Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Rant #918: Glad All Over
Every once in a while, I like to go through my record collection, and see exactly what I have accumulated during the past nearly 50 years of collecting.
I have to say, I am especially enamored of my collection of vinyl 45s and LPs.
CDs and digital files are fine for what they are, but there is nothing like a vinyl record to get my temperature hopping.
Why do vinyl recordings do it for me?
I have thought about this point off and on during the past 25 years or so, or during the period that CDs entered the fray.
Now that digital files are wiping out the CD trade, it is even more obvious to me why I prefer vinyl over all the other musical formats.
And a lot of it has to do not with vinyl, but with cardboard.
Let's start with the vinyl itself.
Vinyl records are so easy to play on a record player, and there are plenty of record players out there, if anyone is truly interested in capturing the essence of their old records in the digital age.
And there is just something about the sound that you hear from a vinyl record versus the other formats that really shows, audibly, why vinyl is far superior to the other formats.
You get the full richness of the music. There is something about analog that makes aural splendor.
That is not to say that the other formats don't offer aural cornucopias of sound. But analog sound, to me, is so much purer than the digital sounds we hear today.
And then we come to the extras beyond the actual vinyl disk.
With a vinyl 45 or LP, you are not only holding a recording in your hand, you are holding, oftentimes, a work of art.
I am talking about the packaging, simple yet elegant.
Many 45s came with picture sleeves. These sleeves were one of a kind artifacts of their time. They often were used to promote the album from which the song came, but they also were unique works of art on their own, often featuring photos of the performer that you couldn't get anywhere else.
And they cannot be reproduced on CD or via the digital format. You can do it yourself with a turntable hooked up to your computer, but you lose the artwork, so for all intents and purposes, these 45s have been lost in the digital age.
Albums are another thing. Sure, they can be fully reproduced in the digital age, but because of their shrinking in size on CD--and their existence as files in the digital format--you don't get the full impact of the LP unless you own it on vinyl.
It is a complete package. Not only do you get the music, but you get the artwork, the liner notes, and everything else in a format that you don't need a magnifying glass to read.
Can you imagine if the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album had come out on CD rather than on LP? The cover would have been minimized, and it would not have had the impact that it still has today, 46 years after it came out.
Can you name one single CD album work that has had even a minimal impact on our thinking?
And don't get me on digital, which are nothing more than files. They are great for listening in the car or on your portable digital device, but what is their worth beyond that.
I told my wife just a little while back that I am so beyond CDs and digital files that it really isn't funny. I have gravitated back to collecting vinyl, and although I don't really have much time or money to pursue this area, if something comes along that I need for my collection, I at least give it a look.
It doesn't mean that I won't ever buy CD or get digital files again.
It just means that I feel I have moved past the mundane and went back to something that I really can embrace.
And that is why this entry is titled "Glad All Over," because I am really happy about my choice.
Posted by Larry at 3:00 AM