Old is the New New
Jan 1, 2006 12:00 PM,
By Mark Johnson
Ford’s 2006 Mustang looks suspiciously similar to the design of the ’69 and ’70 model years. And Ford has also re-released the GT-40, a car originally designed in the ’60s to compete with Ferrari in the 24 hours of LeMans (in 1966 it won — first, second, and third). Dodge has re-introduced the Hemi engine to an audience that wasn’t around in its ’70s heyday, when cars were big and gas was cheap.
In the audio industry, after discontinuing production in 1993, AKG has brought back the much-loved 451 microphone. The Shure SM 57 and 58 (introduced in 1966) never left and are considered mainstays of any mic collection. Audio people young and old pine for such vintage gear as UREI’s LA-3A audio leveler, old Neumann mics, or a Telefunken mic preamp. And I just learned that Mix magazine will review the “new” LA-3A (originally introduced in 1969 and now resurrected by Universal Audio) in its January issue.
Further, the parade of plug-ins for Digidesign’s ProTools often mimic old equipment, and the list of available products is rife with descriptions including the words “classic” or “analog.”
But it just isn’t the same way with video. I can’t think of anyone offhand who is using Sony’s AV 3400 Porta Pack VTR and camera on a daily basis. Or Panasonic’s 3130 1/2in. reel-to-reel color editing VTR. Or Ampex’s AVR-2, a 2in. Quadruplex VTR. And I don’t think any third-party developers have come up with Avid plug-ins with algorithms for emulating the switching effects of a Sony SEG1 or the picture quality of an RCA TK-41 studio TV camera.
As we start off the New Year, it’s interesting to note the peculiarities exhibited as we pursue goals of excellence — and how we attain those goals in the products we make and services we provide. Best wishes for a prosperous New Year.