Usually, it’s out with the old and in with the new. But vinyl seems to have risen from the ashes and made itself popular again. Perhaps it never died? Or, maybe it’s like an eighties fashion trend that’s in style for a while but then we move on to the next best thing. Since I don’t know much about this music format, I asked two of my music-lover friends, Mia and Barry, why they choose to listen to vinyl.
Mia is a cool, dark and mysterious chick with a light-hearted spirit and killer style. More than that, her taste is music is sublime! Barry, on the other hand, is a creative genius. His knowledge on everything videography is beyond this world, and so are his videos. The majority of artists Barry listens to I had never even heard of, until I met him. Since then, he has become my go-to guy if I’m in the mood to discover new music.
Why go vinyl?
When I asked my friends why they listen to vinyl, Mia answered, “I like the mood it sets; the crackling sound comforts me in a strange way.”
Barry then responded with “besides the unique audio texture and quality, a vinyl is also a tangible thing that you buy and then possess. It’s something you can pick up, look at, open up, and read. It is more of a thrill to buy a new vinyl than loading music online. It gives more value to the music. You can go back to your record collection after many years, and pick out a vinyl that will bring back old memories. I also find a kind of enjoyment in placing the needle on the vinyl and listening to an album the way the band intended it to be heard. You can’t press shuffle. Bands generally design a structure for the album, which takes you on a journey.”
I suppose there is something nostalgic about vinyl. It fills a room in a way that digital music can’t but at the same time it really does create a more intimate “mood”.
How is vinyl different from digital?
Their answers resonated with me, but I wanted to know more. I asked them what makes vinyl different from digital music to which Mia replied, “the speed is something just ever so slightly faster or slower, and there’s the crackling. It sounds fuller and smoother on vinyl versus sounding loud and sharp and big when it’s digital.” Barry commented that digital music has its time and place. “Sometimes you just want to put on a quick playlist or listen to a variety of music, or you’re not in the mood to go shuffling through a stack of vinyls. It’s quick, easy access.”
He continued by saying “it is always great to be able to go back to your vinyl collection when the mood hits. In terms of sound, depending on the quality of course, digital music tends to be cleaner and perhaps louder… whereas vinyl music will have a texture or “warmth” to it… which creates a different vibe. Even the crackling of an old dusty vinyl is a sound I like. Some people hate it.” Their answers were pretty similar, the crackling and the experience of listening to vinyl is what attracts them to it.
What about the turntable?
I went on to ask more technical questions, wanting to know which turntable and set-up they use to play their vinyls. Mia uses a Santo turntable and a Pioneer amp (both are vintage models), while Barry uses an old Technics automatic turntable system that plays through an old Technics HiFi system.
What record should you start with?
When I asked them about their favourite vinyl record, Mia answered without hesitation “Slowdive by Slowdive.” Barry had a little bit of trouble answering the question, saying “it’s very difficult to pick one, so for now I will say, from my collection: Ágætis byrjun by Sigur Rós. Tomorrow it may be something else.
If this doesn’t make you want to give vinyl a try, I don’t know what will. I have an old hand-me-down turntable that needs a bit of work before I’ll be able to enjoy the intimate vibes of vinyls, but I’m looking forward to it more than ever! In the meantime, I’ll start collecting a few vinyls at my favourite second-hand stores and thrift shops.
Do you listen to vinyl? Let us know in the comments below.