I used to buy a lot of CDs in middle school and high school. Even with iTunes and digital downloading being an option, I had a lot of trouble doing that because I was stuck with dialup intenet in my childhood home. So, nearly every week, I’d go to a local retailer like Newbury Comics and buy new or used CDs, or grab a few from my local library. After dabbling in the art of downloading .rar and .zip files during college, I became tired of dealing with downloading all the music I was interested in and simultaneously maintaining a clean, organized music library. Spotify was a revolution in my life – now I could stream nearly anything I wanted in (relatively) high quality, on my phone or computer. I’ve been on Spotify for nearly four years now, and I don’t plan to stop paying for their service anytime soon. But over the past few years, my girlfriend and I have amassed a fairly large collection of new and used vinyl records, and you may be asking yourself: “HotOneHundo, if you’re all about freedom and convenience in your music listening, why are you buying vinyl records? Isn’t that taking a step backwards?”
Collecting and listening to vinyl records is firmly a love/hate relationship for me. As much as I love having a vinyl collection to look through, I’ve listened to vinyl albums through my stereo and been satisfied with the results, but I can’t say that I’ve been blown away. In fact, I’ve been unsatisfied with listening to vinyl when I put on a record that I love, only to hear subtle hisses, skips, pops, or crackling. I’m so used to hearing songs in all their digital glory that I can’t stand hearing imperfections. Personally, the reasons I buy vinyl records are for non-audiophile reasons. First, I consider album artwork to be, well, art. In our apartment, we have seven hanging record frames where we can switch out vinyl record sleeves as we please – typically we switch them out every few months. It gives our apartment a little more unconventionality and definitely gets people talking about music.
Second, I’m a firm believer in the power of the album itself. It doesn’t happen too often nowadays, but listening to “the perfect album” from track 1 of side A to the last track on side B can be an otherworldly experience. The music on the album itself should be considered a piece of art, and having something physical to hold or look at adds to that experience more than a digital file on a computer screen ever could. My contribution of a few dollars to the artist that created the music is a way of showing my appreciation for their work.
It’s with that frame of mind that I’ve decided to dig into my vinyl collection with a new series called On Wax. Not only will it give me a good reason to listen to some of this vinyl in my collection (over three large bins worth so far), it’ll also give me the opportunity to highlight the physical aspects of the album packaging itself, the production/sound of the LP, and, of course, I’ll also be giving some opinions about the album itself. I’ll be listening to all this vinyl on my Audio-Technica LP60 turntable, which has been a sturdy, affordable player that I’ve been extremely satisfied with thusfar (list price is about $100, I think we got it on sale for about $80 or $85).
More to come!