High Fidelity My Ass

About 5 billion years ago, before I even had decent internet, or maybe internet all together (I forget now), I had a rather bizarre, and insanely concerning method of acquiring music. This was even before we had a CD burner, so that had to be done at my dad’s work at the time.

So aside from buying CDs; which was pretty much a no no on a 13 year olds budget, I had one option. My gran had satellite, which had many music channels. So what I used to do is tape hours upon hours of channels, mostly Kerrang (ugh, I know). The second part of this is even more concerning, because I didn’t have a decent VHS player in my room, or a computer downstairs I had to record the VHS onto cassette using my Dad’s hi-fi shit, which in reality was pretty good stuff, but next is where we go downhill. I would then take this up to my room, where I had a cheapass Goodmans all in one micro system thing, which was *awful* at best, and wire this out to my computer.

So at this point we had:

Crappy Analogue Satellite -> VHS -> Cassette.

That alone should have sounded *Awful* enough, but this is where the genius starts. I would then use my Pentium 166’s SHITE “DB Boeder” (some cheap PC World shit) soundcard to record this to WAV, then use MusicMatch jukebox to convert it to joyous Franhaufer 96Kbps MP3. This would then be placed on a spanned .zip archive on many floppy disks, which my Dad would then take to work to place onto CD. So in total this was the chain:

Crappy Analogue Satellite -> VHS -> Cassette -> Shitass soundcard on a shitass computer -> WAV -> MusicMatch Jukebox MP3 -> WinZip Floppy disk archives -> Some awful shitty CD Burner.


How the FUCK did I put up with this? Seriously, HOW?!

Well I have one reason why it can’t have seemed so bad:

On the “desk” are two of the shittiest sound reproduction devices ever devised: shitass speakers that came from an equally shitass K6-2 from PC world, and the shitass Goodmans stereo system. Neither were any good now, or then or ever in fact.

I could plug in a cup of coffee connected to my soundcard with cheese and it would sound better, I would rather boil myself in my own puke than ever listen to music through those things ever again.

Thank god I have a decent set-up now, or I’d have gone insane long, long ago.


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  • Comments (15)
    • Tox
    • Feb 25th. 2011 2:06pm

    Let’s see. Before the internet, I would get my music by recording to cassette tapes off the radio or from my parents record collection.

    After the internet, we used to download songs from a couple of websites that were basically the shittiest wav you could possibly imagine. Like an AM radio playing through a phone.

    Then we moved to ripping CD’s from the library. Oh the horrible quality WMA’s. I still have a few of them that I had burned to a CD, and the quality makes my ears bleed.

    Then came the era of the 128 Kbps MP3’s from winmx.

    Now a days, it’s 320 Kbps MP3 or FLAC from torrents.

    • Ben
    • Feb 27th. 2011 4:22pm

    Lol, WinMX.

    I don’t really download at all now, I only ever use it as a sort of… trial thing.

    If I want a single song I’ll use iTunes, and if I like what I hear from either of those two I’ll buy it.

    • Tox
    • Mar 1st. 2011 6:42am

    If you can afford to buy your music, you should. But for those of us whose total income goes to paying for their internet connection, pirating is the way to go.

    Same with software and movies.

    TV Shows though, it depends. I couldn’t justify paying any amount for an episode of a TV show that I’m going to watch and then delete right after. Whole seasons is a another story.

    • Ben
    • Mar 1st. 2011 10:25pm

    You could argue if you can’t afford to buy anything you could steal it; it’s not exactly an argument.

    But that’s a whole different argument all together; I could write books on it.

    As far as downloading TV shows goes though, I pay enough for satellite subscriptions and the like, so why shouldn’t download them?

    Hell, I can watch stuff online from the BBC etc, so I’ll download them myself to watch whenever, KTHX.

    • Tox
    • Mar 8th. 2011 2:30am

    Well then you get into the whole argument about whether piracy is theft or not.

    It’s not. If you go and steal your neighbors car, you have the car and your neighbor does not. If your neighbor was in a band and your download their music, they still have their music and now so do you.

    Piracy is not theft.

    The only thing is some people will say it’s theft of revenue. To some extent that’s true, but you can’t quantify it. The record label simply can’t express how much they’ve lost to piracy because it’s impossible to know if someone would have bought that music or not. Just because they didn’t buy the CD doesn’t mean they pirated it. Maybe they simply didn’t buy the CD.

    And piracy isn’t bad. Sure, some people will pirate and never buy. But some people will pirate so they can determine if it’s worth buying. I did that recently with Tally Hall. If I hadn’t pirated Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum, there’s no way I would have bought it. Hell, without piracy, I wouldn’t even know who the hell Tally Hall was.

