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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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!:T
 

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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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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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.:T

I believe that the faceless digital age might be cracking just a bit!
 

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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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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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.":whistling:
 

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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:eek:lddude: which has seen better days, but it still had more appealing dynamics than the new CD.
 

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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.
 

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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.
My uncle was telling me that it's no just some artists... most record labels make the first 10,000 copies of an album on vinyl first... or thats what he was telling me.
 

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Good to see the increase in sales for vinyl lately and especially that it's driven by and coming from a completely new generation of ears. My rag on CDs when they came out during the 80s was there was a loss of "warmth" in the bass frequencies. When you cranked the volume they just didn't have the same satisfying feel. Now that some of the MP3 generation are signing on makes you optimistic for the future. The difference from vinyl to CDs was subtle. The difference between vinyl and MP3s must be more like a good poke in the solar plexus.
 

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Good to see the increase in sales for vinyl lately and especially that it's driven by and coming from a completely new generation of ears. My rag on CDs when they came out during the 80s was there was a loss of "warmth" in the bass frequencies. When you cranked the volume they just didn't have the same satisfying feel. Now that some of the MP3 generation are signing on makes you optimistic for the future. The difference from vinyl to CDs was subtle. The difference between vinyl and MP3s must be more like a good poke in the solar plexus.
Agreed, I'm 33 and was fine with CD's until everything went wrong "MP3" The single worst thing to happen to music sonically. Kinda like the fast food of music consumption, and you see what is happening to McDonalds and the like. Convenience doesn't trump quality for long before a correction is made.
 

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MP3 is a convenient however a well pressed cd in my opinion on a good machine, outperforms vinyl in many ways. Vinyl has that organic sound to it but has a lot of shortcomings, especially when lot of older men try to re-live their youth with $10k to $100k turntables. Hi-res audio will be the future as the younger generation will not adhere to their dads' or grandpas' desires. Sure vinyl has a comeback and it's different from cd or hi-res. Not necessarily better or worse but different.

I'm into hi-end home theatre so I don't care either way. If I had a good 2 channel system it would consist of both cd and vinyl. I would spend $4k on a cd player and $4k on a turntable and call it a day. If that's too much money than $2k on each unit.

The vast majority of the new generation like my kids, nephews and niece like downloading so ANY hi-end audio for them will be High Resolution players. Vinyl will end up being a by-product. It's re-peaking right now but the comeback won't last too, too long.
 

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I've never given up on vinyl and I'm happy to see the media is on a comeback. However, IHO, I believe that vinyl will remain a niche market as our lifestyle is geared more towards convenience than it is quality. This alone will be prevent it from regaining king of the heap.
 

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I'm an old analog guy. I left Pro-Audio in 1975 (Vinyl Mastering Engineer) for a new Career as I could see the writing on the wall. I was so convinced that digital would become the new replacement for vinyl as a storage medium that I gave all my records away (mostly to Goodwill). Every record that I have replaced with a CD sounds like garbage, so at this moment, I appreciate the vinyl resurgence...But is it a comeback? Not in my opinion. Digital is here to stay for awhile. I just wish we had some "audiophiles" as digital engineers in Silly-con Valley because the current product is terrible! On paper, and technically, digital has the potential to be the superior medium; s/n ratio, FAR superior to tape, slightly better then an excellent cartridge tracking a freshly cut Acetate and the flexibility of sound manipulation is awesome! That said;

It will take at least a generation, likely two, to get us back to proper recording and mastering techniques if ANY storage medium is to survive. The biggest problem today, as I see it, is Ears! CD's today need to be remastered because it's a totally different media, but remixed??? Case in Point; Listen to an original mix of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Waters" (an early 70's LP should do) then listen to same song on CD. There is one point on the original where the Bass Guitar slides up the fretboard. It is critical in the mix because it is so impactful on the song. So impactful in fact, that its absence angered me enough for me to break a wine glass!!!!! (!) Guess what....You will soon find yourself listening to the entire record on LP rather then CD simply because it sounds so much better. You may even get to be able to ignore the clicks and pops.... It's mostly in the MIX!

Digital is simply EVOLVING...It took Analog 80 years to get it right for it's time, lets hope we can evolve a little faster this time.

