Vinyl: Don't Call It a Fluke, It's a Comeback - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 30 Old 03-17-15, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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Vinyl: Don't Call It a Fluke, It's a Comeback

A recent thread on Home Theater Shack caught my eye and sent my mind shuffling through years of memories associated with collecting records. The original post asked a very simple question: should the OP revisit buying vinyl? Of course this question can be answered from any number of angles (the collecting perspective, availability, sound quality benefits or lack there of, and ease of use/maintenance), and Shack members have offered quite a bit of advice. Nearly paralleling the post-date of this thread, I spent an evening-out in the lower Adams Morgan area of Washington, D.C. Much to my surprise, I walked past not one…not two…but three independent record stores within a small block radius. These stores were thriving with customers busily flipping through bins chock-full of records. Match this discovery with the OP’s vinyl thread and a recent finding pasted on Onkyo’s website, and curiosity has killed this cat. Is vinyl really back?



Is vinyl making a return to mainstream legitimacy?


There are indications – everywhere – that vinyl’s revival is more than just a trend, it might actually be for real. I could wax poetic about my admiration for the circular grooved medium and bore you to tears with details about my observations in a large urban area as proof of its health. Instead, let me present to you three money-driven indicators that illustrate that vinyl matters more now than it has in decades. So sit back and bear with me for this elevator pitch.

Exhibit A: The Sales Numbers
The 2014 Nielson Music U.S. Report says that vinyl sales increased a whopping 52-percent from the year before, with vinyl selling over 9.2 million units during 2014. This marks tremendous (record setting) growth in a paid music market that witnessed declining sales in both CD and digital mediums. During 2013, Nielson says that 11 vinyl LPs sold over 20,000 units while 46 LPs sold over 10,000 units. Fast-forward to 2014 and those numbers more than double, with 27 vinyl LPs selling over 20,000 units and 94 LPs hitting the 10,000-plus mark. Add-on the fact that vinyl has witnessed nine consecutive years of growth, and one could easily see vinyl is a market player.

What’s more interesting is the population that’s driving these sales numbers. In a recent article published by Billboard, it was revealed that buyers 35 years of age and younger represent 72-percent of vinyl buyers. The 35 and younger age group accounts for less than half of the country’s music-buying population, but they are driving vinyl sales. This bodes well for the vinyl market because young collectors likely means young collections that need to grow.

Exhibit B: Manufacturing is Rolling
Consumer demand is far greater than supply and record manufacturing facilities are reporting order backlogs that extend months into the future. There are 16 pressing plants in the United States, according to Billboard, and a variety of sources have detailed that plants (including one recently established by an independent record label) are scouring the globe buying mothballed presses to be refurbished and thrown back into action. Of course, this means that workers need to be trained to operate this aging machinery. According to the Washington Post, retired mechanics and press operators are being hired as consultants to teach a new generation of workers trade-tricks to keep presses healthy and productive.



Onkyo's homepage features a new turntable in a homepage prime product spotlight.


Exhibit C: Onkyo
Exhibit C might be a stretch, but hear me out. For years, enthusiasts have seen record player and stylus advertising for small niche companies in publications such as Stereophile or Sound and Vision. But when was the last time we’ve witnessed a large-scale electronics manufacturer, like Onkyo, dedicate prime-time space to vinyl? If you click on Onkyo.com, you’ll see it right now. The image capture (above) was taken from Onkyo’s homepage. The top-center product spotlight features their new CP-1050 Direct Drive Turntable…not a Blu-ray player or a fancy new AVR, but a turntable. Clicking on the image launches a slickly produced promotional video detailing specs and features unlike anything the mass electronics consuming public has heard in decades. The paired PR release by the electronics manufacturer details features such as a variable speed button to accommodate LPs and 45s, the inclusion of an adapter for 7-inch records, anti-vibration feet, and a wow and flutter spec of .15-percent at 33 1/3 rpm. These are details from a large-scale manufacturer that the vast majority of sub-35 year old buyers will likely find both foreign and intriguing. But, perhaps, could be the sign of a physical media rebirth among a consumer segment that has rarely had the opportunity to connect with a true analog medium.

If you’d like to join the conversation, click on this link and head over to the referenced HTS vinyl thread. Let us know your thoughts!






Image Credits: DLFMusic.com, Onkyo

Sources:
Billboard (1)
Onkyo (1)
Washington Post(1)
Digital Trends (1)
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post #2 of 30 Old 03-17-15, 03:41 PM
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Re: Vinyl: Don't Call It a Fluke, It's a Comeback

I was depressed at the audio quality of Judas Priests last CD. Looking into this, I discovered the Dynamic Range Database.
http://dr.loudness-war.info/

The database shows the recorded dynamic range on albums.

Redeemer of Souls CD -- 5db
Redeemer of Souls Vinyl -- 10db.

It makes me quite tempted to go out and buy the vinyl and then convert that to mp3.
However, the mix on the CD strikes me as slightly bass heavy and thus slightly washes out the midrange.
I don't know if the Vinyl would really be any better.

