Spin of the Week [2]: How I Got My Groove On

This week’s Spin of the Week is a bit different. As some of you may be aware, I’m a newborn vinyl collector. My brand new obsession started just this Spring. Today, I thought I’d talk about how my love affair started.

The resurgence of music in vinyl is probably a by product of every other fashion and design that’s being resurrected by their respective industries. I am not surprised at all that at the place where I buy my records, they’ve posted a sign that they’re no longer accepting CDs for trade. Suddenly, shopping at thrift stores is cool again and it had nothing to do with that Macklemore song.

I’ve got to admit, the primary reason I wanted in on the retro revolution is the fact that the vinyl jackets are art in itself. You can literally frame them and, voila! You’ve got yourself your very own gallery. I grew up in the cassette tape era. Admittedly, in the waning days of vinyl records so I didn’t really know what music in vinyl would sound like. When I decided to start a collection, I had to find a turntable first. I didn’t really think it was relatively easy to find record players. But with just a click of a mouse and a short drive, I was able to price out a couple. So my hunt begins.

Pretty, yes. But how does it sound?
I went to Amazon and found some Crosleys that came in its own box. 
Surprisingly enough, they are inexpensive and has that vintage look that everyone was going for.  I ordered one that only set me back for $80.

Unfortunately, you get what you pay for with this one. Sure it looks great; but it sounds like canned music when you put your record on. Also, it’s on the small side so if you put on a regular 12” record, it’s bigger than the box therefore, the LP hangs out precariously outside of the turntable. That’s where the attractiveness ends.

Now that I’d thought about it, I bet that Crosley would sound far better hooked up to some decent speakers.  One advantage for this one is convenience. It comes equipped with its own built-in speakers – granted, it sounds awful but you can literally carry it anywhere and plug it in. Just picture it: cool, summer night, roaring fire, and Ella Fitzgerald crooning to the tune of Night and Day.

Unfortunately, the convenience is just not enough pay-off for me. 

State of the art, it’s not. But it does the job. 
So I dragged my husband out to the box stores here and found quite a limited selection. Again, I was stunned with the prices. The most expensive one I saw cost a little under $300.

I wasn’t really looking for anything state of the art. I just wanted something that will play records. I also think that if you worked a little too hard in making it sound good, you lose some of its authentic crackle. And that would be a shame. 

I ended up picking up an Ion Pure LP for $120. It didn’t really have that vintage look I was going for but it sounded better than the Crosley. My husband hooked it up to his old receiver (which is missing its knobs) and his old Bose speakers. Needless to say, the sound is enhanced in some capacity. It may not look its best but, the sound! I don’t see myself buying any CDs anytime soon.

At the end of the day, if you’re thinking about joining the Music in Vinyl Revolution, you’ll have to decide what matters to you the most. For me, it’s still about the music. It’s about that crackle of the needle as it hits the grooves on the LP. It’s about finding artists – old and new – when I go to a flea market or a thrift store.

The lesson here, folks is that if you’ve got a receiver and old speakers in the attic, you might just want to invest in some pretty good cables and charm your spouses to hook them up for you. If not, use trusty Google or even YouTube for some instructions. But try not to hook it up to some amps and some other  high tech sound system.

Because that would just be asinine.

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