The Simple Life – Why I love standalone stereos and record players.

Since moving back to America after four years in Africa, I have been seeking a low-tech approach to life. Not that this is a holier-than-thou pursuit. My wife will tell you that I spent the better part of August glued to my computer just pawing through Spotify and its wares. But as time passes the binge-seasons wane, and I’m becoming a more balanced individual (if you ignore my new obsession, this blog!). And I’m constantly seeking ways to decompress, and get my head out of “the cloud” as it were. My stereo and record player sitting humbly in the corner of our 12×12 living space help me to do exactly that. Here’s why:

— You have to actually get up and change the disc. It is not possible to get sucked into the techie vortex by just mindlessly doing word fragment boolean searches and scrolling endlessly.

— The disc cannot go on for days – 2 weeks of music in my iTunes? Really?

— Ambiance

–It’s the dedicated shrine to music in our living space. If not one in every room then every home should have at least one. Like once upon a time the jukebox was the musical shrine in bar.

–One cannot instantly download material and play it from a stereo system, and there is no such thing as live streaming.

–It is still possible to record directly from radio to make a mix tape. Which is awesome if you have time and focus in this digi-fied age.

–There are stores that sell this and only this. Where is the computer store that sells only computers? But even in 2013 at the height of digital culture you can still go into a car stereo/home stereo and speakers store.

–You can actually assess the sound quality before you buy, which is not so easy with computer speakers.

— Longevity – When was the last time you heard of a stereo, receiver, radio, tape deck, record player, etc going obsolete? These things were made to last. I just got mine out of storage after 4 years in Rwanda, and it was purchased in 2001. It stills works like new. Conversely in that same time period I have gone through 4 laptops, and numerous flash disks, mp3 CDs, and hard drives.

Here’s to simple living, saving money, and spending quality time with quality music.


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