How a turntable is like a gym membership


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I was a member of the YMCA for years. I was there every night five days a week working out and playing basketball. I got married and started having children, but I kept my membership, I just wasn't using it. I wouldn't drop my membership because I liked playing basketball so much, I just wasn't going to the gym. Once a year, I'd go to the gym to justify my keeping it. I had to go to the front desk to get the combination to my locker, I had been there so seldom, I forgot the combination. After about five years reality set in and I finally dropped the membership. So I bought a full-fledged home gym that I now don't use, I go walking with my iPod instead.

I own two turntables, a record-cleaning machine and over 3,000 jazz LP's. Over the last five years I may have played a total of three or four LP's. I bought both of my turntables because they are both beautiful and thought that it would force me to play my vinyl. Wrong! I have an excellent CD player and I also own a SqueezeBox. Sorry, but digital is just too doggone convenient. It was nice owning two beautiful turntables so my guests could oooh and ahhh when thay saw them. It was cool to say "yeah, I still spin vinyl" when the fellas saw my system. But the truth was, I rarely came near the turntables. They served as not much more than Audio Sculpture or Audio Eye-Candy. Both of them sound beautiful, but I'll be doggone if I'm willing to go through ritual of cleaning the LP, cueing it, and be standing nearby to remove the arm when the last song is finished on one side. I kind of always felt that there was an unwritten rule somewhere that to be considered a "true audiophile" that you had to have analog playback included in your system. Sorry, but I've given in to 21st Century technology and I'm moving on. There, I've said it, I've been faking it as an analog lover for the past few years. Well, I do actually love analog, I just don't have time for it.

So, I put on an album tonight and DAMN that vinyl sounded good! But, after about 30 minutes, I realized that I have been spoiled by the convenience of digital and I'm just not willing to go through the gyrations to play an LP any longer.

So, the turntables have to go, but I'm keeping my LP's just in case. Hopefully my 13 year-old son will take them when he graduates from college.
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My name is Tvad, and I have fallen for the convenience of digital.

My experience with rediscovering turntables a couple of years ago (after growing up with turntables and LPs) mirrors yours. After churning through four turntables, several phono preamps, half a dozen cartridges, and finally dialing in the analog front end system, I found that I wasn't playing records. I preferred the convenience of CDs, and later streaming music from a Transporter.

In fact, 85% of my listening now is streaming music from Pandora, or RadioParadise.com. I like the variety, and the sound quality is quite good.
I could have (maybe should have) written this post word for word, except:

1)I use a QSonix server,
2) my daughter is 5
and
3) I suck at hoops

Touch screens killed the wiggling stylus star - at least in my house.

Marty
Just the opposite here. I gor tired of the 'song nervosa' method of listening to music that results from having a music server. Equivalent to channel surfing with the TV.

With analog, I HAVE to listen to the entire side, so I just relax rather than push the 'jump' button at the first sign that I might not like the track as is the case with the server.

And what's the big deal with the end of the side? Letting the stylus ride the end groove is no big deal...no big rush to raise the arm. I like the whole vinyl playing 'ritual'...part of its attraction to me.
Agree and even better if your preamp doesn't have a remote so that you have to get up to adjust the volume, change sources etc!
As I read this, I am listening to Itunes thru my Little dot mkIII and Sennheiser HD650 headphones and couldn't be happier. I haven't turned on the big rig or the number 2 system for at least two weeks. I seem to rotate from one position to the next until I get bored. Kind of like a kid playing with his toys. I listen to LP's at least once a month and do enjoy the ritual. If you have the space, I would keep at least one turntable because you will probably miss it. Letting go is hard to do. Plus having old and new technologies is fun.
I had expensive tables in the past, and I too got tired of vinyl. I sold or traded, and ended up with a cheap 350 dollar table, and consolidated my vinyl's to about 200 left, and now play once and a while w/o any rituals. just put it on & play.
I hear your 'vinyl' excuse, but what about the gym. Best you get back to that and do it quickly as that is a matter of life or death. Walking will not do it. Perhaps you are waiting for a convenient 'ipod' gym, you know plug your body in and it gives instant conditioning. Steve Jobs is working on that, it will called 'the fountain of youth pod'. I find spending two hours a day at the gym pretty 'inconvenient', but it will keep me 'spinning' a while longer.
I'm with you Tvad. Pandora and Radio Paradise clock a lot of time on my system. I also enjoy the variety and the fun of hearing new music and random oldies but goodies. Sort of like listening to the radio back in the day.

