The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

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billshurv
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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by billshurv » 02 Feb 2018 11:30

New vinyl, whilst 10% of physical sales is only 3% of music sales. The revival is a small niche along with train spotting, fly fishing etc.

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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by JDJX » 02 Feb 2018 15:03

billshurv wrote:
JDJX wrote:Maybe in the UK but in the US, only tube die hards still used tubes with very few exceptions.

It was not really a resurgence as it was largely thought of to be the tube's last gasp in consumer audio. :)
If you look at hifi magazines of the time there were new tube manufacturers popping up on an almost every month. A few ( such as conrad johnson, ARC) are still around. Many others fell by the wayside, such as audible illusions. In UK only EAR really survived, mainly due to the quality of the products. I don't count the Fatman and its ilk of ipod docs as hifi products.

The revival was driven by the FUD that digital was too harsh and that tubes were needed to 'smooth' it out. Worked a treat at the time as a sales pitch.
if there was a continuation of use back then,, it was not a reassurance in the true sense of the word .. is it. :)
Also the tube amps you referred to were rather expensive and were only purchased by true tube lovers .

Now there is a multitude of inexpensive a tube pre amps. and even tube headphone amps.... for examples.
Also, there are now many relativity inexpensive tube power amps available... . a few are here...
https://www.amazon.com/slp/tube-amplifi ... rzjqxht4za

So, what I meant by a resurgence is that tubes are more popular now then they have been in the last several decades. :)
https://www.lifewire.com/vacuum-tube-rebels-1847989
Last edited by JDJX on 02 Feb 2018 15:21, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by rewfew » 02 Feb 2018 15:05

vinyl master wrote:And yet (as my 14,000+ LP's and 8,000+ singles can attest), vinyl is STILL not dead...WHY is that???
To me when the principal generation driving this, the baby boomers, go extinct, so will no doubt be any up and coming generations to sustain this current generational fad. The existing mass of vintage equipment will be lost to attrition and the current get up of mostly mediocre gear will be of no intrinsic value. There may be pockets here and there of the curious and kooky eccentrics that collect. There's always collectors. Pursuing audio gear in general is a sub genre of the population. Mass consumption of music follows the prevailing technology. Our old technology is pretty amazing what it can perform with fidelity, but I just don't think it offers any future proof sustainability to add to the state of the art. It's did and done. Till then. Oh no! It's only analog audio, but I like it, like it, yes I do.

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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by billshurv » 02 Feb 2018 16:27

JDJX wrote:
if there was a continuation of use back then,, it was not a reassurance in the true sense of the word .. is it. :)
Tubes pretty much died out in the 70s. I still have a Radford STA-15 from 1965 which marked the peak and the end of high quality tube amps for a while. QUAD lauched the 303 in 1967!
Also the tube amps you referred to were rather expensive and were only purchased by true tube lovers .

Now there is a multitude of inexpensive a tube pre amps. and even tube headphone amps.... for examples.[/quote}
I do not count the availability of cheap mass produced far eastern tat as sign of a resurgence, just a drop in the quality people will accept. But that's just me :)
Also, there are now many relativity inexpensive tube power amps available... . a few are here...
https://www.amazon.com/slp/tube-amplifi ... rzjqxht4za
Those will be truly awful. Good iron cost money.
So, what I meant by a resurgence is that tubes are more popular now then they have been in the last several decades. :)
https://www.lifewire.com/vacuum-tube-rebels-1847989
Article was by a high end reviewer! I honestly don't think they are more popular now than they were, but I don't have the figures to hand. Oddly I am currently tube free at the moment but used tube amplification of one sort or another from 1988 to 2016

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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by majerjack » 02 Feb 2018 17:58

It is interesting to me that we human beings apparently come to view the way things should be, the way things are supposed to be, as the way things were when we were growing up in our formative years. So, for example, the ways that I listened to music were via radio broadcast and records. If we broaden that list to include CDs, these are still the ways that I listen to music today. I turn on the radio or place a disc on the player. In my mind, in my view of the world as it should be, that is the way that one listens to music (with the occasional live performance added in).

