10/17/18

RCA Quadraphonic - Flew like a lead zeppelin.

Gather round, children, and listen to a story of hope and disappointment.

In 1970, RCA wanted everyone to buy a new audio system for the new four-channel (which came to be known as "quadraphonic" or "quad") music system. At that time, consumer-level stereophonic (two-channel) systems were still sort of new. Anyone with a stereo "hi-fi" system would have been considered an early adopter.

This RCA ad wanted you to drop everything and rush straight out and buy a new quad system. Now, stereo systems have twice as many components as mono. Two amplifiers, twice the speakers, twice the everything, pretty much. As a result, they cost about twice the money that a monophonic system did.

Along comes quadraphonic, and they cost roughly twice as much as stereo, with four times the components as a mono system, of course. How much was that? Well, the system pictured in the RCA ad sold for $250. Run off to the CPI inflation calculator page and we can see that $250 was about $1300 in today's money.  Yowza.

Having just bought a stereo hi-fi a few years previously, would you be prepared to jump to a quad system already? To the well-heeled douchebag subscribers of Esquire, it may have been a no brainer. It was also 1970, so, amazingly bad decisions on the part of pop culture were coming fast and furious. Maybe a $1300 bookshelf music system (look at the size of the speakers in comparison to the cassette slot) seemed like a solid decision? Maybe you would have looked forward to throwing this in the trash when hexaphonic sound systems came out a few years in the future? I mean, why wouldn't you assume that was on the way, right? Spoiler alert: that didn't happen.

Time would show us that not many people were into quad. Not very many albums were recorded in quad, and before too long, Dolby Labs would figure out how to make a stereo signal feed four or more speakers through clever phase detection. Stereo was pretty good enough, it seemed. Five-channel and seven-channel surround systems, which extracted multichannel audio from a two-channel encoded audio signal, would embarrass your lame-ass quad system by simply being more cleverer with less hardware. If you haven't listened to music on a surround system, you're missing out. It's pretty cool.

Of course, we are now looking at an entire generation raised on hyper-compressed music played through twenty-dollar computer speakers or came-free-with-my-iPhone craptacular earbuds, so, hi-fi, or "high fidelity" is sort of a dead thing for now. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the superpopular bass-is-all-I-care-about Beats brand of headphones, which are as close to high-fidelity as the squeaky earbuds they, in many cases replaced, to be honest. People love those too, because they're expensive.

Come to think of it, hi-fi early adopters at least cared about accurate sound reproduction. Maybe those douchebags weren't so silly after all. Is the idea of four speakers more ridiculous than choosing a pair of headphones because you like the color, or headphones that are engineered with permanent bass-all-the-way-up circuitry? The last time I tried to buy a pair of headphones in a store, the clerk looked at me like I was nuts when I told him I wanted to hear them before buying them. Apparently, caring about how accurately a music system reproduces sound makes you an eccentric outlier.

Maybe the douchebags weren't so silly.




10/16/18

Someone Else's Mirror


10/11/18

Up Your Decor - What a treatment!



HEY DECORATORS! It's me! Your interior design goddess Vorbia! I know! It's been a while, huh? I've been.... getting treatment! "What kind of treatment?" you reasonably wonder? NEVER MIND THAT! Go to hell, you bastard! Window treatment! That's what kind of treatment!

Anyway, dearest friends, it's all autumnal outside, and you know what that means! It's time for spring decorating season! That's because, if you're Spring Decorating right, spring isn't long enough to fit it all in! GET ON THAT SHIT IMMEDIATELY!!!! DO IT NOW!!!

Hey, look! Numbers and letters! Everybody loves numbers and letters! If you're like me, and you'd better be, they're how we keep track of things and keep track of our track keeping! Why not decorate a whole room (Just one???) with this dynamic and vivacious alpha numeric theme? Even your milk-churn umbrella barrel will need a number, if you're to know exactly which milk-churn umbrella barrel you're staring pointedly at! How much fun is that! Let me count the ways, using pretty much every surface in the room!

Ooooo! A reading room! So scholarly! Wade is reading a decorating magazine in our super groovy shag-o-delic orange shag reading room, with lighting scheme courtesy of K-Mart Strategies Department! Just in case there's not enough light (Can there ever be?), there's a very mod globe light to illuminate even the black levels to 100 IRE! You're not going to believe this, but the shelving unit is made from - are you ready for this? - plywood! Can you believe it? It even has shelves that face the wall, for all your reading
material that Must Not Be Found. You know what I mean. 

Don't leave your kids out of the fun! Sure, the kids play in the yard all the time, but sometimes they'll
need to get out of the rain, right? With this super mod playhouse, they can pretend they were stranded
on a grassy veldt when their rowboat crash landed, half burying itself in the ground. Just image the
fun they'll have, pretending to draw straws to find out who they'll eat first! 



Have you ever been locked out of your house? Perhaps by a loved one pretending to be afraid of you?
HA HA HA HA HA! I love that joke! You can get that whimsical, fun feeling all the time by simply
nailing shingles to your bedroom wall! Good times! Also, during Private Time, it'll feel like you're
having sex in the yard, just like an animal! Pretty erotic, huh, tiger? Gosh! What has two thumbs and
is getting all hot and bothered? Me am! That's who! Well, I hope the neighbors don't have windows!

10/10/18

Outies Magazine, April 1969


10/9/18

Can I Show You My Canyon?


10/5/18

Star Whoopsie