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Can anyone explain the vinyl renaissance?

Robin L

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It doesn't have to be so black and white, Sal.

I enjoy open reel decks. I rebuild them, align and restore them, play and record a few tapes and thoroughly enjoy what they are capable of. Are they SOTA? No, but they are one of the coolest pieces of HiFi ever made. I do the same with DAT recorders and trust me, that's a whole lot more complicated. And they were SOTA- 30 years ago. They also give me great enjoyment, as does an unloved repaired CD player somebody cast aside, or a turntable brought back to life and used.

Putting a music file through a flawless DAC is no challenge, requires zero skill and is frankly boring unless all you want is the music. I want a whole lot more. People playing vinyl want a whole lot more (and they get that and all the flaws). They choose to use vinyl one day, digital the next, streaming in the car etc.
I wonder---those amazing (to me) handheld digital recorders like my Tascam Dr 05 and 40---can you repair them? I wonder because there's such a high level of performance at such a low price in such a tiny package. I figure there must be a downside. Seems like they would be so tightly packed as to prevent repair.
 

thecheapseats

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...You don't think about sound quality at all when listening to a record?...
no - as I said before, I don't care - and can't change it even if I wanted to do so...
however, I do care and think about sound quality when I'm making a recording... they are two very different things...
 

Galliardist

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Yes, the vinyl renaissance makes sense to me because the power of suggestion is strong. Michael Fremer says that records sound better and that suggestion taints many listeners' beliefs. Add in some pseudoscience that "information" is missing from digital formats but not from analogue formats and again people buy that also. It adds up to the vinyl renaisance being based on pseudoscience and the power of suggestion.
Oh, come on.., the sales of 1989 (Taylor’s version) on LP are probably 700000+ by now. Maybe Fremer influenced sales, purchases by his readers or being played on turntables bought by his acolytes by family members, will reach into five figures?
 

Robin L

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Oh, come on.., the sales of 1989 (Taylor’s version) on LP are probably 700000+ by now. Maybe Fremer influenced sales, purchases by his readers or being played on turntables bought by his acolytes by family members, will reach into five figures?
MF has nothing to do with the vinyl revival, though he probably likes to think he does. I think, more than anything else, it's the physical nature of the format that makes it more attractive in the age of streaming.
 

Anton D

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Oh, come on.., the sales of 1989 (Taylor’s version) on LP are probably 700000+ by now. Maybe Fremer influenced sales, purchases by his readers or being played on turntables bought by his acolytes by family members, will reach into five figures?
For a renaissance explosion, they are gonna have to raise the average platters printed above the current outliers. If Swift sells a million LPs, it would way skew the total compared to the Average numbers we see.

Many pressings seem big if only a couple thousand are printed.

I’m happy things are getting made, but ‘rennaisance’ seems too exuberant a term to me.

More like going from almost extinct to simply endangered.

Fun, none the less.
 

MattHooper

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no - as I said before, I don't care - and can't change it even if I wanted to do so

And as I said, I understand your point of view.
It makes sense to me and so I don’t dismiss or denigrate how you relate, or don’t, to vinyl.

Why is it when others feel differently, like me, and explain the variety of things we get out of playing records, that you can’t accept it, or see it as legitimate?

however, I do care and think about sound quality when I'm making a recording... they are two very different things...

Again, cool. No problemo. I see your point of view. For me listening to music on my stereo and working in sound aren’t “two different things” insofar as I care about sound quality in both realms. And for me it doesn’t stop when I move from listening to my digital front end to playing records. I continue to care about getting good sound from records too, as much as possible from the format, and for my goals I often get really satisfying results.

Is my caring about sound even when I play records just silly or irrational to you? Or can you see my point of view?
 

restorer-john

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MF has nothing to do with the vinyl revival, though he probably likes to think he does. I think, more than anything else, it's the physical nature of the format that makes it more attractive in the age of streaming.

He wouldn't be that silly, surely.
 

thecheapseats

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...I figure there must be a downside. Seems like they would be so tightly packed as to prevent repair...
john could likely fix anything I'm guessing... as for tiny package downsides?->> years ago I really resented having to get my arms around hot air reworking and smt populated pcbs... especially annoying/costly when smt devices got smaller and smaller and aqusition of good optical magnification and lighting became mandatory...

but now as my eyes are getting worse every year (poor music stand lighting when I was starting out - today's led ones are great)- I'm glad I had to buy the magnification/lighting when I did years ago at a much lower cost than a set-up today would cost... sometime (but rarely) downsides turn into upsides... I do wish my troubleshooting component-level skills were better however...
 

restorer-john

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especially annoying/costly when smt devices got smaller and smaller and aqusition of good optical magnification and lighting became mandatory...

It's at the limit for my eyes these days. I can really only do SMD under a live microscope/cam on a monitor and it won't be long before even the serious experts doing mobile phone reworks hit their limits. I put the tri-nocular 'scope and the hot-air rework unit in the spare room earlier this year as I've had enough of stupid small stuff until I go see the optometrist.

Yes, lighting is the key. You can do almost anything with tons of light, but to everyone else it looks like a ball-park lit up at night.

I find myself only wanting to do rebuild/restorations on vintage through hole stuff at the moment. It's older, simpler, bigger, better built and more fun.
 

IAtaman

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I think there is a distinction between why people buy vinyl vs why people listen to vinyl.

I would claim a lot more people buy them compared to the number of people who actually listen to them.

And even for those who listen to vinyl, except for a small minority, vinyl will not be their main (or even majority) method of music consumption.

