Theres no doubt about it MP3 players are cool. And having a jukebox the size of a matchbox in your pocket has obvious advantages.
But theres also something about vinyl that means it will never lose its appeal. Watching that little needle trace its slow arc over a swiftly spinning record has a
pleasingly simple appeal. And when you think about it, on an almost microscopic level whats actually happening is that the needle is driving down a concentric vinyl canyon, bouncing and careening over pits and mounds on a bone-jarring journey that would test even the most hardened off-roader. That tiny needle must go through hell yet it looks smooth and unflappable as it skims elegantly across the platter. Its kind of fitting that its tiny vibrations can be easily amplified to ear-splitting proportions.
Seems a shame just to dump the thankless needle from its role in music making just because technology has moved on a bit. Its not like it can just retire and take up crochet or something.
So analogue MP3 players. Bring back the needle and the damage done. Take a small ring of metal maybe half an inch in diameter, and a quarter of an inch wide and, for that ultimate old-skool vibe, coat its outside surface in a few millimeters of wax. A mechanism in the center of the ring rotates it at a constant speed.
Now attach an MP3 player. But dont attach that MP3 player to a set of headphones. Instead, in an arrangement that would make a swiss watchmaker queasy, attach a tiny needle to the MP3 player that shudders and judders according to the music that flows into it. Like headphones, but in needle form. Youve guessed it this vibrating needle is in direct contact with the wax surface of the ring, and thus transcribes the music onto it.
On the other side of the ring, theres another needle that scratches its way through the pitted track that the other needle has laid down for it. It re-translates the pits and bumps into actual music as it passes its hectic vibrations to your quivering headphones.
After the wax has been passed across the ring from needle to needle, a tiny heater melts the wax again and an unrealistically small cooling element hardens it to make a fresh canvas for the write needle to nervously dance upon.
Ear-trumpet-style fluted megaphone speaker is optional. Because there is a fine line between old skool and ye olde skoole.