The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

10 June 2006

The music is reversible

But time is not, and in days gone by, if you wanted to play a record backwards, your options were decidedly limited.

A stereo four-track open-reel recorder used tracks 1 and 3 in the forward direction, and 4 and 2 in reverse, either by way of a complicated autoreverse mechanism or by the lower-tech expedient of switching the reels at the end of the tape. When quadraphonics came along, the four-track machine was adapted to do all four tracks in the same direction; however, two-track stereo tapes were handled the same way as before, which meant that if you were desperately searching for those secret backwards messages, all you had to do was record forward on tracks 2 and 4 and then swap the reels.

Computers, of course, simplified this task immensely, but the purists, even today, spurn digital trickery. For them, there's the Record Reverser [includes 5-minute video clip], a device that clamps your disc above the turntable platter. You can then rebalance your tone arm to exert tracking force upwards instead of downwards; this will only work, of course, if you have a cartridge mount that permits you to reverse the orientation of the cartridge.

Were this picked up from Fark, there would probably be a caption to the effect that "All other problems having been solved...." I'm not quite so snide; I believe everything can be improved. And if you don't believe me, ask Penn Jillette, who patented a hot tub which directs the water jet into the naughty bits of a female user instead of to random areas around the periphery. There may be nothing new under the sun, but there's never any shortage of brightness.

Posted at 5:00 PM to Entirely Too Cool


In keeping with the musical theme, this week I saw an ad for a USB turntable. According to the claims, it will play 33s and 45s, dumping the digitized output right into your computer so that you can have your way with it. For anyone who does not have a turntable (most don't, I do) this would be a pretty cool gadget to have. Provided, of course, that you have some LPs or 45s (I got both). Seems like it was CyberGuys that had the ad, but I could be wrong ... again.

Posted by: Winston at 7:17 PM on 10 June 2006

Yeah, I remember reading about that.

Writing, even.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:23 PM on 10 June 2006

For anyone who does not have a turntable (most don't, I do) this would be a pretty cool gadget to have.

I do have a turntable, but I still think this would be a cool gadget. What CDs need is the pop and click of real vinyl.

Posted by: McGehee at 9:46 AM on 11 June 2006