Hearing Your Own Voice for the First Time

50’s era tape recorder

One of the biggest shocks to hit us Boomer kids was hearing our voices recorded for the first time.

In the 50’s and 60’s, tape recorders were far from common. The devices were costly, and our fathers were too busy spring for pricey essentials like color televisions to consider spending as much as fifty hard-earned dollars on such a useless gadget.

But about 1968, a house guest brought over a gadget that would for the first time reveal to me what I would consider to be my high, pipsqueak voice: a portable tape recorder.

The human skull causes one’s own voice to reverberate and deepen before it reaches the ears of the speaker. Therefore, the untainted product as captured straight form its source invariably sounds higher than what one is used to.

Of course, nowadays, kids are used to hearing their own voices at a very young age. The debut of the camcorder in the early 1980’s saw to that. Plus, cassette decks became cheap and available during the decade previous to that, so that most households had a means to record to tape. And in this day and age of digital video and audio reproduction, it’s difficult to image a kid at the ripe old age of eight being shocked by the sound of his own voice.

But times were slower, simpler, and less technical when the Boomer generation was roaming the planet as children.

Panasonic cassette recorder

I remember that I was very curious as to what my recorded voice sounded like. So when the opportunity finally presented itself, I eagerly grabbed the microphone and started speaking.

I was quite distraught to hear a voice come out of the speakers that sounded like it was coming from a girl!

My fascination with my own voice continued as I grew older. I got my hands on a cassette deck when I was thirteen, and enjoyed reading the dialog from comic books into it, to be followed along later with the comic book in hand.

Yeah, I was a weird kid.

Speaking of recording one’s own voice, I haven’t forgotten about podcasts. I have turned into a Linux user and advocate, but unfortunately i have not yet found a solution to high-quality recordings with my current setup.

So here’s to a simpler day when things that we take for granted now, like cheap digital recording technology, were far off into the future.

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