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