Survival of the Fittest

 RayCharles45Atlantic

This seems to be the big question.    How much longer are vinyl recordings going to be around?    What keeps them around?  Well, let’s take a sounding here.

When I wrote an article on low tech fun with sound equipment, that didn’t include turntables and vinyl recordings.   You certainly can have a great time with 8 track tapes and 8 track players.   You don’t need an expensive receiver.    You can still get great speakers at Goodwill.   78 records and turntables are also a ball.  So where do vinyl recordings fit into all this?

Many people say the sound of vinyl is the best.   One thing for sure, when they make vinyl records; the sound is never compressed when it’s transferred from a master onto the vinyl.   It’s like almost hearing an artist performing live.   When the record is made, they use an analog recording.  They don’t take it from a digital source.   For many music fans, analog gives a better sound.

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You certainly can buy your music digitally.    Buy just one song off an album.  But for many artists, that’s not how their album was intended to be listened to.   For an album like Abbey Road, the Beatles intended that you listen to the whole album from start to finish.  They believed this was the optimum way for a fabulous listening experience.

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Digital recordings are very convenient.    But they’re not the best quality music recordings.    You can hear it in the tinny sounding of the highs and the lack of resonance in the low ends.  The bass many times just sounds dead.

Playing vinyl records can start out as a hobby.  But watch out.   You may get hooked.  There’s the great artwork on the front cover and the band and recording information on the back cover.  You can even still find some good vinyl lp’s at thrift stores for almost nothing. Try small towns as all the dealers in large markets have usually cleaned out the good vinyl stuff.

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Plus, there’s the fun of buying equipment needed to play vinyl.   You can purchase anything from earlier, vintage turntables to the latest laser turntables that read the music using no needle at all.   Some younger vinyl fans feel  the magic of playing these cool, mechanical machines.  They love seeing all the moving parts.  They like controlling everything from tone arm weight to the exact playing speed.

Retro is in.   Turntables and vinyl do give you a feeling of having something very cool.   But for those music fans that love vinyl, the allurement is also somewhat nostalgic.   There’s a feeling that more has gone into the making of their favorite black, round disc.   It all just seems to mean a lot more than a sterile, silver disc with low quality music reproduction.

So, if you want to join the vinyl craze, and if this article has been helpful at all; then go forth my son, may the force be with you to enjoy wonderful music….on vinyl, of course.