Lifestyle "circumstances" have a lot to do with it. When I have no kids in the house, retired with a "bunker in the basement" I could see myself really getting into vinyl. Until then, computer audio is more than satisfying.
Been loving Radio Paradise of late.

Also my own personal channel I create when I load up 13000+ tracks from my music server on the Roku Soundbridges (one one each system) put it in random play mode, and let'er rip for hours on end with few repeats (except by choice).

I still listen to records on occasion mainly because I have a lot of music on records collected over the years that I do not have elsewhere. I even buy a lot of used records when I come across them for the right price (ie cheap).

But I am hard pressed to go out and tell somebody they are missing out by not spinning records these days if they do not already own a library that they want to play. Unless someone is determined to explore new frontiers in vinyl at all costs, it just ain't worth it.

The event that signaled the decline of vinyl playtime in my house was the acquisition of my first Roku Soundbridge a few years back that I used initially mostly for Internet radio. Then setting up my first music server sealed the fate.

I still get the urge to spin teh vinyl on occasion though.
I love my music server but vinyl is theraputic, and allowed me to leave my shrink and save serous dough.

Vinyl is like a woman. A real delicate pain in the butt, but, when done properly, there is nothing like it.
I enjoy playing my old records now and then... a lot of them are titles I don't have and can't even get on CD. Plus, they still sound fantastic and they allow me to reminisce about my life in younger days and the good times I shared with friends when the records were new to me.
I have seen some "marginal" advice bordering on the bad,but this one takes the frosting right off the cake...." Walking will not do it"....Power walking at above five miles an hour for at least an hour,or more will be excellent exercise and a good workout if done at least five times a week.It will only cost you the price of some decent shoes,no membership,no brainer.Get out and walk.Forget that IPod thingy and focus for one hour on exercise and free your mind for some comparative thought analysis of the flora and fauna.
If you want to get fancy get a pedometer!
I've gone the complete opposite direction. I had a crap TT when I was a teenager and went completely digital in college with my first CD player. Got back into vinyl with better quality equipment a few years ago in my mid 40's. I have a nice CD player and music server but 85% of what I listen to is vinyl. The whole ritual (cleaning, cueing, flipping) is actually kind of soothing for me - kind of Zen like. I don't have any kids in the house so that may be a factor. From a sonic perspective, I personally find analog more enjoyable than digital and tubes better than SS. I guess I'm just an old school kind of guy.
I enjoy digital music for casual listening, as in background music while cooking dinner or when guests are visiting. But when I listen to music for myself it is almost always vinyl. It's a more organic and satisfying experience for me; from both an audible and tactile sense.
Rats, I fell for another third rail, digital vs. vinyl thread!
I've stopped going to a pal's house to listen with him because of his newly rediscovered passion for vinyl. Whereas before we would both be flipping through his extensive CD collection and having a ball, now the ritual associated with choosing an LP to play on his very expensive analog setup is daunting. One can only choose LP's that have been recently deep cleaned, and even then, it takes 5-10 minutes of preparation and tweaking to actually play a side. No thanks, I'll stick with CD's and as soon as I am confident that Hi-Rez downloads are the way to go - Whee!
Somethings you never use but when their gone you miss them.I do the same things as you,from TT to gym to Pandora and wonder whats next.Something new or something old.In the Middle East all they have is rocks and sand and 110 degrees.I hope my next life is like this one.Most everyday is Disneyland with the occasional flat tire.Merry Christmas,B
I can relate to the OP's analogy, except I NEVER bought a gym membership. I run for exercise, and do it in the street where it's easy and free to run on it. After all, the street is just outside my door. In the 80's I resisted buying a CD player until I could no longer find a record store that stocked a good selection of vinyl. Also, my kids were born in '83, and '85. I also had a 50 minute commute(each way) to work. My Turntable sat un-used from '86 to 2002 except to make cassette tapes I could play in the car while commuting. Almost all of my listening was while in the car.

Things change though. Since 2002 I've had no commute, unless you call the trip downstairs to my office a commute. I kids moved out to go to college, then to work. Gee I have more me time now. Having a TT and records is simply a better way to enjoy music, provided you have the time to clean, cue, flip. I play CD's too, but mostly as background music.
Replacing gym with iPod walking and outdoor exersizing is large upgrade. You may cancel your gym membership ecpesially if you've used it for threadmills.

