Vinyl Comeback?

For those who grew up on vinyl records, you may miss the days of putting something on the turntable and carefully fitting the needle to the grooves.  You may even have a collection of favorite LPs you just never could part with but have nothing you can play them on.  Somehow, pressing a button on an iPod just doesn't have that same organic feel to you especially when it comes to playing classics.Well HOLD ON!  Looks like vinyl may be making a comeback.  For the past several years, there has been a notable surge in the market for vinyl as a music format instead of digital alone.  Not only that, but one doesn't have to look very hard to find turntables with USB connections to enjoy on your otherwise state-of-the-art system.  They are as easy to find as your local Best Buy.

And the record companies are embracing the reincarnation of vinyl for many reasons, including the fact that vinyl is another source of revenue that can't be illegally downloaded.

Its not just about Baby Boomers being nostalgic, either.  The younger generation is showing a trend toward vinyl as well.  Scott Storer, a longtime employee at Rockin Rudy's Record Heaven in Montana, has a theory about the iPod generation's switch to their parents' record collection.

"The younger generations missed out on having something concrete," says Storer. "There is a pure sound with its pops and clicks that lends to an actual listening experience rather than just flipping through an iPod."

CDs never were able to create that tie with music that past mediums did, said Storer. He won't be surprised if people have no problem letting CDs come to their demise, which reflects a national trend of CD sales dropping.

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Turntables for Today

In our last post, we looked at the comeback of vinyl records.  It only makes sense to follow that up with a look at devices that support playing records.

I'll admit I don't have much personal experience with turntables so I'll draw upon the advice of CE Pro Magazine.  In their April, 2012 issue, the editor's pick was the Essential USB turntable by Pro-Ject for the entry-level person who wants to enjoy their LPs without making a huge investment.

While Pro-Ject has a range of pricier models, Essential has an MSRP of $299 or, for the USB model, $399.  The turntable includes a built-in phono pre-amplifier.  That's a real benefit because it eliminates the need to purchase a separate phono pre-amp which are seldom found as part of current A/V receivers.  It includes a USB output so you can connect the turntable and rip tracks to your computer.

To read CE Pro's complete review, click here.

For the serious audiophile, there are turntables on the market that approach $10,000.  While you might not want to spend that kinda mucho deniro for a turntable, you might be a serious enough audio buff to want a separate phono preamp.  Regardless of the turntable you have, a good preamp will make all the difference in the beauty and richness of uncompressed sound only your turntable can produce.  CE Pro Magazine (again) touted Parsound's Halo JC-3 as the best value in the analog market.

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