AND YOU MAY FIND YOURSELF LIVING IN ANOTHER PART OF THE WORLD, AND YOU MAY FIND YOURSELF BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A LARGE AUTOMOBILE, AND YOU MAY ASK YOURSELF, HOW DID I GET HERE?
—Talking Heads 1981.
~By Peter Vanrosendael
Well, how did we get to this vinyl here? Let’s get into Mr. Peabody’s way back machine and return to only a dozen years ago. CES 2003 was one of noted absences, i.e. the cell phone being nowhere near the ubiquitous convenience (monster?) that it is today. For a mere $5.00 you could rent one for the day.
So what does that have to do with CES 2015? Well for one thing, High End Audio has made the Big Time and in now 30 floors up in the Venetian and a world away (both symbolically and literally) from the Alexis Park. But more importantly, the lack of change in the mental aspect of our hobby was palpable in the rooms with turntables.
People, let’s face it, there is no simple way to play a record and thus enjoy music, when comparing that to the convenience of pushing a few buttons on the cloud machine. Trying to make it real, compared to what? The only starting point in our pursuit of vinyl nirvana is the turntable.
The entry level is loaded with plenty of choices. Music-Hall, Project, Rega, and Audio Technica are all on the menu, as is AVID’s newest addition, the Ingenium. Also new this year are direct drive turntables from Onkyo and Pioneer, which are sure to find a niche.
Believe me when I say I’ve heard it all. My friend says this is a good table, and he’s got better ears than me; or; Most reviewers liked it, so I’ll buy it; or; it’s sooo pretty.
The point here is that when buying/upgrading you must audition. Would you buy a car without a test drive? Would you buy some ocean shore property in Florida, or a bridge in New York, sight unseen? Find a reliable dealer and ask a lot of questions. This will take some homework but can result in much less buyer’s remorse. Even the resurgence of vinyl can be skewed with the interpretation on the statistics. Recently posted sales of two million units (turntables) don’t tell the real facts of “where do you draw the line”. Technically, those all-in-one players, (amp, speakers, table, radio in one box) are considered a unit and indeed, I did gift one such device to my 14 year old Grandson, but it’s not something for me, despite the diamond needle.n.b. measured tracking forces on such units vary from 6 to 10 grams. If these tables do nothing more than introduce a new generation to vinyl, then they will have immensely succeeded.
Music is not a convenient truth. It’s not convenient to be first in line at the box office only to be told best available is 200 rows back. It’s not convenient to prep a record for play (clean LP and Stylus, de-static etc), much less keep a library (vertical stack, crates, plastic outers/inners etc). It’s not convenient, the cost of procuring vinyl, both new and used.
The question then remains: why will the LP record be the last man standing in the archives? The simplest solution to saving time and money in our daily lives is to not buy shoes that need polishing, and not but pants that need a crease, and cut your own hair, and not buy music at any price when it’s free on the ewe tube. Live long and prosper with the analog.