Recent Turntable Reviews

As there seem to be plenty of people getting back into vinyl I thought it would be a nice idea to have a page with recent reviews of various turntables. If you know ofone please let me know, either by email or through the forum.

 

 

Marantz TT-15S1 Turntable Reviewed

 Rega P3-24

Diamond turntable

Simon Yorke Designs Series 9

Basis Audio Signature

TEAC GF-450K7 CD Recorder with turntable/cassette

 Numark USB Turntable

Audio Technica AT-LP2Da

Clearaudio Analog System

Ion USB Turntable

Goldring GR-1

Grand Prix Audio Monaco

Acoustic Solid Classic Wood

HI-Fi world list

Project Perspective Turntable

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newest buys

Well I've been fairly busy in the last few days. buying records I mean.

Lykke Li

 Lykke Li finally arrived in the post. This cutest little Swedish pop star put on a gig here during the week. Second time I saw her. I preferred the first time. Itsounds like she'd been playing the gig for too long now. Time to get working on that second album. The first and only one is not as infectious as her live act but is enjoyable neverthless. Expect great things from her in the future. The vinyl edition seems to be only available in Sweden.

 panda bear

I picked up the Panda Bear album because it had a sticker on it proclaiming it as the best pitchfork album from 2007. I'm not quite sure what to think. Its rather hard to pigeonhole, well imprssible to pigeonhole. There are elements from all over the musical world which I love. No song has grabbed me by the scruff of the neck yet though. Panda Bear(if that is indeed his real name) is a member from Animal Collective. Who coincidentally get a five star review in Uncut for their latest album, which may or may not be out before 2009. Something to look forward to then

shearwatertinariwen

I also got the new Shearwater album which is beautifully presented and packaged by the ever wonderful Matador label. Strangely enough when I popped it on the turntable it was  lot quieter than that band of desert nomads, Tinariwen who have eventually managed to get their album out on vinyl, a mere two years after the cd version. Worth the wait? I'm not sure yet. Hopefully I'll get around to reviewing it in a few days. They're on Independiente, the label set up by the ex St. Etienne member. Was it Bob Stanley? Anyway, the Shearwater album is incredible. One of the best releases this year for sure. Elements extremely evocative of latterday Talk Talk whom I know you adore.

lucinda

 Little honey from Lucinda Williams. Generally the more I hear of Lucinda themore I like. Her thick accent(Is that Texan?) and world weary style of singing might be difficult for some people but she appeals to me. This newest album is meant to be her most upbeat. Isn't love wonderful?  The first thinkg I noticed is the sh** packaging and the flimsiest vinyl I've seen since the 80s. No I haven't tried to bend it all the way so the edges touch each other like a sandwich.

Soundstage Mailout 24112008

Sound Stage Direct 1(877) WAX-TRAX
(929-8729)
International: 1-267-247-5051

FEATURED PRODUCTS

Frank Sinatra /
Nice 'N' Easy
180 Gram

 $29.99

Frank Sinatra /

Only The Lonely

180 Gram

$29.99

Belle And Sebastian /

The BBC Session

180 Gram 2 LPs

 $22.99

Coldplay /
Prospekt's March
Limited Edition Vinyl EP

 $15.99

Judas Priest /
Hero, Hero

180 Gram
$22.99

Judas Priest /
Rocka Rolla
180 Gram
$18.99

Judas Priest /

Sad Wings Of Destiny

180 Gram

$18.99

 Tom Jones /
Sings The Beatles
180 Gram

$25.99
 

 Motley Crue /
Saints Of Los Angeles
180 Gram
 
$19.99

Motley Crue /
Dr. Feelgood
180 Gram

$19.99

Motley Crue /

Shout At The Devil

180 Gram

$19.99

Motley Crue /
Theatre Of Pain
180 Gram

$19.99
Motley Crue /
Too Fast For Love
180 Gram
 
$19.99

Motley Crue /
Girls, Girls, Girls
180 Gram
 
$19.99

Mogwai /
The Hawk Is Howling
180 Gram

$22.99

The Beatles /
Abbey Road
Vinyl LP Reissue
$17.99

 

