In the age of digital everything, the resurgence of vinyl almost feels like a glitch. After all, why go through the process of putting on a record when you can just press a button, or let some streaming service do all the work for you? As it turns out, however, a large number of people actually like getting up close and personal with their music. Go figure.
It’s then no wonder that companies like Australia’s own Rockit Record Players are killing it right now, in part by espousing the same passions and beliefs about vinyl as their customer base. But one still might be wondering: why exactly has vinyl made such a comeback in recent years? Is it the sound? The experience? The artwork? The answer, of course, is all of the above and more. We break it down below.
The Album as Work of Art
The enjoyment of owning an album starts before you’ve even placed the record on the turntable. That’s because every time you hold an album cover–either new or vintage–you’re already experiencing the album itself as a work of art. Continuing that theme is the flow of music, which feels far more purposeful on an album. Will you still savour certain songs over others? Naturally. But even then, you’re enjoying those songs in greater context, understanding how they fit into the album as a whole, or how they capture a specific band/artist at a specific moment in time. Plus, you’ll likely uncover some classic deep cuts, many of which can become favourites down the road. To put it succinctly, you’re now in the company of a complete aesthetic experience, presuming the band or artist has executed the whole thing properly, of course.
Vinyl Invokes Appreciation
When streaming music or listening to a playlist, there often comes an ADD-like tendency to skip tracks in the middle of a song or bounce around from artist to artist. On the flip side of that coin is a vinyl record, which more or less forces you to put something on and stick with it. As a result, you often gain not just a new level of appreciation for the music or the artist, but for the experience itself, which is more immersive and meditative by comparison.
Vinyl is a Physical Experience
While streaming music is indisputably convenient, the format definitely stays true to its name, flowing by as if vaguely out of reach. Vinyl, on the other hand, is a palpable experience. You’re touching the record, and even caring for it. That’s not to mention how you’re interacting with the equipment. After all, there’s more to spinning a record than just putting it on and pressing play. All this said, companies like Rockit–which offer Crosleys and Bluetooth players among other things–can make the whole audio set-up thing a breeze. In other words, you don’t need to become a part-time sound engineer just to spin some wax.
Beyond the literal physicality of a record, there’s an audio physicality as well. We’re not talking about the fidelity (which we’ll get to in a moment), rather the unique audio variables that distinguish records from other formats. Among these variables, the most prominent is the light crackle between tracks or during quiet parts (not to be confused with loud crackle, which indicates heavy wear). At first, the light static can come off as a minor nuisance, but your brain quickly adjusts. Soon, you’re relishing the sound of light background static, to the point that digital streaming can sometimes sound unnatural by comparison.
While on the subject of physicality, a quality vinyl collection can also liven up a room or enhance the space. And at the very least, it gives you something to look at, and likewise something for your guests to talk about. In that regard, a vinyl collection functions as not just a source of entertainment, but also as both a worthy home decorative and veritable conversation-starter.
First things first: the notion that vinyl automatically “sounds better” is more or less a complete myth. However, vinyl is most definitely capable of sounding better when you put the right pressing on the right system. In the general respect that a specific wine can vary in quality depending on when and how it was produced, the sound of a specific album can vary in quality depending on how it was mastered, what source was used, and where it was pressed. Because of these variables, the collectibility factor becomes all the more compulsive and rewarding with vinyl. Indeed, there’s nothing quite like scoring a clean, original UK blue triangle pressing of The Dark Side of the Moon, and then having it simply melt your brain by way of its high fidelity.
Even a great pressing can only sound as good as the system it’s being played on. That’s why it’s important to learn as you go, experimenting with different turntables, speakers and headphones (presuming your wallet allows for it) as your vinyl habit matures.
To get started on the right foot, check out Rockit Record Players. Their selection is broad, and their layout accessible. Whether you’re seeking a classic Crosley, a Bluetooth player with USB port, or even a theme-driven turntable, you’ll find it there and then some. Before long, you’ll be hooked on the vinyl experience, discovering for yourself that it’s a hobby with plenty of built-in rewards (see above), and a tradition most definitely worth preserving.