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December 2015 Retro Gaming Article

December 9, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

With the resurgence of music on vinyl comes the need to update record presses

I never owned a “good” turntable, but I loved my the warm sound of my vinyl collection. Pre-recorded cassettes were awful sounding!
I'm stunned when I go into Barnes & Noble and see a few racks of albums. Newbury Comics seems to stock more albums than CDs. Even the term "album" felt out of place for quite some time. Upon buying new a CD, I'd say I bought the latest Van Halen album, but we all knew I wasn't talking about vinyl. "Album" was a term I used in the 70s & 80s when vinyl was the dominant format.

vinyl record press Even with the surge in retro items and the cyclical nature of trends, I never thought I'd see vinyl reach any any significant sales again. In the last few years, vinyl has made a comeback through a new generation discovering it's warmth and an older generation who remembers it fondly.

At my local Newbury Comics store, I've seen Black Sabbath albums I bought 1n the late 70s (Paranoid) in the same rack as the latest AC/DC album and not too far away is Taylor Swift's latest album, 1989. I adore retro, but this is almost retro overload for me. It's astounding to see those 12" vinyl discs with artwork to boot!

Vinyl Demand Necessitates New Record Presses

Statistics show that vinyl production is rising for the first time in 30 years. As you might imagine, many of the old presses had been dormant for quite some time. However, these old workhorses are being brought back online to meet the demand of music-buying consumers.

German start-up Newbilt Machinery is building new pressing machines, but the process is much the same. They're making the old manual presses with new parts. Pretty cool, eh? :)

Even A Low-end Turntable Was A Delight

As a kid, I begged my parents for a stereo. I wound up with one of those all-in-one units with a turntable above the tuner and cassette player. I loved it! I knew nothing about audio equipment. All I knew was this device connected me with local radio stations.

I owned a few albums and prerecorded cassettes that I used to play on my Dad's KLH turntable and Realistic (i believe) Cassette deck. I was certain 8-track was the way to go, but the salesman told us that cassette was the new format that would dominate. OK, so as I reached my teenage years I began to realize pre-recorded cassettes were awful.

Crosley Cruiser portable turntable When I played them on my Dad's stereo the LED output meters turned red and leapt to the right. I didn't know the terminology, but these things were very distorted at higher volumes. I loved the way my vinyl records sounded and cheerfully cranked up all my favorite Kiss songs.

Once I had my own stereo, I saw how easy it was to record from the turntable and radio onto cassettes. I understood the analog nature of vinyl and how easily it would degrade from simply being played. So I stopped buying pre-recorded cassettes and began recording my albums. Each time I bought a new album, I'd record it and simply repeat the process if anything happened to the tape.

I'm tempted to buy a turntable, but I'm afraid I'll loose control and start duplicating my CDs on vinyl after I spent so much time replacing my vinyl with CDs. What a world - gotta love retro!

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