Matt Smith's End of the Spectrum

Melbourne-based writer and journalist. Purveyor of finally crafted radio plays. A Muppet of a man.

Dust off your vinyl collection

First published in Crikey on 6th September, 2010

Everyone who lived before the ’90s will, somewhere in their house, have a collection of dusty but much treasured vinyl records. It might be in the garage in a box, in the back shed, or even under the bed. Some of it might be strange by today’s standards, and the music might be a bit dated, but it might be time to pull the vinyl collection out of storage and give it a bit of a spin.

Vinyl has gone through something of a second birth in recent years. If anything, the rise of digital downloads have done it a favour, as people who take music seriously now realise that the CD does little to replicate the sound and depth that a record does. The short version of it is that the CD, a digital recording, isn’t capturing the complete sound wave — the analog signal of the vinyl is much closer.

So what it loses in portability, vinyl makes up for in sound, presentation and nostalgia. Many new albums are being released on vinyl as well as CD. Most of these are also accompanied by a CD or digital download option, making it the best of both worlds.

Being a child of the 1980s, I find myself with a largely inherited vinyl collection — it includes the classic comedy of Bill Cosby, a complete collection of Lionel Richie spanning The Commodores to his solo career, a signed ‘Goodies’ soundtrack and, rather strangely, an album by Tony Barber called Love Changes Everything. Joining these is a lot of new records from modern artists including Donavon Frankenreiter, Jack Johnson and Newton Faulkner. All of these sound superior to the digital versions on CD.

While I’ll never be far away from a digital music device and value their easy access, they still don’t beat the experience of sitting down with a vinyl record cover in a comfy chair and enjoying the music. Chances are you’ll come across some tunes that you haven’t heard in years, and never will again — there’s quite a lot of albums out there that never made the digital transition.

Just as a bonus side note: if you’re lucky, you might find that your record collection has been safely stored in a milk crate. It’s a sad sign of the times that modern milk crates no longer fit vinyl records. I was lucky enough to find an old one, and have fondly dubbed it the ‘iCrate’.

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This entry was posted on November 1, 2010 by in music and tagged , , , .
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