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This is going to be the next hipster trend and there's nothing you can do about it

We just want you to be prepared

This is going to be the next hipster trend and there's nothing you can do about it
Tom Victor
08 May 2018

Finally done it, lads. Finally run out of new inventions, to the point where we’re recycling old ones, only better.

Remember when we completed new music a while back? The answer was covers, and unlikely ones at that.

Then when we ran out of new formats to listen on, we decided it was time for vinyl to come back in a big way.

Still, we’ve moved on, and moved forward. And by forward I mean backward. Introducing the next new thing that’s also an old thing: the return of reel-to-reel tape machines.

As reported by Bloomberg, German firm Roland Schneider Precision Engineering has gone big on the format with a high-end version of the audio recording format which dominated the late-20th century.

The Verge dubbed the format ‘the new vinyl’ back in 2015, and while the takeover didn’t come as quickly as some anticipated, we’re getting there with Schneider’s new Ballfinger Reel-to-Reel machines, which will set you back a pretty penny.

The cheapest model is due to retail at €9,500 (£8,349), with the most expensive of the four coming in at a hefty €24,000 (£21,093).

However, it’s thought to be the first new reel-to-reel deck made this century, so it may well be the start of something bigger.

The Ballfinger reel-to-reel tape player

Read more: The best turntables of 2018

“Digital media is great, but experiencing music is more than just listening to a sound file – it’s sensual, it’s reels that turn and can be touched,” said the machine’s designer, Roland Schneider.

“When it comes to audio quality, nothing else in the analog world gets you closer to the experience of being right there in the recording studio than reel-to-reel tape.”

Reel to reel was of course given its most iconic pop-culture moment in Pulp Fiction, but you’ll likely see a lot more of it soon.

How long, then, until there are more affordable mass-market models updated for the 2018 audience, and how long until you see someone riding around Peckham on a penny farthing with one of these perched on top of it.

Who knows, maybe we’ll end up going full-circle and analog music getting so big that digital becomes the hipster trend. Well, at least we might if you were able to show everyone else in the café the cool album by this artist you’ve never heard of that you were currently streaming.

(Images: Ballfinger/Getty)