, but this one brought back memories of the wonderful wooden-encased Grundig player that we had when I was growing up. I remember only too well the first time I was entrusted with the important duty of actually placing the stylus (or needle, as it was commonly called) on the record and listening to that slight crackle before the first track actually began playing.

The real reason I took this shot is not just because of the wonderful light across the record’s surface. I shot this angle because you can actually see the clear, ungrooved strips that produced silence between the different tracks.

Visit MamaGeek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

16 comments:

Leslie: said...

What a great post! My fiance has a collection of hundreds of LP's and CD's, too. And he just the other evening set up all his music systems. We've listened to a few CD's but he still hasn't unpacked all his records so I'll have to listen carefully to the scratchiness to which you refer. I do remember it, but it's been so long! :D

Sandi McBride said...

I have a closet filled to the top with vinyl albums that we've collected over the years and turn table to play them on. I rather miss the scratchiness between the tracks that let you know how many seconds before the next song played...we lost the great Les Paul today, so we broke out my Les Paul and Mary Ford hits album to play...scratches and all...
Sandi

Tiaras said...

HA - I have CRATES full of vinyl in my basement if you want a listen!

Ryanne said...

My Da used to be a radio DJ and thus had tons of records, and even a few signed by artist that came and talked with him to promote their albums. I loved listening to them. We even had several reel to reel recording he made for the station. There is something wonderful about the old things of music. I too was saddened by the lost of the Great Les Paul...wish I had a few of his old vinyls to pull out! Great shot and memories!

Chris said...

The vinyl record I remember playing most as a kid was The Gambler, by Kenny Rogers.

Oh, and a while lot of John Denver!

Mariana Soffer said...

What a coincidence, a frie of mine just put a post about woodstock, and I made a comment about Santana, I told him how much I liked his music, and you have that cd in the photo which I listen to so many times.
Here is his post:http://taoistharlequin.blogspot.com/2009/08/santana.html

Take care my friend

scrappysue said...

we still have have vinyl - i have too - nothing to play it on, and i don't know why, but we still have them!

Sharon said...

My mom had loads of those! I remember one that we had was smaller and it was a recording of my favorite song (when I was 4) "I always feel like somebody's watching me". Oh the memories! It's amazing how technology changes! I wonder what my kids will be saying about C.D.'s

Pastor Sharon said...

I have LP's from my teeage years! i can't let them go! And I have a record player on one of our stereo systems.

I think that scratchy sounds brings back a nostalgia that I really miss.

And I absolutely love the crisp clear sound of silence and individual instruments on a CD.

Maggie May said...

Ah...... Santana! I love their music.
We have a few boxes of vinyl stashed away and no way of playing them! Tape recorders also are on the way out and we have boxes and boxes of tapes too.
CDs are crystal clear but the players go wrong so often. Pity!

Mojo said...

I remember the first CD I bought as a "replacement" for something in my vinyl collection. This was before remastering became de riguer, so what I had was a really clean, really crisp version of the LP. An LP that had been played so many times I was sure the stylus had cut through to the other side of the record in places. I remember thinking, though, that as good as the sound quality was, the record just sounded wrong. I was so intimately familiar that LP that I knew every snap, crackle and pop. It was like all my old friends had moved on.

I got over it though.

Craver Vii said...

Oh, how I used to enjoy playing those growing up. My favorite 45 was Steppenwolf's Born to be Wild. That's not really me though. My story is more likely: Born to be Mild. :-)

subtorp77 said...

David, I'll admit they are getting better with the sound reproduction from vinyl to CD. Still ahve a few gems left of my old collection, I do. Nice post and super photo :)

Lew said...

And today you can download thousands of songs to a player smaller than a pack of cigarettes! Marianne still has all her 45's from her teenage years and I have a bunch of LPs. A lot of the music from that era has not been rereleased on DC (or iPODs). And some of the later releases are just not the same as the original.

Lee said...

I've got a box of LPs sitting on the closet shelf. I've still got friends who play these things including one who has a huge collection of singles. There is a market, or so I'm told. All that aside, I have that exact same CD of Santana and often use it for wake up music on the clock player. :-D

Cheers!

SandyCalico said...

Great post. I have box after box of vinyl. Never play it. I miss the scratchiness, but I don't miss having to get up to turn the record over half way through!