Punk Rock happened right while I was starting college. MTV and the movie “Animal House” happened while I was pledging a fraternity at a small state college in very rural central Pennsylvania.
In my senior year in high school, my fathers friend brought over an Imsai 8080 computer, one of the first home computers and convinced me to get into software, not become an Electronic Engineer dealing with hardware. Best career decision I’ve ever made.
That was a time where the world had switched from analog to digital. Before that band of time analog was king – film cameras, tube and then transistorized electronic equipment.
Going digital as we know it today took about another 15 – 20 years. It did not happen over night.
In or around 2016 I had the opportunity to purchase a pristine Collins Ham Radio receiver and a not so pristine matching transmitter (the “Gold Dust Twins”). I was able to get them on the air but while I had great respect for them, I actually hated the whole process of using them. I had been spoiled by modern equipment.
Like tube gear, I could never go back to a film camera, or even an analog synthesizer.
But here’s a couple of lists praising analog and digital …
I had my own darkroom – black and white film and prints. I shot 35mm, medium and large format
I learned and used Ansel Adams Zone System
I had a Hasselblad and Graphic View cameras. The focus on a “ground glass” was heavenly.. Spot meters, loupes, light tables. All fun stuff
I fixed a few tube based radios and power supplies. I remember how warm sounding tube based stereo amplifiers sounded
I had vinyl records (yuck – except the cover art and liner notes)
I had 8 track tape. OK, now that sucked so bad, I’ll end my analog list
I had some early digital or at least hybrid gear. I think an outboard midi box for my analog Jupiter 8 and some ham equipment could be “programmed” using a diode matrix board. There was some kind of mini disk or little digital tape recorder but I actually forget about that. I had a few early Roland drum boxes
I got into digital cameras when they hit 2 megapixels
Digital recording using Cubase and FL Studio
Fully digital software emulations of old analog electronic music gear. Arturia and Roland have great VST plug ins. Integrated into Cubase and I have more creative power than ever and am not wasting any time learning all those separate boxes like I did in the 80’s. I got the Arturia V Collection 8 on a half price sale and so for $250 I have 20 analog and digital keyboard based gear going way back to things like the Hammond B3, Synclavier, Wurlitzer, Farfisa, etc
My entire computer career has been digital going back to the late 70’s
Early home computers
Digital darkroom using Adobe Photoshop or Gimp
The top three would have to be the computer, followed by digital photography and digital audio recording.
I might point out that the Smart Phone combined with Social Media is the most toxic thing in the digital world. A real modern days Pandoras Box.