Today's young people, however, have grown up and are growing up with different experiences born of different technologies. Many of them don't listen to broadcast radio, CDs, or even digital downloads any more, let alone vinyl records. The trend is toward streaming from subscription services or YouTube and other such free streaming sites. Ownership of music media is fast becoming a thing of the past. With the increasing number of "smart" digital devices with a mobile connection to the internet, today's kids can carry a world of music with them wherever they go, and via headphones they can receive a musical experience sufficiently adequate to satisfy.

As we vinyl dinosaurs age and die off, our musical appreciating replacements will have an entirely different model of how one listens to music in other than live performances. I don't know how long it will take, but vinyl is definitely headed for the last roundup. We who have loved records can peacefully ride off into the sunset knowing how much enjoyment they gave to our lives, but the young buckaroos who come after us will not ride our trail.

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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by reynolds617 » 02 Feb 2018 23:51

I think interest is bound to ebb at some point; there's too much working against vinyl as a format. To name a few:
-Lack of portability
-Bewildering number of choices for equipment to play it on and how they all affect one another
-Price of said equipment generally if purchased new and you want a decent sound
-Not knowing what or how to buy quality used gear on the secondary market
-Having to learn about tracking force, anti-skate and other such things if you're new to the hobby and aren't buying pricey gear from a dealer
-Storing it all
-Spousal approval factor (for some) about having all this gear (even if it's just a turntable amp and speakers) in the house somewhere unless you're lucky enough to have a man-cave
-The cost of new (and often used) vinyl. It really bugs me personally when it gets over that $20 price point as mentioned above. I was in a used shop yesterday where the vast majority of used and mostly VG to VG+ discs were priced over THIRTY dollars.
-The bewildering number of versions of a given album on vinyl and the arcane science of understanding which is good and which isn't based on any number of factors (how far it is from the master, the quality of the plant, the quality of the engineer, etc etc)

I really had to put in work to educate myself and make my money go as far as it could to get good sound. Playing an mp3 is infinitely easier. It's the intangibles of vinyl and the whole listening experience that appeal to some people, but it's not ever going to be for the masses again now that there are far more convenient options that "get the job done" brick-walling be damned.

If this age has taught me nothing else, it's that people are willing to sacrifice a lot (money, privacy) for convenience. Vinyl is a very inconvenient hobby.

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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by majerjack » 03 Feb 2018 00:31

Brother, you speak the truth. All your statements are valid.

I had no idea used vinyl was selling in the shops for such high prices, but then, I haven't shopped for used records for some time. One of the last LPs I purchased was a new copy of Bob Dylan's "New Morning", a "Special Limited Edition" Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab record produced with their "Gain 2 Ultra Analog" system and "Specially Plated and Pressed on 180 grams of High Definition Vinyl". Without a doubt it is a high quality disc, with no defects and trouble-free playback, but it sounds just like the Columbia original to my ears, no better or worse. I willingly paid a premium for this record, but the claims of the superior sound quality of some of the companies producing vinyl records today seem questionable at best. If you add in the concerns about some of the shadier companies marketing records which source them from CDs and compress them to the max, then we are talking about pirates who are raiding the pocketbooks of unsuspecting newbies.

Vinyl Revival? Well, it may be sitting up in its sick bed, but it doesn't have long to go.

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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by vinyl master » 03 Feb 2018 02:53

majerjack wrote: I had no idea used vinyl was selling in the shops for such high prices, but then, I haven't shopped for used records for some time.
It makes you wonder WHY it's selling for such high prices...Usually, if something doesn't sell, in order to move said product, heavy discounts must be offered...It's interesting that the same album in MP3 format can be sold for less, and yet, there are people willing to spend the big bucks for the album in a splashy gatefold with all sorts of extras, posters, photos, liners, etc. And then, you have a difference in price between the black and colored vinyl versions of the same album! Don't even get me started on foreign or audiophile pressings! [-X You might want to check out a few used record stores (since you haven't been in one for a while) and ask the people working at them how sales are doing, since they might be a better gauge of the reality out there...Better yet, attend a local record show or fair and see what's buzzing...Might be an eye-opener for you! :-k

