Forget the CD. Forget the MP3, cheap downloads, and streaming. Forget the cassette, the 8-track, and any other format you may have purchased as a music consumer – except one. The fact is, vinyl records are back with a vengeance. Brought to the brink of extinction thanks to the digital revolution, vinyl record sales soared to 41.72 million in the U.S. alone in 2021. That’s the 16th consecutive year vinyl album sales grew.
A healthy number of those sales are being made by older fans targeting reissues of classic albums by everyone from Aerosmith to ZZ Top and new young fans snapping up multiple copies of “Taylor’s Version.” When record sales increase, it makes sense that sales of record players increase as well, and that means talking to experts who can guide you into making the right turntable purchase.
“Turntables are popular due to their nostalgic appeal and unique listening experience,” suggested Tyler Thomas of Welland’s Thomas TV. “Whether it’s the memories it brings back or the ultimate cool factor they possess, turntables remain an enduring part of the music listening experience.”
Despite the simplicity and unlimited variety that digital streaming music gives, turntables offer something special and timeless that keeps them relevant and popular. Turntables – a.k.a. record players – offer something digital components can’t: the warm, analog sound produced by a turntable is often considered superior to a digital recording. Many original albums were recorded in analog and often lose their unique sound when digitally remastered. Playing those classic records on the audio format they were intentionally recorded for is the perfect activity for a true audiophile.
Unlike streaming music on a smartphone or computer, playing records on a turntable requires physical interaction and engagement.
“From selecting the record and placing it on the platter to dropping the needle onto a brand-new spinning vinyl record, adjusting the tonearm, and sitting back to listen, makes you feel like you played a part in producing the sound you are about to hear,” said Thomas. “There is a pride in getting it right and a loss when we miss part of the song or pick the wrong track.”
Adding to the overall appeal of the turntable. vinyl records are durable and can last longer than other digital music formats like CDs and mp3s. Many of today’s albums are being reissued on heavier vinyl for even better sound. It’s a primary reason why fans love to collect records.
With various technological advancements, turntables have improved significantly over the years. Many are being manufactured with new materials like carbon fibre and glass lexan to improve performance. Companies like Project, Dual, and Thorens have continued to perfect the art of turntable manufacturing using these materials to reduce vibration and stabilize playback. This makes it possible to hear details and subtleties never before heard in the recordings. One area that most find necessary to upgrade especially when using a vintage turntable is in the cables.
“The cables of the vintage era were not designed to block out interference from cell phones, TV and radio signals, and WiFi,” said Thomas. “By upgrading them you will hear what your unit sounded like when it was new. At Thomas TV we offer turntable clinics where we can assess the condition of your vintage turntable and give you suggestions on how to improve it.”
In an era where digital music dominates, turntables offer a unique and analog listening experience that can provide a needed contrast to an almost overwhelming playlist. Music fans will argue that vinyl records provide a warmer, more natural analog sound than digital formats. This is caused partially by the way that vinyl records are mastered. There is so much you can do to improve the playback potential of your turntable it makes for a great and rewarding hobby.
Learn more about the amazing sound offered by today’s turntables.
Visit Thomas TV at 130 Thorold Road West in Welland. Or connect online here.