 De La Soul
De La Soul Is Dead
180 Gram
 
$19.99

The Kinks /
Schoolboys In Disgrace
180 Gram

$18.99

Congos /
Heart Of The Congos
Deluxe Edition Vinyl 2 LPs

$19.99

 Rolling Stones /
Complete Discography

Paper Back Book


$10.99

Pink Floyd /
Saucerful Of Secrets
Mono Vinyl LP


$59.99
The J.B.'s /
Doing It To Death
180 Gram

$13.99

The J.B.'s /
Food For Thought
180 Gram

$13.99

John Lennon /
Give Peace A Chance
7" Vinyl LP

$5.99
Contact us:
Phone:
1(877) WAX-TRAX (929-8729)
International: 1-267-247-5051
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Cool new cafe

 http://dispatch.com/live/content/flipside/stories/2008/11/28/3_CRAWL28.ART_ART_11-28-08_B10_E5C0C1C.html

 

THE CRAWL | Kafe Kerouac
Beatnik vibe
Cafe offers caffeine, books, records, beer

Friday,  November 28, 2008 6:31 AM

<p>Poets hold forth inside Kafe Kerouac, where customers can go for inspiration, a stiff drink or both.</p>

James D. DeCAMP | Dispatch photos

Poets hold forth inside Kafe Kerouac, where customers can go for inspiration, a stiff drink or both.

<p>Taun Sanka whips up a specialty drink.</p>

Taun Sanka whips up a specialty drink.

<p>Liquor is also served at the cafe.</p>

Liquor is also served at the cafe.

<p>LPs number in the thousands.</p>

LPs number in the thousands.

What's an English major to do after graduation?

Open a coffee shop, of course.

But not just any coffee shop.

When he conceived Kafe Kerouac — named for a famous Jack of the writing trade — Ohio State University student Mike Heslop had more novel plans in mind.

In its senior (fourth) year, the cafe has expanded to become equal parts caffeine emporium, bookshop, record store and bar.

So whether you're looking for an LP by the Yardbirds, a novel by Solzhenitsyn or a seasonal by Great Lakes, the casual, couch-equipped University District hangout will satisfy.

"I thought there was a need for a good, independent coffee shop on campus again since places like Insomnia and others had disappeared," Heslop explained. "We're not Starbucks. We're an independent little shop."

And with independence comes variety: I've visited Kafe Kerouac more than a few times through the years — always finding something interesting to hear or see among the selection of 4,000 books and 4,000 records.

A few months back, it was Loverboy's Keep It Up (featuring the immortal Hot Girls in Love) for $1, while grown men taunted each other over a game of Risk.

I've sat on the mismatched living-room furniture near the front window; drunk pints of Bourbon Barrel Stout; and dominated a friend in Yahtzee, a game not quite as exciting as craps but much less expensive in the long run.

During a recent visit, some college students ate from a large pot of home-cooked pasta and sipped smoothies while others studied and procrastinated at tables scattered among stacks of books, racks of vinyl records and random piles of board games — refugees from the best garage sale ever.

Kerouac, meanwhile, watches benignly from a poster near the makeshift wooden bar.

"It's like somebody's dorm room exploded," said Scott Woods, founder of Writers' Block Poetry, which hosts readings and competitions on Wednesday nights.

The idea, said Heslop, 31, was to create a place where "writers and artists could come in and express themselves."

Locally produced artwork hangs on the walls and is rotated monthly — almost as often as the surprisingly varied selection of bottled beers (individual works of art in their own right).

Even the menu has a creative side, with the coffee drinks named for famous authors. Naturally, the James Joyce includes Irish cream as well as cinnamon, espresso and steamed milk. And could drinking Kafka while reading him be interpreted as Kafkaesque? Please keep your essays to 10,000 words.

The average bottle of wine, meanwhile, costs about $12 with no corking fee — a nice alternative when coffee beans and hops aren't jump-starting the creative juices.

Inspiration comes in many forms at Kafe Kerouac. So, if you'll excuse me, my great American novel about a strikingly handsome, yet modest, Yahtzee enthusiast isn't going to write itself.

