Follow TV Tropes


Web Video / Techmoan

Go To
Mat (left) and The YouTube Pedant (right)
Techmoan, real name Mat Taylor, is a British YouTube vlogger who makes videos covering gadgets, cameras, and obsolete or unusual audio-visual technology. He started out as "VectrexUK" in 2006, with one of the first posts being a simple Technology Porn video of an automated toaster in his kitchen, set to Strauss' The Blue Danube Waltz, which he made largely to prove that "people will watch anything on YouTube". And people did watch, so he went on to start testing cameras and providing advice on setting up home cinema on a budget, before relaunching in May 2009 as Techmoan.

The channel differentiates itself from the myriad other gadget channels on YouTube by including occasional comedy skits starring "The Moans", a family of puppets (all voiced by Mat himself) lampooning the gadget featured in the video, YouTube comments, or technology in general. As well as reviewing the technology and delving into the history and development of old formats, he often buys and repairs older equipment (having to replace perished rubber drive belts is a standard fixture of many videos) to fit into an ever-growing and highly eclectic home AV setup.

Find his channel here.

The works of Techmoan provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: He warns people to surf sober while talking about the Planetron, a purchase he was dissatisfied with, implying he was at least somewhat drunk when he purchased it.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Mat refuses to buy or even look at a laser turntable because while a turntable that doesn't make physical contact with records is amazing, the price is astronomical, you have to thoroughly clean the records because it can't handle dust, and it can only play black records, not coloured, clear, or picture onesnote .
    • A lot of the obscure gadgets Mat has covered failed in the marketplace due to this. Case in point, the TEAC O'Casse cassette, with small reels that could be removed like a reel-to-reel tape but played in a standard cassette deck. The concept never took off because changing reels was so tedious. This hasn't stopped them from making appearances in Mat's other videos, probably because they look so cool.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The occasional badly-translated instruction booklet with various gadgets is a reliable source of amusement.
    Mat: At first glance, it looks rather normal, but look a little bit closer and you'll see that the certificate of authenticity tells you that the product is "dripping genuine dissapearance". And rather confusingly, it tells you to "Meet the golden section of the mini-size". And finally, as everyone knows, "The instructor must have the best weapon".
    • And of course there's the Skelton Ape special edition of the Columbia GP-3 turntable, which Mat claims that his favorite part of the product is the box due to the sheer amount of Engrish nonsense written on itnote .
  • Boring, but Practical: Mat's repairs usually consist of replacing worn belts, as that's all most units will need.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: Cuba Baion, a tune that Mat found on a Tefifon cartridge, quickly became the Moans' theme song. This is also a Real Song Theme Tune.
  • Catchphrase
  • The Coconut Effect: In his video on wind-up gramophones, Mat points out that the perception of 78 rpm records as scratchy comes from media depictions of the sound of worn shellac records, when in reality the sound is much clearer.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In "The first OLED TV - Sony XEL-1", the YouTube Pedant is asked to name a famous television set and replies with Star Trek. Even when told that they were talking about hardware, he replies with Doctor Who.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Mat blames Sansui's exclusive focus on hi-fi for their Audience-Alienating Era in the mid-80s and subsequent eventual decline into their In Name Only incarnation, since they were unable to cope with the changing market for hi-fi systems.
  • Depth Deception: In his review of the Sega Toys Grand Pianist electronic player piano, Mat starts out by talking about his dream to own a self-playing piano, and how their size and price makes that impractical. He proudly announces he has achieved his dream, and we cut to a shot of an apparent grand piano in his living room, until the camera pulls back to reveal it's a 1:6 scale toy (albeit a fully working electronic player piano toy with moving keys) with a photo of his living room behind it as a backdrop.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The YouTube Pedant has in the past been banned from driving for crashing into a McDonald's and somehow managing to run over more than six people inside.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Mat is quite adept at getting forgotten gadgets to work, and if he can't it's usually because the unit had suffered some severe damage in shipping. Most of the time, a simple belt replacement will work.
  • Global Ignorance:
  • Hipster: The YouTube Pedant puppet flip-flops between being disdainful of hipsters, and being one himself. He prefers to work on an old luggable computer and resists attempts by his family to get him up-to-date, but also insists that olives, dark chocolate and espresso are all disgusting and only consumed by people to make themselves look cool.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: The ice beer float machine's assembly is so convoluted that Mat starts looking forward to the beer.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The puppet sketches do this a fair bit.
    Pedant: I can see why you're not in these outros much any more. Your character is just too mean! Whereas everybody loves me!
    Mrs. Moan: No, apparently it's because my voice is too difficult to do, and it's slightly annoying as well.
  • Misaimed Marketing: When looking at the Pocket Rockers, he remarks that he's confused about its target audience, as 10-year-old kids in 1988-1991 would have liked the idea of trading, collecting, and wearing the tapes but are unlikely to have been interested in Genesis or known who the lead singer of Boston was.