IF YOU BUY VINYL: Try to be sure the vinyl you buy was mastered from the original analog mix. Many sold today are Vinyl mastered from Digital Masters. I don't see any advantage to this. But the point is nearly moot since CD's are going to be obsolete by next year anyway (so why did HONDA include a CD player in my 2015 Civic?) I have no idea, cuz I'll never use it..... Maybe SD card slot?
In'67 I tried a Turntable in my new Firebird!..... Anyone interested in a 50 yr old 8-track?
 

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I'm an old analog guy. I left Pro-Audio in 1975 (Vinyl Mastering Engineer) for a new Career as I could see the writing on the wall. I was so convinced that digital would become the new replacement for vinyl as a storage medium that I gave all my records away (mostly to Goodwill). Every record that I have replaced with a CD sounds like garbage, so at this moment, I appreciate the vinyl resurgence...But is it a comeback? Not in my opinion. Digital is here to stay for awhile. I just wish we had some "audiophiles" as digital engineers in Silly-con Valley because the current product is terrible! On paper, and technically, digital has the potential to be the superior medium; s/n ratio, FAR superior to tape, slightly better then an excellent cartridge tracking a freshly cut Acetate and the flexibility of sound manipulation is awesome! That said; It will take at least a generation, likely two, to get us back to proper recording and mastering techniques if ANY storage medium is to survive. The biggest problem today, as I see it, is Ears! CD's today need to be remastered because it's a totally different media, but remixed??? Case in Point; Listen to an original mix of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Waters" (an early 70's LP should do) then listen to same song on CD. There is one point on the original where the Bass Guitar slides up the fretboard. It is critical in the mix because it is so impactful on the song. So impactful in fact, that its absence angered me enough for me to break a wine glass!!!!! (!) Guess what....You will soon find yourself listening to the entire record on LP rather then CD simply because it sounds so much better. You may even get to be able to ignore the clicks and pops.... It's mostly in the MIX! Digital is simply EVOLVING...It took Analog 80 years to get it right for it's time, lets hope we can evolve a little faster this time. IF YOU BUY VINYL: Try to be sure the vinyl you buy was mastered from the original analog mix. Many sold today are Vinyl mastered from Digital Masters. I don't see any advantage to this. But the point is nearly moot since CD's are going to be obsolete by next year anyway (so why did HONDA include a CD player in my 2015 Civic?) I have no idea, cuz I'll never use it..... Maybe SD card slot? In'67 I tried a Turntable in my new Firebird!..... Anyone interested in a 50 yr old 8-track?
So you're an old analog guy? I'm just old. But I'm also an old analog to digital guy ( harr harr hahahahah). Don't get me wrong... I love my vinyl. It's just that after I finally find something in the stacks, clean both it and the stylus, clamp it into the rig, try to set a reasonable volume, queue up a song, and take a running leap for the listening chair before the first note graces the air... I'm sometimes no longer in the mood to hear what I picked out in the first place. And even if I were, there are bound to be tracks I'd rather skip over. Then what? Aaarrrggghhhh! Dodge those wine glasses! BTW, hope you have bad aim and didn't lunch your stylus along with the glass. It'd be so much nicer to convert all those grooves into 1's and 0's and store them on a server to call up on a whim. Of course that will never happen in my lifetime. Oh, I could try. But the effort would limit my motivation to just capturing my favorites and preserving the new stuff.

You're not the only one who dumped vinyl and lived to regret it. I'm still kicking myself for unloading a box set of The Concert for Bangladesh among other gems just to raise pennies on the dollar for screechy, harsh digital. Now before the DIGITAL GOOD / ANALOG BAD crowd rushes at me with pitchforks, let me add the word "early." Early digital sounded bad because it was bad. Recording & mastering engineers raised on analog needed time to develop new skills. The second salvo came in the form of unrefined A/D.and D/A converters. "Perfect Sound Forever" indeed!

