We lived in this brief, multi-decade state of grace, that ran roughly from the demise of the cassette tape to about three years ago, when you could be out and about in the world and be blissfully unaware of the shitty musical taste of passing strangers. Pedestrians, bicyclists, commuters on public transit: they were all aware of this amazing invention called "headphones". Sure, there was the occasional gangsta in a car impressing all the ladies with the phlegmatic buzzing snare of his door panels, but mostly you could go days without hearing something terrible squirted out of the tinniest excuses for speakers in the world.

What went wrong?

Now, every junkie and every fixie hipster is assaulting the world with battery powered external speakers, and headphones are apparently no longer a thing that exists. Did the manufacturers of these things even consider the evil they were unleashing?

In summary, your music sucks, and your speakers suck too.



12 Responses:

  1. It's the rebirth of the transistor radio.

  2. dave says:

    if ever there were an argument for bluetooth hacking for the public good, surely this is it

  3. Jim says:

    I ran a 10k race in Sydney a few weeks ago and there were several runners with backpacks and speakers. I probably bettered my time that race just because I needed to increase my pace and leave these people behind.

  4. MattyJ says:

    Wow, and Apple hasn't even killed the headphone jack yet.

  5. MattyJ says:

    The only time this is appropriate is Robot Dance Party.

  6. Are we not even going to go down the path of ranting how the modern DSP tricks implemented to make big-sounding sound come out of little speakers just further alienates listeners from the pure analog sound of days gone past?

    Well, now we don't need to.

  7. Evan Jones says:

    My wife feels safer while riding her bike with something playing. She claims pedestrians are more likely to notice her. I think she may be right, but I also find it to be unnecessary noise pollution. I wish we could all just obey the rules of the road instead.

    • dwj says:

      This is the same argument for loud pipes on motorcycles. And it's not good there either.

    • Ben says:

      YouTube JWZ'ed JWZ: this video shows up for me with a "The YouTube Flash API was officially deprecated on January 27th, 2015." text overlay.

      Also, TIL that Safari runs Flash by default. Bad safari.

  8. thielges says:

    At least BT jamboxes play bad music with decent fidelity. My peeve are those who broadcast their bad music via the tinny little speakers built into the phone. Too often I'm enjoying a quiet moment at a cafe when a nearby table decides it's too quiet and decides to dj their muzik through a tiny 0.1 watt slab of electronics propped up on the table. it is the personal version of the car door panel vibration way of broadcasting.

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