Have Turntables, Record-Players, Vinyl Records , and LP Albums Returned from the Dead ?
The resurgence of the analog turntable (record player), may prove the fact that digital is not always necessarily better. Currently Denon, Pioneer, Stanton, and Technics the fantastic four of the consumer grade turntable offer excellent models in the $100 to $700 range. True Audiophiles can still purchase a high end Thorens or Rega P3 Turntable for thousands of dollars.
Are CDs not providing aural satisfaction ?
1983, the year when the Compact Disc as we know it today hit the market, up til then, a turntable was about the only musical device that allowed for true high fidelity listening of recorded music. Even the best cassette deck, could not match the sound quality that high-end turntables deliver.
The CD took the world by storm and everybody was delighted at the sound and that it could be kept virtually unaltered for a lifetime. The inherent limitations and the annoyances of the venerable analog record or vinyl LP, had been wiped out for good. No more background hiss, noise, crackling, scratches, warping, etc.
When everybody was rushing to buy CDs in the 1980s, a very small collective of eclectic audiophiles were already concerned of the CD’s limitations. They acknowledged the purity and cleanness of the CD sound, however, these jaded ears found it to be cold, lifeless and unnatural.
The Vinyl vs CD debate has been going on for years. Some listeners consider the concern unfounded, that the CD sound was very natural. Others acknowledge the shortcomings but said the advantages of digital sound still largely out weigh any imperfections. The fact of the matter is the turntable was gradually dying a slow but imminent death. Only die hard collectors who held on tight to their dear LP’s over the years would own a turntable, and record companies had all but discontinued manufacturing LPs.
Over the years the glamor of digital has eroded, the new generation knows little except digital music. At the insistent request of demanding audiophiles, LP records and turntables have been making a welcome come back. It is now a common thought that the analog record does have something that the commercial audio CD cannot provide, the warmth and more natural presence of vinyl. There is a digital format that does provide such quality, the super high definition 24-bit/196KHz digital recording, as opposed to the 16-bit/44KHz of the standard commercial audio CD. Sadly the 24-bit/196KHz digital format is not commercially available.
Next to the average sound of MP3 and other digital formats that the majority of listeners are happy with, there is still room for esoteric equipment and music media formats. This is where the vinyl records enter, along with the turntable that is required for playback.
You will find that many major album releases can now be purchased in the CD or Vinyl LP format, John Mayall’s -Tough, and John Mayer’s -Continuum are 2 examples of fresh vinyl. This return is unprecedented and is proof that the demand for superior and more natural musical sound continues.
Turntables are not an easy find, even in the bigger cities, and essentials like replacement cartridges and needles are even more difficult to locate.
Remember the Columbia Record Club – buy 1 record get 12 free ?
When cereal makers would on occasion put a “45” record on the back of their box ?