 

Old Rare New – The Independent Record Store

http://blackdogonline.com/music/old-rare-new.html

 

There is nothing quite like the feeling of thumbing through LP after LP in a dusty old record shop, only to stumble upon some hidden treasure, new obsession or forgotten love. Old Rare New: The Independent Record Shop is a homage to the holy places of music collecting, complete with their particular anecdotes, peculiar characters, and unique environments.

 
back back
 

Emma Pettit, formerly of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, has travelled across the UK and America into these eclectic spaces of musical exchange, interviewing record shop owners, collectors and musicians to provide a rich account of the increasingly rare independent record shop. Featured shops include Rough Trade East (London), Sister Ray (London), Vinyl Exchange (Manchester), Other Music (New York), Aquarius Records (San Francisco), Amoeba Records (California) and Jazz Record Mart (Chicago). The first comprehensive look at these important institutions, Old Rare New: The Independent Record Shop is an essential read for the musically inclined.

Featuring contributions by James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers), Simon Reynolds, Devendra Banhart, Billy Childish, Bob Stanley (Saint Etienne), Sean Bidder (Vinyl Factory), Byron Coley (Ecstatic Yod), Rob Da Bank (Bestival) and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy.

'There is nothing quite like walking into a strange little record store in a town far from home and finding a record you've been after for so long, you didnt even remember you wanted it until you flipped through the bin and saw it. There is no similar charge available online, and it can't be gotten from a CD. It is something unique to vinyl and little stores and the people who live to breathe their air.'
Byron Coley

 

cover  
 


Author
Emma Pettit

June 2008
Paperback
144 pages
160 b/w and colour ills
27.0 x 22.0 cm
8.5 x 10.5 in
ISBN13: 978 1 906155 32 2
More Praise for Old Rare New

Old Rare New: The Independent Record Shop has been reviewed in The Times' Books supplement, the Evening Standard, Buzz magazine, by Playboy.com and on the DJ History website. Here are some quotes from the reviews:

"Ostensibly its a book about the independent record shop but the psychology of the collectors who contribute is the tasty meat."
Bob Stanley

Read the full The Times review here.

"There's a feeling of celebration about Old Rare New, a collection of atmospheric photographs, essays about the joy of snuffling for obscure vinyl… Of the musicians interviewed, folk mystic Banhart does the best job of making the vinyl experience, being caught in a 'magnetic rip tide of 7-inch lust', sound so magical that you'll want to bin you MacBook there and then."
Evening Standard

Read the full Evening Standard article here.

"Accessible to semi-curious music fans, rather than just list-updating OCD Vitamin C-lackers… highly readable and there are some beautiful images."
Buzz

"A massive chronicle of vinyl culture."
Playboy.com

Read the full Playboy review here

"Here’s a book of people who measure their time on earth in dusty vinyl: collectors sleeping in warehouses, shopkeepers too attached to their stock, handmade signs, groaning shelves. Inspired by a US road trip (film to follow), and centred on a touching memoir from Bob Stanley. Lovely and loving."
DJ History

Read the full DJ History review here.

 

The turntable spins anew

 http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/entertainment/entertainment/view/20081116-172578/The-turntable-spins-anew

 

The turntable spins anew

By Pocholo Concepcion
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:54:00 11/16/2008

“Somebody was trying to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don’t have any surface noise. I said, ‘Listen, mate, LIFE has surface noise.’”—John Peel, British radio disc jockey

turntable

 

MANILA, Philippines -In 1982, the release of Billy Joel’s “52nd Street” on CD, along with the arrival of the first Sony CD player, was regarded as the “Big Bang” of the digital audio revolution.

It also signaled the impending death of the vinyl or “Long Play” (LP) record. But 26 years later, the LP is not only alive, it continues to spin—and is gaining more fans and converts.

In January 2008, Time magazine wrote: “Like the comeback of Puma sneakers or vintage T-shirts, vinyl’s resurgence has benefited from its retro-rock aura. Many young listeners discovered LPs after they rifled through their parents’ collections looking for oldies and found that they liked the records’ warmer sound quality, the elaborate album covers and the liner notes that come with them.”

Not to mention the experience of putting one on the turntable and sharing the music with friends, the article noted, as opposed to tuning out one another—and the world —with the now ubiquitous earphones.

The story quoted David MacRunnel, 15, a high school sophomore from Creve Couer, Missouri (who owns more than 1,000 records), as saying, “Bad sound on an iPod has had an impact on a lot of people going back to vinyl.”

