Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Finicky World of Vinyl

We didn't want to pull that trigger.  We tried not to.  We knew that 1.  It was an expensive hobby.  and 2.  We didn't have a turntable.

Bring Christmas and my husband gifts me a turntable.  Turns out that I had put some vinyl on my list, but with the intention of collection only.  He thinks that it is insane to just own vinyl and knows that I'm not a collector.  I'm a user of things.  I hate having a ton of stuff just sitting around and, well, doing nothing.

Fast forward to now.  This was our first official Record Store Day where we owned a turntable that we could use to spin some delightful wax.  RSD was Saturday and though both of us knew about it, M worked and we were helping him with his Earth Day Fishing Derby.

I got a bit of an itch that night though.

"You know, I didn't realize that Slayer put out a 7"."

"I knew."

"Do you want us to see if we can find it?  I have one I'm looking for and we can stop tomorrow before soccer."

A little arm twisting :sarcasm: and we landed at our record store the next day.  Of course, they had what I was looking for plus a 2011 RSD PJ release.  No Slayer for M.  Bummer.

I went home and did, despite other people's choosing, spun my Citizen Dick (one side, of course) and The Frogs version of Rearviewmirror.

M did find his Slayer 45.  He texted me.  It was "cracking and popping" on the one side all over the place.  I did listen to it later.  It has some pretty intense surface noise, but it kind of is what it is.  The pull was limited to 5000 copies worldwide and though contacting the distributor/manufacturer, it seems as if there isn't a really great resolution.  He's received vinyl from this particular outfit before.  It had chunks out of the edges and a big scratch across "his favorite song."

He bought me the Jeff Ament vinyl and it's warped.  The needle rides along like it is on a roller coaster track.  It plays fine.

Surprisingly, my friend purchased a limited edition release that he waited months for.  It arrived and it had two huge skid marks.  They didn't play on his turntable.  They were replaced and since he had the extra, he asked if I would like them.  I said sure and you know what?  They play just fine without skips on my turntable.

We don't just drop the vinyl from the package and onto the turntable.  Nosiree!  There is cleaning to be done.  Then you have to flip the adjustments to make sure that you're running for a 45 and not a 33.

Now, M wants a needle cleaner.

We bought a record cleaner.  Works like a charm.

Here's the thing.  Neither one of us remember doing any of this stuff when we were kids.  We just slapped the filthy vinyl on the turntable, dropped the needle and listened to it.  There could be hunks of peanut butter stuck to it.  It could be skipping all over the place.  We also reached down WITH OUR HANDS and removed the fuzz from the needle.  You mustn't do that now.  YOU'LL RUIN THE NEEDLE!

Has vinyl equipment gotten more finicky over the years, or have we?

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