It is a shame, because the album musically is quite good.
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post #3 of 30 Old 03-18-15, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Vinyl: Don't Call It a Fluke, It's a Comeback

Quote:
JeffB wrote: View Post
I was depressed at the audio quality of Judas Priests last CD. Looking into this, I discovered the Dynamic Range Database.
http://dr.loudness-war.info/

The database shows the recorded dynamic range on albums.

Redeemer of Souls CD -- 5db
Redeemer of Souls Vinyl -- 10db.

It makes me quite tempted to go out and buy the vinyl and then convert that to mp3.
However, the mix on the CD strikes me as slightly bass heavy and thus slightly washes out the midrange.
I don't know if the Vinyl would really be any better.

It is a shame, because the album musically is quite good.
If you have the gear, pick it up and do a comparison. It would be interesting to read the results!
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post #4 of 30 Old 03-18-15, 10:54 AM
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Re: Vinyl: Don't Call It a Fluke, It's a Comeback

When we asked my 20 yr old son what he wanted for Christmas, he said he wanted to start listening to "records". That surprised me because he's been the IPOD-IHOME kind of listener up to now. He had never really shown much interest in my music rigs before. So, I bought him a decent Onkyo AVR and a $150 TT for Christmas and gave him a set of Polks I had sitting around. I also gave him about 20 of my old LPs I had stored in a closet. He's since collected another 15 or so albums. I've been listening off and on as well and the music just seems more dynamic. The crackling doesnt seem to bother me at all. In fact, I've liked it so much I decided to buy "him" a much better set of speakers (Chane A5rx-c's thanks to the HTS reviews) mainly to experience the music on a better set of speakers.

He says alot of his college buddies are into vinyl now...so it may be just the cool thing for some but it does seem to be back. Record shops sure seem to be buzzing and new album priices don't seem to be wavering. If I like the sound from the Chane's, I'm probably going to take the TT plunge myself...and take back my albums!
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post #5 of 30 Old 03-18-15, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Vinyl: Don't Call It a Fluke, It's a Comeback

Quote:
480dad wrote: View Post
When we asked my 20 yr old son what he wanted for Christmas, he said he wanted to start listening to "records". That surprised me because he's been the IPOD-IHOME kind of listener up to now. He had never really shown much interest in my music rigs before. So, I bought him a decent Onkyo AVR and a $150 TT for Christmas and gave him a set of Polks I had sitting around. I also gave him about 20 of my old LPs I had stored in a closet. He's since collected another 15 or so albums. I've been listening off and on as well and the music just seems more dynamic. The crackling doesnt seem to bother me at all. In fact, I've liked it so much I decided to buy "him" a much better set of speakers (Chane A5rx-c's thanks to the HTS reviews) mainly to experience the music on a better set of speakers.

He says alot of his college buddies are into vinyl now...so it may be just the cool thing for some but it does seem to be back. Record shops sure seem to be buzzing and new album priices don't seem to be wavering. If I like the sound from the Chane's, I'm probably going to take the TT plunge myself...and take back my albums!

Thanks for sharing. Certainly backs-up the "35-yr old and younger" data.

I believe that the faceless digital age might be cracking just a bit!
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post #6 of 30 Old 03-18-15, 11:42 AM
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Re: Vinyl: Don't Call It a Fluke, It's a Comeback

i just had to laugh the other day when he asked me what the little yellow plastic thingy was he found in the old record case...the adapter to play 45's. Then it was "what's a 45?"

Of course he laughs at me when I have to ask how to use the bluetooth on my iphone. guess it all evens out in the end.
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post #7 of 30 Old 03-18-15, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Vinyl: Don't Call It a Fluke, It's a Comeback

Quote:
480dad wrote: View Post
i just had to laugh the other day when he asked me what the little yellow plastic thingy was he found in the old record case...the adapter to play 45's. Then it was "what's a 45?"

Of course he laughs at me when I have to ask how to use the bluetooth on my iphone. guess it all evens out in the end.
Understand, I had a similar chuckle when reading Onkyo's Press material, referencing "A button on the top left of the deck changes rotation speeds to accommodate playback of both LPs and 45s."

For those of us intimately familiar with vinyl...this statement is akin to a car dealer telling a buyer "there's a steering wheel that you turn from side-to-side to steer the car."
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post #8 of 30 Old 03-18-15, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Vinyl: Don't Call It a Fluke, It's a Comeback

By the way, the MSRP on the Onkyo CP-1050 is $599. Not exactly entry level pricing.
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post #9 of 30 Old 03-18-15, 06:36 PM
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Re: Vinyl: Don't Call It a Fluke, It's a Comeback

A few weeks back, I purchased a CD of Victory at Sea. I have a 50 year old LP of the RCA Living Stereo version which has seen better days, but it still had more appealing dynamics than the new CD.
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post #10 of 30 Old 03-19-15, 06:06 PM
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Re: Vinyl: Don't Call It a Fluke, It's a Comeback

It seems like more and more mainstream music artists are releasing vinyl versions of their latest albums. Madonna, Sia, Katy Perry, Gaga, Maroon 5, Mary J Blige, B.B King, Tony Bennett, Neil Young, are among those who have LPs available.

Last edited by Glen B; 03-19-15 at 06:15 PM.
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