GUEST VINYLIST ERIC CROSS shares his passion for surface noise, but preferably the lack of it

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GUEST VINYLIST ERIC CROSS shares his passion for surface noise, but preferably the lack of it

It is disturbing to see so many websites dedicated to what can be done with old records.

An Adam Ant fruit bowl anyone?

It is not hard to imagine how many musical gems have been lost forever.

But not all is lost as there has been a strong resurgence worldwide in the production and sales of vinyl records. Second hand record shops are more popular than ever. (See chart below)

Many young people today are now discovering what many of the pre digital generation have maintained all along “vinyl sounds better”.

This opinion is strongly debated today on many audio websites.

pic_4.jp‘Snap crackle pop’ is not an advert for your favourite breakfast cereal but the sound we are all familiar with on the lead in to our much loved used and abused LPs .

But when the music starts to play, analogue records give us an emotional attachment to the music that digital systems are still striving to achieve.

There is so much we lose with digital systems and it is not just the music.

There is the time honoured rituals that need to be observed for successful static-free vinyl playback, like always only holding your treasured LP by its edges to place on the turntable (grubby finger prints attract dust like a magnet).

285071_196486333822985_2027683960_nWipe the record with the antistatic brush or cloth of your choice.

THis is important because -- as you can see from this photo (not an image of the Grand Canyon but a shot of just one dirt-magnet groove on a record) -- vinyl records are pieces of microscopic delicacy.

So you also need to ensure the styli/needle is fluff and dirt-free . . .

and only then may you gently lower the arm to the record.

pic_5Is it worth the time and effort?

For many of us the answer is a resounding yes.

Turntables now available to attain this musical nirvana range from over-the-top designs -- like the amazing Da Vinci which sells for over $150,000 (right) . . . .

or there is a more humble device from one of the ever-growing number of specialist turntable manufacturers such as Rega.

pic_3A popular option today is buying a vintage turntable from one of the many specialist Vintage Audio sites.

Many of the vintage turntables on offer from the 1960s and 70s were built to last a lifetime and would cost a fortune to manufacture today.

They offer a level of performance as good as, if not better, than many modern offerings of a similar price.

Whether you download or still buy CDs or you are a hard-core Vinylist -- like the chap from Germany who is able to recognise most of his record collection with their labels blanked out by the shape of the grooves -- it's all about enjoying the music.

Eric Cross is a hardcore vinyl enthusiast (as you could tell) who owns and operates the excellent Vintage Audio World store in Christchurch, New Zealand which specialises in vintage turntables, stereo equipment, speakers and so on. The store ships worldwide and has an eShop at its website which is vintageaudioworld.com

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Other Voices Other Rooms is an opportunity for Elsewhere readers to contribute their ideas, passions, interests and opinions about whatever takes their fancy. Elsewhere welcomes travel stories, think pieces, essays about readers' research or hobbies etc etc. Nail it in 1000 words or fewer and contact graham.reid@elsewhere.co.nz.

See here for previous contributors' work. It is wide-ranging. 

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Mike - Jul 2, 2013

Good write up there Eric. Vinyl lives - my preferred listening format.

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