I like technology, but sometimes I get a little too much of it. In the day and age when you are bombarded with cellular calls, text messages, e-mails, and pop ups, sometimes too much is too much.
Even music has gotten high tech. A recent study pointed out that 48 percent of teens didn't purchase music CDs in 2007, instead opting for music downloads through stores such as iTunes and Napster.
Amidst all this smattering of 1s and 0s (that's a digital reference, by the way) an old technology is seeing a resurgence. Vinyl it appears is making a comeback. Even among teenagers. From the Atlantic Journal Constitution:
On a recent afternoon 15-year-old Graham Saylor popped into Decatur CD to check out new releases. But he sprinted right past the CDs, stopping, instead, at the six bins of vinyl records.
Saylor prefers to listen to his favorite new acts, such as TV on the Radio and the Black Keys, on the black 12-inch platters. Some classmates at Decatur High School have become vinyl fans as well.
So what attracts the teens to a musical format that was proclaimed landfill fodder years before they were born?
"I just dig vinyls more. The tone is warmer. I'm not much of a digital guy," explains Saylor.
Building his collection since sixth grade, he bought a turntable on eBay for $60 and inherited audio equipment from his dad, Lance.
Saylor, according to last year's Nielsen SoundScan numbers, is hardly alone. The retail sales service reported that 990,000 vinyl albums were sold in the United States last year, up 15 percent from 858,000 in 2006. That accounts for about 2 percent of all music sold, compared to CDs and downloads. Still, its impressive for a format that began a sales slide in 1983.
For Christmas I received a Crosley 4-1 record player. It sounds great for its size and most importantly it plays the old LPs that usually collect dust in our basements and attics. I inherited a rather large collection of albums from my grandfather many years ago. Until recently I had no way to listen to them.
After listening to some of his records, mostly quirky polka recordings and an odd smattering of pressings by people like Knuckles O'Toole, I decided to expand my horizons and get some recordings that were a bit more contemporary. What I found surprised me.
Not only are vintage LPs relatively inexpensive, they are easy to obtain. You can get them at thrift stores, through eBay, and even on Amazon, where they have a section of their store dedicated to LPs. Many are vintage used albums, some groups such as The Beatles re-release their old music, while others such as The White Stripes and Norah Jones, release their new music on LPs!
Vinyl is different. When I put a vintage pressing of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon on my turntable and gently placed the arm on its shiny spinning surface it was as if I was listening to the recording for the first time. The warm and rich sound of a vinyl is unsurpassed. No CD can capture it.
In fact some LP pressings of popular artists are ONLY available on LP. I just mentioned Dark Side of the Moon. If you really want to blow your mind pick up a Quadraphonic LP of that title. Only available on LP. It is the best you'll ever hear.
Granted LPs are prone to scratches, dust, and dirt. A properly maintained and cared for LP will sound great for many years.
There is something tactile about pulling a piece of vinyl out of its sleeve, looking at the gleaming surface tracked with grooves, placing it on the turntable and gently placing the needle to it. It is something to truly be savored.
So fire up the turntable, sit back and listen to the warmth and enjoy the detached attitude of an old technology making a comeback and here to stay.Powered by Sidelines