Vinyl has been an enigma within the realm of music for over two decades now. Newer, smaller, and more portable technologies have been developed for music lovers of all sorts to enjoy with no scientific loss in quality. In-spite of it’s physical limitations and higher cost of acquisition, it continues to stay steady as a method of music consumption and has even seen growth over the last three years.
As a kid growing up, I remember seeing the Crosley radios that were new but had a great vintage look. I’m sure you’ve seen them at the local Target or Khols in the electronics section. Even if you weren’t alive during the 50’s you still get a since of nostalgia just looking at the Crosley radio. The record player, cloth speak covers, and wooden box are a beautiful combination. I have always thought these things were sleek, and until recently, I had wanted to acquire one.
This year during Black Friday, target dropped the prices of all their Crosley players and an old temptation came calling. After spending a couple weeks wrestling with the desire to purchase a Crosley, I succumbed. With great excitement, my wife and I then hurried over to Barnes and Nobles to purchase our first record (Parachutes by Coldplay for the Record [No Pun intended]). It was an interesting experience as a new comer to vinyl to say the least.
Perusing the musical selection at Barnes and Noble, I quickly realized the cost of these records new was $10 dollars more expensive than the same item on iTunes. Without skipping a beat, I pulled open my iPhone and found a local record store to check out with my wife. We hopped in the car (Coldplay in hand), and we were on our way to the beauty of Vinyl.
As I parked the car and walked into the store, I was excited and unsure of what I would find in the store. Through the doors was an assortment of novelty items, CDs, gaming system paraphernalia, and in the very back a whole section designated to second hand records. This back row became the birth place to a new found hobby I could share with Meagan.
For a couple years I had sought to find way to share my passion for music with Meagan. Generally speaking, we had different tastes in music and while I could play instruments, Meagan’s finger injury prevented her from playing with me. Music, which is a huge piece of who I am, was hard to share with my significant other until now.
As we fingered through the hundreds of records in the store, we felt like we were rediscovering music we loved. Bee Gees, Beach Boys, Carpenters, Abba, Eagles, and many other artists floated through our fingers and our excitement only increased. There were so many pieces of musical genius here and with wide eyes we soaked it all in.
After the excitement was reigned in, we picked a couple of albums to start with and headed home. It was now time to begin the sound and experience of Vinyl in the comfort of home. We unpacked the Crosley player, unwrapped Coldplay, and began to spin our first record. Instantly I was underwhelmed.
The first sounds I heard were simply awful. The tinny speakers sounded awful on the Crosley player, so I moved my computer speakers to the living room and hooked them up. The next thing I immediately noticed was that the record literally looked like it was doing the wave. This was no-bueno and the distortion was very noticeable. Something had to be done with that record player.
With my excitement still built up, I shrugged off this set back and went to the Internet for suggestions. After a bit of sleuthing, I found a decent table (Audio Technica LP120BLK) nearby on Craiglist and made an acquisition. Once I got the equipment in place, we were ready to listen to our records properly and even my wife noticed a sonic upgrade.
Two weeks later, we are still enjoying the vinyl experience and have made a few trips to local stores for the hunt of more records. Goodwill, Unique Thrift, and the DiskLand have all been great resources for second hand records at a decent price. Goodwill has the best prices, but their selection was probably the least interesting. I’ve begun to understand that the hunt for a treasured record at a good price is part of the vinyl experience.
So what made us move from the comfort of Apple Music to record acquisition? Was it the sound difference? No. Was it a sudden urge to go “hipster”? No and ew. Did we feel the need to start wasting money on dusty chipped albums and support local stores? Not exactly.
For myself, the Vinyl Experience is sharing music with my wife in a new way. It’s going through records one by one and laughing at the selling point “Stereo” music used to be. It’s learning the repertoire of an old artist through their full albums rather than their 20th Century master compilation. Vinyl, more than any other medium, forces me to take the time to steep myself in the music.
I continue to look forward to the new second-hand records we’ll find as we scavenge through Minnesota for new treasures. I’ve got my eyes peeled for solid records made by Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, and Alan Parsons project and I know that I’ll find many other great records along the way. They may be old, but they are finding a new life in the Peoples’ home.
Have you been involved in the Vinyl engima? Have questions or want more information? Let me know because I’d love to share this experience with you. As hobbies go, this one requires minimal effort and leads to hours of sonic enjoyment.
That’s all for this post. Thanks for reading and quenching your thirst for knowing what Connor thinks about.