Blathr Wayne Lorentz

What is Blathr?

Blathring in March, 1987

Sunday, March 22nd, 1987 Alive 5,808 days

I got another compact music disc. Itʼs Substance by New Order.

This disc sounds very different from my Invisible Touch compact disc. Itʼs very crisp and thumpy. I wonder if itʼs because New Order plays electronic instruments, instead of analog instruments like Genesis, and the player is electronic instead of analog.

The compact disc box came with a leaflet inside:

The compact disc digital audio system offers the best possible sound reproduction—on a small, convenient disc. Its remarkable performance is the result of a unique combination of digital storage and laser optics. For best results, you should apply the same care in storing and handling the compact disc as you would with conventional records. No cleaning is necessary if the compact disc is always held by its edges and replaced in its case directly after playing. If the compact disc becomes soiled by fingerprints, dust or dirt, it can be wiped (always in a straight line, from center to edge) with a clean and lint free soft, dry cloth. Never use a solvent or abrasive cleaner to clean the disc. If you follow these suggestions, the compact disc will provide a lifetime of listening enjoyment.

That seems like a lot of work for something thatʼs supposed to be better than tapes.

My uncle Joe says itʼs not better, though. He works for Panasonic and is working on a Digital Audio Tape, which is like a regular cassette tape, but smaller; and you can fast forward and rewind like a compact disc. He says itʼs also more durable than a compact disc. He says that if you get a compact disc scratched, even a tiny bit, itʼs ruined forever, and you canʼt just record over it like you can with his Digital Audio Tape.

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Monday, March 9th, 1987 Alive 5,795 days

My new LASER music machine is good, but maybe not as good as it could be.

The music discs that it plays come in a very long cardboard box, about as long as my forearm. But flat. On the back of my Invisible Touch box it says:

The music on this compact disc was originally recorded on analog equipment. We have attempted to preserve, as closely as possible, the sound of the original recording. Because of its high resolution, however, the compact disc can reveal the limitations of the source tape.

So even though Iʼm playing my music on a LASER beam, itʼs actually the sound of a tape. Hopefully there are LASERs out there that can record music, too, so I take full advantage of my compact disc machine.

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Saturday, March 7th, 1987 Alive 5,793 days

I can hear the future.

This morning I bought a Compact Disc player at Crazy Eddie down in Wayne. Iʼve been reading about Compact Disc players in the Science Times section of the Times, and in Omni, and get this — it uses LASERs to play music!

Dad had to go down to a quarry for some stuff, and he let me come along and stop at Crazy Eddie. While he was looking at stereo receivers, I bought a Unisef portable compact disc player for $119. I also got a disc full of music: Invisible Touch by Genesis.

The machine is like a small shoebox that hangs around your neck on a flat nylon strap. Top flips up so you can put silver music discs inside. Thereʼs a liquid crystal display and a bunch of buttons on the top, too. It all looks like an oversized Star Trek tricorder.

The buttons on top are:

  • Open
  • Stop/Clear
  • Skip/Search
    ⏮ ⏭
  • Play/Pause
    ⏵ ⏸
  • Program
  • Repeat

On the left side is a switch to change the power source from batteries to power adapter, and three jacks — two for power, and one for audio line level output. Itʼs strange that thereʼs two for power. The end of the wall wart power adapter actually splits off into two different plugs, and you have to plug them both in for the machine to turn on.

The front has a headphone jack and a thumbwheel to control the volume.

And just so you donʼt forget that this machine plays music digitally, the word “digital” appears four times on the top.

The L.C.D. screen shows the song number that youʼre listening to, and it also counts how many minutes and seconds into the song you are. Thereʼs a forward button to go immediately to the next song! Itʼs so fast there isnʼt even the noise like a squashed chipmunk that my tape player makes when I fast forward to the next song. It also has a backwards button that restarts the song youʼre listening to now. The player makes chirping noises when moving from song to song. Maybe itʼs squashing crickets instead of rodents.

If you open the bottom, thereʼs a place to put ten AA batteries. I donʼt think Iʼll ever use that. Who can afford ten AA batteries? Iʼll just plug it into the wall.

Because itʼs LASERs making the music, the quality is supposed to be as good as can be. It sounds different from my Invisible Touch tape, but I canʼt really say how. Thereʼs no hiss between songs, I noticed that. But the music, itself, sounds different, too. More ringy. More hissy, but not tape hiss. A different kind. And there seems to be a lot more instruments than on the tape.

The Times says this is the future of music. Now I just have to find more music discs.

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