  • Mistakes Are Not the End of the World: Mat admits that sometimes his attempts to repair vintage electronics don't always work, as demonstrated in his attempt to replace the laser assembly on a Sony SACD player.
  • Oop North: Mat voices Pedant's Dad with a heavily exaggerated stereotypical Mancunian accent.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Pedant seems to disguise himself as his dad at the end of the VHD video. Since he was treating Real Life interactions like online chats, this is equivalent to a Sock Puppet account.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Matt mentions that the smartphone-powered Mini Showa Retro TV will intentionally show "a sandstorm", and tapping the body fixes it, simulating older CRT TVs which do this.
  • Running Gag: In earlier videos, making fun of Youtube commenters who insistently tell him he must replace all the caps (capacitors) in every device he demonstrates.
  • Self-Deprecation: Mat quite frequently acknowledges his pursuit of old entertainment hardware can appear ridiculous to outside observers. Even as early as the second video on his main channel (a review of 3D Sector-X on the Vectrex), he narrates over video of himself wearing the ridiculous Vectrex 3D reproduction headset (made out of a welder's mask and a CD drive motor) suggesting that if you've gone this far in your retro-gaming hobby, it's perhaps time to take a long hard look at yourself...
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Invoked by name in “The 3-in-1 Oddness of the Triplecorder”. Investigating a combination radio, record player and tape recorder released in Japan in the 1960s, Mat uncovers some patent documents with the application date “15th July 37” on it (“37.7.15”, as dates are written year-month-day in Japan) and spends several minutes speculating how an almost identical design with 1960s components could have been sat on since 1937. He goes as far as suggesting a time traveller sent the designs back in time to try and make money, before finally admitting he knows that the year on the patent was given in Shōwa (the number of years into emperor Hirohito’s reign), with Shōwa 37 being 1962 CE, and he just strung out the explanation as an excuse to delve into the history of tape recorders.
    • His review of the "Grundig" MS 300 Micro System was made because he thought it might be a rare modern case of soft-touch controls for a cassette mechanism. His interest immediately disappeared when it turns out the standard piano-key controls were hidden behind a flip-down plate in the fascia.
  • Shown Their Work: Boy, does he ever! Particularly notable in Mat’s reviews of long-obsolete audio and video gear - as well as scouring old magazines, newspapers and catalogues for information about the product, sometimes going back to the 1950s or even earlier, he will often buy multiple units to get one that works, or repair the ones he does have. The resulting videos are frequently the most comprehensive and informative sources of information on obscure formats out there.
  • Spectacular Spinning: Discusses this in his video on the Technics SL-P1200 CD player. The visible motion is one reason why he (and others) like physical formats like vinyl records, compact cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes. By contrast, modern solid-state devices and (most) CD players either don't have any motion or hide it away, reducing the visual spectacle.
    • Also the reason why the Panasonic RS-296US cassette carousel and the Akai CS-55D tape deck got videos made about them; both quirkily have rotation in a context one wouldn't expect it.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: Touched on in the retrospective of the RCA CED Videodisc; Mat suggests that RCA only bothered bringing their ill-fated videodisc format to market, even after it had been soundly beaten by the technically superior LaserDisc, because they had sunk over $600m into its development, production and marketing over nearly 20 years.
  • Take That!: The puppet sketches frequently lampoon obnoxious or pedantic YouTube comments, pointing out how insufferable a person behaving like that in real life would be. How To Write a YouTube Comment - In 10 Steps in particular accuses this sort of commenter of not watching the entire video and failing to pay attention to what they did watch.
    • His video on the Philips BMS 2600 BGM system includes a link to an 'abridged version' which is only a few seconds of sped-up dialogue and music long, mocking both Youtube comments saying certain videos were too long and the Youtube algorithm itself pushing creators to make shorter videos.
  • Technology Porn: In some reviews of particularly unusual or interesting pieces of equipment, there will be a "Mechanical Montage" sequence showing close-up shots of the mechanisms in action, set to The Blue Danube Waltz.
  • Understatement: Mat's description of a malfunctioning tape mechanism creating borderline demonic sounds from his stereo test tape:
    Mat: Okay, I'm sure you're not a professional audiophile just like myself, but perhaps you could spot a slight problem with the audio there? Maybe a little bit of a speed irregularity?
  • Unknown Rival: His videos on Video 2000 and HD-VMD are both about media formats that came third in what most people think were two-horse race format wars (VHS vs Betamax and Blu-ray vs HD-DVD, respectively).
  • Very False Advertising: Mat takes issue with dodgy advertising claims. Take this example from a cheap boombox review, regarding speakers that he rated at 26W total at best:
    Mat: Now let's have a look at those speakers. Remember, they're supposed to be 200W PMPO. "What's PMPO?", you might ask. It means absolutely nothing. It's just a marketing term; it doesn't really reflect anything at all. It's a little bit like saying that the maximum speed of this [toy] car is a hundred miles per hour... if you throw it off a cliff.
  • Video Review Show: Many of the channel's videos fall into this category.
  • Your Head Asplode: Dad Moan spontaneously combusts out of sheer frustration after discussing the idiosyncratic naming of Blu-rays in this sketch.

But that's it for the moment. As always, thanks for watching.