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Monday, June 23, 2014

5 Reasons To Own A Turntable

Turntable image
Despite the naysayers, sales of turntables are rising right along side of the vinyl record boom. Where 5 years ago you had to really search to find one to buy (especially if you were on a budget), today you can find one even in your local Urban Outfitters. Here are 5 good reasons to own a turntable and playing vinyl records.

1. You get to own your music in a physical way. There's nothing like holding something that you purchased in your hand. It's tangible and real in a way that digital can never be.

2. You get to appreciate the artwork and liner notes. One of the best parts of the vinyl album is the cover artwork and liner notes. Many an album was purchased on these alone if compelling enough.

3. You have to listen all at once. This means that you can get into the spirit of the music and better feel what the artist was trying to portray. Sure, you can select a track at a time, but its far from the random access experience we have with digital. Some might call this a negative, but making that commitment to listen to 20-25 minutes of music can be an important part of enjoying and discovering music.

4. You have to own the necessary equipment. This forces you to consider your sound reproduction equipment, since every piece in the signal chain grows in importance. With digital, everything is made to be as simple as possible, which leads us to compromise on the playback gear almost without thinking. It can be quite fun (and expensive) too.

5. It sounds different from digital. Love it or hate it, there's something very organic about vinyl that more and more of us appreciate after years of exposure to digital only music. Some have never been exposed to anything else (see "When A 20 Year Old Hears Vinyl For The First Time"), and vinyl can be a revelation as to what music could sound like.

Don't have a turntable? Check out this article for suggestions.

What are your reasons to own a turntable?

1 comment:

Rand said...

Nothing is better than listening to great music on the only medium it was intended for our naturally analog-based ears to hear it with - vinyl records.

I feel sad for the majority of people today who never had the wonderful experience of buying a brand new record album of their favorite artist(s), opening the plastic on the cover, gently positioning the hallowed black vinyl on their turntable and waiting with eager anticipation to hear the magic begin.

And over and over and over again until the music becomes magnetized to your very soul and future memories. Talk about a religious experience!

Not to mention ogling the sweet album cover itself during the whole hypnotic process.

Try that with a tiny, crappy CD or worse, an intangible and ephemeral digital .mp3 version. This isn't progress to me at all. It only cheapens for convenience sake what's so essentially and organically special about music itself and turns it into just another average commodity.

It doesn't even compete with the overall enjoyment of listening and experiencing great music as it was originally intended to be and kept for posterity. It's true, our modern 'libraries' of music can fit in the palm of our hand but loses it's soul and intrinsic meaning in the process.

Digitizing music has as much logic, warmth and soul to it as plugging a '59 Les Paul Standard into a transistor amplifier instead of a tube amp as it was designed for. It'll never be the same sound, value or experience. Just a choice and sacrifice between convenience and what's true and real.


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