I have been planning my end game system for some time and I keep weighing up the option of “one day” getting a vinyl player.
I think that the lion’s share of my listening will always be streaming, my cd collection ripped to a Uniti Core (when I get one…) and internet radio, but vinyl would be reserved for the proper listening session. The Friday evening with a glass of red wine or the Sunday afternoon with a cuppa. A time when you really indulge in it, enjoy the theatre of it, read the sleeve notes etc.
Cost: My father in law passed away last year and left a reasonable starting collection of vinyl, including some great old pressings. My own father too still has his vinyl collection but no player - I am sure I could have that on “extended loan”. So I wouldn’t be going from a standing start, but there would be a pretty hefty investment in getting a collection that had the selection of “favourite albums” that I would want.
Quality: If I am to ultimately go down that route I would probably start buying the odd album on vinyl now to start building something (DSOTM live in Wembley, '74, released this week, for example). But when I read this forum about that sort of thing (and similarly with the PF Animals remaster last year) there’s lots of talk about “bad pressings” and problems with the media.
Experience: On top of that, many people on this forum seem to be moving away from vinyl towards streaming. And these are people who are generally seasoned audiophiles who have “been there and done that” and know what they are talking about. What do they know that I don’t?
So I guess I want to know thoughts on that. If you are moving away from vinyl - why? If you had never had vinyl, would you start now? And would I be crazy to start a vinyl collection now with the costs involved, questions over quality and availability via other mediums?
You won’t be surprised to hear that this has quite often be discussed on here.
As a lifelong user of vinyl I can only say that for me sonically a good record on a good deck (there are variables here) will outperform digital. But against that streaming opens a massive world of different music and digital in general is more convenient, no record cleaning, stylus wear etc. And it sounds very good.
Would it really increase your listening pleasure and appreciation of music? Only one person can answer that but having set a budget a demo or 2 at a couple of reputable dealers will give you a flavour of what you might expect.
Only you can answer the question about whether the cost is crazy or not for you.
I haven’t bought vinyl since I moved to CD as a teenager circa 1990. I’ve therefore seen vinyl go through the doldrums and be resurrected but not once have I felt any desire to make the kind of outlay that would be needed - either financially in the form of kit or discs or in the time it requires to get everything working at its peak - to get back into it. I get that it’s a labour of love, but that doesn’t mean I have to want to do it. The pictures of beautiful decks on System Pics etc. are indeed great to look at but still don’t tempt me in the slightest to get my own. My money, my choice.
There is an old joke, told ruefully by boat owners, that I think could be repurposed by vinyl fans:
How do you recreate the experience of owning a racing yacht without leaving the house?
Put on every piece of warm and waterproof clothing you own, turn the shower on as hard and as cold as it will go then sit under it for ten hours whilst shoving twenty pound notes down the plughole as fast as you can.
I have to agree with @Ryder35 here. I’ve been an analog guy for over 50 years, and I do believe it is still the best way to go BUT, if I didn’t already have a vinyl collection numbering in the thousands, I probably wouldn’t bother now unless I was truly committed to it. The streaming services give you a virtually unlimited library and the sound quality can be quite good. That being said, there will be variations in recording quality no matter what media you choose, so that should not be the deciding factor. Imho, a good vinyl pressing is as good as it gets, but a poor recording is a poor recording, and the latest live Floyd releases (including the one you mention) are a perfect example. There is no format on which they will sound ‘great’, because they simply weren’t recorded particularly well to begin with. But, something like the latest release from Bill Frisell (‘four’), will clearly demonstrate the reasons why many of us still prefer vinyl. Yes, there is more work involved in setting up and adjusting and even just putting on an album for a listening session, but the rewards can also be great, and there is a certain visceral involvement in the whole process which, for some of us, only increases the pleasure of the overall experience - much in the same way many car guys still prefer driving a stick to an automatic.
For various reasons I sold my record collection about 20 years ago. Then, about three years ago I decided to ‘get back into vinyl’, as you do. I discovered a few things. If you buy new records they are expensive. Quite a few of the new records had pressing faults and needed to be returned. If you buy used records, you absolutely need a record cleaning machine. The cleaning machine is quite large, is really noisy, and needs to live somewhere. I had a nice turntable and felt I needed to buy records to justify the expense of the turntable. Most of the records I was buying I had already as CD rips anyway. Some of the records I bought was because they were special limited editions, such as Records Store Day releases. I was buying stuff because it was vinyl, when I probably wouldn’t have bought it otherwise. Some of the limited pressings I bought cost about £45, when I could have bought the high res download for £10. It ended up being a lot of stuff I just didn’t need. So I sold the lot. It was probably a mistake, but it was fun for a while. But that’s just me, I’m a bit weird perhaps. At the end of the day it’s your choice. It you want a record player, then go for it. One thing - if you are happy to rip CDs on a computer you really don’t need a Core. A NAS will do fine, and the £1,500 saved will buy a lot of music. Or a turntable!
