the changing sound of the noise floor

As I listen to the dying notes of 'videotape', the final song on the new radiohead album, and the less-than-perfect 160kbit mp3 reproduction collapses into the alien digital noise floor, it occurs to me that I have become as emotionally attached to this sound as I once was to the the needle-drop, the rumble and the crackle of the vinyl of my childhood. It has become a pleasant sound, attached to more than two decades of music listening that has brought me much pleasure. The crappy digital noise now brings with it those positive emotions.

Over the past few years, most of my listening has been sourced from my computer, where I often have to deal with digital noise from hard drives. I wonder how ingrained that will become in my psyche, and if in later years, when solid state drives are the norm and computer sound more crystal clear than the best audiophile systems available, I will yearn for the strange clicks and whirrs of my knackered old hard drives clunking their way through thermal recalibration.

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