Why did I do all this recording? How better to minimise the scratching that invisible elves carried out each time a small diamond was dragged at high speed and pressure across a miniature mountain and vinyl valley system than by playing each of those warped, pressed-off-centre LPs1 only once (or, in my case, it seems, five times) of course...

My current listening tastes

I am still in some musical disarray. I have ripped my entire non-classical collection of CDs into MP3 files, hosting these on the Synology NAS from which they are equally easily available to whatever music player I fire up on my Linux Blackbeast PC and via the Oppo Blu-ray player in its "network access" mode. As "explained" here, I've brought down from my loft all2 the CDs. Scanned (some of) the artwork. Popped the CDs into my CaseLogic folders (in the living room). Chucked out all the redundant "jewel" cases. Assigned an "id" number to each CD. Reworked a couple of my databases accordingly. Re-generated my interminable lists. (All in a day's work for a retired chap, of course, though that "day" has so far extended for several years as higher-priority interrupts have a habit of interrupting.)

Be wary of the following lists, therefore! They are not (currently) as trustworthy as their creator.

Early 1980s releases on CD of 1960s/70s analogue material were not much to write sonically home3 about. Most of them were mastered on the Sony F1 Beta video tape system, I expect, complete with inappropriate RIAA (or was it NAB?) vinyl equalisation profiles. How else could one explain the weird sound of, say, the first David Bowie material to become available on CD? Perfect sound forever? Do me a favour! Though you could now clearly hear the tape hiss on the studio masters fighting it out with the dithered digital noise floor. (Thanks, Nimbus.) As for the proposition that my aural sensitivity has been steadily declining as I have improved(?) the living room system; better not go there.

And let's not get into the way I initially typeset new double-CD inserts for every pair of CDs to rehouse the collection in 50% less space on the living room shelves before (with the advent of minidisc and mp3) toting them all up into the loft. And down again (for re-ripping at a higher [variable] bit rate). And back up again. And a carefully-chosen subset of them down again to enjoy on the CD player. And now all back down again. Madness!


1  I remember buying, and returning, seven consecutive copies of Supertramp's "Even in the quietest moments" to the Boots branch in Slough to get one that had merely tolerable wow during the sustained piano notes at the end of one side.
2  Correction: nearly all!
3  Ry Cooder's 1979 album Bop till you drop was an interesting exception. It was — I believe — the first rock album recorded and mixed entirely digitally (although initially issued on vinyl, of course) and it seems they were never quite sure in the studio what was going to come out of the speakers. It was also one of my first three CDs bought in July 1983 a month or so before I obtained my first CD player (a Marantz CD63T made for them by Philips in Holland that, although delightfully small, weighed in at £550 and seemed to be built like a tank). I received it for some programming and it sounded great even though, in later years, it would only play when tilted at a fair angle!