When I was 13-years-old I made my first tape of the piano in my bedroom in Hialeah, Florida.

In those days, I would spend an average of two hours per week practicing with my cousin’s mum’s old Ampeg Sigma 40 EDF keyboard. I spent many a weekend snipping switches and running tape through my pristine tape deck, determined to listen to my baby sibling play on record, on the cassette, on the cassettes, on any other format that was available. I even found time to record videos of the piano concert to tuck into those precious CDs, or burn them to movie cassettes I thought would be the perfect media. As good as the audio was, none of that was to tell if the tape was actually good to listen to.

I did, however, develop some instinctive listening skills. Those skills helped me hear what was coming out of that Ampeg, literally knowing I was hearing the piano. In fact, that was such a special thing. Because for many millions of aspiring musicians throughout the history of the world, that was the only way they got to hear music. They were simply never given access to acoustic instruments that they would in any way be able to listen to.

You see, the Esquire recorder was an actual recording of a recording of a recording of an audio tape. So while it was instrumental for musician’s youth, its intrinsic limitations made it impractical for the modern audiophile who wanted to create their own sound. I want to create my own music, and I would like the opportunity to compose my own sound, using all the best instruments and recordings.

Seemingly counterintuitive to what has come to be known as “the democratization of music,” the recording format we use today actually created opportunities for musicians, but it created a monster for the audio engineer who had to store all that music. And you know what? That’s exactly what they needed: A process to physically work with the raw analogue sound the recording made. This is a critical issue facing producers at every level, from brands and musicians, to music producers, to entrepreneurs. The Esquire recorder could have at one time reduced the cost of accessing music with incredible sound quality to where access to music itself was open to anyone with the means to produce and distil that sound. And what’s incredible about this is not only was the recording the way it was because it was deemed to be perfectly the way it was, but it was also an extremely valuable form of data that was passed on over and over again until we got to the point where digital recording could match this sound quality.

This is our generation’s version of Henry Ford’s Model T: We know how to replace those parts but we haven’t had the opportunity to use the machine to make the most out of our new technology. In many ways, I’ve become the car instead of the car, and while its still cheap, I’ve spent too much of my time parked in the feature-less driveway, waiting for the feature to rotate the center-console to a preferred position.

My music producer friend Joel Rhodes recently built the world’s first home powered by Gauss guitar, and the research that went into that endeavor into how this guitar can theoretically record and store very high quality sound while doing so was exemplary of this fact. But then, most musicians have a guitar at home but they don’t know what that guitar can actually do yet, especially when it comes to using that guitar to record audio. And they shouldn’t have to, and that’s the message I want to convey to you. A guy I met on a number of occasions was made unemployed as his job function is to create a production feature for another music company but that is before applying them to himself to recreate a 7 inch vinyl rip.

Instead, they should have taken a few extra months to fully understand how to use this technology to maximize sound quality. In that way, he could have gotten a couple of jobs, generated some extra income, or saved up so he could really create the music video that was going to be used to sell their picture. His fiancée got him a very nice job at the software company but even that was solely based on his voice and a CGI version of his face.

A couple of years down the road, they could have thought of a soundtrack to the movie, utilized his guitar, and finished their job by having the movie soundtrack producers present the sound to the world. Even without the script, in that scenario his car would be a luxury car, able to keep up with his usage of the best sound and driving technology.

That’s how you tap into the potential of digital technology to create better, more creative content, more empowered

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