So, I have started really getting into collecting records and the awesomeness of old school music set-ups. I am talking phono recievers and bookshelf speakers here my friends.
Vinyl Records are just skyrocketing in popularity these days. There are tons of music shops in our town that have been selling more and more used and new LPs.
Now, I know what you may be thinking… Records? Better-sounding than my MP3’s? I think it is a matter of preference, but there is something that records have that MP3’s/CD’s don’t have. There is a certain warmer quality that records have. My first experience that changed my mind was listening to a Boston album I picked up a while back. I listened to “More than a Feeling” on my record player… It was like hearing the song for the first time. There is so many small nuances that the record player picks up that get lost in digital music and CD’s. This is partially caused by the way that CD’s (and therefore MP3’s) deal with volume. Record Players output at extremely low volumes, whereas CD’s had a literal arm’s race to see who could output more “Boom” this noise drowns out many of the sublteties of the music.
I am turning into an audiophile snob.
Does anyone else collect records? Enjoy Listening to them? Have an opinion?
I love records. I love holding album-sized art, I love gatefolds, I love the feel of records. I have four 12" frames that I rotate a bunch of my favourite record covers into because I love looking at some of the covers so much.
But I don’t think vinyl sounds better than CD. So much of it has to do with how the final product has been mastered. Take the recent Mission of Burma reissues, which (in my opinion, of course) sound a million times better than the original vinyl issues. The live record The Horrible Truth About Burma, especially. On the other hand, you have all of those terrible Husker Du CD masters from SST that totally screw up the sound from the vinyl records.
The big problem is that when CDs were first released the mastering on a lot of them was fucking terrible, so audiophiles felt the format was a step backward. That’s not really true anymore, though.
The nice thing about vinyl though, (especially if you love 60s-70s Rock like me) is how cheap the albums can be. 1-10 bucks per album.
One thing that CDs never can have are the look and feel of the record. I love that they are giant, and the album art is awesome. I do know that some music can sound really good. (I have a copy of “Endtroducing” at 320 kbps, and it is AWESOME)
They are fun to collect, and relatively cheap now.
Yeah, I like to buy a lot of old vinyl whenever I can (no good shops here in Reno, unfortunately). For convinence, I still listen to mostly CDs and MP3s, but vinyl still holds a place in my heart for when I’m not on the go.
And its nice to listen something that hasn’t been overly compressed (dynamic range compression) and boosted as part of the loudness war.
As opposed to vinyl releases, which sacrifice sonic fidelity to get everything onto one side of a slab of vinyl? Once you get past the 17-18 minute mark on vinyl, realize that you’ve passed the optimum time allotment for that space, and you’re with each minute past that, the sonic fidelity of the entire album side suffers.
My wife and I have several hundred pounds of vinyl, but really haven’t listened to any of it in a few years. She’s got a lot 70s and 80s stuff, while most of mine is limited release noise and avant-garde crap, the sort of thing that I enjoy, but rarely find any of it worth repeated listening. I’ve been meaning to frame my 12" singles that Mission of Burma released with works by Shepherd Fairey etched on the blank side in advance of The Obliterati.
Edit: Man, my favorite record that I own is just a bunch of 8.5 second locked grooves on clear vinyl by Matmos and Kid 606. That thing is just damn fun.
I planned out and bought a killer vinyl rig a couple years back to make “needle drops” of certain classes of records:
the music has never been issued on CD
the CD is rarer than the LP
the CD mastering is a casualty of the Loudness Wars (i.e., too compressed)
the CD mastering is otherwise inferior (e.g., bad stereo mix when there’s a good mono LP)
I use Adobe Audition to remove excess noise and repair big pops that come from scratches, taking care not to go too far and remove any music or to deaden the “living” analog sound.
I found that in many cases I wound up with a homemade CD that sounds much better than the commercial CD available for that album, while in other cases (where the LP was badly mastered or badly pressed, or where the CD was mastered well) the effort wasn’t worth it.
But the hobby proved to be educational for me and lots of fun, and it certainly solved the problem that spurred me to try it, which was that I wasn’t thinking to listen to some of my favorite records because they were in the LP bookcase, camouflaged by lots of 99 cent crap records I’d accumulated over the years. And I record LPs for other people, mostly older folks who haven’t heard their records in years, and they love it.
That’s what I’m slowly doing as well. Except that I cheat and find some of the albums in helpful corners of the intarweb - I bought them once and I’m not losing any sleep over skipping the lenghty conversion process.
But I have a bunch of vinyls not avaliable anywhere, that I’d love to listen to again. I prefer cd sound quality (unless the cd master is really fucked), but prefer the look, size and feel of vinyl. But I stick with 192 Kbps because ease of use triumphs fidelity when it comes to it.
Mission of Burma. They used to be one of the most criminally overlooked bands of the post-punk era in America, but recently have finally gotten recognition due to a pair of fantastic comeback albums and Matador Records amazing reissues of their entire back catalog.
There is something about having an old reciever with the glowing numbers and metal audio dials that is missing on current sound systems. All of the plastic is… bleh.
I am in love with my new record set up. I don’t know if it is just me, but CD’s really just sound kinda… bland to me. Hearing an album on a record adds so much to the tone (especially with classic rock stuff, because the music was structured to be listened to on a record player)
I’ve got some cheap, old record/cassette/8-Track combo player that I picked up at a store closing sale some years ago. It’s got fairly atrocious audio quality, but it allows me to pick up certain older albums for just a buck or two, sometimes less, and sample certain artists without having to resort to iTunes or other measures.
A 30-second clip of an album isn’t going to give me much of an idea of how it sounds, so if I can find a cheap vinyl copy of the entire album for the same price as a single digital track, it works for me. And the album art is nice, too.
I’ve got something close to 700 7" singles, along with an uncounted number of LPs and 12"s…almost all 80’s post-punk and british indie stuff. Unfortunately, my turntable broke and I haven’t bothered to replace it. One of these days I’ll get around to it.