|Iíll start with my story:|
The roots probably go back to the mid to late 90's when I got into the retro cocktail thing. I started throwing old fashioned cocktail parties with Martinis and Hi Balls and Manhattans and spinning those Retro Lounge cocktail mix CDs with Luis Prima and Martin Denny and Si Zetner, etc.
I've always been a classic jazz fan (Coltrane, Davis, Rollins, etc.) and been into the music of the Rat Pack, so this just became an extension of that. I then started collecting CDs of the artists that were featured in the Retro Lounge collections, along with classic jazz, blues and vocalists. It was very rare for me to purchase, or listen to anything recorded since the 1970s, though I do have a pretty good collection of 80s and 90s rock, itís just I havenít been adding to it.
A few years ago my live-in girlfriend and I split up and I gave her the furniture and took the opportunity to completely redecorate the place the way I wanted to- mid century modern or, as I called it, space age bachelor pad. I bought a bubble chair, Naguchi tables, ball clocks, Eames era stuff, etc., etc.- I even got an old pinball machine and bar. I was truly living in the 50ís-60ís.
Last June, I was poking around a flea market in Hellís Kitchen looking for retro stuff, and I saw a Voice of Music HiFi console from 1957 for $45. I bought it, not sure if it was working, but knew it would look cool in my place. When I got it home it worked perfectly. I had picked up some 50ís/60ís lounge type albums from a tag sale for a buck apiece, just for decorations, and when I got the record player home, I found that it worked and the records sounded very cool. Now the VOM was definitely not audiophile, but it was all tube and these records sounded very appropriately retro on it. That was it- I was hooked on vinyl!
I started collecting vinyl in thrift shops and on Ebay. I noticed the VOM lacked bass, mainly due to the small single speaker that it had. I then saw a bigger VOM console on Ebay that had a 12Ē, two 8Ē and two 4Ē speakers. I got it for $250, and it sounded much better. I have an audiophile digital system that includes an Audio Aero Prima SE CD and top of the line Paradigm speakers, so I knew the limitations of the VOM unit, but I found it was all I was listening to because of the things that many of us love vinyl for- the covers, the ritual of playing the albums, the warmth and musicality of vinyl and tubes. I then got to thinking how great it would be if I built a truly audiophile vinyl system with a good quality TT and tube phono stage and amp. I also want to dig into the VOM and upgrade some components, like the caps, and check the resisters (I already done tube rolling with Mullards and Telefunkens).
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I got a VPI Aries 3, a BAT PK-5P phono stage, a Hagerman SUT, and a NOS Dynavector Karat 23R MC cart. I also got a VPI 16.5 RCM. In the meantime, I have accumulated several hundred LPs and remembered that I had a few hundred more albums that I had stashed away over 25 years ago! I plan to get a second tonearm wand for the 10.5i so I can put a mono cartridge on it.
I have now fully entered the insane world of vinyl, and could not be happier! Obviously, my taste in music (and all things retro) is perfect for vinyl. Besides the ďLoungeĒ (sounds better than Easy Listening) LPs, I have purchased some essential 180-200 gram reissues- Kind of Blue, Time Out, Steely Danís Aja, etc., and have just subscribed to the Music Matters Blue Note 45 reissues. What I love about vinyl (in no particular order):
The ritual that goes with the playing (cleaning, turntable setup, constant tweaking)
-The nostalgia factor
-The fact that I can play albums that I owned when I was in high school
-Shopping for LPs at used record stores, thrift shops, tag sales, and Ebay
-And most important- the sound!
Long live vinyl!