Vinyl LP Records Are Back With A Vengeance
January 2, 2009 by tcgames
I have to admit it. I have a turntable sitting here on my desk. It’s an Audio Technica AT-LP2DUSB LP-to-Digital Recording System with USB. I have used it off and on over the past few years to transfer two large bins of LPs into mp3s that I’ve been carrying around with me for the past 30+ years. Now some of my collection is pretty standard: Queen’s ‘A Night at the Opera’, or Kiss’ ‘Destroyer’. But some of what I have is very near and dear to my heart: The soundtracks to George Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead, and Day Of The Dead, The Lord Of The Rings (Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 animated version) picture disk for example; all acquired while visiting various conventions, thumbing through boxes and boxes of $5 LPs.
In 2008, if my numbers are correct, over one million ‘new’ LPs were sold in the U.S. That’s a pretty big chunk of change for something that most people thought was dead and gone.
For those of you still trying to figure out just what I’m talking about, here’s a little technical info on LPs:
Long play (LP) record albums are 33? rpm vinyl Gramophone records (phonograph records), generally either 10- or 12-inches in diameter. They were first introduced in 1948, and served as a primary release format for recorded music until the compact disc began to significantly displace them by 1990. When initially introduced, twelve-inch LPs played for a maximum of 45 minutes, divided over two sides.
However, in 1952, Columbia Records began to bring out “extended play” LPs that played for as long as 52 minutes, or 26 minutes per side. These were used mainly for the original cast albums of some Broadway musicals, such as Kiss Me, Kate and My Fair Lady, or in order to fit an entire play, such as the 1950 production of Don Juan in Hell, onto just two LPs. The 52+ minute playing time remained rare, however, due to mastering limitations, and most LPs continued to be issued with a 30- to 45-minute playing time throughout the lifetime of their production. The longest known LP is Judy Garland’s “Collectors Remembrance Album” with a playing time of 90 minutes. – Source: wikipedia
CNET’s Steve Guttenberg has this to say: “Today’s vinyl surge is fueled by a greater awareness of sound quality by music fans and artists, who have grown tired of hearing the power of their music thwarted by low-bit digital. After all, the iTunes version isn’t actually cheaper to buy than vinyl, and the fans are aware of the new reality: if it costs the same, why not buy the best sounding version? Some vinyl fans get the best of both formats and transfer the vinyl’s music to digital for their iPods.”
I have a feeling that LPs are going to do even better in 2009. If you grew up listening to them, you know what I am talking about when you hear that very distinctive sound as the needle slowing rests on the LP. If you weren’t old enough to experience LPs first hand, give them a try, you might just like what you hear.