I've been to a few now and I know that the vinyl fans are out there...Many of them don't even know about Vinyl Engine! I see all the records they are buying, too...Some even share their prized finds with me! There is another local radio station swap meet coming up in a couple of weeks, and hopefully, I can document some of that, too! :D

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm in the Detroit area, and we take our music seriously...We know The Queen, Jack White, Smokey Robinson, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Iggy Pop, Bob Seger, Harvey Fuqua, Sylvia Moy, etc. We know the names of the credits like the back of our hands here...The producers and writers, as well as the artists! We're made up of legends like Carl Craig, Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson who probably spent a few formative years crate-digging themselves! Besides techno, we're the birthplace of the music that many Brits call "Northern Soul"!

I'm not saying that the vinyl business is booming like it once was, but I think there are more and more people getting drawn into the format...Whether it is young kids discovering their parents' collections or maybe they've discovered the format on their own somehow, I think there is some magic to it! Remember, they said vinyl was dying back in 1989...Even earlier when the CD first came out! I bought up tons of records from the stores that were getting out of vinyl around 1989-90 and starting to sell CD's solely...I remember when all my local record stores sold WAS CD's...And then, around the late 90's-early 2000's, things started to turn, and I started seeing more vinyl crop up again...My vinyl mentor took me to my first record show ever! And it was love from that day on! I went out and picked up everything I wanted from the 90's that I'd missed out on and have added new and used titles to my stable regularly ever since! Think about it...It's been 20 years now, since I started buying vinyl again...Even 8-tracks haven't had that kind of longevity, although I'm sure the format still has it's fans... 8-[

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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by reynolds617 » 03 Feb 2018 15:53

I think new vinyl is selling for high prices because they know that the people who took the trouble to get into the hobby have made investments of time and money and those are sunk costs for them. These people are going to want to expand their collections, and since they've got so much skin in the game, they're going to have to pay to get new media. They've kind of got you over a barrel when it comes to new vinyl. Used is the same way, especially since by the sounds of it, over the last ten years, the good stuff that was readily available has been snapped up due to the revival, so now good pressings are much harder to come by, and can demand higher prices.

As I mentioned above, the place I shopped at yesterday has a well organized and well curated selection, but that comes at a cost. I don't think I'll be going there too much going forward except to look for rarities. Even though it's the closest record shop to my house, the prices are ridiculous.

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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by billshurv » 03 Feb 2018 22:33

vinyl master wrote:And then, around the late 90's-early 2000's, things started to turn, and I started seeing more vinyl crop up again...My vinyl mentor took me to my first record show ever! And it was love from that day on! I went out and picked up everything I wanted from the 90's that I'd missed out on and have added new and used titles to my stable regularly ever since! Think about it...It's been 20 years now, since I started buying vinyl again...Even 8-tracks haven't had that kind of longevity, although I'm sure the format still has it's fans... 8-[
Your experience doesn't match mine at all. The best record fairs I went to in UK were in the 80s and in US in the mid 90s. Since then it's got trendy and prices are up and quality is often down. I also think you'll find that hardcore Shellac collectors would argue their medium is the one with longevity!

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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by Tonya James » 05 Feb 2018 10:55

Hey Guys. A great read in this thread.

I'm back into vinyl in a big way, but I have noticed a few things. I live in the Gold Coast Hinterland, South East Queensland. Since my return I have located four second hand shops in the Gold Coast area, three within 5km of each other and one about 10km away. Two of them carry new Vinyl, but F*** ME!! The prices are outrageous. I feel bad for Jayden at Beatniks Records, the one guy who helped me sort out my decks again, I would love to support him, and the other 'Locals', but I can't afford to. The owner of one of the other shops is a total prick, and will never shop there again. We are talking at least $50 for many albums. I can have the same album sent to me from The States for about $35. A no brainer!!

I recently attended a record fair, where I picked up quality copies of a few albums from $15 to $30. That is my preferred price range, and I tend to buy older records for this reason. I have also been stung buying inferior 'New' re-issues, and will probably only buy 'New' music as new Vinyl.

