Monday, June 30, 2008

Kiddie Audio Standard

As our darling daughter Natalia gets more and more into toys that flash and sing songs, I consider more and more what standard of audio fidelity she's coming to expect. Let me be perfectly clear - the toys she has that giggle, sing, and otherwise make noise sound abhorrently dreadful. I mean they sound horrible! At best, they are 8 bit polyphonic midi devices that reproduce their dedicated 3 octaves without buzzsaw distortion. At worst, they wouldn't pass QC at the store-brand (pick your big-box retailer) alarm clock assembly facility.

Believe me, I'm not so snobbish to think that every audible nuance that Natalia experiences in these formative years must be reproduced with the kind of clarity and detail that would make Jim proud, but surely, growing up with toys like these is bound to give her the impression that 128kbps MP3s are God's gift to recorded sound.

Darling Wife bought her a really cute little pudgy elephant the other day found on sale that I think is supposed to approximate some type of baby babble, tongue-hanging-out-of-mouth noise. When Jennifer and I make this noise for Natalia, she goes berserk - absolutely loves it. When this little toy makes the noise, she stares at it as if to say, "What the hell is this and what did it just call me??"

Maybe, just maybe, an older generation has come to appreciate higher fidelity more because they didn't grow up with toys that pretended to sing songs. Their noise maker toys were more akin to playing cards in bicycle spokes some type of castoffs from the parents.

Sure, I'd love for all of her toys to have CS3.7 coaxes and miniature Krells belting out "Itsy Bitsy Spider", but I suppose that's not a very cost effective proposition.

Your fingers-in-ears baby rearer,