When I first discovered music, it was the radio - we had one in the the family's FC Holden and it was fun watching Dad try and tune it into the next town's radio station as we travelled from Sydney to Gundagai to vist the rels'.
At home we had a big 3 in 1 black and white TV with a radio/record player in a lid at the left 3rd of the cabinet, the big "clunk" through the speakers as the valves kicked into life when the power/volume switched was rotated was sort of fun.
Dad had a lot of country and western stuff, mum had records from Holland - they were a bit weird, but good to play for friends just for the look on their faces
Later on, Dad got a reel to reel tape player - Magic Eye and all, tring to thread the thing up was a bit of pain, and rewind was the best part of all - gee that thing to spin the reels fast!
I still have a few of the 8 track cartridges from dad's car stereo upgrade - still country and western at that stage.
Then came the cassette player from Philips - gee those Dutch really shrunk it down - still sounded pretty good though, went from picking the hair and dust off the record player stylus to getting out with a cotton bud soaked in metho to clean the heads.
I remember getting my first record player and mucking around recording from records to Cassette, and radio to cassette, then playing them in the car, then the tapes would get hot on the dash and stretch and jam etc. - we've all been there - right?
Then came component stereo with high performance cassette players with equalisers and little displays showing the stereo channels with the LED bar graphs - wow that was fun.
The record player was still there though, with better stylus's (styli ?) linear tracking, balanced tone arms etc - still sounded better than a tape - and the guy that had the latest Marantz turntable with the strobe speed adjustment was the coolest room to be in...
Then there was the speakers, who had the biggest, the more watts (thank you James), cossovers, tweaters, woofers, bass reflex - all that jargon..
I remember the CD coming out when I was in the Airforce back in the '70's, wow it sounded so clear and so easy to make copies - no need now to have a dual tape player. The record player guys started making a fuss about how the CD, although very clear, just wasn't the same - something about digital square waves missing the harmonics that only analog could produce...
I think I have around a thousand records I can't play because my record player died, all my tapes are stretched and heat affected that they sound like a 45rpm being played at a variable 45-33rpm.
My CD's are all still good, and I am still buying them.
Enter the world of MP3. WTF - are we going backwards here, the frequency response is worse than AM radio.
We used to strive for better and better quality sound, we used to spend thousands on audio equipment.
Now we spend $300 on an MP3 player and steal the music off the internet, compressed and bastardised and are satisfied- what has happened??
We could talk about photography in a similar way, there is no digital camera that comes close to the density range (Dmax) and resolution that film provides, but we embrace this.
Very strange this technology era of ours