Listening differently

NadelAufPlatteSince christmas I have been listening differently. Thanks to my wife and children I was able to get a new amp and pair it with a vinyl turntable. Yes we are living in the future and I have embrace the technology of 100 years ago!

The amp is a Marantz PM6004 and the vinyl is being played on an Rega RP1. They are wired up to a pair of 16 year old Tannoy Mercury M2.5’s.

The sound is warm, solid, clear and fills the room no problem. The next task would be to replace the speakers. The Salvation Army second-hand shop in Perth has a pair of Linn speakers for sale second-hand for £900 which I am sure I could make use of… but i digress.

Music wise I am rocking a mix of vinyl form two sources.

Source one is various things I have collected from way back, from when I would DJ for people and briefly volunteered in a second-hand shop.  Frampton comes alive, Dylan at the budokan, Dire Straits, and others.


Source two is more recent vinyl which has focused around albums from the recent best of lists i have made; the national high violet, my morning jacket circutal, and other records I think could benefit from being heard on vinyl; over the Rhine meet me at the edge of the world, the innocence mission we walked in song and the fanfarlo albums.

Vinyl is usually more expensive than cd or download, but it does have some advantages. Firstly vinyl has a physicality to it which is significant. The 180gram vinyl has some weight to it in comparison to CD’s. Playing music physically takes some commitment and attention. The turning of a record takes care where as CDs can be thrown around reasonably easily. (Throw about an iPod at your own risk!).

I am not sure if the music is better or not but I feel a lot more involved and conscious of the process which is surely a good thing.

This corresponds with an increased consideration vinyl within the mainstream media. for example John Harris is great in this article on the guardian long reads website on the dangers of the vinyl revival. (The accompanying podcast is also worth subscribing to). and this article from the New York Times describing some deeper issues around vinyls comeback. Plus Tom Gauld’s illustration is fabulous for it.

so there it is.

The chances are I will be writing or tweeting about vinyl a bit more, and it will be noticeable. Getting excited about Steve Taylor and the Perfect Foils choose your own colour of Vinyl release of Goliath, or stumbling across the 180 gram coloured vinyl reissue of Sufjan Stevens Seven Swans. It’s Just a part of me which is ok, and geeky, and abiding.