Dumping turntable setup or just keeping it is not. Think of placing exersize equipment onto the sweet spot instead of soft chair with scotch on the table next to.
I have had a gym membership of one kind or another for over 25 years, and use the gym regularly.
I am delighted when people leave vinyl, as long as they sell or donate their records to some lucky, appreciative customer.
I guess your fail-safe is to keep the records until you have the time and patience again to "do vinyl," too bad.
Nice going guy's. I just got back into vinyl some two and a half years ago now your all bailing on me! Seriously, I really enjoy the extra work involved in vinyl and I think the results really pay off. Perhaps someday I will get tierd of it too, but I sure hope not.
Sold my table last April as a downsizing move. I already had a replacement so I figured I would continue seamlessly. I was wrong about that. The replacement table still sits on a lower shelf because I have not felt compelled to make room on the top shelf for it. One of these days .............

But now, after 8 months of no vinyl, I read this thread and take an honest look at my own behavior. Oh well, maybe I'll return to it someday.
are you serious?(OP) Listening to music is culture and spiritual experience for me, so I do not mind any of the "inconveniences"....Vinyl more real then digital? Of course, no comparisons....
So now we're so out of shape from digital convenience we can't scroll ALL the way down to the analog section? Another point for the health club analogy ;)
I'm too lazy for red book CD's where I had to change discs after only listening to 1-2 songs. So I got a CD burner and record only my favorite songs. Being dual well, I can:

1) Switch CD's and listen for over 2 hours without fiddling with the CDB.
or
2) Switch CD's in one well while still playing music in the other so the music never stops.
I had purchased an Alesis Master Link for the very reason Cdc mentioned, to make great sounding compilations. Since I got a music server, the Masterlink sits unused, except to make a cd from vinyl. As great as it is, and it is great (Touvh, Berkeley Dac), it still isn't vinyl.
Quit the YMCA and build a gym in the house. If possible near your vinyl set up. Work out to vinyl. I do. Nothing like it. I am now getting into digital as well. I have no intention of abandening vinyl. Digital is easy, Vinyl is a Hobby and way of life! Sell your jazz vinyl. Your kids will be listening to rock and roll!
Yeah, I chuckle at all the folks buying intro TTs and all. The fad is big now. Give it a bit of time and cobwebs, 90% of those new to vinyl will sell off the stuff from lack of use... eventually.
I got back into vinyl about nine years ago, before it caught back on big time... So I bought mountains of Lps dirt cheap. Where the starters now have a much harder time finding good used, cheap LPs worth having. (used, cheap LPs are everywhere... it's the 'good' and 'worth having' part that is the problem with cheap LPs now!!!)
Anyway, I too usually park 5 CDs in the changer.. and let it play for a day or so... Swapping out a few while it is playing another...
The turntables sit.. and get used a few times here and there when i want to hear something not in my Cd collection.
I like vinyl, but am too too lazy. Though I still go Lp hunting... every week.
Confession is good.
I'm 53. Obviously I started with vinyl. In the early '90s I gave away or sold off my vinyl gear and records. A friend convinced me to get back into it two years ago, and while turntables, MM/MC cartridges, phono pres, etc., have their charms, I found any "audio nervosa" was more than compensated for by the parallel need to worry about disc cleaning (had a Nitty Gritty), stylus cleaning, worrying about record wear, being annoyed by not being able to purchase exactly what I wanted to listen to, being annoyed by the bad quality of much of my used and new vinyl, etc., etc. From my perspective, there were a lot of negative factors.

After getting a Squeezebox Touch and a VALAB DAC, I listen to music more than ever and enjoy the hell out of it. (I don't own a TV.) Sometimes "nervosa" sets in and I get impatient and FF to other songs, but that's because I'm craving (usually unconsciously) a certain sound/music. And more often than not I end up being very satisfied and just go with the musical flow. I went to bed two hours later than normal last night because I was so captivated by what I was hearing. I can't wait for the RCA Living Stereo 60 CD collection to show up in the mail so I can hear much of what I used to hear via old vinyl through my analog-ish non-oversampling DAC.

My friend will always love his vinyl, and I understand why--but it's not for me. I'll never denigrate another music lover just because of the equipment they use to listen (or make!) music. But as far as turntables and vinyl are concerned, in my case the third time wouldn't be a charm.

I run five days a week.
Soldersplatter, change the number 53 to 49 in your first paragraph, and it could be describing my experience re-discovering vinyl word for word.

