Spinning Vinyl Records Because Music Matters
I collect vinyl records. I currently have approximately 3,000 of them, along with some 400 45’s, 78’s, and even over 100 Edison cylinder records which date back to the turn of the 20th century.
My collecting focus has changed over the years. When I was nine years old, I started buying 45’s; always the records I liked hearing on the radio. I bought the teen pop material, and then at age 11, an older neighbor kid introduced me to Steppenwolf and The Doors. From that point on, it was all about the LP.
I have LP’s racked in the living room, foyer, master bedroom, and spare bedroom. My wife is very understanding. And it helps that she loves music as much as I do. My tastes are fairly eclectic, but the majority of my collection is from the rock genre 1957 to the present. I have a respectable rack of classical music, and I enjoy some blues, folk, and acoustic stuff too.
It’s true what they say about vinyl. It really does sound better than cd’s. A good pressing, played back on a good turntable, through good speakers will blow you away. The sound is warm, immersive, and addictive. It’s how your ears were designed to hear…in analog…with those smooth natural sound waves. I know digital is more convenient. I’ve got an iPod and collection of cd’s, but serious listening is always on vinyl.
Another rewarding aspect of collecting Lp’s is the cover art. You’ve got a nice 12” x 12” cover that can display real art and graphics with a lot of detail. Plus you’ve got room inside the sleeve to include posters or 8x10 pictures (Beatles White Album anyone?).
If you grew up in the '70's like me, you probably remember all the great album covers designed by a company called Hipgnosis. They were responsible for memorable sleeves for Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here), Alan Parsons, 10cc, and many more.
You may have heard about the renaissance in vinyl over the past 6-8 years. It has become more of a resurgence, showing continued growth. At this point, I believe that vinyl just might be here to stay. Thomas Edison’s invention is gaining new ears well into its second century. If someone had told me in 1985 that I could still buy brand new LP’s in 2011, I would have thought them crazy.
My vinyl is really a collection within a collection, because I also collect the phonographs that play it back. I have numerous antique gramophones and Victrolas.
If it makes music, I gravitate towards it. You can see a couple of the antiques in my living room. The one on the left is an Edison which plays the thick 10-inch discs. On the right is an old Silvertone gramophone from the ‘20’s that plays conventional 78’s.
The pressings available today are much better quality than when I was growing up. Reissues are sourced from original master tapes, and pressed onto thick 180-gram slabs with quiet playing surfaces and zero warps.
I play my vinyl on a VPI ‘Scout’ turntable made right here in America.
How many products can you say that about these days? The company’s owner and resident genius is Harry Weisfeld. He builds solid equipment that gets every last nuance out of a record, and does so at a real world price. The Scout is around $1,800. Think that sounds high? You can buy turntables up to $50,000 and more if cost is no object, and you’re crazier than I am. I know that the VPI has given me twice its cost in sheer musical enjoyment.
The cartridge I use is a Dynavector 17d3,
which features a linear contact, highly polished diamond stylus mounted to a solid diamond cantilever. That means that every vibration sent by the record groove travels through the hardest substance there is. The cartridge is extremely detailed, but warm and sweet in the all-important midrange frequencies.
Just for fun, I've included a few more pictures of the other racks full of LP's in the house, and a gramophone circa 1905 that I'm really proud of due to the big external flower horn.
Plus a Pioneer turntable from 1976 that I still use to play 45's and some original vintage pressings that are not quite pristine enough to play on the Scout.
If you’re interested in records, you can go to a couple of great websites to see the incredible variety available. The biggest is www.acousticsounds.com Another great site is at www.elusivedisc.com. Unfortunately if you want to hear and buy a good turntable, you will probably need to drive to the DFW metroplex. Check for dealers online and make it a point to stop in for a demo. I bet you will be absolutely amazed. If you remember vinyl from your youth, or still enjoy it like I do, send me an email or leave a comment. My email is email@example.com. And after all, the music you hear on the True Oldies Channel was first heard on vinyl!