AMPS
Are you Participating in the Vinyl Resurgence?
Records? Vinyl Records?? Why???
There's been an interesting phenomenon happening over the past few years and many audiophiles are participating in it. The resurgence of vinyl records and record players is unique on several levels. After all, it's pretty unusual to see an essentially "dead" technology come back to life and although the rebirth isn't huge it's still meaningful. Many reasons have been suggested for this phenomenon. Here are a few:

Better, or at least different, sound quality: Many feel that records, which are an analog source, generally deliver a warmer, more natural sound than digital sources. You'll hear terms like "smoother", "less fatiguing", "more involving", etc. Some audiophiles refuse to listen to music recorded and/or stored in a digital format feeling the fidelity of analog records cannot be duplicated. And high-end analog gear continues to be sought after, with playback systems of turntable, tonearm, cartridge and phono preamps costing 10's of thousands of dollars!

Nostalgia: Re-creating the experience of playing vinyl records like they did "in the old days" (pre 1982!!???!). The physical process and involvement of putting the disc on the platter, cleaning it (hopefully), moving the arm over to play, etc. are things missing from digital formats. And of course, a CD, or streaming, just can't duplicate the experience of holding a 12" LP album cover and appreciating the album art, song lyrics, band notes, etc.

Purchasing records as artifacts: The larger record sleeve with its artwork and information can be a draw for some. Any number of framed vinyl records and their sleeves are hanging on walls like works of art, in many cases having never been played. Some experts have postulated that as many as half of LP buying Millennials are buying them as artifacts, not music sources.

According to  Nielsen's 2017 year-end music report, LPs accounted for no more than 8.5% of album sales in the US. When streaming and downloads of single tracks are taken into account that number drops to 2.5 percent of total music consumption. But for those of us who truly care about sound quality and love music, vinyl records are a potential source of great enjoyment.

Variation of LP Disc Types

Better sound quality is primarily due to better quality recording, engineering and production/QC. Many high end LP's are produced using heavier vinyl "pucks" and vinyl formulas intended to play more quietly. Some must be played back at 45 RPM instead of 33 1/3 also for superior sonics. But 45 RPM means more discs and expense, as less music will be on each one.
Some Relevant Internet Quotes:

Some LP's are being released with artwork embedded in the disc itself. While you can play picture discs, don't expect great fidelity. "They sound horrible" said Michael Fremer, an audio critic and record collector. The possible exception is colored vinyl records. "The swirly colored stuff is also not going to sound good, but the transparent color vinyl can."

"Despite the continued six-year growth in sales of LPs practically all vinyl records today are small-batch boutique pressings. There are limited editions, collector editions, audiophile editions and more."

"The best way to get a quality recording is to do some quality research", said Craig Kallman, chairman and chief executive of Atlantic Records, who owns one of the world's largest vinyl collections. "To really be safe, go online and read the blogs" he said. "There are so many links in the chain, you can't just go for the label that says 'virgin vinyl'."

"Also of interest to audiophiles are direct-to-disc recordings. Musicians skip taping to record a live studio performance directly on a lacquer master disc. Fewer processes mean better sound."

"In each step there is additional noise" Mr. Hobson said. "There is a decrease in fidelity." However, since the whole side is cut in one take, the performers tend to play conservatively. "What you gain in fidelity" said Mr. Hobson, "you lose in performance."
Here's a List of Some Vinyl Record Sources:

Vinylmeplease.com  -  From their website:
  • Vinyl Me, Please is a record of the month club. The best damn record club out there, in fact.
  • Our mission is help people explore, experience, and enjoy music on a deeper level. A tall order, maybe, but it's what gets us out of bed every morning with a thunderous shout. We do that both by sending you great music every month and by making sure you have a ton of fun each step of the way. Music is important, and so are you, and we work our asses off to make sure we do good by both.
  • It's like record store day with free shipping and no line.
Discogs.com  - From their website:
  • The Database: The heart of Discogs is a user-built database of music. More than 419,000 people have contributed some piece of knowledge, to build up a catalog of more than 10,100,000 recordings and 5,700,000 artists. We're far from done and you can contribute too! Discogs also offers the ability to catalog your music collection, create a want list, and share your ratings and reviews.
  • The Marketplace: The Discogs Marketplace connects buyers and sellers across the globe. With more than 23 million items available and thousands of sellers, this is the premier spot from new releases to hard to find gems. Because the Marketplace is built on top of the accurate Discogs database, it is easy for sellers to list their inventory and buyers are able to specify the exact version they want.
Please search for local record stores! Let's keep them around for all of us.

A few high quality online record sources - check out these links below:
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