I bought this record player somewhere in South Carolina a few weeks back. I was in a record store and this player caught my eye because it features a USB audio which allows you to easily digitize your vinyl collection. I’ve needed a record player for a while now and this one was relatively cheap and the USB feature works REALLY well. You can digitize your lp’s in whatever quality or format you prefer (aiff, wav, mp3). So far I’ve been converting the songs into 32-bit, 44100 Hz aiff’s and I couldn’t be happier. There’s nothing like listening to music on your iPod with the crackle of the needle in between songs.
All throughout the Thanksgiving holiday we’ve been listening to vinyl in the house pretty much exclusively. When I set up the player, our six year old daughter, Ava, had no idea what it was. “What’s that, daddy?”. I had to clue her in on the old fashion way of listening to music. I didn’t really consider that in her six years on earth, Ava has never laid eyes on a record player. It was kind of a fun opportunity to show her the player, play her some of my old records. We sat and listened to MJ’s “Thriller”, Journey’s “Frontier”, the Boss’ “Darkness on the Edge of Town”, Tom Petty’s “Long After Dark”. Ava is bummed that “High School Musical 2” isn’t available on wax. I, for one, am very thankful for that.
Through all this, it’s been nice to rediscover the joy of listening to music in this way. I like it that it requires something of the listener. You are, in a sense, connected to the player rather than the player being connected to you which is what we’ve all become accustomed to. You need to remain somewhat close to the player. You can’t stray off to far because you eventually need to flip the disc. It is a foreign concept these days. There is no skipping songs, there are no “playlists”, there isn’t a “shuffle” function. In some ways, listening to music this way is giving you something that you need instead of something that you want. Don’t get me wrong here, I love my iPod and all the functions it brings with it. I use it all the time. It’s just nice to go back and listen to music in a way that takes a bit of the control out of your hands.
I think it’s very much the same reason that I’ve really connected to the hymns that are sung at our church. There seems to me something more soulful about going back in time, so to speak. It has this effect that removes you from your current context and reminds you that’s there’s more out there to be formed by other than cell phones, sedans, hdtv, and 24 hour news networks.