I cycle 3-4 times a week (90-120 miles).
I'm 53. Obviously I started with vinyl. In the early '90s I gave away or sold off my vinyl gear and records. A friend convinced me to get back into it two years ago, and while turntables, MM/MC cartridges, phono pres, etc., have their charms, I found any "audio nervosa" was more than compensated for by the parallel need to worry about disc cleaning (had a Nitty Gritty), stylus cleaning, worrying about record wear, being annoyed by not being able to purchase exactly what I wanted to listen to, being annoyed by the bad quality of much of my used and new vinyl, etc., etc. From my perspective, there were a lot of negative factors.

After getting a Squeezebox Touch and a VALAB DAC, I listen to music more than ever and enjoy the hell out of it. (I don't own a TV.) Sometimes "nervosa" sets in and I get impatient and FF to other songs, but that's because I'm craving (usually unconsciously) a certain sound/music. And more often than not I end up being very satisfied and just go with the musical flow. I went to bed two hours later than normal last night because I was so captivated by what I was hearing. I can't wait for the RCA Living Stereo 60 CD collection to show up in the mail so I can hear much of what I used to hear via old vinyl through my analog-ish non-oversampling DAC.

My friend will always love his vinyl, and I understand why--but it's not for me. I'll never denigrate another music lover just because of the equipment they use to listen (or make!) music. But as far as turntables and vinyl are concerned, in my case the third time wouldn't be a charm.

I run five days a week.
FADS; yogurt, polyester suits, polyester big collar shirts, dico, platform shoes,leisure suits, hulla hoops, slinkies, marbles, tops, flower power, crewcuts, the word groovy, tube tops, tie-dyed t shirts, denim jackets, shoulder pads, elbow patches, flashdance, Saturday Night Fever, spandex, velcro, the twist, love beads, lava lamps, mood rings, chia pets, pet rocks, cnbc, instant messanger, aol, you got mail, religion, "having said that", 8 tack tapes, cassette tapes, men to boys, saving, gop, tea party, sarah palin, etc Said to be fads but became fab instead: Elvis, The Beatles, The stone, Bob Dylan, Springsteen, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Jack Nicholson, ice-cream, movies, fruits and vegetables, vegetarian, art, reading, green, toyota, science, free thought, protest,etc. Trends; saving, equal rights, legalized pot, gay rights, free thought, electric cars, solar and wind, world economy, stem cell technoligy, online everything, o yeh, VINYL. Fads then not fad, then fad again then not fad and back again and then no again; John Travolta
The purpose of confession is to maintain the sin. Of course, it's good.
I like compilations too, that's what I have Nakamichi deck for. And I try to use the very best tapes. In fact, when I make a copy from digital source, it sounds a little better than the original; my guess is that the deck does some equalization when recording.
I myself am getting deeper into the realm of analog, just upgraded the front end to an entirely different level.
But for most new music you just have to put up with digital.
I still use the word "groovy", I've been a musician/recording tech for over 40 years, and I love my Linn. I like digital also...and I wonder...why does this stuff have to be mutually exclusive? I'm too lazy to "digitize" all my vinyl, so I have fun playing with it from time to time and it often amazes me. I've been a surfer since 1960 and refuse to quit just because somebody thinks I should...I just get longer boards and sometimes a paddle! It's a lot of hastle to DO things...I suppose I could get a power boat...it's MUCH easier...and get somebody to play my guitars for me...and maybe put the food into my mouth...a driver for the BMW...or maybe somebody to EXPLAIN beauty to me so I don't have to work at experiencing it. I belong to a gym AND have one at home...now if I could get somebody to lift that tonearm for me....
It's not the flipping of sides or lifting of tonearms that bothers me about analog, it's the setup and tweaking and never being sure that you're at anywhere near your turntable assembly's potential. I realize that proper set-up, component matching and tweaking are a fact of life in audio, but their importance seems to be over-the-top in analog. You believe that you have expert set-up, and then one day someone suggests you use half a drop less of lubricant in some reservoir and bang, there it is. I think what bothers me the most is seeing just how much my analog friends suffer with their setups. One day they're ecstatic; the next day, they just don't know what's wrong. And it seems like it's always just after making a big ticket upgrade, that they find out that some small adjustment wasn't right. I'm not suggesting that digital is a better choice because of this, but I do think that analog, at least through a turntable, requires a long run commitment to the hardware aspect of audio. I don't know if analog devotees ever reach the point where they can ignore their system for a year or two and just hit play.
I do very little, just minor teaks to vinyl now. My wife listens to digital. She does nothing but turn it on. For her it is atmosphere. Tweaking is part of the hobby. Most of us enjoy the minor adjusting, it makes us feel as if we are part of the music. Involved in it's reproduction. I will bet if you ask the freinds you talk about, do they mind the tweaking? A resounding NO, I love it? That is the point. It helps makes the music personel. You are involved. Other wise it is just back round. Listening to just the hits and not the entire album. It is clear most on this thread do not understand vinyl! It is about the feel, the involvement, the love of the music, the memories, the artist, the meaning, taking the time to really listen and the sound.
Koegz, I'm sure you don't really mean to say that anyone who doesn't enjoy the extra tweaking involved in vinyl, doesn't possess the requisite passion for music to appreciate it at a level beyond background music. To call a person who said, and meant, that "arrogant" would be kind.
It is clear most on this thread do not understand vinyl! It is about the feel, the involvement, the love of the music, the memories, the artist, the meaning, taking the time to really listen and the sound.
Koegz (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
I can assure you, I understand vinyl. I grew up with vinyl (as the majority of participants here did).

