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THE VINYL VAULT - INTRODUCTION - JULY 2010

The Vinyl Vault

Over the course of the next few months we will be making a series of articles available on our website that will enable users to optimize the performance of their vinyl playback systems. We trust that it will be informative and assure more enjoyment from your records, yet at the same time be a fun series and something to look forward to. We will endeavor to cover all aspects of vinyl records, turntables and associated items and topics.

We obviously sell various products that will enhance the experience and also ensure that the advice that is given can be followed and utilized fully, to add to the joy of listening to records.

A lot has been said about vinyl in general, some of it good and some of it bad. However, irrespective of the general impression that people might have of records, the following is certainly true:

  1. A vinyl record is what it is – it is a relatively inexpensive carrier of musical signal and can reward us with wonderful sound if a few general matters are adhered to, like properly set up turntables and the use of decent cartridges and styli that are not worn or damaged.
  2. Records are surprisingly versatile and much more resilient than what we sometimes give them credit for. Considering how many records have been left all over the place, in or out of their covers, transported and manhandled, miraculously survived many rip-roaring parties, it is amazing that you can still start them up and dig the groove (literally and figuratively)!
  3. Many recordings will never be released on other formats, notably CD, or otherwise. So we certainly need to look after them and treat them with respect. So, would you rather listen to records that are not absolutely perfect, or not at all?
  4. There is wear and tear on records. The simple act of playing records works on the principle of contact and therefore also friction to produce audible sound, but a properly set up turntable and a decent undamaged stylus tip will give many hundreds of plays before noise becomes an intrusive factor.
  5. There is nothing as tangible and pleasant to behold as a record cover with glorious artwork and excellent and well-written liner notes, photos and unique cover materials. The physical dimension li9mitations of the CD cover and casing have limited artwork and the general approach to what can and what cannot be done comfortably, or even be seen or read easily. Double and triple gatefold sleeves and fold-outs, pop-up sleeves inserts and shapes, and brightly coloured and interesting record labels all make for fun and great discussion topics.

But – it is hard to put into words the exact emotions that we experience when we listen to our records and reminisce. The memories flood back and the sound very often surprises us beyond our loftiest expectations. Too many pages have been written about the differences between vinyl and other source formats, but there is a depth and width and emotional content from records properly reproduced that is extremely difficult to describe merely with words. There are many technical explanations or viewpoints as to why records sound better than CD’s, or not, but frankly – who cares? Listening and enjoyment is the key. Your heart will answer the questions. The acid test – when the same title is played on both vinyl and CD invariably has vinyl as the preferential victor. And if not – which is more like the real deal? Neither…

The articles will appear once a week. In addition to the technicalities and information, we will also supply a list of recommended vinyl titles that are in print and obtainable that will give your turntable a decent workout. Remember that these are only guidelines and not a definitive list of recording to own. We realize that not all music appeals to all users, but the emphasis is on good quality music. Many people state that they do not listen to certain types of music, yet if they had access to good recordings and enjoyable music they very often find that they actually enjoy (shock and horror!) many things they would never have contemplated listening to. From software availability viewpoints vinyl users have never had it this good, with many new recordings released on vinyl even offering additional tracks and specials that their CD equivalents do not.

So we trust that you will have fun following the series and hopefully find it an enriching experience that will make you enjoy your records and turntable even more if you are a user, and if you aren’t (but actually have one that hasn’t seen action for some time), you might even be inspired to haul it out, set it up and spin some old friends!

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