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Moving Target Technology

Technology is advancing at such a rapid pace, it seems almost impossible to get comfortable with new gear before it is considered obsolete.

By M. Erik Matlock April 3, 2019

Although I’ve acquired the latest and greatest versions of new recording and editing software, I still prefer that old version. It works fine and I know how to work almost every aspect of it. No need to crack open manuals or search for tutorials on a system you can run blindfolded.

Within the live sound world, after many long years of working as a “hired gun” and mixing on everything, I eventually found my ideal technological marvel… The Midas Heritage 3000 analog console.

It fit like a glove. I loved everything about it, except that it took four of us to put it on the tilt stand. The greatest console in my world also happened to have almost the same measurements as a queen size mattress… Plus another eight thousand pounds or so.

However, it was, without exception, the sexiest chunk of electrical perfection I had ever encountered. I wanted to take long walks on the beach with it and plan our future together. We were soulmates. H3K understood me.

But alas, it was not to be.

We both moved on. I still sit in the window some nights, watching the horizon, wondering what could have been if not for the youngsters and digital encroachment.

Sooner or later, you younger folks will find a “magic combination” that perfects a signal chain and makes you feel like king of the world. If you stay in the industry long enough, you might eventually get tired of having your favorite toys replaced with weird stuff that doesn’t “click” with you.

History has a way of mocking those who don’t embrace change and desperately cling to yesterday. Then it punishes us for things like accumulating tons of outdated cables and falling in love with the obsolete. Like, maybe, a DAW that’s only happy with the now unsupported Windows XP.

Don’t believe me? Think about this…

Prior to Edison, one could make good money selling kerosene lamps. Folks probably even bragged about having a better lamp than the next person.

Before Alexander Graham Bell, people were planning careers around becoming telegraph technicians and operators. They had no idea their entire industry was about to crash and burn over another new technology.

Around the time the Beatles performed at Shea Stadium, some people probably thought they understood large-scale sound reinforcement.

We know nothing.

Somewhere in the gap between the young nerds and the old graybeards, I assume there must be normal folks who adapt and move forward cautiously.

Not the goofy kid with his face pressed to the glass outside Best Buy, waiting for them to open so he can speed-test new processors. Not the crusty old-timer being dragged away from the clearance box of patch cables and half-inch tape reels. Just someone who takes it day by day and adjusts as needed.

To that rare breed, the ones who can simply value the function of technology without finding awkward emotional connections, I applaud you. I don’t know what kind of therapy might be required to balance the rest of us, but it’s probably worth looking into.

So to the hyperactive youngsters who live for faster processors and multifunction digital devices, as well as the curmudgeonly oldsters who stare longingly into displays of antique vacuum tubes… I get it.

We can either embrace change and learn the new gear/technology, or forever wander the earth as analog driven zombies searching for copper to appease our appetites.

… and maybe someone to help us set up our stupid phones.


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About M. Erik

M. Erik Matlock
M. Erik Matlock

Senior Editor, ProSoundWeb
   
Erik worked in a wide range of roles in pro audio for more than 20 years in a dynamic career that encompasses system design and engineering in the live, install and recording markets. He also spent a number of years as a church production staff member and Media Director, and as an author for several leading industry publications before joining the PSW team.
https://www.prosoundweb.com/author/m-erik-matlock/

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