I was also a musician for many years.

I can assure you that the feel, the involvement, the love of the music, the memories, the artist, the meaning, and taking the time to really listen and the sound can, and are equally enjoyed by those who prefer recording mediums other than vinyl.
It is funny to me that anybody would have issues these days with the hastle of vinyl since digital streaming and/or CDs obviate those issues...simply said, if you don't want to fool around with vinyl, DON'T! If you have a lot of LPs like I do you still don't have to play them...unless you want to hear the music they contain. I understand the issue Phaelon brings up about upgrades and tweeking, and professional therapy is recommended and available for those who lose their grip on the gear...that actually described the True Audio Geek perfectly, "I read this would make it better...and it didn't!"...WHAAAAA...it's like making a case about personal issues with stick shift cars when automatics are everywhere.
"recording mediums other than vinyl". You mean tape?
I certainly prefer to deal with tape. Vinyl is better for archive.
12-20-10: Inna
"recording mediums other than vinyl". You mean tape?
I mean mediums other than vinyl...tape, CD, SACD, DVD-A, MP3, any medium other than vinyl.

Perhaps I was not clear, and I should have stated *playback* mediums rather than recording mediums, but I thought this was self explanatory.

Nevertheless, my point is the same.
Actually, given the enthusiasm for analog, I'm surprised that reel-reel hasn't found it's way back. I know about the tape project, but that doesn't seem very reasonable to me. I've never heard a top flight tape source but people I have respect for say it's incomparable. If it's profitable to make all these special vinyl pressings from master tapes, why not tapes?
Phaelon,

I've heard modern reference RTR, vinyl and CD recently in a well set up SOTA system in virtually ideal conditions.

The RTR was in a class of its own.

Both vinyl and digital sounded very good also but once the RTR played, the difference was apparent.
Reel-to-reel at 15ips (inches per second)...unbelievable.

Why is it not the playback medium of choice? No infrastructure. No playback machines made today. No consumer demand for material (think SACD and DVD-A). Magnetic tape is tricky to store. Has to be wound "tails out". Can degrade over time.

Many reasons.

Tape had its heyday in the 70s. It was largely supplanted by high quality cassette tape. Then, like vinyl and cassette tape, it was decimated by the CD.

Vinyl has had its resurgence because the playback medium is more plentiful and does not deteriorate over time like magnetic tape.

IMO.
That's the opinion I hear from every corner Mapman. Given the amount of money audiophiles have shown they're willing to spend to wring the least iota of nuance from their systems, why is this format being so neglected?
Tvad, of the reasons you stated, the limited lifespan of tape makes the most sense to me. That's a hard one to get around.
The real question here is: why is this thread in the amps/preamp forum?
The base word for analog is anal. Those who have let go of it may be those who have relaxed their sphincters a bit.

As I said earlier, I hang onto my table and records because I fantasize that someday my interest will reignite. Besides I'm too lazy to tackle the chore of selling it all off. My heirs can deal with it someday.
Issues with "anal" behavior in an audiophile forum is like noting narcissism in a Hair and Makeup forum. If your turntable makes you uptight you really need to get out more. Deep breath...ahhh...

There is an anachronistic "reel to reel" rebirth seeming to happen...I saw a recent review of an, I assume, "high end" tape machine. I've used pro tape machines for years but I'll bet the farm this potential "fadlet" has minimal traction. Like "direct to LP lathe" recording...man...where's my Edison Cylinder player?