Rolling Stone confirmed the phenomenon in its June 2008 issue: “As CD sales continue to decline and MP3s are traded without thought, the left-for-dead LP is staging a comeback. In 2007, according to Nielsen SoundScan, nearly 1 million LPs were bought, up from 858,000 in 2006. Based on to-date sales for 2008, that figure could jump to 1.6 million by year’s end. (According to the Recording Industry Association of America, CD shipments dropped 17.5 percent during the same 2006-07 period.) Sales of turntables—which tumbled from 1.8 million in 1989 to a paltry 275,000 in 2006, according to the Consumer Electronics Association—rebounded sharply last year, when nearly half a million were sold.”

Early this month, the Inquirer visited the “HiFi Show,” an annual event at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel which began in 2004 as a record swap meet by members of a local audio web community, wiredstate.com, for music lovers who were still collecting vinyl. The gathering has since transformed into a grand showcase of the some of the best analog and digital audio equipment, including those assembled by professional enthusiasts, plus, of course, rare and long out-of-print records on sale.

“This would sound totally awful on CD,” said Hansen Dy, manager of home entertainment systems retailer Audio Visual Driver, as he put Louis Armstrong’s version of “Hello Dolly!” on a phonograph player using top-of-the-line components consisting of foreign-branded turntable, pre-amps, power amps, speakers, etc.

Overlooked

What Dy meant was that the record, which first came out in 1964, had a mono (as opposed to stereo) sound, and hearing it on CD would somehow diminish its raw beauty and ambience. “The sound of LPs is more real and alive—warmer, fuller, more dynamic,” Dy explained. “It’s because the engineers who developed the CD overlooked something … the mechanism is too analytical, parang nabawasan ang humanity and soul ng original studio recording.”

Another record that Dy played, Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” (from the “Simple Pleasures” album) further illustrated distinct sounds that would likely go unappreciated on CD.

Buzz word

As the Inquirer asked more people in the venue why they liked listening to LPs, one word kept popping as a description: “warm”—as in, the warm sound that the CD couldn’t duplicate.

“Malambing e. It’s like being cradled on your mother’s bosom. The CD sound is antiseptic and cold,” said event organizer Tony de Leon, who was in high school when he became part of Social Distortion, a group that supplied the music and sound system in dance parties in the early ’80s.

Apparently, it was the DJs in clubs and parties that kept vinyl records from fading out of the scene.

Not cheap

Now 42 and the owner of some 2,000 LPs, De Leon said it takes a lot of money to put good quality equipment together and enjoy playing vinyl records.

Pointing to his store’s centerpiece display, the one that was playing “Hello Dolly!” earlier in one of the 27 rooms booked for the HiFi show, Dy said: “This would cost US$100,000 … and that’s a conservative estimate.”

Dy added: “But an entry-level sound system can be cheap, like P50,000.”

In the next room, another group of audiophiles showed us their own “do-it-yourself” set of vintage equipment. Business partners Joey Abad Santos and Eric Flores described their toy, pegged at P1.2 million, as “comparable to those found in the world’s leading entertainment capitals.”

In mono

Violinist Joseph Esmilla, now based in New York and still active playing with international orchestras, is in town for the holidays. He joined the event to show his self-designed vintage audio gear. The music he was playing, an album of duets by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, was likewise in mono. “I designed the system to capture the authentic sound of the record,” Esmilla said. “I want to be historically correct.”

Congressman Jack Duavit and cousin Keith Roy was in another room to exhibit their own equipment, which was playing Enya. How much did they spend? “Over P5M,” Roy answered.

 

Basic system

We were too astonished to ask how simple folk could afford to listen to LPs again these days, when De Leon said, “You can start with your own basic system for P5,000. Just follow one of Joseph Esmilla’s designs.”

That’s more like it. Chancing upon a copy of the Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls” LP that was on sale for P500, plus a few other rock releases and one Sinatra classic, we were enticed to join the back-to-vinyl club—maybe we should start saving up by riding the jeepney more often to work.

