There was a time when listening to music had its own ritual. Remove the disc from the case, place it on the turntable deck, arrange the needle, give the play. This sequence was simplified with the cassette first and the CD later, to die definitively with the arrival of the mp3. Digital formats, which —for the moment— have their culmination in streaming, dynamited the way to approach this experience: today we can listen to almost any song with the push of a button on the mobile, tablet or computer.
It may seem banal, but the fact of not resorting to a stereo, of not having to physically search, choose and play the album we want to listen to, changes everything. The immediacy has altered our rhythms, but also our habits. Starting with the way we consume music: if before we knew by heart the order of the songs on our favorite albums, now what they take are the playlists. Listening to music was an activity in itself; that too is being lost.
Hi-Fi teams are managing to survive this tsunami of change. Although the quality of the reproduction of the Bluetooth speakers is acceptable, purists continue to demand Hi-Fi equipment to develop all the nuances of music. As has happened for decades, although there was no alternative before.
Some of them, like the ones illustrated in this article, are authentic works of art. All a demonstration that a good design can turn a technological device into the central element of the room in which it is placed. The book Hi-Fi: The history of high-end audio design, published by Phaidon, traces the history of high-fidelity equipment from the 1950s to the present day.
The author, Gideon Schwartz, describes in the introduction to the work a picture taken in 1982: that of Apple founder Steve Jobs sitting on the wooden floor of an empty room with his hi-fi equipment as the only company. A titan of design alone with his music device, focused on sound and without distractions around him. That is the effect that the totems of the analog era achieve. Those are the feelings that we are losing