Digging through my vinyl

The other day I bought a USB preamp to hook my turntable to my laptop and rip some music from vinyl to MP3 that way. I have a decent number of vinyl records that aren’t available on CD or as legal downloads, or that I don’t want to buy again in any format. So now I’ve been inventorizing what I’ve got that needs to be ripped, and of course I found some records that I’d forgotten I had. For example, I’ve got a 10″ vinyl disc by indy band The Apes; as I recall, I watched them in Vera one night, was impressed with what I heard and bought that record, which I then played only once. It’ll be fun to remind myself why.
Or maybe I’ll enjoy it more on repeated listening; one other vinyl album I dug out is Live Encounters by Deep Purple, which I previously discussed in this post from 2004. When I first heard this live album, I didn’t like the recording quality and couldn’t get over the bad shape Ian Gillan’s voice was in that night. I was puzzled that so much effort was expended on releasing a record of what was at best an average gig in multiple formats (CD, DVD and triple vinyl). Now that I’m hearing it again, I like it much much better; Ian Gillan’s not in good voice, but the instrumentalists are on fire and there’s nothing wrong with the recording quality that can’t be solved by turning the volume up! It’s a barnstormer of a gig as long as Gillan doesn’t open his mouth. A keeper.

There’s something about vinyl records that I just love. People can argue about the objective merits of vinyl versus CD until they’re blue in the face, and they have, but there’s just something special about taking a big black disc out of its sleeve and dropping a needle on a turntable. Maybe it’s because it’s such an innovative idea: back in the early days of CD, an audio writer disparaged vinyl records as being “based on having a spike scratch into a groove”, but that took a much greater leap of the imagination than digitizing sound once you’ve already learned how to digitize other information.

And rifling through my records to find stuff to copy over to another, more convenient medium reminds me of when I was a kid and transfered records and music from the radio to cassettes all the time.