    • Ben
    • Mar 8th. 2011 10:00pm

    You could go and write a book on the rights and wrongs of piracy, but it doesn’t prove shit really. At the end of the day, it *is* illegal, and whether you choose to take notice of that or not is after all your choice.

    But that doesn’t exactly mean shit, IMO, you can’t go and decide which laws to obey depending on your opinion.

    But as far as trialling goes, I’ve done that for probably a good 90% of my music, as a 30 second preview on amazon or iTunes isn’t indicative of how an album sounds, so how else are you meant to know if you like something? Buy it and take it back? Rely on a library or something having it?

    There’s no easy way out, but someone in the music “business” needs to get off their ass and change the way shit works, as it’s clearly not working.

    • Tox
    • Mar 9th. 2011 2:37am

    It’s only illegal because someone said that it should be. That doesn’t mean that they’re right and I’m wrong.

    Yes, according to the current laws, it is illegal. But it really shouldn’t be. Copyright law is horribly out of date and needs to be updated for the digital age.

    If I can copy text from a book and use it in a paper that I’m writing so long as I cite the source, why can’t I use copyrighted music in a video I make, provided I cite the source?

    Why can I record a TV show on a DVR to watch any time I want but I can’t download it? Why is one thing legal and the other not? Same for recording music off the radio.

    The law needs to be revised.

    • Ben
    • Mar 10th. 2011 7:19pm

    Now you’re talking two kinds of copyright issues.

    One is being able to use an artists work in a video to enhance the experience, the other is some kid downloading the entire discography of multiple artists without paying for it; thus denying the artists/whoever revenue.

    They’re worlds apart.

    • Tox
    • Mar 14th. 2011 3:47am

    I know, but I thought I’d toss it in there as an example of why the copyright law is broken.

    But it does sort of tie in since I don’t really think pirating music should count under copyright law. It’s not like I’m copying their music and releasing it as my own.

    I think as long as you’re not profiting from their music, it should be ok to download it freely.

    It’s a tricky situation because they don’t want to encourage piracy but they’re never going to stop it, so what’s the point in fighting it? Make their money from live concerts and true fans of the music will probably still buy the CD’s… I think we can live in a world where piracy isn’t illegal or even frowned on.

    • Ben
    • Mar 14th. 2011 6:37pm

    I’m not saying that copyright law ISN’T broken, but I’m pretty against piracy as it doesn’t do the industry as a whole ANY good.

    If you could download freely any music you like without paying for it, there would be no reason for anyone (well almost) to actually bother being in the business itself. Sure many artists would still be there, but the promoters, managers and record companies would have no incentive to bother.

    Free Music doesn’t mix with the capitalistic world we live in.

    It’d be nice for everything to be free and such, but in reality it’ll never happen, and would be a pretty stupid idea as it is.

    • Tox
    • Mar 14th. 2011 7:18pm

    It’s hard to feel bad for an industry that wastes millions (billions?) of dollars fighting piracy when it’s a hopeless battle. The reality is that they probably lose more to fighting piracy than they lose to piracy itself.

    Just let piracy happen. It’s going to anyway. There will always be a group of people that will pay for the content and there will be a group of people that will pirate it. And the thing is, people usually move from the latter to the former. As soon as you can afford to buy the music, you do. Either because you can’t be bothered pirating it, you want to support the artist, or you just want a better quality version.

    • Ben
    • Mar 15th. 2011 11:47pm

    If the industry did just “leave it be”, then there’d be in even more shit than they are now.

    Their options are pretty non-existant, but it’d be nice if they actually tried to get on the right side of people to actually get somewhere.

    Perhaps instead of sueing people through the ass for stupid amounts of money they should offer an anmesty or something, or maybe actually try to offer what people want; to be able to download music easily without bullshit DRM, with decent file quality and not be raped financially for it.

    I can buy an album off iTunes for £7, but the CD is around the same price.

    I get no physical item, and shittier quality for around the same price. Bullshit.

    • Tox
    • Mar 17th. 2011 9:54am

    Yeah, DRM should really die. Regardless, I’m not buying music I haven’t listened to first. So even I do ultimately buy the album, I’m still going to pirate it first.

    • Ben
    • Mar 17th. 2011 9:50pm

    Is there nothing similar to spotify in the US?

    • Tox
    • Mar 19th. 2011 2:05am

    You can get like 20 free listens of a song / album on Rhapsody. Since they just use a cookie to track that, you can clear the cookie and get another 20 free listens. I don’t know if still do this or not though.

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