I received a Panasonic “boom box” for Christmas in the eighth grade (this was in the 80s my friends). It had waveforms silkscreened on the side, a graphic EQ and a fancy “one-click dubbing” button that would let you easily copy cassette tapes (because it was just too much trouble to push three buttons at the same time). The speakers actually came off the body and had extendable cables so you could, hilariously enough, space them out for “surround sound”. It actually had an ⅛ inch microphone input for recording.
I loved the thing.
A few years later, I bought the worst guitar in the history of guitar making. This unnamed, pint-sized guitar, with an action so high it was barely playable, brought into my head visions of a life of rock stardom, ease, excess and ultimate, utter self destruction. How fantastic!
I bought the guitar but I didn’t have enough money for an amplifier. I quickly realized though, that with an eighth inch cable adapter and by holding my finger up under the notch of the recording side of the cassette player, that I could trick the jam box into monitoring the mic input signal from the guitar — thus a guitar amplifier was born.
By all accounts, it was a minimalist setup. As awful as it sounded, it worked and I played along to countless cassettes learning to play guitar and bass. From that day forward, I was hooked on audio gadgets, how they worked, who played them and what they sounded like. I never listened to a single LP, cassette, or CD made by a recording artist the same way again.
And I never could have imagined, back then, how far the whole thing would go…how minimalist audio hardware and software could become. I mean, there was definitely a time when bigger meant better. Thankfully that time has passed and technology has brought it all down to size and, in many cases, made hardware and software “pocketable”.
In any event, John and I have been keeping tabs on audio hardware, software, artists who use it and makers who make it for a while over at TechCrunch. We recently decided to keep some of those concepts cataloged here at audiomonger.com too. Rick, who is the real player among us, has some interesting insight as well. We’ll try to keep up as best we can and keep some interesting audio/music news and reviews here for you. We’ll be up to speed soon enough.