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Friday, 29 April 2016


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Vinyl really does sound better.

But ya gotta spend the $$$ on the entire system. The $10.00 turntable and no name cartridge you may find at a garage sale is not going to sound good at all (unless you find a diamond in the rough).

So turntable, tone arm, cartridge, electronics, speakers, yes they will cost much more than your mp3 player, but what a night and day difference in sound quality.

Thanks for the video link, nice story.

This is no surprise to me. The vinyl LP is the only physical medium to have. I mean - look at a CD: consider its hard-edged plastic box, the small artwork... and inside that vile box is a polycarbonate disc which you put into what is no more than a hard drive connected to a digital to analogue converter. What's so glamorous about it? It'd be worth the fuss if only it sounded superior to vinyl, but it doesn't. Crucially, you get the same sound quality out of computer files, which you can download for peanuts (if not for free).
On the other hand, if your aim is to keep a music collection, vinyl is the only place to go. It's tactile; you get a large sleeve with proper, specially designed artwork, and readable lyrics inside (sometimes), and a disc that you have to take proper care of. You get to value your LP collection. As for CD's, you might find out you can rip your whole collection to your computer without losing sound quality, thus enabling yourself to get rid of space-consuming hard plastic boxes. What's there to esteem and take care of when your music is reduce to the humble status of digital files?
Many are aware one day their computer and storage drives will break down and are not willing to upload their music to a cloud; and they want to have a proper record collection. That's why vinyl didn't die in the peak of the digital age and won't die in a near future. The increasing sales are no fad; they're not a hype, and vinyl buyers are neither hipsters - isn't it easy to label someone as such these days? - nor cavemen. We're just people who love permanence over these constant, confusing changes that the industry imposes on us. Even if we take as much advantage of modern media as everybody else: surely I'm not writing this on an Underwood typewriter.

Thanks for the pointer to Dave Archambault's site. Replacement parts for my Thorens? Upgrade parts? Mods? Yow!

Sadly, a lot of parts are out of stock. I hope they go in and out regularly...

I have a pretty large vinyl collection which I started around 1960. In 1983 I upgraded my system to include a VPI turntable. I think it's due for a new cartridge; the Grace MM still sounds pretty good though.
There are a number of albums which never came out on CD, so not only is there an appreciably better sound quality with vinyl but I get to listen to music that I otherwise couldn't on CD.
I don't consider myself an audiophile, rather a musicophile.

This story from Denver's Westword just ran, and I think there's something to the idea: “Vinyl forces intentionality, which gives you a deeper connection.”


I recently refurbished my Rega Turntable and bought a good Goldring cartridge for it. Playing lp's again was an eye opener. Comparing lp with cd or high quality download is interesting. I have a lot of lp's from my youth that I also have on cd or as wav or flac files. Often the lp's beat the cd's for what I think is referred to as "space" in the sound, and the clarity of the quieter bits. Dynamic range and all that. My digital set up is not ultra high end, but not cheap either. The cost of the Rega and a self built phono preamp is way less. Downloaded wav and flac files can be as good as the vinyl if they haven't been mastered for loudness.

I now would say my TT is on about 60% of the time. Add to that the fact I'm a short plane ride to Japan and its amazing second hand record stores and my vinyl collection is growing again.

Keep up the music related off topic posts. Music and photography go together outstandingly well in my mind.

A couple of little pieces of worship at the temple of vinyl:
- https://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/201x/2010/03/04/Record-Player
- https://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/201x/2012/10/15/Why-Vinyl

Also, for some pure fun, visit http://recordplayer.com

I don't know if vinyl sounds better. My digital stuff sounds pretty good too through the same system. New vinyl sounds at least as good. But if I have a guest over who is into music it's much more fun and social to put on a record (or let them do it). Then of course they can look at the cover and notes, and one side of a record is a nice time period for a little conversation before flipping the record or putting on something else. If I play a digital album I don't hand them an iPad with the album info on it because that would just be strange.

This figure is probably for new LPs, no? I wonder what the figure is for used records. I still buy a bunch of those. $2-4 gets me all kinds of gems. Some of them aren't even scratched ...

A note on photography and Tom Waits' Rain Dogs...
The front cover features an Anders Petersen image and the back cover was shot by robert frank on a pack-film polaroid. There's a great bit about the story of the shoot at the NYT here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/06/magazine/wtwt-tom-waits-and-robert-frank.html

Robert E, vinyl was still pretty standard in 1991.

I know, because I remember buying We Can't Dance (Genesis) and Waking Up The Neighbours (Bryan Adams) at my local record shop with my first ever paycheck when I was 15. I couldn't afford a decent CD player at the time, so CDs wasn't an option until a few years later. That said, once I got hooked on CDs I never ever bought a vinyl record ever again, and still haven't. While LPs might sound better, I have never liked the pops and clicks. I have around 500 LPs in my collection, but I never play them. But the cover art is too nice to throw away, especially those artsy Jazz covers from the 60s. That said, I never play CDs either. I rip them all and play music from a laptop with a good DAC between it and my stereo. I often find Google will provide me more and better info than the notes inside the album covers, and the cover art looks better on a 4K big screen TV. Funny thing is, now that vinyl is in vogue, CDs have become dirt cheap, and Iast year I bought over 2000 CDs used for next to nothing. Theae days you can ahve the cake and eat it too.

The "vinyl revival" is what will kill the small independent record stores. Now that records "are cool again", big chain stores and Amazon and Barnes & Noble are grabbing all the low-hanging fruit. The cool little store will still be the only place to buy records by Moondog, Captain Beefheart, or John Cage. But losing all the sales of Abbey Road, Radiohead, Adele, Pink Floyd, etc to the big guys will do them in.

No biggie really. I was always in the "records sounded better" camp. But as I've upgraded my stereo (and more attention has been paid to CD mastering) I find that more often than not, the CDs sound better. And now I can buy CD for pennies on the dollar.

[I have boxes and boxes of CDs, but it's been a long time since I've listened to one. Most of my listening is done from files on the computer (or streamed from the Internet); in the family room, a record will "live" on the turntable for a number of days and I'll play it a side at a time several times. But CDs for me are sort of the orphans in the middle. I don't even own a CD player any more. --Mike]

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