Vinyl – The Revolution

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So it seems apt that a previous post, was about streaming music and now I want to discuss music formats again. Since Christmas the James household has been listening to more music than usual, but almost entirely on vinyl. In fact, I’ve cancelled my Spotify subscription, and disconnected my Sonos Connect.

So why have we taken a step back four or five decades and turned our backs on the convenience of streaming and wireless music? IMG_3500

It all started at Christmas, a good friend turned up (From Australia) with the most amazing Christmas present, an entry level vinyl player. We were blown away by the thoughtfulness of the gift, but didn’t for a moment imagine that it would be the beginning of a full blown obsession.

 

We started with a stack of LPs at my parent’s over Christmas and could already feel the appeal of being so involved in the music, putting the disk on the turntable, lining up the stylus and then dropping the arm and watching as the artwork spins and the arm tracks. It engages the whole family, rifling through old albums, pulling them out, blowing off the dust, and then taking it in turns to drop the needle and listen through at least a whole side, which in itself is an unusual pleasure these days. By the time my 30th birthday had come round in February, the addiction had really taken hold, and I elected to invest in a Project Debut Carbon MSL player to hook in to my existing FatMan Valve Amp and Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 speakers (I was already a bit of an audio-geek). Our collection of LPs had also expanded, taking over half of our living room.

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All of which leads me to… why?

Now, an audio-geek I may be, but I’m not here to talk about analogue wave forms, frequencies or bass response. Well, maybe a little bit about bass response. It’s more about immersing yourself in the occasion. I have gone out of my way to find an interesting album, maybe some Glenn Miller, John Mayer’s “Where the light is” live album or Coldplay’s latest album. This eclectic mix means we have themed evenings, Trad Jazz one night then Daft Punk the next. We have had several nights where we have invited friends around for “Whisky and Vinyl”, I can’t imagine inviting someone round for a Spotify evening…

So what about sound quality? Well this is a very subjective point, however, there is no doubt that having spent a reasonable amount on a decent deck, pre-amp, valve amp and speakers… the sound is… well… amazing. Deep, warm, rich and detailed. But, as I said, I have invested a lot of time and money in to my setup, far more then I have spent on a CD, MP3 or streaming setup. Having started with an entry level turntable, I have to say I fell in love with vinyl, despite the sound being thin and drowning in cracks and pops. I actually committed to investing in the more expensive gear because I had fallen so in love with the charm of vinyl.

I didn’t know when I started this piece that I would be saying I had fallen in love with vinyl, but there it is. It gets under your skin, and you fully immerse yourself in the occasion of popping on an album and actively listening to it with family and friends. Music brings people together, but vinyl is more akin to a campfire, the family sits around and feeds it throughout the night. It drives the evening and warms the soul.

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