 

Lowest Ever Edition of The Beatles White Album Up for Auction on eBay

 http://www.clevelandleader.com/node/7756

 

Lowest Ever Edition of The Beatles White Album Up for Auction on eBay

There is truly a one of a kind item up for grabs on eBay as a listing for the fifth printing of The Beatles self-titled album, most often referred to as The White Album, is up for sale on the auction site. The first four printed albums were giving to The Beatles band members and this is the earliest edition that has ever seen the open market as it is marked 0000005. The vinyl records in an extremely good shape for their age and come to the market as the album celebrates its 40th anniversary of release later this month.

The listing of the auction reads:

Some years ago, this album was taken into the collectors shop named 'Vinyl Revival Records' in Newbury, Berkshire, England by a musician (they did not disclose who) who had visited John in the flat that he shared with Yoko in late 1968 (that was owned by Ringo) at 34 Montague Square, Marylebone, London W.1. The musician saw a pile of White Albums on a table and asked for one. John readily agreed, but said 'Don't take No.1 – I want that'. Instead he took No. 5'.

The album then passed into the hands of Beatles specialist dealer 'Good Humour' who then sold it to its current owner who has now commissioned me to sell it on his behalf.

If you plan on bidding on the fab four collectible you should be advised that you have to be approved to become a bidder on the item. Bidding is currently at £1,320.00 but expect that number to go up massively in the coming days as more people find out about the auction that will end nearly 40 years to the day that the album hit shops. Do you think that this was just smart marketing by the eBay seller or do you think that one of the members of The Beatles inner-circle is just drumming up some publicity for the anniversary of the classic album?

 

The local vinyl revival: Don’t throw those records away just yet!

 http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/ci_10962223

 

The local vinyl revival: Don't throw those records away just yet!

By Daniel Lazarus

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For the Daily Journal

It makes no sense. They're heavy to move, and tough to store. They're finicky and delicate. They warp in the heat, scratch easily, and are never the same afterward. But, if you, like many other baby boomers, have been reluctant, unwilling, or unable to part with a dusty, old, milk crate full of your beloved Led Zeppelin, Cream, and Grateful Dead albums, despite the fact that you haven't listened to them in decades, and, probably haven't even owned a working turntable since Reagan Administration, take heart. The wait may be over. Your impractical but tenacious hoarding of those 12-inch black polycarbonate vinyl love letters to your past may have been surprisingly farsighted, after all. Simply put, vinyl records are back. What goes around, comes around, and with increasing frequency is being spun around again (at 33 1/3 and 45 revolutions per minute) on turntables all around the area.

Technically speaking, vinyl records never went away completely. Even after the introduction and wide acceptance of CDs in the early '80s, there were always a few independent record stores (mostly in larger cities) that stocked records for a fringe group of devoted listeners. Some vinyl fans didn't want to, or couldn't afford, to invest in new technology which seemed to change with the season. Others simply wanted to hear to their music as it was originally issued. Ukiah record collector and audiophile Matt Eifert, 37, remembers that as late as "1986-1987-1988, all


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three formats (cassettes, CDs, and records) were pretty healthy." Then, he says, music companies, bowing to clear consumer preference for the lighter, tougher, compact disks, all but stopped issuing any new vinyl at all. Eifert calls this period, from the late '80s until about 1993, "the dark days." Then, in the early '90s, "grunge rock" happened and defiantly retro bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam began issuing their music in record form again, and almost like "Rocky" the beleaguered format, regarded as all but dead, began punching it's way off the ropes.

Now, vinyl is vibrant again. Michael Roumbanis, owner of Dig Music at 362 N. State St. estimates that 10 to 20 percent of his sales come from records, and the trend is up. Used albums sell better than new, but, he points out that more and more artists are putting out new product on vinyl and the average price point – now about $20 per record – is coming down. Among recently issued LPs displayed on his wall are new records from AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Amy Winehouse, and Bruce Springsteen, among others. Dig Music, has also been a long time supporter of AFI (A Fire Inside), a major punk/alternative band with Ukiah roots, a worldwide fan base, a rich catalogue of vinyl recordings to their credit. On one of his walls, Roubanis displays a framed, early (now collectable) AFI single, worth he says around $1,000.

What sort of vinyl is most popular? Classic rock sells consistently at Dig Music, but "reggae, punk, and blues go so fast, and they're hard to get – nobody gives them up, basically," says Roumbanis. For a good selection of hip hop records, though, and knowing his store can't cater to all tastes, he refers his customers to DJ Pinoy at 591 S. State St.