We have a major chain store in Australia, JB HI FI. They display a wide range of Vinyl prominently in their shops and have a Vinyl page in their magazine.

From time to time I like to buy Music that I am not familiar with. I went there not long ago with this in mind. I went through the racks and selected a few potential buys, but the prices were quite steep and I decided to have a listen before I bought one. I approached the counter and requested to listen to the albums, on CD, as I respect that playing Vinyl before you buy is not an option. I was informed, to my utter amazement and disgust, that they could not provide this service. I asked to speak to the manager and told him I had been a customer for twenty years, spending thousands over that time. This is a music store and a customer cannot pre-listen to an album??? My God!! I told him I would never shop there again, and I won't. He tried to placate me by offering to do it, although it was not normal. I felt like 'I' was being a total pain in the arse, and left.

But, I digress. Vinyl is on display here, but I only know three other people who have, or listen to Vinyl. I have learned that Vinyl sales were growing here by 18 per cent a year, but I can't confirm that.

I am dubious about the quality of 'New' Vinyl, Record companies have a bad reputation, to say the least (Sony). I 'feel' they are just cashing in on a young, unsuspecting generation.

As for the future, I have no idea. I agree that we tend to project our own opinions as to what 'may' happen. I would like to see Vinyl go underground, passionate people who understand and respect that some of us would prefer to listen to a piece of well mastered Vinyl, than a well mastered CD.

I have only recently learned of Jack White's passion for Vinyl. We need a few more like him to raise the standard and keep it alive. I am reading Neil Young 'Waging Heavy Peace' at the moment. If an artist of his profile can't raise the bar for the digital medium, I don't know who can. I have yet to catch up on what happened with his 'PureTone' project.

I would like to see it go underground because;

The market would not be saturated with inferior pressings.

Factories would become fewer, making recognition of each pressing a lot easier.

The people involved are passionate about what they do.

Thanks to all. This post is a bit off the cuff, I hope it fits in. As mentioned elsewhere, these are my 'opinions' only.

PS; I recently turned fifty. I am single with no children. I have about 500 albums. At the recent Record Fair, one older dealer was selling his whole collection as his children were not interested in them. It got me wondering what I am going to do with mine when I depart this mortal coil, I don't think I will ever depart from them, maybe be buried with them (Joke). I would prefer to see them go to good hands and ears.

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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by vinyl master » 05 Feb 2018 13:09

Good thoughts, Tony! I'm appalled that they would not let you preview the music first...Back in the day (and I'm glad that they did it), my favorite record stores had things called "listening stations"...You could put on a pair of headphones and listen to the latest CD's...One of these stores even had a couple turntables set up so that you could listen to the vinyl in advance, if you preferred...I remember a time before Discogs...They used to have a chain here in Detroit known as Harmony House...When vinyl was going out of style in the late 80's and early 90's, I bought a lot of records from them...Through the course of the 90's, it was cassettes and then CD's for a while from them...They had a Muze kiosk in this store...Any album or artist I wanted to look up, I could go on the kiosk and then, get a little printout for reference...There were many times I could special order a title if they didn't have it in stock...Prior to that (and I don't know if any of you guys remember this), record stores had Phonologs, these giant binders filled with pages...You could find out information for just about any album or artist that existed...You could easily reference certain albums and when they came out...I'd love to know if any of you guys remember those, or better yet, if any of you own one personally...I'd love to have a copy of one of those for personal reference! On a visit to Florida a few years back, I saw one of those again in a small shop for the first time in years and it took me back...The same small shop had rows upon rows of 45's set up...I'm thankful that my favorite NEW record store, the 2nd & Charles location in my area has a well-stocked and curated section of new and used vinyl, as well as a section of 45 rpm records...They also sell books, games, toys, comics and a number of other cool things, but the place brings back memories of shops past when I could spend all day leafing through the records and reading the liner notes...The places that still exist deserve our business as much as possible, because when we stop going, they stop existing! Fortunately, with vinyl on the upswing, I see more and more people getting back into the format, with some parents even buying vinyl records for their kids! This may not be everyone's experience, but when was the last time you guys visited a REAL record store anyways? :-k

There is going to be another local record swap at one of our malls here on the 17th of February...I'm sure it will be bigger than last year's event and the year prior...I hope to be there and plan to document the festivities! The size of the crowds will tell me all I need to know about the "resurgence"!

