Having only recently gotten back into vinyl I absolutely understand not only the attraction of the sound, but also the obsessional qualities. I worry I may go down the rabbit hole myself, since I am strongly attracted to the gadgetry involved, the minutiae, the possibilities. I've already been drawn to multiple cartridges, love the requirement to be present and involved in the listening, the vision of the spinning disk, all of it. I get it, but also see the folly of some of it. In a way, I find that gaining really good sound and presence in music is simplified through this medium, compared to the multiple web-age possibilities out there. Start talking about MP3, FLAC, lossy versus lossless, etc, CD-quality versus higher bit-rates, it all becomes annoying. Tell me that I can grab that vinyl record and plop it on my $250 turntable and get high-quality music that requires that I also pay attention, and I'm in, big time. Now I suppose the decisions become how silly to get with this stuff. Personal preference in the end, but great fun at the same time and compared to many other hobbies/pursuits it's not necessarily expensive either. Compared to travel, golf, any number of other pursuits, one can chase records and equipment for a pittance.
analogaudio wrote:The LP is an imperfect medium which was the best that could be done using analogue engineering.
At it's best it can be very good quality. To achieve the best requires attention to detail as you have noticed and the purchase of good quality components (costing hundreds but not thousands of US$).
I agree, the LP itself is probably the weak link in the chain. Self-centering platters were made (Nakamichi Dragon) and vacuum hold-down made (SOTA and Audio Technica) to overcome two of the problems. Nothing can overcome the decrease of groove velocity as playback progresses, nor the subsonic resonance of the cartridge+arm combination (although the Morch anisotropic arm minimizes this problem).
Regarding precision/obsessional aspects of the hobby these are things that entertain some people more than others and seem to me to have little to do with the enjoyment of music.
In the late 1970s it was realized that LP had reached the end of the road and the solution was a new medium, the compact disc, which does not suffer from any of the problems mentioned. I stopped buying LPs in the early 1990s and switched over to buying CDs, I haven't regretted the choice.