Tales Of Obsolescence From My Gear Closet

lee-ob3Spring is in the air, and with it comes Spring Cleaning. While I was tidying up around the house I took the time to dig through my Obsolete Gear Closet. Here’s some of what I found, pictured above:

ADS DA converter. An inexpensive (under $150 retail, if I recall) DA/AD converter, I had purchased it after finding a box containing my ancient cassette mixtapes from the 80s, and felt the desire to digitize them and save their tracks to my hard drives.

Those of you who were old enough will remember the time and effort that went into crafting mixtapes so that they were “just right,” from the meter levels they were recorded at, to the exact order of the songs, not to mention the fade ins and outs, to the art on the case liner, and the clever name you gave your mixtape. So you can see why I wanted to preserve them.

The project ended up being abandoned when I saw how much work would be involved in editing the digital files (how lazy is THAT!?), not to mention the fact that the audio quality of the tapes had seriously deteriorated over the past two decades.

Audio Wave Cyclone 3D. A strange, misunderstood little product that, alas, never got much traction in the marketplace. Intended for gaming, and equipped with analog L/R in and out, it sat between your console or PC audio out and your amplification and provided amatrixed Virtual Dolby surround sound out of stereo speakers.

The soundstaging it produced alternated between sounding awesome and contrived, and eventually I unplugged it from my PC’s audio system and forgot about it until now.

Zektor SOLOCat. This was an HDTV extender that I was given by the nice folks at Zektor for a review I did for another magazine a few years ago.

The SOLOCat was revolutionary at the time because it was, to the best of my knowledge, the first HD extender that carried both component video and analog/SPIDF audio on a single Cat5e line. The pieces performed admirably in the testing I did for the review, but time and HDMI marches on and these days Component Video extenders are about as cutting edge as stone circles. No disrespect intended to my friends at Zektor, who continue to do fine work.

Not pictured: my old Harmony 890 remote and Speakercraft IR repeater, which I had used in my system prior to upgrading to an RTIT2c remote control.

Shortly after I had been rooting through my gear closet I got an email from Derrick, my former project manager at my old job. His old Harmony 890 had croaked and he was asking me for recommendations for a new one to purchase.

I told him that I still had mine and wasn’t using it, and gifted it to him, which worked out well for both of us.

The moral of the story is that some old equipment gets a second lease on life!