Vinyl is just one format in a plethora of others, falling into the three main categories of: disk, tape and digital. The black circle is now commonly produced in an ever-expanding range of colours or none at all. It is prominent in my music collection, however not exclusive.
I have vinyl going back to the 1970’s that I play regularly like:
- Hawkwind – “Space Ritual”
- Emerson, Lake & Palmer – “Brain Salad Surgery”
- Roxy Music – “For Your Pleasure”
There’s vinyl I bought second hand like:
- Barclay James Harvest’s – “Time Honoured Ghosts”
- Paul & Linda McCartney and Wings – “Ram”
- Mike Oldfield – “The Complete Mike Oldfield”
And I have vinyl I bought recently:
- Electric Hydra – “Electric Hydra”
- Transatlantic – “Forevermore (Extended Version)”
- Duke Ellington Meets Count Basie – “Battle Royal”
The reason I mention all this is because, in these days of Climate Change, vinyl isn’t seen as a particularly climate-friendly product and this is correct. To be fair, there isn’t much we humans do that’s climate-friendly, planet-friendly or even universe-friendly (think space junk).
What is a Record?
A record is made of ‘vinyl’, which has a groove into which sound information is recorded. Today, there are two main formats: the album 331/2 rpm and the single 45rpm. Records are made from Polyvinyl Chloride, which I know from my Chemistry days – a polymer of vinyl Chloride. The polymer form is stable whereas the monomer is toxic to human life. So, my love of vinyl isn’t without it’s problems as it’s made from fossil fuels.
It’s not ‘squeaky clean’ and I’m not on a ‘squeaky clean’, ‘holier than thou’ mission to convert people to the cult of the record. Vinyl and the playing records on a record player is just addictive.
In my defence, vinyl isn’t a one-time, throwaway plastic bag. It has longevity. These things do last. Also, buying second hand vinyl is a form of recycling.
I said previously that I wasn’t on a “mission to convert people to the cult of the record” but I do have to explain my reasons for vinyl. If you are in any way ‘converted’ by the following description, I apologise
Playing a Record
Turn on the amplifier and set it to Phono. Turn on the Phono Pre-amplifier. Select a 12×12 inch long playing record from your collection, held in alphabetical and genre order from the shelf, box or rack. Admire the cover. Extract the inner sleeve and record from the cover. Remove the record from the inner sleeve, being particularly careful not to touch the vinyl surface: handle via the middle and edge. Lift the record player dust cover. Place the record over the spindle, onto the platter. Start the record player. Clean the record with an antistatic brush. Clean the stylus with a carbon fibre antistatic brush. Move the tone arm over to the start of the record. Lower the cueing lever, ensuring the needle settles in the first groove of the record. Listen to side 1.
When the record comes to the end of Side 1, lift the cueing arm. Move the arm to the side. Pick up the record, once again being careful not to touch the vinyl surface: handle via the middle and edge. Turn the record over, replace over the spindle and onto the platter. Once again, move the tone arm over to the start of the record, lowering the cueing lever, ensuring the needle settles in the first groove of the record. Listen to Side 2.
When the record comes to the end of Side 2, lift the cueing arm. Move the arm to the side. Pick up the record, once again being careful not to touch the vinyl surface: handle via the middle and edge. Replace the record in the inner sleeve and replace the inner sleeve in the cover.musicfan6160
This is ritual and in this day and age, ritual is no bad thing in my opinion.
People are moving to a streaming-based approach for music, you can’t move for the number of new DAC’s being brought to market and reviewed. My new amplifier has a DAC and streaming capability (more in a future post). But for every few streams, there is someone out there buying a record, a piece of vinyl. Why is this? It’s because
The inconvenience of vinyl is an art formmusicfan6160
I’ve just popped back to this post to add a link to the wonderful Steve Gutenberg’s LPs vs. streaming, what sounds best? video on his Audiophiliac Daily Show, on YouTube. It’s really worth a watch – presented in Steve’s great, laidback style.
Next Post – It’s Not So Grim Up North