Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Thrift Store Score - 85 CDs For $6.90

CD_score

It's got to be pretty obvious by now that I'm very fond of going to thrift stores - so much so that it's greatly affected my idea of what stuff is worth. If you're a retro fan, and a cheapskate, the thrifts of this nation are pretty much one stop shopping. But even this deal knocked me on my heels when one of my local haunts decided to ditch CDs.

CDs still hold a futuristic charm for me. Tiny (some might say "compact"), rainbow metallic finish... Drop one into a player, and just stand back as the digital sound roars out of your speakers. I have a large collection of CD's that I've put together since the late 80's, and while my acquisitionsCD stackmini have slowed, I figure I'll be buying CD's as long as they're available.

The shift to digital downloads has tilted at an amazing rate. Many of my friends have freed themselves from the pressed aluminum bonds of a CD collection to be completely virtual. Of course I understand the appeal of having all of your music collection on a hard drive the size of a paperback (and of course nothing EVER goes wrong with a hard drive, right?). Still, there's just something in my head that wants to hold CD's and look at the artwork, and all of that.

We've all probably made this point - for or against - at some point in the last few years. My main issue with downloads is the heavy compression. Yeah, yeah, I know... compression schemes have gotten so good that you can hardly hear any difference. I guess it's that "hardly" part that still gets me. CD's are already a lovely uncompressed format that we can translate to our various devices. Why mess with that?

I can't argue with how great downloadble music has been for artists who would never have gotten a recording contract. Now no one has to decide whether you can release your tunes to a large audience or not. You just need a Facebook account. There are several artists I like who have never released a physical container for their music, but I'm still undecided whether the non-physical music world is truly better or not.

One unexpected bonus of the massive change to digital is that used CD's have become darned near worthless. I feel rotten for my friends who own record stores, and I mourn the day when I won't be able to idly troll the aisles discovering new tunes - but right now it seems like if there are any gaps in your music collection you want to fill, the CD format is a really cheap way to do it.

At the thrift, I just bought a binder full of 85 CD's and booklets for $6.90. That's less than 9 cents per album - which last I checked is quite a better price than iTunes. I'm also an album guy whereas the digital world caters to "hit single" listening... so this thrift score is going to be a lot of fun for me. Maybe you should check your local thrift to see if that retro CD technology is going to be on blowout soon. You can pick up a few albums worth of tunes for what you would have paid for a few singles online... and get uncompressed music to boot.

related:
1986 Hitachi portable CD player
Hard Format: The Art Of Physical Music Media
Audiophile Magazine reviews Sony's first CD player
PlayStation 1: An Audiophile Bargain or Fool's Gold?

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