And although it's anecdotal, I think these events and places are drawing lots of new fans in...How long it will last is anyone's guess, but it's been good weather for record surfing and I'll ride the waves as long as the tide is high! :D

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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by vinyl master » 05 Feb 2018 13:30

billshurv wrote:
vinyl master wrote:And then, around the late 90's-early 2000's, things started to turn, and I started seeing more vinyl crop up again...My vinyl mentor took me to my first record show ever! And it was love from that day on! I went out and picked up everything I wanted from the 90's that I'd missed out on and have added new and used titles to my stable regularly ever since! Think about it...It's been 20 years now, since I started buying vinyl again...Even 8-tracks haven't had that kind of longevity, although I'm sure the format still has it's fans... 8-[
Your experience doesn't match mine at all. The best record fairs I went to in UK were in the 80s and in US in the mid 90s. Since then it's got trendy and prices are up and quality is often down. I also think you'll find that hardcore Shellac collectors would argue their medium is the one with longevity!
Oh, I would agree on the shellac records...I've added quite a few of those to my stable here over the years as well...I also agree that our experiences are quite different, and yet I had a mentor in my life at the right time who actively encouraged my passion for vinyl again...and we're still friends after 20 years! =D> I'm willing to bet that not all of you had a person like that in your life...Maybe I could be that person for some of you guys! :wink:

Just curious, Bill, but when was the last time you attended a record fair in your area...From the looks of this, it seems like there is one going on somewhere in the U.K. all the time! Look at just the dates for February alone!

https://sites.google.com/site/recordfairsuk/

They can't ALL be bad, or am I wrong??? :-k

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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by vinyl master » 05 Feb 2018 13:51

Another thought is this...Can all art just be replaced by technology? I am into paintings and books as much as I've been into music...I remember going to my local library and special-ordering older books of poetry, prose and literature, if my particular library didn't have them...I loved the dog-eared pages, leafing through old yellowed text and savoring every word...I dove into those books and became a reading fiend at one point! No Kindle or e-book can ever replace that experience, the feel of the binding or the musty smell of those books for me...Nothing can replace that! And how about art? Do we just not go to an art museum, because we can simply look at the images online??? Who looks at paintings on their smartphones? :? Why even HAVE art museums and book stores if there is no need for them??? :-k And yet, while one doesn't have to look at a painting or read a book, we are inundated with music all the time...It is the one thing we can't seem to escape...It surrounds us everyday in our personal lives, whether on the radio, in the background while we're shopping, on TV or in movies, etc. It is everywhere and yet, if it's only relegated to "background" status, it loses some of it's punch...That's why vinyl is so important! It forces us to be upfront and close with the music in a way digital can't! And it recreates an experience for people...You tend to listen to and interpret the lyrics more because you can hear them better...You also become acquainted with certain albums like old friends! Just like great books and art are an experience you can't easily replicate with technology, I would argue that music should be even more so, since we interact with it much more on a daily basis! Some of us keep great art in our houses and apartments and hung on our walls...Some of us have libraries of books on bookshelves...We CHERISH those things and they make our homes look lived in...We haven't purged those things from our lives in favor of digital "copies" of the same thing...Why should a collection of vinyl records (or music on ANY physical format) be any different??? :-k

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Re: The future of vinyl (from those who know!)

Post by JDJX » 05 Feb 2018 15:50

One thing that is integral to all this is the "information overload" that we all are are now subjected to.
https://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/01/opin ... index.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ho ... n-overload

Somethings like steaming music where thousand of songs are available can overload one's senses and cause confusion of what to play... and give one a sense of uneasiness....almost as if you are just a passive observer somehow.

Vinyl is something that satisfies the human need for less info and also offers/ demands human involvement.... and can be very satisfying.