audio { Tumbling Down the Rabbit-Hole

So I decided this last week that I needed some more vinyl in my life. Plastic platters with musical grooves. I love digital recordings, I think the quality of reproduction is quite a bit better in many ways...

...But there is something cool and nostalgic about vinyl. Not to mention the fun of cranking up my parents original Beatles albums, or Carpenters albums, or the Moody Blues, or a couple classical albums (yeah! they have classical), or heck, there's even a Jethro Tull album in there, and Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison!. And singles! I wonder what the "Joe Cuba Sextet" sounds like, or what "Take Good Care of My Baby" by Bobby Vinton sounds like. Is "Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf on a 45 better than on the radio? Does Mama Cass' voice pop out on "Dream a Little Dream of Me"? And I still swear you've never heard "The Thrill is Gone" by B.B. King until you've heard it on vinyl (or live, B.B. is a great showman and a great gentleman of the blues). I think I even have a Pearl Jam single from the days of yore.

Well, a quick survey of my dad's old turntable (a Pioneer PL-12 from the 70's, which is nearly as cool as his Marantz receiver) indicates that it needs a new stylus, a new drive belt, and the smoked dust cover is missing.

One of the things I had not thought about is why records get scratches and pops. The reason is that the needle, which is MADE OF DIAMOND, is dragging across the vinyl with a lot of force. That force, along with dust or contamination, will damage the platter over time. All records degrade over time, so at some point, those recordings will be gone. So much for perfect digital replication. Still, that makes it more akin to a bottle of wine. Pop the cork and enjoy. Oh, and the stylus only lasts a year or two.

Its looking like it will run me $50-100 for a belt and stylus of mild quality. But what the heck.

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