Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Man, I’m really enjoying my new vinyl setup. Building upon my boring ramblings in the previous month’s post, I think I’m going to continue on with some more vinyl record goodness. Over the course of the past month and a half or so, I’ve learned 3 things about myself:
- I really enjoy cleaning records in my SpinClean. I can’t explain it really – I wash my car, my clothes, my dishes, I clean my house, I keep my yard tidy – and I hate doing every single one of those things. Yet, cleaning records is enjoyable. There’s just something about turning an old, dusty, smudgy record into a gleaming, grooved jewel; gently placing it on the turntable hoping for the best; and then hearing the sweet, fresh sounds fill the room. It’s like I played a part in bringing it to life. It’s like…I’m Clark Griswold standing atop my very own Family Truckster and softly, yet proudly, proclaiming - “50 yards!”
- I’ve still got a bit of a competitive streak in me. I hate to lose as much as the next guy, but hey, at my age I’ve learned to accept my limitations. However, after getting snaked in the closing seconds of a few Ebay auctions involving some choice classic rock records – ooooooooh shit-fire!…I ate lightning, and crapped thunder on the auctions that came after. I. Was. Not. Going. To. Lose. Again. *deep breath* *find happy place* - and I didn’t…not sure that was a good thing though.
- Remember what I just wrote in #2? Yeah, I went a little overboard. I mean, it wasn’t exactly Sherman’s fiery march on the South or anything, but I’ve had to push myself away from the record-buying table for a while…I like ramen noodles and all, but I don’t want to have to eat them exclusively for the next month or two.
So, I figured I would now do some mini-reviews on just a handful of the albums I’ve acquired so far.
In my previous post, I mentioned the Black Sabbath and Queen collections – I’ve listened to them all now, and have even acquired some alternate Queen pieces to boot. However, I think I’ll review all of those in a future post – it’ll be a doozy! I’ll also include my somewhat frustrated feelings toward the Beatles albums I’ve acquired; as well as the happy, yet crazy, experiences with my Led Zeppelin acquisitions. Speaking of Led Zeppelin, I’m happy to hear that a whole new round of re-mastered vinyl is coming out (fingers crossed the sound quality is kickass), because traversing through their original vinyl pressings jungle is just nutty – there are so many different pressings, and the sound quality varies depending on what pressing you have. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone came along with the following info. – “Dude, the copy of Led Zeppelin IV you really want will have a “WF” code on the label, with the words “You’re surrounded” hand-etched in the deadwax. If you play the album backwards at 45rpm and you start to smell peanut butter and hear a weasel fart, you’ll unlock the hidden 5.1 surround sound out of the record grooves! Duuuuuuude, it’s the best version!”. Yep, it’s that ridiculous. Anyway, more of my Led Zeppelin adventures in a future post…
Now, the albums I’d like to talk about in this post are as follows:
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Thine ears have heard the glory of the sound of music – no, I’m not referring to that old movie about the Von Trapp family *rolls eyes* - rather, good ol’ vinyl records.
I love music…all kinds of music...it re-energizes me. Additionally, I would say about 95% or so of my favorite music was recorded during the pre-digital days, so I had been itching to go back and listen to vinyl records and their analog sound again. There were two things holding me back though: 1) the vinyl records that I remembered hearing back in the day never really impressed me sound-wise because we never had a fancy sound system, plus I was too young to really appreciate good audio recordings anyway (I listened to crappy 8-tracks and cassettes for pete’s sake!) – and – 2) I’m rather frugal by nature, and the thought of buying new equipment and re-buying expensive albums I already owned on CD/mp3, made me a bit hesitant to say the least – though the collector in me had been wanting my favorite albums on vinyl anyway just to have.
Well, after feeling a bit down and stressed with life (why I get that way, I don’t know, I actually have a lot to be thankful for) I needed a bit of a pick-me-up. So, I took the plunge and jumped (in a budget-friendly way) straight into the deep end of the vinyl pool. I got a turntable, decent cart/needle, phono amp, SpinClean record cleaner, and a handful of new and old albums, and started my journey into a whole new/old world of sound.
And what an amazing new/old world it is!!!
As a frequent lurker on the various “audiophile” sites/forums, the two constant themes you hear in regards to vinyl’s superiority over the CD/mp3 format is: “warmth” and “dynamic range” of the soundscape. As two examples in response to that I thought - “Well, I’m really happy with the sound quality of my Ozzy-era Black Sabbath Deluxe Edition/Remastered 2009 CD’s from the UK Sanctuary label, as well as my 2011 Remastered CD’s of the Queen albums from the 70’s…is a vinyl recording really better than those?”. There is a fair amount of “vinyl snobbery” on those sites, so I had to separate the “wheat from the chaff”, so to speak, in the information I was taking in. Anyway, as my first vinyl purchases, I went and bought all 8 of the Ozzy-era Black Sabbath albums that Rhino recently re-issued on 180 gram vinyl from a site called Acoustic Sounds. These albums had received good reviews on those same audiophile sites; the original UK pressings, as much as I would love to have them, are a bit too pricey for me. On Ebay, I was lucky to happen upon a set of original Canadian pressings of the Queen albums from the 70’s (News of the World wasn’t included though, dang it!) at a good price, so I went for it (also, the sound quality of the old Canadian pressings seem to be held in the same high regard as the old UK pressings). After a cleaning in the ol’ Spin Clean record cleaner, they all looked fantastic. So, how did these new/old vinyl albums sound?...