Tag Archives: gender in audio culture

Hottt Pixxx (SFW)

 

Download the twelve-page ‘guide to STEREO’ from the July 1971 issue of the International Magazine For Men:

DOWNLOAD:Penthouse_Stereo_71

Items of apparent concern to readers of this publication (see image above): Nuclear power; package size; dangerous-computers; hegemonic reproduction via linguistic conventions; sports cars; converting to Quad.

In addition, the advertising content of the magazine seems to reveal other hot-button -issues of the day:

Broadly stated, these issues could be cataloged as: ‘Too Soon’; ‘Getting Everything That You Have Coming To You’;’Being Impressive’; waterbeds, wigs, and Satan (sexy version).

I bought a beautiful NAD 7020 receiver and Optonica tape deck the other day from a home that I am pretty sure once belonged to Ron Burgundy. The receiver and tape deck were part of a very nice system, one of the better circa 1980’s hifis I have come across lately.  The house was pretty much like a circa 1975 men’s magazine exploded inside a suburban raised ranch, spraying all the walls with sexy ‘art posters,’ mahogany paneling, and Rich Leather.  Behind the bar (full bar in the enormous den, natch) was this single, solitary issue of Bob Guccis famous mag.  You’ll have to take my word for this, but as my eyes fell upon this ‘book,’ the first thing that I thought was: I bet this is the ‘stereo issue.’  And guess what.

One final note: from the ‘credit-where-credit’s-due’ dep’t: as the cover promises, no less than Charles Berlitz presents a straightforward explanation of how linguistic systems and conventions at work throughout the world serve to reproduce and reinforce male hegemony.  The ideas in this two-page article are pretty much straight out of every semiotics, women’s studies, and queer studies class taught in the past 40 years and stand in complete opposition to the smug, complacent, and generally sexist discourse evident on the other 98 pages of this publication.  Proving nothing other than the fact the 1970s were a crazy fucking decade.

Misc Electric Guitar Bits circa 1980

BC Rich Bich advert 1979.  Just in case you weren’t sure what the shape of the instrument is intended to mimic.  

Doing some PD dot com housecleaning today and I came across all of these lil’ orphan-ads for random bits of circa ’80 guitar technology.  Happy Friday.

Joe Perry promotes Bill Lawrence pickups circa 1981.  This would have been during the JOE PERRY PROJECT era.  I have never heard passive pickups with more output than Bills.

Not so much an electric-guitar ad but rather an anti-electric guitar ad.  Guild Dreadnought circa 1980.

Hohner electric guitars circa 1979.  I am guessing that these are Asian-made instruments but I can’t say for sure… that Epiphone-Wilshire-esque thing on the left is pretty intriguing…

Ovation Deacon…

…and Viper circa 1979.

Gibson RD, ES, and Les Paul ‘Artist’ lineup of 1979.  These instruments had active electronics, including an on-board compressor.

Sex Sex Sex Sex (guitar accessories)

No explanation necessary

I manage to do a fair amount of business selling bespoke microphone preamps, filters, amplifiers, etc; but I could stand to sell more.  Perhaps the problem is my marketing technique.  Perhaps I could stand to ‘spice things up’ a bit.  Perhaps the vacuum tubes in my designs could be given a more phallic character through quasi-clever wordplay and/or illustration technique.  Or perhaps the complete pieces could themselves entirely become metaphorically represented by a female body/persona, and the potential buyer could be encouraged to ‘inject them full of life’ with your ‘signal.’

Does sex really sell or do we simply gravitate towards the easiest possible metaphor for any product message?  And if sex DOES sell, then why not ingestion?   Eating?  As important as procreation is to the survival of the species, a starving man will surely choose a cheeseburger over a romantic dalliance.  Perhaps the dominance of sex-based, rather than food-based, advertising in our culture, signifies nothing so much as the fact that we’re not hungry enough.  If we were hungrier, would be be less easily aroused?  And how about the other two ‘F’s of human instinct (fuck, feed, fight, flight)?   Why not more combat-based or fear-based advertising?  All the ads in the series come from a single 1981 issue of GUITAR PLAYER magazine.

Which ‘bone’ exactly is the ‘mojo bone’?  And how could this ‘bone’ interact with a ‘back door’?