I’d suggest dipping your toe in the water so to speak. But a low end rega, rp1 for example, and play a record. Or records. When it becomes your favourite pastime, then it’s time for a rega naia.
Find somewhere you can get vinyl cheap. I remember coming out of wax factor in Brighton with a bag full of £1 or £2 records. Yes new ones are £40 each but there are tonnes of 2nd hand records out there.
@BobbyYork also to bear in mind that if you stay with the Nova (why not excellent) no matter how good your TT configuration it converts whatever you play through it to digital and back again. The 272 and new 222 however keep analogue flows as analogue.
I started reading the responses above and some good points are being raised.
I bought my first LP at age 13 and still own it. I have been collecting on and off ever since.
I say on and off because I spent the first half of the 90’s in the Middle East and “Hookie” Cassette tapes were about all you could get there.
When I got home the CD revolution had fully taken hold and that was the medium to buy.
Therefore I doubt I bought many records at all in the 90’s.
Got back to it in the 2000’s when I bought a mixture of both, but Records started to assert themselves as my primary choice again.
Streaming is great for finding new music and playing something I don’t have, but for serious listening it’s always the record collection I reach for first.
The moral of this long and drawn out missive is, there is a place for all media in a music collection. With Record Collections up for grabs so to speak, why not just add that string to your proverbial Bow😊
Funny i wanted to open a similar thread some days ago…
I got into vinyl in 2009 which is an odd year to start with a vinyl collection (i was 24). Bought a Rega P3 after getting my university degree. Vinyl was usually cheaper than CD back then…
At some point i decided to sell all my vinyl and my turntable. My system was very simple at that time. I think i got 4 LPs left because they are signed or were gifts from persons who mean something to me. That must have been 2018-19 as prices and hype began to increase.
After spending some years buying music on CD i started to notice that some things i want to own are not released on CD. And sometimes they are not on streaming services. So in the last few days i have been ruminating about getting a turntable and set myself some rules to acquire vinyl:
i will never buy vinyl that is availabe on CD
price limit for new vinyl is 25.00€
i will only buy records i love and have listened a few times before
i will avoid coloured vinyl
i will not buy any reissues
It will never be my primary source but should provide some fun to the music experience. With that list i don t expect to buy more than 1 record / month.
As others have suggested why not get a turntable you like, live with it and see how you get along? As you have many records already i think it is worth trying.
When I had my Trinnov pre I ran my Brinkman TT through it and it sounded great but, in the back of my mind I was always uncomfortable with the idea of converting analog to digital and then back. I decided to go back to an analog pre and physical room treatment for that reason.
I was always put off by the pfaff an delicacy of the decks. Exposure to a maxed out LP12 never pulled me. Yes it sounded good but the endless stream of them we had coming it for the latest upgrade, rebuild, servicing really put me off.
I came to vinyl 25 years later. Turns out all I needed was the fuss free near maintenance free nature of direct drive. And there are some very good “proper hifi” direct drive decks out there. Some affordable. Some more expensive. If you want to maximise enjoyment but minimise time and ongoing expense, it’s a direction that’s brought me a lot of joy. 90% if my listening is streaming. The 10% vinyl on my two decks sounds superb and didn’t break the bank and doesn’t need much effort.
Thank you to everyone for the responses, very useful insights. To respond to sopme of the points:
Happy to buy second hand, so the investment would be a little lower. Thank you for the Discogs suggestion @IanRobertM - a treasure trove.
Thanks @LindsayM - the end game system will not be the Nova. It will more than likely be a 222 with the 300 power supply to go with the 250.3. The nova will stay in my study as a (mighty fine) second system. I understand that the 222 has a reasonable phono stage, which made me even more tempted toward vinyl. I should say that I am likely 3+ years away from this, but if I am going in that direction, it seemed that making a start on the vinyl collection, here and there, would be best to do sooner rather than later.
Thanks @feeling_zen - I certainly like the sound of a “fuss free” vinyl deck. I am much more about listening to it than messing with it!
I like the idea of dipping my toe in, but maybe the best idea at this stage is to have a demo of a reasonable entry level vinyl deck on a 222/250 set up and see what I think - that would perhaps allow me to assess if the view is worth the climb.