Having said that, vinyl has a lot of advantages compared to other formats:
  • It is a lot more involved and ritualistic. All its inconvenience makes dealing with it more meditative in my opinion. Same way why smoking a pipe might be a hobby yet vaping is really not.
  • Album art - some albums are worth buying for the album art alone frankly
  • If you are obsessed with an artist, and you want to support them in a Patreon kind of way, buying their vinyl is a great way of doing that. Plus you can show off all your album artwork to your friends as a token of your devotion.
 
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Frank Dernie

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I would claim a lot more people buy them compared to the number of people who actually listen to them.
My local dealer would agree, he told me a lot of his customers are collectors who search out rare LPs but don't even own a turntable and don't play them.

This is a completely different market/type of hobby though.
 

morillon

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My local dealer would agree, he told me a lot of his customers are collectors who search out rare LPs but don't even own a turntable and don't play them.

This is a completely different market/type of hobby though.
the number of people who invest in their hifi system and who barely benefit from it...not lacking...in any case...a hobby and not need vinyl for that..
hihi
;-)
 

Frank Dernie

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the number of people who invest in their hifi system and who barely benefit from it...not lacking...in any case...a hobby and not need vinyl for that..
hihi
;-)
This is true IME.
There is a complete spectrum of enthusiasts from music lovers for whom hifi is a means to an end to equipment fanatics for whom the equipment is the main interest.
My next door neighbour when I was at University was a wealthy overseas student who always had whatever was the most recommended equipment in the magazines and had as many test LPs as music ones (this was 1971). The good thing was he wanted me to play some of my records there.
 

MCH

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I think there is a distinction between why people buy vinyl vs why people listen to vinyl.

I would claim a lot more people buy them compared to the number of people who actually listen to them.

And even for those who listen to vinyl, except for a small minority, vinyl will not be their main (or even majority) method of music consumption.

Having said that, vinyl has a lot of advantages compared to other formats:
  • It is a lot more involved and ritualistic. All its inconvenience makes dealing with it more meditative in my opinion. Same way why smoking a pipe might be a hobby yet vaping is really not.
  • Album art - some albums are worth buying for the album art alone frankly
  • If you are obsessed with an artist, and you want to support them in a Patreon kind of way, buying their vinyl is a great way of doing that. Plus you can show off all your album artwork to your friends as a token of your devotion.
true. i collected vinyl for many years (stopped when shipping costs started to escalate a few years back). I personally also listened to them, basically because for many years it was the only way i had to listen to music (together with CD). But i can perfectly understand people who would collect and seldom listen to them.
I would add to your points:
- the challenge to find a certain/rare pressing that appeals to you (no need to be the oldest or the best, just the one that you want)
- the mystic behind certain items, most specially for me those in which the original owner painted something in the inner sleeve, or stuff like that. Others prefer autographed or promo stuff...
- same as nowadays streaming, discovering new music when browsing craters: you get a first impression of the artist through the artwork, but then you have all the credits and you can easily identify a collaboration from an artist you like, or stuff like that (or the shop owner directly tells you). Try that with streaming :)
- the 10 minutes of happiness that gives you when you find a real bargain (i still remember as it was yesterday when i found Blind Melon Soup in Berlin Mauerpark fleemarket for... 1 euro!!
well, many other little things that any hobby brings you, even if at the end of the day, you play it in amazon music.... Look at it the other way around, collecting records vs collecting post stamps: much bigger, with pictures of actual cool people, and as extra bonus: they play music!!
 

restorer-john

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and had as many test LPs as music ones (this was 1971).

I can relate to that. The only record I can actually recite verbatim, is my own father's W&G test record spoken word introductions to each track. I first heard it most likely as a foetus in utero- LOL.
 

Galliardist

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Putting a music file through a flawless DAC is no challenge, requires zero skill and is frankly boring unless all you want is the music. I want a whole lot more. People playing vinyl want a whole lot more (and they get that and all the flaws). They choose to use vinyl one day, digital the next, streaming in the car etc.
Well, what I want is the music. I thought that was the key point of having a system to, er, play back music.

i stayed with vinyl longer than I might have otherwise, because that's where the music I had access to was at the time.
 

sergeauckland

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I can relate to that. The only record I can actually recite verbatim, is my own father's W&G test record spoken word introductions to each track. I first heard it most likely as a foetus in utero- LOL.
I used to be able to recite the Ampex and BASF alignment tapes intros, including the accents.

S.
 

Galliardist

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The loss of bricks and mortar stores is sad. I worked in one through my teen years and it felt like all I had to do was be at work and I would eventually meet 'everybody!'

It seems we have fewer small wine shops, too. (I guess true for many things.)
Agreed, but not everything about buying vinyl from bricks and mortar stores was good. I had to return a fair few bad LPs and that was rarely a pleasure. On one occasion I spent over half an hour arguing about a record with the centre hole nearly an inch off centre before it was taken back. Then the damn shop sold that same record to one of my friends! We took it in at 11am on Saturday, their busiest time, and made our complaint loudly with that one.

I had a reminder of this recently when queuing to buy a flash drive at our local record/microwave shop, when someone was at the counter trying to return a badly warped record and was being told it was her fault.
 

Galliardist

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Try that with streaming :)
-
So on Tidal, most albums came with performer info in the "credits" section. Since uploading tracks was outsourced to third parties, that mostly stopped and now you just get "MainArtist" and Recording Engineer a lot of the time. I think if a streaming service got all this information right, even at extra cost, it would actually benefit them in market share.
 
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