The world is strange, people are crazy, and the extent to which this is true can sometimes be seen in market dynamics. I am by no means an economist, but as a buyer and sometimes seller of electronics, be it hi-fi or guitar electronics, I realise how sometimes it gets to the point of sheer madness. Now, allow the guitar that had once belonged to Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton or David Gilmour; the fetishism in this field can almost be understood, just as one can understand the desire of an enthusiast who also has considerable financial means to own an instrument that had once belonged to a music legend. Even if vintage guitars cost as much as a good new car of a certain level (indeed, vintage cars themselves can cost impressive sums of money), it’s fine… those who have so much money they don’t know what to do with it will invest in such purchases. But what I have seen happen within a few years before my eyes with a simple guitar pedal effect is surreal. Guitarists know what I’m talking about, others don’t (but who’s going to read me anyway): meet the Klon Centaur!
Era un bel pomeriggio di sole del 31 ottobre 2023. Dopo pranzo mia moglie ha accompagnato me e nostro figlio alla stazioncina ferroviaria semi abbandonata da dove sarebbe partito il treno leggero che ci avrebbe portati nella cittadina dove avrei completato il passaggio di proprietà della mia “nuova” auto. In realtà l’auto ha 2 anni in più di quella che va a rimpiazzare. Ma è di categoria superiore ed è una di quelle scelte che si fanno quando a un certo punto decidi che si vive una volta sola e che certe soddisfazioni te le meriti pure. La tranquilla attesa al bar con mio figlio è benvenuta, aiuta a pregustare l’evento, una cosa che ormai pensavo sarebbe stata difficile da realizzare. Invece alcune vicissitudini hanno voluto che potessi (o forse dovessi) prendere in considerazione di comprare un’altra auto. Ho scoperto che potevo di nuovo accedere ad un piccolo credito ed ho trovato l’auto che desideravo. Dopo circa 3 anni una nuova Papalfa sarebbe entrata in famiglia..
My relationship with Alfa Romeo began when I was a child born in the mid-1960s when it was customary to play with toy cars and imitate “grown-ups” driving a car. I do not consider myself a real car enthusiast in the strict sense and I have not had many Alfa’s, in fact, only one so far. But from an early age I was fond of the legendary Alfa Romeo models of my childhood. I was enchanted by the cars around town, I would ask my father what model they were and which one was the best. I still remember that back then my father thought that the Alfa Romeo Giulia was the best car in those days. And that was my imprinting. The Giulia was the car of the police force and bad guys. The “cop” movies of the time were full of chases between Alfa Romeos. Their performance, the road holding in particular, was legendary.
I have always been an advocate that digital, although very convenient for so many things, forces us to rush and enjoy the product or art form only superficially. I have always maintained on this blog that my insistence on using analog tools when I can is due to a need to rediscover other, more human rhythms from time to time. So putting on a vinyl record to listen to music allows for greater depth, a more complete enjoyment of the artwork (if only because it is impossible for us to jump from one track to another for example, or to extract a “playlist with a different order from how the artist conceived it). But buying new records is becoming very expensive, and when I think that in order to buy an album I would have to spend 2 or 3 months of subscription to a streaming service, even I start thinking. Is it worth it in 2023 to insist on analog? Especially if you are not sailing in gold?
To begin with, I remind you that I am a geologist, not a nuclear physicist, but I do have some basis for understanding and divulgation as well. I want to do this because as a person of science, I should not have also believed certain scientific inaccuracies that have become almost stereotypes. One only has to delve a little deeper into the subject (from scientific sources) to discover that it is not all as dark as it is painted. We are usually afraid of things we do not know. Culture is freedom.
Let’s start with clarifying: in nature we observe 4 types of energy, electromagnetic energy, gravitational energy, weak nuclear energy and strong nuclear energy. The first two we can experience in everyday life. Light itself is an expression of electromagnetic energy, but so are wifi connections and radio waves. Nuclear energies are less visible because they act within atoms.
I was pondering (and it would not be the first time) the cost and commitment of continuing to enjoy music with an analog turntable. As a matter of fact, the analog system is not inherently superior to the digital system. Sound quality depends on the original recording, its mastering, and how the copy we enjoy was created, whether it is a vinyl record, a CD, or a file. I have vinyl records that sound worse than the MP3 files of the same tracks! I have a subscription to Tidal HiFi, and for 10 euros a month I get all the music I want in CD quality (even more since broadband streaming today runs into fewer errors than reading data from an optical disc). So is it really worth the efforts?