At 06:58 PM 1/13/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>The question is really: How long will analog remain a viable medium
>(i.e. how much longer will we be able to obtain reliable tape stock? How
>long into the future will playback machines be 1. available and 2. a
It seems to me that there are a couple of arguments in favor of analog:
1) The resolution of an analog recording is effectively higher than any
digital format. Whether the difference between say, CD quality (44 kbps)
and higher-resolution (96 or even 192 kbps) is important is a matter about
which informed people can disagree. But I don't want somebody 50 or 75
years from now to curse my memory because I didn't have the foresight to
leave them what they consider minimally acceptable quality.
The early acoustical recordings made at the turn of the last century were
promoted as "duplicating the concert hall experience", which is laughable
by today's standards. I don't want to guess what future archivists and
users of my recordings will consider adequate. So I want to give them
access to the original analog recordings, so they can apply whatever magic
is available to them.
2) In the very long run, it will be a great deal easier for somebody to
reconstruct an analog playback device than to figure out the software
necessary to make sense of a digital recording. Not easy, but easier. Sure,
there will probably be plenty of CD players and computers that can read WAV
files in 2050, but what will the musical historians in 2403 have available
Of course, there will be a point in time when the world's stock of Ampex,
Revox and Otari parts is depleted, and the tape players will stop working.
But a good technician will be able to inspect the carcasses and build
something that they can use. Will they be able to do the same thing for an
integrated circuit that contains essential firmware?