The Growth of a Hobby

I’ve been interested in technology since I was a teen. Even then, my fascination was with all things audio. I’ll never forget buying a Webcor reel-to-reel tape recorder. (Even if you recall reel-to-reel recorders, how many of you recall Webcor products?) Unlike those cheap little recorders that were so popular then, this recorder could record in stereo. And since each channel had its own record button, that allowed me to record two tracks of any of my songs I wanted to record. Voice and guitar. Or even two guitar parts.

Years passed and technology changed and grew. I bought a four-track recorder that recorded on cassette tape. I was starting to get a taste for what could be done with multiple tracks. I could play guitar on one, bass guitar on another, and sing on a third. I used the fourth track for simple percussion; I’ve never been much of a drummer.

And then I upgraded to an eight-track analog recorder, not to be confused with those eight-track players that played those humongous tape cartridges. But this one also recorded on cassette tapes. And not the cheap ones. But that was okay. Being able to harmonize with myself and add additional accompaniment–sometimes additional guitar parts, sometimes strings or other instruments from my keyboard–was challenging but worthwhile.

And then I decided to switch to a digital eight-track recorder. I don’t recall how much it cost, but the prices on equipment like that had come down considerably. No longer was I limited to recording on cassette tapes. The new baby used a special kind of diskette that retained every bit of clarity I would ever need.

I still use that recorder, although it’s quite outdated now. Many musicians who record at home do so with their computers, using specialized software.

I seriously doubt I’ll ever do that. I don’t do nearly as much recording as I used to do. I’m not sure whether those diskettes are even manufactured anymore. But they’re entirely reusable, so that’s not likely to become a problem.

My newest gadget deserves mention, however. It’s a tiny, hand-held stereo digital recorder that makes broadcast-quality recordings. At least it would if it had broadcast-quality microphones. But recordings it makes can be easily uploaded to my laptop and edited there. (The inability to do that is a real drawback with the eight-track recorder.) I use it mostly just to record each of the songs I share at my church’s weekly nursing home ministry.

So here I am–a committed amateur musician who records as many of his songs as possible–for posterity, if nothing else–and posts the best of them, the nursing home recordings included, on his website.

Do you have a hobby or interest that started small and has grown larger or at least more important to you over the years? How about leaving a comment?


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Best regards,

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