If you have been feeling/touching one body for sometime now, consider the improved sensation that could be possible from… oh never mind.

The heels have come off and the couple has exited the scene.  Crucial to the progression of the movement from LR to BR: the fire; the wine; the dulcet tones of your Ibanez Artwood.  All helpful tools in mastering the art of (reproducing human) life.

Those who have mastered their technique need not execute their practices in a darkened room.  Consider our mood lighting.  Mirrored (balls/ceiling panels) sold separately.

1957: Golden Age of Hi Fi (ladies-of), take two

Download a two-page scan of Radio & Television News, August 1957, featuring screen-star Martha Hyer and her DIY audio-hobby.

DOWNLOAD: Martha Hyer 1957 Radio TV News

Hyer is shown above in the midst of assembling her PERI 50, a mono hi-fi amp of the late 50s.  You can download the schematic for the PERI 50 here: DOWNLOAD PERI 50 SCHEM.  It’s a 50-watt ultralinear amp of extremely simple, efficient design.

Thanks to PS dot com reader T.F. for providing this article.  This piece comes as contrast to typical Women-In-Fifties-HiFi depiction, examples of which are in this series of images.    Despite the fact that ‘soldering-your-own-amplifier’ falls much closer to the wine-rack rather than gun-rack end of the macho spectrum, there was apparently nothing in American culture of the 50’s that could not be bro-ified, as this charming shop-apron of the era makes apparent:

Despite its intended message of unapologetic philandering and stamina, I kinda of get the impression that dude’s workmanship is shoddy and he has a shrill voice.  Maybe not the best image to project.  Thank god for social progress.  And on that note: does this website have any female readers who build/service audio equipment?  Drop us a line and represent…

 

 

The Golden Age of Hi-Fi (ladies-of)

Images of women as depicted in high-fidelity guidebooks circa 1960.  These sort of publications generally deal in DIY advice, schematics, and ‘buyers guide’ segments.  There is a lot of floor-sitting, demure outfits, and distant-gazing.   There is an uncanny similarity to many of these photographs.  Or as E puts it:  ‘WTF.  They all look like cats.’  Yeah that pretty much says it.

 

On rare occasion, we are shown women in more active (IE., less decor) roles.  Here are a couple of examples:  the (potential) technician and the shopper.

Better Living Through Auto-Reverse

Well alright…  Cheryl from the Madison office is finally coming over to the condo for dinner.  I think she said she liked John Denver and Jim Croce…

Gonna make pretty much the ultimate mix…  man this is really gonna set the mood…

OK it’s almost 8…  let’s get this tape up on the deck. Thanks to TEAC Auto-Reverse technology, the tape will play over and over and over and over again all night, regardless of how long the night ends up being.

What a fox.  Oh yeah?  Like the music?  Yeah I love these guys too… Saw them at the OysterFest a few years ago…  oh yeah, glad you dig it…

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I am not making any of this up.  This is an actual TEAC print-ad from January 1976.  It features single-people in their mid-30s having a romantic evening at the gentleman’s home (condo).   The selling proposition of this product is ‘Auto-Reverse,’  AKA, you don’t have to flip the tape over when the side ends.  When we were growing up in the cassette-tape era, Auto-Reverse was still a premium-feature of the higher-priced tape players.  I actually don’t think I ever had an auto-reverse walkman; they were just too expensive. Flipping the tape was just part of life.  Good thing i was too young at the time to have any ladies to entertain.  By the time I started dating, the CD was already in-play.  ‘Repeat’ is of course a feature of all CD decks.

Anyhow, this advert is a good example of the ‘lifestyle-benefit’ advertising that consumer electronics manufacturers employed in the 70’s.  Set a little stage, tell a little story, allow the consumer to insert themselves into the scenario.  This was in some contrast to much electronics advertising of the 40s to 60s, much of which was focused on ‘fidelity’ and ‘value.’  By the 70s, 20-20k performance (OK, 30-15k) was a given in most equipment; transistors and PCBs had made this stuff affordable to most working-class folks; so the benefit of one brand over the other needs to be demonstrated in other ways.  In this case, the increased romantic-potential of a dinner-date.