Sunday, February 16, 2014

I've just taken my first step into a larger vinyl record world...

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 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?...