Warm humanity in technology

The Browns
The Browns
About a year ago, I found The Browns on Amazon.com in a random search prompted by the memory of “I heard the bluebird sing” from my puppyhood. I bought the album and couldn’t wait to play it.

Well, I should have because the sound that came out of my speaker was crystal clear and remastered from the original recording. What a disappointment.

My memory included not only the melody and words but also the pop and hiss of a diamond needle in a groove on a well-worn vinyl record. Yeah, I still like the album and I’m getting used to it, but it really isn’t the same. I’m thinking of “remastering” my own version of the songs and laying a track of pop and hiss over the track.

Then, today I downloaded “Big Rock Candy Mountain” from the O brother, Where art thou? soundtrack. There it was, in all it’s low-tech glory, popping and hissing all over the place. Wow! Heaven again.

So, Apple, if you are listening, why not provide an “LP” choice for us in your iTunes Store for music recorded pre-1986? Or, better yet, why doesn’t someone come up with a service that lays down a “pop and hiss” track on any music purchased digitally? not sure what the market is, but I’m pretty sure some GenY, living in his parent’s basement, blogging in his pajamas can easily write something like this and get into the biz.

5 Replies to “Warm humanity in technology”

  1. Audacity is a free program that removes pop and hisses – maybe you could reverse it and add them? You can find it on Sourceforge.com.
    Someone told me once that we don’t hear digitally – that’s why we enjoy listening to vinyl more – we being those of us that appreciate the warmth, feel, and flaws of a great old LP.
    I have an original version of the Oklahoma soundtrack (with Shirley Jones) on vinyl – wouldn’t trade it for a shiny new cd anyday!

  2. @dotcalm Already experimenting with that. The problem with adding pops and hisses digitally is there is no “random” popping and hissing like you get with analog playback. So, you get a predictable pattern of pop and hiss. What we’re doing now is writing some software that allows a semi random pop and hiss that varies slightly from pop to pop, hiss to hiss so the average listener can’t really tell the “noise” was added digitally.

    Like everything else, when you try to mimic human traits and attributes, the digital version is almost never the same as the real thing… complex thing, the human body!

  3. It’s not the pop/hiss that I miss with the disappearance of vinyl. To my ears, the sound of music on vinyl is so much broader in range and depth. Nothing quite like vinyl. Probably never will be!

  4. Agree entirely. Still waiting for that entrepreneur who can figure out how to lay a hissing/popping track over the digital stuff to at least fake the experience.. though digital will never sound as warm… sometimes we move too fast forward in our quest for perfect that we forget how beautiful imperfect really is.

Comments are closed.