Tag Archives: Paradigm

Vinyl Valhalla #2 – Sold My Soul to the Digital Devil

15 Jun
Albums like this deserve vinyl

Masterpieces such as this deserve vinyl

After the delays of a new book being released, retiring from the Royal Canadian Air Force after nearly 31 years (has it really been 31 years?), and starting a new job, it’s time to pick up where I left off in this audio retrospective series. It appears that, once again, my WordPress email alerts were turned off, so if I haven’t been around to visit your posts as of late—workload and WordPress as my excuses, of course—, please accept my apology.

The previous instalment in the Vinyl Valhalla series is here, if you’re interested.

After the high school years and military basic training, my next foray into audio came during my first year at university. I had a Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTC in the U.S., I believe) education sponsorship, and so I had a modest salary, for a student. On a military trip to South Carolina aboard one of our old steam driven frigates during 1984 spring break, I spied some electronics and eventually succumbed to the desire to have a stereo again. I hadn’t been able to bring my old clunker with the 8-track with me.


The high school stereo.

The high school stereo

Knowing essentially nothing about audio, I went with the well known name of Sony for the electronics and Bose for the speakers. I bought a 55 watt Sony audio-video receiver and a separate Sony CD player, the first time I had ever owned digital music. The speakers were the entry-level Bose 301s, whose smaller stature fit my humble university residence rather nicely. CD’s were convenient, with my limited space, and in my ignorance I thought that I had assembled a respectable basic sound system.


So not hi fi

So not hi fi

They looked neat, but weren't high fidelity

They looked neat, but weren’t high fidelity

How little did I know.

Fast forward a decade-plus later, and I was a father of three young children, had my first mortgage, etc. I found I was missing the music, or perhaps something in the music was missing. Still knowing nothing about stereos, I went with a similar brand name / more power is better approach. That is, I was still ignorant. I picked up a used 100w Sony AV received from ebay (later 90’s) and a pair of Paradigm Monitor 9 floor stander speakers. More power had to be better, and bigger speakers had to be better, too.

They looked impressive

They looked impressive

It was better, but it was still lacking. What I didn’t realize was that mass market solid state electronics and digital music (CDs) were literally killing the life in the music, sucking the very soul right out of it.

I remained in my state of ignorance until around the year 2000. It was then that I stumbled across one simple and unassuming audio website, and it forever changed the music in my life, for the better.