1/30/2013 9:01:00 AM
There’s magic in vinyl records; warm, sweet, musical magic that you can only experience by putting an old school vinyl record on your turntable and cracking it up. I love records, and I’m not alone, over 4 million vinyl/lp records were sold last year – up 14% from 2011.
I'm a big collector of vinyl - I have a record room in my house - and I've always had a huge soundtrack album collection. So what I do, as I'm writing a movie, is go through all those songs, trying to find good songs for fights, or good pieces of music to layer into the film. - Quentin Tarantino
There was a time, a glorious time, when you would run up to the record store to pick up the new album from your favorite artists. You didn’t buy singles, not often anyways, that was something 13 year old girls did with disposable pop music. We bought the whole album, and listening to it was an experience that involved an almost religious like ceremony.
Capone’s Vinyl Record Listening Procedure:
- First, you and your friends prepare the listening area. This usually involves arranging the chairs in optimal listening range of the stereo speakers, grabbing several cool delicious beverages, opening the window a little, and placing a towel to block the open area between the bottom of the door and your floor.
- Remove the thin plastic shrink wrap that covers your latest acquisition. It’s quit normal to now smell the inside of the album at this point. I don’t know why really, but go ahead and do it. Smells good huh?
- Remove the Record: Now, carefully, with only the tips of your fingers in one hand, grabbing the very edge of the disc, remove the vinyl record. You should then switch to hold it carefully in between the palms of your two hands with only your palms touching the very edges of the disc. Now spin the disc carefully looking at the track listings and disc label.
- Blow on Disc. Sometimes cardboard and packing debris can become statically attached to the disc. A quick blow will remove the Klingons. Ah, now she’s all shinny black and pristine. Unless you have a coveted picture disc, then you’re just golden.
- Place the album on your player so that “Side A” is clearly showing. (Back in the day, albums had A and B sides and were intended to be played in that order. Not that we always did, but its best to listen to the record in this order, at least on the first go around)
- Clean the needle. Yes, a small metal needle, usually with a diamond tip, rides on the grooves in that record. They tend to gather dust from your other records that will need to be removed. If your lucky, you have a small wooden kit with a disc cleaner and a needle cleaner. If not, you now lick your finger and rub it on the needle. This should make a particularly booming scrapping sound over your speakers. Cool. We are ready to play this bad boy.
- Put the needle on the records edge. Track 1, Side 1.
- Partake of first cool delicious beverage.
- Review Album Cover. As the owner, you get first dibs on reading and looking over the cool album cover and inside album sheet. Here you will find liner notes, lyrics, thanks, and all kinds of cool photos and artwork to go along with the album. When you done, you should pass it to your next friend, who should be passing something to you at the same time.
- Partake, Pass, Repeat,
- Flip album
- Partake, Pass, Repeat
Just like any good mad scientist, vinyl record fans have a love of the equipment that helps us listen to these round platters of awesomeness. We like heavy quality turntables, my favorite is the classic Techniques 1200’s that many old school night club dj’s still use. The needle that rides the vinyl waves inside the groove needs to be of the highest quality and that could sometimes set you back a good chunk of this paychecks spending money. Then, of course, you need a preamp – vacuum tube is the only way to go here. Then the whole thing goes through your tuner which hopefully has a ridiculous amount of wattage lending it capable of making your whole house shake. Finally, speakers, and not just any little cheapy plastic speaker cabinets, o no my friend, these need to be huge wooden monolithic monsters containing various sized speakers and tweeters. (A tweeter is a very small speaker designed to deliver higher frequencies, and not just your daughter’s school time distraction during algebra)
Vinyl is the real deal. I've always felt like, until you buy the vinyl record, you don't really own the album. And it's not just me or a little pet thing or some kind of retro romantic thing from the past. It is still alive. - Jack White
Why do vinyl record sound better?
First off, the people who made that record back in the day were engineering the audio specifically to be delivered to you via a vinyl record. That was all taken into consideration with their levels and equalization. In other words, it was recorded to sound the best on a vinyl record.
Why isn’t digital better?
MP3’s and most digital downloads have been compressed. That is to say, pieces of that audio have been removed to save file space. This allows you to store more in your little metal players/phones, it allows that distributor like Amazon or Apple to save bandwidth and help you download the files faster. One of the biggest laughs I have is when I see somebody pay $200 for Beats headphones just to listen to their horribly compressed MP3’s. That’s like putting a rear wing spoiler on your mom’s minivan... Looks cool, not functional.
I put on the Hank Williams and the Patsy Cline and the Rosemary Clooney on vinyl - I'm not trying to be some cool indie-rock person, I just love the way it sounds - and throw on a T-shirt and jeans. In Texas, we practically come out of the womb in jeans. - Kelly Clarkson
Today, most anniversary editions and special releases from classic rock artists involve a vinyl record. This is not just because a vinyl record is still the most profitable form of distributing the media, it’s because the artists love the way their material sounds on vinyl and they want you to experience it the same way.
When I die, just keep playing the records. - Jimi Hendrix
There is even a company in the UK that will take your ashes and turn them into a vinyl record. Yes, your friends can rock out to you in the after life, spinning a needle across the remains of your body while listening to.. well… whatever the hell you want to put on the record. Some people put their will and testament or final messages on the records. That’s cool. Personally, I would just put me playing the guitar and complaining that the needle tickles.
Why not head down to your local used record store today? Pick up some cool old records that you haven’t listened to in years, or maybe one that you have never heard. You might be surprised to find out that the arm full of records you just bought cost less than 1 CD from your local Walmart. Plus, you might even find out why so many of us love double albums. They’re handy. I’m just sayin.