Of course, digital nasties were eventually scrubbed out by scientists and engineers who dared question CD's supremacy. I've heard glorious examples of both formats. A lot more conditions just have to be met for analog to challenge the digital Goliath: well cared-for vinyl that's properly cleaned, and a quality TT that's properly set up (for starters). Analog post-processing for surface noise and ticks/pops helps as well, though such units have all but gone the way of the dinosaurs. In any case, you can swing a stick and hit as many studies for a particular format as you can against it--ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Just the other day I read how vinyl sales figures were making board room members sit up and take notice (dismal as they are), and how start-ups are not only salvaging and reconditioning old presses, but also finding and recruiting retired skilled tradesmen to train new apprentices. Vinyl comeback? I have enough new music on new, better sounding vinyl than ever. I'm too busy enjoying it to care!

Sent from my iPad using HTShack
 

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Wow, reading your equipment list, seeing your submitted Pics, after reading your post You have emerged as my new IDOL! Marantz and Emotiva are both on my wish list. I used B&W Powered monitors when I use to Master. That and your nice Yamaha digital Board and a full version of ProTools and I'd be in Fat City!

I too have heard Very Good Quality Digital but rarely on CD, now that higher rez digital is available, a new format needs to be employed (SD cards?). I don't know enough about digital to make any intelligent suggestions but someone who knows digital better should be able to solve this.

In the mean time, I'm glad to see that you have managed to "Crossover" successfully. That's my next step. I want to record again but I have a lot to learn but I am willing. I hope you might allow me to "pick your brain" a bit when the time comes for me to start. First I need to convert a one car Garage into a listening room. home theater, recording studio. I'm tired of listening to overcompressed (dynamically) garbage as if it represented the POSSIBILITIES of DIGITAL. It's not likely to happen for you and I but we can make the best of the medium we have inherited.

Brian (aka NairbD)
 

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Wow, reading your equipment list, seeing your submitted Pics, after reading your post You have emerged as my new IDOL! Marantz and Emotiva are both on my wish list. I used B&W Powered monitors when I use to Master. That and your nice Yamaha digital Board and a full version of ProTools and I'd be in Fat City! I too have heard Very Good Quality Digital but rarely on CD, now that higher rez digital is available, a new format needs to be employed (SD cards?). I don't know enough about digital to make any intelligent suggestions but someone who knows digital better should be able to solve this. In the mean time, I'm glad to see that you have managed to "Crossover" successfully. That's my next step. I want to record again but I have a lot to learn but I am willing. I hope you might allow me to "pick your brain" a bit when the time comes for me to start. First I need to convert a one car Garage into a listening room. home theater, recording studio. I'm tired of listening to overcompressed (dynamically) garbage as if it represented the POSSIBILITIES of DIGITAL. It's not likely to happen for you and I but we can make the best of the medium we have inherited. Brian (aka NairbD)
Hello, Brian, and thanks for the kind words. I am very happy with the EMOTIVA gear. The XMC-1 pre/pro and XPA-5 amp are impressive tour-de-force designs, and are an upgrade from the UMC-1 and UPA-1, which I still own. Am on my way to work and have to go now, but will talk again soon. Cheers!

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...continued from earlier...

Hello again, Brian! Before I contniue answering your post, please be aware that we're wandering off-topic, so if you'd like to continue after this, please post a new thread in the CD Players & Turntables Forum, and I'll follow you there. There are plenty of experts on this site that dance circles around me, but I'll help the best I can.

Home theater, listening room, and recording studio all-in-one? Fascinating project! Not to say it can't be done, but that's a tall order with conflicting goals. For instance, nearfield monitoring from your mastering days might need to morph into a farfield compromise. I guess it all depends on whether you plan on having two separate systems in the same room (or different speaker sets paired with the same system). However it pans out, I'll be interested to follow your build. If you haven't found it already, our members can offer expert advice in the Home Theater Design and Construction forum.

As far as a storage medium for LP transfers or high-res digital goes: There are many solutions to fit different budgets. You can start with SD cards (my car's sound system accepts them, too), USB thumb drives, cell phones, or dedicated players. High res files are large, so store them in a lossless-compressed format like FLAC or ALAC. Between my iPhone's 128GB and iPod Classic's 160GB, I'm pretty much set for a day or two's worth of listening (wink). If I get tired of those playlists, I "record" over them.

And yes, it's a sad state of affairs that digital recording quality often falls far short of the CD medium's capabilities. But that can also be said of many LP recordings. See you 'round the forums! :wave:
 
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