This is sort of a companion piece to Friday’s Popular Culture piece about eight track tapes. There was quite a response to that piece, and several commentators suggested that we talk about vinyl records tonight. I have a great respect for my readers, so I am happy to oblige.
On the surface, records seem to be quite simple things indeed. In practice, few things are further from the truth. While the concept behind records is fairly simple, the technology is extremely complex to attain high fidelity, defined as sound reproduced with high enough quality as to give the impression that actual performers are playing at the time. In other words, artifacts of recording and playback should be so small as barely to be noticed.