Dig Music also sells turntables, both basic and some with USB ports, which allow the owner to plug into a computer, and burn CDs or create digital files from records. This feature is attractive for some because much of what was put on record has never made the journey into the digital world. Others simply want to transfer their old records onto an iPod, so they so they can enjoy the music they've already collected in a more convenient form.

The store has also played host to some vinyl-supportive special events. Matt Eifert has come in and taught a gathering how to properly set up their turntables for maximum performance, and during Ukiah's monthly downtown Art Walk, Roumbanis set up a gallery-like exhibition and discussion of classic and distinctive LP cover art.

Down State Street, co-owners of Jitter Box Music, Jim Tuhtan and Mike Zarkowski, have each been toting around their personal collections of hundreds (or thousands) of records for years.

"I measure mine by the pound," says Zarkowski. The two musicians echo each other in their affection for the old vinyl. Both talk of the fidelity lost with "a chopped up" digital signal, and the fact that so much material on record simply can't be found in newer formats.

"Plus," says Tuhtan, "I've always liked vinyl records because I like the jackets. They're big enough to see."

Around Ukiah, the vinyl revival has taken many forms. Since January 2005, radio station KMEC at105.1 FM has been home of the "Vintage Vinyl" show hosted by Barry Kirkpatrick. Three nights a week, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 9 p.m. to midnight, Kirkpatrick sits in the studio at 106 W. Standley St., spinning records, taking calls, and telling yarns. His personal record collection has formed the core of his playlist, but he sometimes borrows from other collectors or has friends come into the studio, sit down, and play their discs on the air with him.

Not every record he plays is in mint condition, Kirkpatrick admits "My first consideration was that for them (the listeners) the scratchiness of a record would be a distraction, and I would ask someone if that was a bother, and they would say no, that's what makes it real."

"One day," Kirkpatrick recalls with amusement, "some young people were standing right outside the door of the studio. A girl saw me set the needle down on a record, and she asked, How does he know where to set that down?' There are no lines on a CD, and she'd never seen that before. That was a totally legitimate question."

Meanwhile, at the Ukiah Brewing Company, out on their patio, there is a turntable and stereo system set up, a new canvas canopy overhead, and a stack of mostly well-worn albums inside for anyone who wants to play DJ for awhile. Or, people can bring their own collections and spin them for the generally appreciative crowd gathered outside at any given time. The idea for the do-it-yourself human jukebox came from Redwood Valley resident Titus Sanborn, who, in the fall of 2007,was working his way through the death of his wife, and eating at the Brewing Company every day. He spotted an old single speaker wooden hi-fi unit at the Goodwill store, bought it, set it up on the patio, brought in some records and soon found himself presiding over a nightly "scene."

"It was an immediate sensation," says Titus. "This music is a delight to people."

The set-up on the patio has evolved since then. The original vintage, wooden, plug-and-play unit has given way to a more contemporary component system, and Titus now adds a professional light show on some nights, but the "patio scene" is still cathartic for him and others. Some nights he likens it a "beach party," and at other times it's more like a gentle bonding among friends. Records, he says, are aptly named.

"They're records of a place, a time, and a circumstance, and without those records, the memories are lost."

On the other end of the spectrum, technologically speaking, is Ukiah schoolteacher Matt Eifert. Music has always been a big part of his life, and like most in their late 30s, his musical journey started with cassette tapes. From there, he got into CDs in a big way. In fact, he owned what he describes as "the best CD player in the world at that time" and possessed only one record album, when he bought his first turntable for $70. On playing a vinyl for the first time, Eifert said, he became "slack jawed" at the difference. Records, to his ear, sounded richer, fuller, warmer, and more true to life, leaving his CDs sounding, "flat, two dimensional, and small." Soon, he was hooked, and 20,000 records accumulated later, Eifert says, "I like everything about the format – it's more compelling to me."

But, even that may understate Eifert's love affair with vinyl records. Because in order to maximize his listening pleasure, the Ukiah resident undertook the building of a special acoustically designed room-within-a-store, filled it with top notch audio equipment – just the turntable, cartridge and tone arm, alone are worth $20,000 – and now invites friends over for some of what surely must be some of the most sublime vinyl listening sessions in anywhere.

So don't throw those old vinyl records away, quite yet. If you've held on to them this long, retrieve them, dust them off, and enjoy them again. They may not sound as good as new, but maybe that's a good thing.

Tom Petty fixes the compression problem

 http://blogs.rockymountainnews.com/rocky_mountain_music/2008/11/tom_petty_fixes_the_compressio.html

 

Tom Petty fixes the compression problem

When CDs came out promising perfect sound I, too, thought those people clinging to vinyl were just being snobs or purists. But they're right — compression, especially in recent years, has become ridiculous on CD releases. For a great demonstration of what that is and how it ruins the sound, watch this short video called The Loudness War.

The problem is, that compression is needed to make music sound OK on today's devices such as earbuds. But fans of better sound have been going back to the vinyl and making "needle-drop" recordings of those and converting them to CD to get the original mix.

Tom Petty's side band, Mudcrutch, releases a live EP today and they've gone two routes to solve the problem. The regular release has the usual compression applied to music these days. But the vinyl release doesn't have that treatment – it's the music, no fooling around. And they've finally done the obvious: Release a CD version of the untreated music so that those of us who listen to music on high-end sound systems can hear it without the hassle of vinyl.

Below is Petty's engineer's explanation of compression and this new release, put in terms that even I can understand. Time for other artists to get on board:

A NOTE ON "FULL DYNAMIC RANGE" AUDIOPHILE SOUND

Mudcrutch's Extended Play Live is being released digitally and on CD but is also simultaneously being released on deluxe 180 Gram vinyl with an accompanying audiophile 'full dynamic range' CD. This audiophile CD is made made from the same uncompressed stereo masters as the vinyl pressing.

We often receive emails from people asking the following questions:

'Why do you need to release two versions of the same album?

AND

'If the uncompressed mix that appears on the vinyl and audiophile CD is supposedly higher quality, why not just release that one version and forget the mix that is delivered digitally and on CD?'

Here is the reason for the two mixes as explained by Extended Play Live co-producer and audio engineer Ryan Ulyate:

"Standard CDs are designed to play back well on the many different systems which exist today such as iPod, car, radio, computer and home. To make it sound as good as possible on all these different systems, compression is added. What compression does is to make the CD sound louder. Too much compression can make the music sound harsh and distorted. Producers and artists today compete to make their recording sound louder and some have pushed the limit with as much compression as possible. Some have gone too far. On the other hand, without any compression, a CD would not sound as loud as other albums. This would be especially noticeable on iPods and other mp3 players and when played back to back with compressed music, uncompressed music would sound less impactful and not 'jump out of the speakers' which is the effect most producers are going for when they add compression. Since so many people listen to music in "shuffle" mode, we needed to make sure that Mudcrutch tracks did not sound too quiet in relation to other songs before and after. Also, Apple and other portable mp3 player manufacturers limit the power of the amplifiers, so unless the tracks are mastered louder, there is not enough power available on portable systems to reproduce full dynamic range music at a decent volume. For Mudcrutch, we added a bit of compression, but not too much. We think it sounds great, or we wouldn't have put it out!

When we did the Vinyl version (which is now an audiophile format) we also decided to include an "Audiophile" CD. Here's how we described the difference on the package:

Technical note: The Audiophile CD is made from the same uncompressed stereo masters as the vinyl pressing. It reproduces the music's full dynamic range, so the quiet parts are quieter and the loud parts are louder– just as they were performed. To achieve full dynamic range it's necessary to master with less overall level, so the Audiophile CD may not sound as "loud" as the standard CD or download. To compensate for this, put it on a high quality system and turn it up!

The uncompressed full dynamic range mix that appears on the vinyl and accompanying CD is offered for people who want to listen to the album carefully at home, on a higher quality stereo system. The different elements of the mix are clearer and the ebb and flow of the sound is more true to how the music was originally performed. It's a subtle difference.

If you only bought the Standard CD, you've got something that's great that will play back well on every type of system. We could have just left it at that, but for those willing to go the extra mile for that last 2%, we put out the Vinyl and Audiophile CD package as well.

Our mission is to give the people the best possible sound, tailored for whatever system they have. That's what this is all about."